Homemade Beauty Recipes for Fall

There’s a reason pumpkins are so popular. Not only do they inspire creative carved sculptures, decadent desserts, and soothing stews, but they can also be blended into your beauty routine for healthier skin. Pumpkin is high in many nutrients that are as good for the outside of your body as they are for the inside:
  • Vitamin A (retinol) acts as a mild cleanser that also soothes and softens all skin types, even sensitive skin.
  • Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, preserves the health of skin cells.
  • Alpha-hydroxy acids gently exfoliate dead skin cells, draw out impurities, and revitalize the skin.
  • Zinc can help soothe irritated skin.
The synergy of all of these nutrients means that pumpkin is a natural and healthy way to care for your skin, including premature aging, sun spots, clogged pores, and a dull, uneven complexion. Autumn is the perfect time to experiment with this quintessential squash in your own beauty routine. Here’s how.

This time of year, you'll find pumpkins at farmer's markets and supermarkets—or your local pumpkin patch. Fresh is best, so while you're out picking the perfect specimen for this years jack-o-lanterns, bring home an extra pumpkin for yourself. Cut it open, scoop out the seeds, and slice the pumpkin into large chunks. Place them on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees until the skin is easily pierced with a fork and the flesh is tender—about one hour. Allow to cool, and blend (with the peel attached) to make a puree to use in the following body care recipes. As a shortcut, you can always resort to canned pumpkin puree—but fresh is always best.

The following beauty recipes contain fresh ingredients and should be used immediately for best results. Leftovers may be covered and refrigerated for use within 48 hours.

Sweet Pumpkin Body Scrub
This body scrub will gently exfoliate and revitalize your skin.

Combine, in a small bowl:
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Mix with a spoon until blended. Apply to body with gentle circular scrubbing motions, using a washcloth if desired. When complete, rinse with warm water.

Purifying Pumpkin Facial Mask
This facial mask with help soften your skin for a natural glow.

Combine, in a small bowl:
  • 2 Tbsp pureed pumpkin
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • Buttermilk—just enough to reach a spread-able consistency
Mix ingredients well, and apply to freshly cleansed skin, avoiding the eyes. Lie back and allow the mask to do its work for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and enjoy your smooth skin.

Pumpkin Pie for your Little Piggies
This foot and hand scrub will help slough off rough skin, leaving skin soft and moisturized.

Combine in a small bowl:
  • 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 2 Tbsp organic cane sugar
  • 3 Tbsp oil (try jojoba, grapeseed, almond, or olive oil)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • 1 drop natural vanilla extract
Blend ingredients thoroughly. Over a large bowl, rimmed baking sheet, or bathtub, massage mixture into feet (and hands, if desired), focusing on rough areas and cuticles. Allow mixture to remain on skin for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse off with warm water.

Store-Bought Beauty
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own pumpkin beauty products, check out sumbody (www.sumbody.com), an online company that makes eco-friendly, handmade, pure beauty products from natural ingredients. Their Pumpkin Lift Face Mask ($39.95 for 3 oz) contains pumpkin, eggs, milk, honey, and cinnamon.

You might also enjoy sumbody's Goats in the Pumpkin Patch Natural Soap ($5.95 for 3 oz). Soaps made with milk are gaining popularity, since new research has proven that milk provides benefits to the skin. Besides containing a variety of nourishing components, including Vitamins A and D, it also contains lactic acid, a natural exfoliating agent. This soap combines the benefits of goat’s milk with the benefits of pumpkin.