Treat yourself to a fall-inspired facial with one of these pumpkin skin care masks that you can easily customize for your specific skin type.
Halloween is just days away. This week, I sewed a sweatshirt for Little Bear’s costume using the coziest French terry fabric — it is buttery soft. I wish I had a few more yards because I think it would make a comfy blanket or a luxurious robe.
Robes remind me of relaxing spa days. Although I’m short on French terry fabric, we have an abundance of pumpkins, so I’m planning to carve out a few restful moments for an at-home spa afternoon during nap time. That’s right, that glowing jack-o-lantern is good for glowing, naturally radiant skin.
When I worked at an organic spa in New York City’s posh West Village, I learned how pumpkin can benefit the skin from expert estheticians. This seasonal superfood can soothe and soften skin (think: luxuriously soft like that French terry), brighten your complexion, and much more.
Pumpkin Skin Care Benefits
Pumpkin is a healthy, nourishing food that promotes wellness and beauty from the inside out. It offers a long list of skin-friendly vitamins and minerals, including folate, niacin, and copper.
Eating pumpkin can improve skin tone and elasticity because it’s a good source of Vitamin C, an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production. Vitamin C, along with the carotenoids in pumpkin (most notably beta-carotene), can reverse and prevent environmental damage from excessive UV exposure and pollution, while protecting against free radicals.
Pumpkin seeds are nutritious as well. They are rich in zinc, a mineral that can treat acne. The vitamin E in pumpkin seeds help combat inflammation as well. Plus, they are packed with magnesium and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, all of which support skin health.
Pumpkin is also beneficial when applied topically. All those antioxidants (including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and vitamin E) help defend the skin against oxidative stress. Additionally, pumpkin contains exfoliating fruit enzymes and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) that renew skin by increasing cell turnover. In addition to improving skin texture, it can brighten dull skin.
Pumpkin Skin Care Masks
I hope the following flexible DIY facial mask recipes will inspire you to add pumpkin to your beauty routine. Fresh organic pumpkin puree is preferable, but if you use store-bought, avoid pumpkin pie mix. Be sure to spot test first on a small patch of skin.
Leave the face mask on for about 30 minutes, unless you have sensitive skin, in which case I recommend five to 10 minutes. Then rinse, tone (quick homemade recipe below), and apply your favorite serum and moisturizer.
Pumpkin + Coconut Oil
Mix one teaspoon of pureed pumpkin with one teaspoon of unrefined coconut oil, an ingredient that’s incredibly beneficial for moms.
Good for sensitive, normal, or dry skin because it deeply moisturizes and nourishes skin.
Pumpkin + Honey
Combine two teaspoons of pumpkin puree and one teaspoon of honey. Raw local honey or manuka honey are best.
Good for sensitive, normal, acne-prone or dry skin because it is hydrating, soothing, and has antibacterial properties.
Pumpkin + Bentonite Clay
Make a paste from one teaspoon of pumpkin puree and one teaspoon of bentonite clay.
Good for oily, breakout-prone skin because it draws out impurities and absorbs excess oils.
Pumpkin + Turmeric
Combine one tablespoon of pureed pumpkin and ½ teaspoon turmeric powder. (I don’t suggest using a white washcloth to cleanse afterwards because turmeric can leave stains.)
Good for anti-aging and hyperpigmentation because it’s brightening and may reduce the look of dark spots.
Pumpkin + Cacao Powder
Mix one tablespoon of pumpkin puree and one tablespoon raw cacao powder.
Good for brightening, toning, anti-aging, and moisturizing because it is hydrating, improves circulation, and is antioxidant-rich. The flavonoids (specifically, flavanols) and polyphenols help combat free radicals, protect against environmental damage, and improve skin appearance.
Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
Combine four parts water to one part raw apple cider vinegar (with the mother). Swipe over the face and neck with a cotton pad (or use your hands to gently pat it into the skin) after cleansing and before using a serum and moisturizer.
Especially good for oily, acneic, or combination skin because it helps balance and restore the outer layer’s natural pH and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Bonus beauty tip: with the exception of turmeric, which might color the hair, the other recipes can double as hair masks.
These are just a few of the effective skin care masks you can make using pumpkin puree as the base. Other ingredients to consider using are spirulina and chlorella powders, chamomile and calendula flower infusions, green tea, ginger, vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, avocado, papaya, nondairy yogurt, cooked oatmeal, hemp seed oil, rosehip oil, activated charcoal, lemon juice, and essential oils like tea tree (the list goes on and on). You can also try other clays, such as Moroccan lava clay, French green clay, and kaolin. (See what I mean?)
Customize your skin care mask with whatever your skin is craving, but keep it simple. Choosing only a few ingredients to work with at a time allows you to get a feel for what benefits your skin most. Feel free to mix and match recipes and even add a splash of filtered water or rosewater.
Although I love using homemade coconut citrus sugar scrub, for body exfoliation, you could try adding brewed coffee grounds, brown sugar, pure magnesium flakes, or sea salt to the pumpkin puree.
Remember to nurture your skin from within by eating more pumpkin.