by Maria Koropecky, Homespunspa owner
Are you wondering what to do with your leftover jack-o-lantern now that Halloween has past?
Last Friday, the 30th, I was invited to a “Carve it Up” pumpkin carving potluck Halloween party and this photo shows my handiwork. (Thank goodness he didn’t end up like some of his buddies cracked open on the pavement). I can’t remember the last time before this that I dabbled with pumpkins — it may have been 20 years ago for all I know — but it all came back to me quickly — just like riding a bike.
It’s a cheap thrill
There’s something to be said about the cool sensation of plunging into a fresh pumpkin and hauling out all of the stringy fibers, seeds and goop with your bare hands. And of course the smell will unlock distant childhood memories too. My inner artist was very content and it was quite a therapeutic experience for me.
Pumpkin’s Fringe Benefits
Pumpkins are an excellent spa ingredient for all kinds of reasons. Pumpkins are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as Zinc, Alpha and Beta Carotene, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron.
Pump-skins can be used in all kinds of spa treatments including: shampoos, shower gels, bubblebaths, soaps, massage, salt and sugar scrubs, manicures, pedicures, enzyme peels and facials. Although mild and gentle, pumpkins are excellent exfoliators and leave your skin feeling pillow soft.
The pumpkin flavour goes well with apples, brown sugar, coconut, cream, ginger, honey, mint, vanilla and yogurt.
Here is a quick and easy home spa pumpkin facial recipe that I developed and tested yesterday. And today my skin feels extra soft and smooth:
- 3 TB pumpkin puree (plain and unseasoned) — Loaded with healthy vitamins and minerals, pumpkins exfoliate and soften skin.
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil — Pressed from juicy olives, this lovely fragrant, heavy oil calms, soothes, nourishes, cleans, softens and moisturizes skin.
- 1 TB maple syrup — helps Maple trees survive Canadian winters and has made its way into the spa world as a skin conditioning treatment.
- 1 TB plus 1 tsp witch hazel distillate — makes a popular pore-tightening liquid toner for oily and blemished skin because of its astringent, anti-inflammatory, cooling and cleansing properties.
- 2 tsps cornstarch — lends a silky and luxurious feel to recipes, making skin feel smooth and soft.
To make the boiled pumpkin puree:
- Hollow out your pumpkin if you haven’t already. Reserve the seeds for roasting.
- Cut the pumpkin into large (1 and a half to 2 or so inches) cubes. (I only ended up using half of my small/medium sized pumpkin which yielded 6 cups of puree).
- Throw the chunks into your biggest cooking pot and cover with water like you would potatoes. For a spa recipe, you don’t need to add any seasonings like salt — in this case, the plainer the better. And please don’t add spices like cinnamon or nutmeg to boost the aromatherapy because those spices can really irritate the skin.
- Boil, covered, for at least an hour but check at the 30 minute mark. You want the pumpkin pieces to be fork-tender.
- Once cooked, remove the pieces from the pot. Cut off the skin and discard. Drop a few pieces at a time in a blender. Add some water from the pot for extra liquid. Blend to an even consistency. Let the orangey puree cool to room temperature before applying it to your skin.
To make the facial:
- Mix the pumpkin puree with the olive oil, witch hazel and cornstarch in a small bowl. It should be the consistency of apple sauce. You can substitute another oil, like corn oil, sweet almond oil or sunflower oil for the olive oil if you prefer. You can also add a few drops of your choice of skin-friendly essential oils, like carrot seed essential oil, to this recipe to further customize it to your skin type. The possibilities and combinations are endless.
- Drape a towel over a pillow and create a space to put your feet up and relax.
- Apply the pumpkin mash to your freshly cleaned face with your fingers, covering everything to the hairline and down your neck, except your eyes and lips. (You can also apply this recipe to your hands, feet, hair and back at another time if you’d like).
- Lie down, close your eyes and relax for 10 to 20 minutes. (Note: although this is unlikely, if your skin feels irritated and if you feel uncomfortable soon after applying the recipe, discontinue the treatment early and rinse of the pumpkin from your face. I felt a little mild tingling but I wasn’t concerned).
- Rinse the pumpkin from your face with warm water and towel off. It’s a very thin recipe so it shouldn’t clog your plumbing.
- Finish your treatment with more Witch Hazel. Apply Witch Hazel with a cotton ball to tone the skin and to remove any excess residue left behind from the treatment.
Storage / Shelf Life
You will have lots of pumpkin puree leftovers. The good news is you can freeze the bounty for another treatment down the road or you can use the puree in baking recipes, like pumpkin loaf.
You can refrigerate the leftover spa treatment mixture and use it within the next 3 days.
What did you do with your Halloween pumpkin? Write a comment and pass on your ideas.
And let me know if you like this recipe. I would love to hear your feedback. And for more recipes like this one, buy a copy of my book, How to throw a home spa pajama party the Homespunspa way available through www.Homespunspa.com.