Pumpkin seed oil is carving out a place for itself in the kitchen-to-beauty scene, even as the coconut craze continues.
It turns out, the cold-pressed oil from pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) has an enthusiastic following among natural beauty and wellness mavens who are drizzling it over their salads, smoothing it on their skin, and washing up with it in the shower—and loving it for its nutrient-packed qualities.
So, what can pumpkin seed oil do for your looks? Well, potentially a lot. It’s rich in vitamin A and E, zinc, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, as well as antioxidants, says Anna Urban, founder of Aviva Hair Revitalizer, which makes a hair supplement that’s loaded with the oil.
Pumpkin seed oil is more commonly infused into natural beauty products, than applied on its own topically, but its benefits in these concoctions are no short of amazing (think: the opposite of pumpkin pie).
Here are seven ways you can incorporate pumpkin seed oil into your routine. —Molly Gallagher
Many of the natural skin-care gurus we spoke to, including Kerrilynn Pamer, the founder of CAP Beauty, love pumpkin seed oil for moisturizing the body. “It’s rich in fatty acids,” which is essential for healthy skin. “And it’s a fantastic anti-inflammatory,” says Pamer.
A go-to on Pamer’s favorite list is the Zoe Organics Belly Oil, which deeply hydrates, firms, and helps calm skin, says Zoe Organics’ founder Heather Hamilton of her multitasking body oil that can be used during pregnancy. “It also encourages cell turnover and helps maintain collagen levels, keeping skin firm and youthful,” says Hamilton. Pumpkin seed oil is also the star of luxe UK beauty range Soveral.
Pumpkin seed oil is rich in vitamins A, K, E, as well as minerals and fatty acids, which all help strengthen your hair, says Anna Urban, the founder of Aviva Hair Revitalizer. “In addition to shielding the hair protein, it also hydrates the follicles, which help give you shiny, lustrous strands,” says Urban. “Some research shows it can also inhibit the 5-alpha reductase enzyme, which slows your hair growth.” Good thing Urban’s hair supplement is loaded with it.
Don’t leave the shower itchy and dry ever again. “I hate body washes that leave my skin dry. This creamy coconut-scented body wash by Acure isn’t just a wash, but is actually nourishing and hydrates dry, tender skin with pumpkin seed oil,” says Spirit Demerson, the beauty and brains behind Spirit Beauty Lounge.
And just to allay any fears, you won’t smell like a bad Thanksgiving-scented candle when using it—pumpkin seed oil has a very faint aroma.
Renowned clinical aesthetician Jillian Wright, who regularly taps raw plant ingredients and mixes them on the spot in her treatment rooms, says pumpkin seed oil can play a preparatory role before a facial. To soften and open the pores the New York City-based facialist often mixes pumpkin seed oil with vitamin E. Then she’ll use the exfoliating enzymes from pumpkin: “I love using natural pumpkin enzyme to reduce surface build-up during a facial, and they also provide antioxidant support,” says Wright.
(Photo: Jillian Wright)
“Pumpkin seed oil provides concentrated dose of minerals that support hormonal and reproductive health,” says Latham Thomas, a super cool maternity expert and the founder of Mama Glow. It helps with healthy egg production. And the zinc in pumpkin seeds help regulates hormones—plus it boosts your libido, she explains. (So it’s good for all of us.) “You can use it instead of olive oil on your salad, for instance, or place in a smoothie,” says Thomas. How sexy!
Editorial makeup artist and natural beauty guru, Kristen Arnett loves facial serums (probably more than moisturizers), and lately she’s noticed that a lot of her favorite blends contain pumpkin seed oil.
Her go-tos? Om Aroma Renew Pumpkin Serum and SkinnySkinny Organic Skin Serum. Clara Williams, founder of SkinnySkinny, says she likes the nourishing oil for healthy skin—and for its anti-aging properties. “It helps to maintain collagen levels, which helps to prevent premature signs of aging,” explains Williams.
(Photo: Om Aroma & Co.)
Green beauty expert Arnett has a killer tip for infusing all of pumpkin seed oils’ benefits into your makeup. “I love to mix a serum containing pumpkin seed oil with a powder mineral foundation. This creates a custom powder-to-cream foundation that has major skin benefits,” she gushes. (Yay, multi-tasking!)
(Photo: Alima Pure)