Chalk it up to the Cinderella effect, but it seems that as soon as fall hits, pumpkin spice gives everything—from activewear to makeup—the magic touch. And thanks to pumpkin’s inherent enzymatic properties, those wand-waving benefits also extend to your complexion, revealing brighter, glowier skin. Bippity-boppity-boo.
Celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who has an eponymous skin-care line and works with famous faces like Kate Bosworth and Michelle Williams, is such an advocate of the ingredient that she’s created a recipe for a pumpkin face mask you can make at home (you know, as you’re carving your Halloween masterpiece).
“Pumpkin can be a really effective resurfacing treatment that takes away imperfections.”
“Pumpkin can be a really effective resurfacing treatment that takes away imperfections,” she says. “It’s high in antioxidants and vitamins A, C, and E, and it acts as a natural source of enzymes to slough away dead skin.” In other words, it’s like a more seasonal—and festive—papaya. While it’s totally fine to use all year, Vargas notes it’s particularly helpful in the fall because it exfoliates dead skin cells that have accumulated throughout the summer.
The mask is also packed with other beneficial skin-food ingredients, according to Vargas: Sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene to fight free radical damage and promote cell turnover; yogurt has complexion-enhancing probiotics; honey is a natural moisturizer; and cinnamon boosts circulation and acts as an antibacterial to help heal acne.
Despite being a novice at all things DIY, I ventured to make the mask at home. Take note: Carving a pumpkin isn’t easy—but at least the innards can make your face glow while the outer shell serves as a Halloween decoration. Mashing the rest together in a bowl isn’t so bad, though (the sweet potatoes actually crush pretty easily)—and the concoction has a beautiful, creamy texture.
On my face, it didn’t feel as smooth as it looked in the bowl and it was thick enough that some pumpkin bits plopped on the floor. But, after letting it marinate on my skin for about 10 minutes, I gently washed it off to a noticeably brighter, softer complexion, which is exactly the sort of trick-or-treat I’m down for.
Keep reading to get the recipe and try the mask for yourself.
Joanna Vargas’ DIY Pumpkin Face Mask
1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
2. Apply to damp skin and leave on for 10 minutes.
3. Rinse with tepid water and a muslin cloth.
If you’re still switching up your routine from summer to fall, here’s a beauty guru’s guide to transitioning your skin-care regimen. And these are the 15 must-have beauty products that you need this season.