Genius Ways to Use Your Thanksgiving Leftovers for Skin Care

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Everyone loves Thanksgiving leftovers, but this year, if you want to be more about great, glowing skin and less about gluttony, try these out-of-the-box tips from celebrity aesthetician Mandy Epley for taking what’s still in your fridge and whipping it up into DIY beauty magic.   

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Sweet Potato Toner

Epley coins this vegetable as THE beauty food of the holiday. “After boiling sweet potatoes, do not throw away the water,” she says. “It is packed with nutrients that can help improve your skin texture and clear your complexion.” Then, put this water in a container, store it in the fridge and use it as a toner. “This natural toner can help with impurities, deep clean your pores and soothe irritated skin.”

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Under-Eye Perfecter

Take any leftover sweet potatoes (can be raw wedges you slice) and place on your eyes. “The compound anthocyanin found in this helps in reducing pigmentation and has anti-inflammatory properties that will help in getting rid of dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness,” Epley says.

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Super Scrub

Leftover sweet potatoes can be made into a mega-moistruizing scrub by mixing the boiled potatoes with equal parts oats and yogurt. 

Mix in a blender until the mixture is thick and coarse. Lightly work this mixture into the skin for about two minutes and remove with a washcloth. 

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Pumpkin Can Mask

According to Epley, pumpkin can penetrate deeper into skin when used topically due to its molecular structure. “This is amazing for treating a dull complexion, aging skin and pigmentation. Your skin will also benefit from the natural antioxidants and fight free radicals.” (As an added bonus, it works just as well whether you have leftover fresh pumpkin or are stocked up on canned goods.)

Simply use straight from a can of 100-percent pumpkin or scoop out from the real deal and apply to skin. Leave on for 20 minutes. 

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Pumpkin Seed Skin Booster

Inside tip: If you are skilled enough to make pumpkin pie from scratch, keep the seeds and use them for a healthy snack. “They are high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which can maintain a good barrier function of the skin. They also regulate sebum, and are great for an oilier skin type,” Epley says.

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Coffee Grind Clarifier

Everyone has leftover coffee grinds after being the host at Thanksgiving—but don’t throw them out.  Mix the grinds, lemon juice, and honey to use as a scrub for that stubborn under-the-skin congestion (only use about a tsp of each). “The coffee will stimulate circulation while removing dead skin, and the lemon juice and honey will help fight that stubborn congestion,” Epley says, but warns to not use on active acne that has formed a whitehead, as it will irritate the skin. 

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Cellulite Buster

You can also mix coffee grinds with coconut oil for a quick fix to improving the look of cellulite. “Again, the grinds will stimulate circulation and get the blood flowing, and the coconut oil will soften the skin. It will not get rid of cellulite, but it will improve the appearance.”

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Cranberry Exfoliator

Have leftover cranberries from making the sauce for dinner? Use these berries (but not the sauce), along with some sugar, oats and olive oil, for a fantastic scrub. (You can vary the amount of each depending on how coarse you like your scrubs.) “This is best for oily skin types as the acidic properties in the berries will help reduce oil in the skin. If you can juice the berries, that is best.”

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Collagen Builder

You can also take the juice of cranberries, mix with a little bit of honey, apply to skin for 20 minutes, and then remove. “This works as a toner and will build collagen since vitamin C is a major component in this fruit,” Epley says.

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