By Dan Ketchum

Carrots have a bevy of benefits to offer your skin and hair; applied topically, antioxidants may help protect you from age-accelerating sun damage while vitamins A, C and E encourage the growth of skin cells. Before you can include this wonder veggie in your homemade dry-skin treatment or leave-in conditioner, you'll have to capture its essence in the form of an oil, which takes just a bit of slicing, drying and storing.

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By itself, carrot oil serves as a weekly leave-in conditioner for dry, damaged hair.

Step 1

Fill a large pot with clean water and bring it a gentle boil. Boil a tinted glass jar and its lid for about five minutes to disinfect the container, then allow it to cool and air-dry completely.

Step 2

Run your carrots under warm water and scrub them thoroughly with a produce brush for about a minute. Stick with organic carrots if possible to avoid chemicals in your DIY cosmetics.

Step 3

Slice the carrots into very thin strips by carefully running a vegetable peeler vertically down the length of each veggie. Slice about one cup's worth of carrots, then plunge the slices into ice-cold water.

Step 4

Remove the slices from the ice water and spread them out over clean paper towels. Use a hair dryer to blow-dry the carrots or place them near a sunny window to air-dry until they are completely free of excess moisture. In either case, you'll have to flip the slices as needed -- typically about halfway through the drying process -- to dry them thoroughly.

Step 5

Place the carrot slices in your disinfected jar and cover them with a natural fruit- or vegetable-derived oil of your choice. Coconut, rosehip, safflower, almond or sunflower oil all do the trick here, for example. Seal the jar tightly and place it in a shaded, cool area free from direct sunlight or constant temperature changes -- a dark, temperate cupboard does the trick.

Step 6

Allow the jar to rest for about two to three weeks, gently shaking its contents daily. After a few weeks, open the jar and cover it with a coffee filter. Strain the carrot oil through the filter into another disinfected tinted glass jar -- it's now ready to add to your favorite homemade face mask, lotion or hair treatment.