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You won’t find apple cider vinegar in the beauty aisle, but this health staple has plenty of uses for both skin and hair. Here are some of the 5 most common ways to use apple cider vinegar (ACV) in your beauty regimen.

Cleanse your scalp

ACV cleanses the pores and removes build-up from your scalp. It’s great to use as a regular, gentle treatment to give your hair a break from being weighed down by products. To use ACV as a cleanser, mix 1/4 cup of ACV with two cups of water. Massage it into your scalp and let it sit for five minutes before rinsing.

Use as a facial toner

Diluted apple cider vinegar makes for the perfect facial toner. As an astringent rich in alpha hydroxy acids, it minimizes pores and prevents acne breakouts. Mix the vinegar with water in an equal ratio, and use the solution after cleansing your face.

Condition your hair

It’s unusual that one ingredient can both cleanse and moisturize, but ACV actually does both. It closes hair cuticles, restores your hair’s natural pH level and softens hair. Some hair types can even skip regular conditioner after doing an apple cider vinegar rinse. The vinegar also reduces frizz and defines your hair. For best results, boil a cup of water with 2-4 tablespoons of vinegar to make a rinse.

Alleviate dandruff

Chronic dandruff is both uncomfortable and embarrassing. Apple cider vinegar is a natural alternative to harsh shampoos. In addition to cleansing some of the build-up from your hair, it prevents future outbreaks by acting as an anti-fungal agent. Even better, it doesn’t strip the hair the way that regular shampoo does, so you can safely use it a few times per week. Make sure to leave it on your scalp for several minutes to see effects.

Whiten your teeth and nails

Teeth stains are caused by coffee, tea, and wine, while nails often become yellow because of exposure to the sun or excessive nail polish use. Apple cider vinegar can remedy both of these issues due to its high acid content. It’s also antibacterial.

To whiten your teeth gradually, use a mixture of one part ACV with three parts water. To whiten your nails, soak them for a half-hour in a solution of 1/2 cup ACV with 1/2 cup water.

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Building Fitness into Your Busy Life

Those leftover pregnancy pounds and weak muscles are discouraging to any mom, even if it has been years since you had your last kid. You know that you should exercise, but there doesn’t seem to be an effective way to fit it in. There’s no secret formula to being physically fit, but if you try some practical advice you can discover what works for you.

Make a Commitment

You’re not going to get any more motivated by trying to do a couple of aimless workouts and then feeling guilty when you can’t keep up the routine. Do yourself a favor and make a clear commitment with goals and a plan before you start a fitness regimen.

Set Realistic Goals

In order to change your lifestyle, you’ll need goals that are motivating but realistic. Don’t shoot to lose twenty pounds in the next month. Your goals don’t even need to be related to your weight or pant size. A different approach is committing to frequency. If you commit to twenty minutes of exercise four days a week after doing none, your physique will change in the way you want it to. If you find end goals inspiring, sign up for a fun event like a 5k run.

Include Your Kids

Not only will you be creating a healthier lifestyle for you, but you will be teaching your kids the value of fitness. It will also be more fun. Your activities can change depending on the age of your kids. Go for power walks with the stroller, take family bike rides, walk the dog together, play catch or tag at the park, participate with a yoga video together, or run laps around the field while your child is at soccer practice.

Short Sessions

Ideally you might want an hour-long work out, but sometimes it’s just not feasible. If you can get your heart rate up for ten minutes at a time, you will effectively burn some calories and build some strength. Fitting three ten-minute sessions or two fifteen-minutes sessions into a day is a lot more realistic for some people than one thirty-minute session.

Mix It Up

While you should build fitness into your daily routine, you will almost certainly get bored and lose motivation if you are always doing the same workouts. Always be looking for something new. Try indoor and outdoor sessions, resistance training, cardio, relaxation exercises, and workouts of varying intensity. This will keep you excited about you routine and help you work out your whole body.

Include Your Friends

You probably don’t get enough time to socialize anyway, so consider the benefits of having workout buddies. You will have more fun and will be more motivated when working out with your friends. It’s also a great way to make new friends. Join a fitness class or a club, or plan to run a charity race together. Working out is also a great way to spend time with your significant other.

Reward Yourself

You deserve a reward when you meet your goals. Being more fit is a reward in itself, but don’t feel bad about treating yourself to a shopping trip or a new outfit. Congratulate yourself, you’ve worked hard!

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