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Are you tired of chemically scented cosmetics full of unpronounceable chemicals? Are you worried about what these things may do to your skin? You’re not the only one: more and more people are turning away from commercial products to the healthy, inexpensive alternatives in their own backyards, refrigerators, or supermarkets.

There are many simple ways you can use everyday household materials to supplement your beauty routine. You’ll avoid dangerous chemicals, get a healthy, natural glow, and save a ton of money, all in one go. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Simple, Healthy Beauty Aids

1. Beauty aids for acne

Do you suffer from acne? If so, you know how frustrating it can be. Acne isn’t just unsightly; it can actually cause physical pain. Fortunately, there are some very simple solutions you probably have kicking around the house right now.

-Egg yolk: Blend an egg yolk and smear it onto your face for a surprisingly effective mask. Yes, it feels disgusting, but it really works. Save the leftover yolk so you can repeat this process before bed several nights in a row. When you’ve left it on for about five minutes, wash with soap and water as you normally would.

-Tea tree oil: You can buy tea tree oil at almost any supermarket or pharmacy. A few dabs of this antibacterial oil will make acne shrivel in its tracks. Don’t be scared of the word ‘oil’: this is a totally different type of oil than the kind causing acne in the first place.

-Aloe vera: The best way to get aloe is to have an aloe plant. There’s something satisfying in squeezing the tip off the vine and applying homegrown aloe. Failing that, you can purchase it at most pharmacies. Simply apply it topically. Like tea tree oil, it will fight acne causing bacteria.

2. Beauty aids for your hair

Want beautiful, shiny hair? Of course you do. And here are some simple ways to get it!

-Baking soda: Many people replace their shampoo with a solution of baking soda and water. Although it sounds strange, it’s a very effective alternative to chemical shampoos.

-Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar does a wonderful job of conditioning, detangling, and moisturizing hair. You can use it as an alternative to your regular conditioner or as a leave in spray. Don’t worry – the smell fades as it dries.

-Olive oil: Remember hot oil treatments? They used to be all the rage for your hair – and they can be again, except much cheaper. Pour a small amount (about two tablespoons for medium length hair) of olive oil into a glass and place the glass in a bowl of hot water until the oil reaches a warm (not hot!) temperature. Smooth it through your hair, leave two minutes, and shampoo as usual.

3. Beauty aids for your skin

It’s not just those who suffer from acne who need natural beauty solutions. Whether your skin is dry, oily, or just in need of a pick-me-up, these solutions will work wonders.

-Sugar: Make a homemade sugar scrub from 50% white sugar and 50% natural oil (almond, olive, etc.). You can also add any other ingredients that will dissolve in the mix, such as vitamins, essential oils, or moisturizing creams. Don’t overdo it, though: you want to have a grainy texture. Rub the scrub into your skin to exfoliate gently.

-Olive oil: If you have dry skin, forget the expensive lotions – use a small amount of extra virgin olive oil instead. It might feel strange to rub cooking oil into your body, but actually, people have been using olive oil for this purpose since long before someone invented chemical-laced lotion and cream.

-Oatmeal: Oatmeal is naturally rich in many of the nutrients your skin needs. To make a gross looking but very effective mask, mix equal parts oatmeal and plain yogurt. You can also heat up some honey and stir it in. Spread it over your face and leave it for 5-10 minutes. You may want to keep some aside for a snack, too…

As you can see, there are plenty of beauty aids hiding in your kitchen, your backyard, and your supermarket. Forget overpriced beauty aids containing dangerous chemicals – you can take care of yourself naturally and easily for a fraction of the price!

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Planning Out Crop Rotation for Your Vegetable Garden

If you’re fairly new to farming and have just started planting vegetables in your backyard, it’s safe to say that you haven’t thought about crop rotation yet. So for those of you who don’t know, crop rotation is the practice of growing a different series of crops in the same soil over a period of time. This is so that the soil you prep in an area isn’t exhausted of just one type of nutrients. Not only are nutrients not sucked out of your soil, but pests won’t be able to settle when you’re moving your crops around.

A full crop rotation cycle is completed over four years since the types that need to be rotated are usually annuals and can be divided into four categories; legumes (edamame, beans, peas), roots (beets, garlic, radishes), fruit (cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers) and leafy varieties (lettuce, herbs, cabbage). To make things easier, try dividing your garden area into four parts where you plant the varieties mentioned above.

Let’s go over how crops are supposed to be rotated by using the example of a single part of your garden. Let’s say that you’ve planted a fruit-bearing crop in your first bed that takes up a lot of nutrients, so after the first year of growing tomatoes or squashes, you’ll have to replace them with legumes. They use the remaining nutrients while adding nitrogen back to the soil, an important mineral that can help you grow leafy vegetables that have to be planted in the third year.

In the third year of your crop rotation cycle, you can plant spinach, lettuce or herbs. Then, in year four, you can plant root vegetables like carrots or radishes in the same bed. Now follow this chain; fruits, then legumes, then leafy vegetables, and then, roots. Now let’s go over how you’ll work in each bed.

1st Bed

This is where you previously grew roots and it’s depleted of nutrients and needs to be replenished. Hence, you’ll grow ‘fruit’ types that feed on many nutrients. During fall, start adding a good amount of organic matter such as compost to your soil. Come spring, your soil will be nourished to plant your crops. After you’ve harvested, you can plant some of the legume variety.

2nd Bed

This is where you’ll start by growing legumes and it’s not necessary that you prep the soil or were previously growing ‘fruit’ types of crops. However, they could do with some mulch because they grow pretty tall and thin.

3rd Bed

Preferably, you can start growing your leafy vegetables wherever you were previously growing legumes but if not, simply add some nitrogen-fixing matter like manure. You can add compost to this soil during the spring before planting your crop. Later on, you can add some mulch to keep the plants protected throughout autumn.

4th Bed

You’ll be growing roots here in the first year and these don’t need much prepping at all. During the winter, use some green manure for the soil so that it’s filled with nutrients for the upcoming ‘fruit’ types.

Follow these simple steps so you can get a fantastic yield that makes you proud each time. Happy farming!


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