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Your hair is one of the first things anyone notices about you, but if it’s in poor condition, it’s extremely difficult to style it successfully to achieve the look you want. Many products are available which claim to give your hair’s condition a healthy boost, but even if these are actually effective, they’re usually expensive and prevention is always better. Here are six totally natural ways to keep your hair looking healthy, undamaged, and full of shine and body.

Avoid Heat

It might be tempting to straighten your hair for a more stylish look, but excessive heat damages hair and makes it brittle. If possible, avoid using a hair dryer by allowing extra time when getting ready so your hair dries naturally. However, if you must use a dryer, use the low-heat setting for the lowest risk of damage.

Wash in Warm Water

Hot showers may feel great on your body, but keep the hot water away from your hair. Washing and conditioning your hair should be done in cold to lukewarm water to prevent unwanted damage to the ends, and also to avoid washing out your hair’s essential, shine-giving oils.

Don’t Comb Wet Hair

If you’re in a rush, you may be tempted to comb or brush your hair while it’s still wet, but this is best avoided. Hair is more brittle and prone to damage when it’s wet, so hold off on styling for a while until it’s had the chance to dry a little.

Vitamins

Vitamins are essential for your hair to grow and stay healthy, and one of the most important varieties is vitamin A. Green, leafy vegetables are an excellent source of this vital nutrient, along with carrots, dairy products, and dark meats. If your diet is lacking in these foods, taking a multivitamin or a supplement designed specifically for hair growth is better than nothing, but paying attention to healthy eating should always be the first choice.

Stay Away from Chemicals

Avoid the temptation to dye or bleach your hair. The chemicals needed to do this are harsh and damaging, and frequent use can even cause long-term or irreversible harm to your follicles and scalp. If you do use chemical treatments, always opt for mild shampoos and conditioners afterward, or ones specifically designed for color-treated hair.

Regular Deep Condition

Lastly, a regular deep conditioning will keep your hair looking and feeling great whatever the ravages of your daily life. There’s no need to use expensive products for this – any mild oil such as castor, coconut, olive, or even baby oil will be perfect. Simply warm it a little then massage it into your hair roots and scalp. Leave for half an hour, then wash gently using warm water to give shine, elasticity, and super-soft locks.

Your hair is an important beauty asset, but it’s very sensitive to rough treatment. Taking care of your hair naturally will keep it in the best possible condition, removing the need for expensive treatments to restore shine and body, and making it easy to style into the look you want.

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7 Ways to Recycle and Save Money in Your Garden

by Gail Kavanagh

For the gardener, recycling is nothing new. Composting is one of the most ancient methods of recycling in the garden, saving vegetable peelings to create improved soil. But the modern gardener in the disposable age has even more sources for useful recycling.

1: Solid Packaging.

Solid polystyrene foam is an excellent material for recycling in the garden. It comes in many guises, as packing for new furniture and appliances, and boxes for freighting fruit and vegetables. Polystyrene packing with shallow depressions moulded to go around appliances can be used for raising seeds, no matter what their shape. Drill holes, or poke a warm knitting needle through the bottom of the packing shape to create drainage, and fill with soil. You can set these trays on shelves in your greenhouse.

The boxes used to take fruit and vegetables to market are even more useful, especially if you don’t have much space for gardening, or you live in a rented property when you can’t disturb the lawn to plant vegetables. Poke drainage holes in the bottom of the boxes with a screwdriver and fill them with soil to make a garden you can take with you when you move.

You can grow most vegetables quite successfully in these boxes, and they make excellent kitchen gardens for herbs. You can put your herbs close to the kitchen or on the patio for easy access. Polystyrene boxes are also excellent on balconies and in courtyards, meaning you can have fresh vegetables no matter where you live.

2: Broken crockery

If you break plates and mugs, don’t waste this invaluable resource. Put the shards in the bottom of your pots and boxes before you add the soil, and they will improve drainage. Save anything that gets broken, including flower pots, as these can be really effective drainage.

3: Plastic sheeting

If you don’t have a greenhouse, you can rig up a very simple but effective substitute using plastic sheeting. This can be old shower curtains, or any other plastic sheets that would otherwise be discarded. Cover a simple framework, such as an indoor clothes dryer frame, with the sheeting and set your seedlings inside. Alternatively you can use bamboo poles to rig up a plastic tent over your seed boxes.

4: Non-recyclable plastic bottles

The plastics industry may not be able to use them, but the gardener sure can. To force seeds or protect them from frost, just cut the bottles in half, and set the lower half over seedlings you want to protect. You can pierce holes in the bottom half with a heated nail for drainage and fill with soil to start your seeds, setting another bottom half over the top to create a mini greenhouse. The top halves of the bottles make good funnels so don’t throw them away.

5: Newspaper and junk mail

Mulching is another way you can recycle in your garden, by using sheets of newspaper and unwanted junk mail shredded and laid between your plants. Soak the paper with water to form a mulch that will discourage weeds and keep the moisture in the soil. Old cardboard boxes and packaging can also be recycled in this way.

6: Egg cartons

Used paper based egg boxes have so many uses in a garden, that they should never been thrown away until they can’t be used anymore – and even then they can be put in the compost or shredded for mulch. The egg ‘cups’ can be used for raising seeds in your plastic sheet greenhouse while waiting for the frosts to pass.. Just fill the egg shaped depressions with soil, plant two or three seeds in each one, and when your seedlings are ready, separate the egg cups with scissors and plant each one as it is..

7: Any old rubbish

When you are clearing up the clutter in the house, set aside anything that can be recycled in the garden – and that is almost anything. Items like rusted or worn pots and pans, old gumboots and colanders can be recycled as pots for plants. Make holes in the bottom if there aren’t any, line with sphagnum moss and fill with good quality potting soil. Colanders can be used as hanging baskets if you fix chains to the edge. Turn scraps of fabric into garden kneelers to get up close and personal with the weeds in comfort. Turn scraps and odds and ends into garden art with solder and strong glue. Look at everything with a new eye – a large iron wok can become a fire pit, crates can be covered in cushions for seating and discarded tables and chairs can be painted white and find a new home under a shady tree.

Gardeners recycle their seeds every year, so it is second nature to find new uses for old stuff. Before you throw it out, check it out for recycling in your garden.


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