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Healthy, long hair is beautiful to look at and touch but caring for it can be a challenge. Long hair is prone towards split ends and breakage, especially if you color, perm, or straighten it. If you don’t care for it properly, you can end up with hair that’s frazzled and damaged beyond repair. Don’t let that happen to your hair. Here are some simple tips you can use to keep your long hair soft and healthy.

Treat Long Hair Kindly

It takes years to grow long hair. Of course, you already knew that! Don’t destroy years of growth by pulling your hair back tightly with a rubber band. The traction will lead to breakage and damage. Instead, pull your hair back with a coated band made specially designed for hair. You can find them at most drugstores in the hair care section.

Be gentle when combing or brushing. Never use a brush on wet hair. Keep a wide-toothed comb on hand to gently comb wet hair in small sections – starting from the ends and working up. Don’t brush your hair unless it’s completely dry. Use a natural bristle brush to reduce the risk of damage.

To Have Long, Healthy Hair, Here’s What to Avoid

The two biggest enemies of long, beautiful hair are heat and chemical treatments. It’s tempting to use a blow dryer to dry your hair fast, especially when you’re in a rush, but it’s healthier to let it dry naturally. An alternative is to let it dry naturally until it’s seventy percent dry and then finish it off with the blow dryer.

Use a heat activated condition to protect your hair when drying it and keep the hair dryer as far from your hair as possible. Keep the dryer moving so it doesn’t stay in one place too long. Stay away from curling iron, flat irons, hot rollers, and crimpers.

Thinking about perming or straightening your long hair? Don’t. Perms are usually too damaging. Hair coloring can also be damaging — especially if you lighten your hair too many shades. Never use bleach on long hair and let a professional do a coloring job — preferably with a low peroxide formulation or henna.

How to Care for Long Hair: Other Tips

Don’t shampoo too often and always use a conditioner — at least on the ends. Do a hot oil or deep conditioning treatment every two weeks, religiously. Conditioners don’t repair damage but they do help moisten and protect the hair shaft.

Trim your hair at least every two months. Many people neglect this step because they don’t want to lose the length. Don’t be shortsighted. Not doing regular trims will lead to split ends which can’t be repaired. Find a hairdresser who understands that a half-an-inch means just that and no more.

Caring for Long Hair: The Bottom Line?

Treat long hair with a little T.L.C. and enjoy the many benefits of having long, healthy hair that turns heads and raises eyebrows.

References:

LaFlash, Teri. 2010. Curly Like Me: How to Grow Your Hair Healthy, Long, and Strong.

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Preserving: Herbs in Oil

I’ve already discussed the main ways that you all can keep your harvest fresh for months to come but another product of your farm that I haven’t talked about is your herbs. I don’t give them much thought considering most of them grow so fast, but I still think that a proper preservation method should be available to everyone.

Even though it would be magical if you could simply store every kind of herb that comes your way, it’s not really possible. Even if you could do it, it’s impossible to retain the flavor and taste of soft herbs, such as mint and basil, if they’re frozen because they taste best when added fresh. Luckily, you can preserve most hard herbs by freezing them in oil.

If you’re wondering why you can’t just freeze the herbs as they are, it’s due to the burn and loss of flavor that it can cause. Plus, herbs are most commonly used in dishes like soups, roasts, and stews during the winter months, when you can’t really grow them in your garden.

With these dishes, you always need some oil to begin with, so having herb-infused oil to cook vegetables and meat lets the flavor fuse into every ingredient that you use. Now, here’s how you can freeze herbs such as oregano, sage, rosemary, and thyme, in oil.

You’ll need to start by using the freshest herbs available so make sure to use ones that are freshly-picked from your garden. Clean the herbs thoroughly to remove any dirt and then place them on a towel so they dry indoors. Take the herbs and chop them finely if you prefer to. This can help the flavor fuse with the oil better but not to such a great extent. So if you prefer, you can freeze them in leaves with a bit of stem. Or, you can freeze a mix of whole and chopped herbs.

Take an ice cube tray and make sure that it comes with a cover so that it keeps the smell from affecting other items in your freezer. Place herbs in each division and fill them to about two-thirds of the height. Pour oil of your choice, such as olive oil, the extra virgin kind, or neutral canola oil. If you don’t have oil at hand or plan on cooking other kinds of dishes that don’t make use of oil, you can melt unsalted butter and pour it over the herbs. If you don’t have a cover for the frozen herbs, you can cover it with a layer of cling wrap and place the tray in the freezer for the night.

The next day, remove your cubes of oil and herbs and place them in plastic bags. Remember to label what herbs and oil were used on each Ziploc bag, and don’t store them all together to prevent smells and tastes from mixing. This is how you can preserve your hard herbs over the winter. Simply remove as many cubes as needed, and add them to your pan for an instant burst of flavor to your meal. You’re welcome. Happy Farming!


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