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At-home hair coloring saves money and increases in popularity as products continually improve. In order to obtain the best results, whether you’ve been doing this for a while or are new to coloring, you should know these five important at-home hair color tips.

Know What You’re Getting

Going darker than your natural color is always easier and fairly straightforward. If you want to lighten your hair, enlist professional help, unless you’re only lifting hair a maximum of three shades. Keep in mind that going red equals lightening your hair, unless your hair is naturally blonde and lighter than the shade of red you have in mind. You should also consult a professional when you already have colored your hair and want to change the shade.

You will not get the exact color that’s pictured on a box, unless you start with a blank slate. This means the result on the box only applies when you add the product to hair that has been stripped of its natural color (pre-lightened). To find the approximate shade the dye will give you, consult the chart that’s usually listed on the side or back of the box. This will also tell you if the product will work with the natural color of your hair.

Perform the Allergy Test

Many people fail to perform the allergy test because they’ve colored their hair for years. However, even if you’ve been using the same product for a long time, you have to test for allergies every time you use it because adverse reactions can develop at any time. To test for sensitivities, apply a small amount of the product on a patch of skin and wait at least 24 hours.

Perform a Strand Test

To avoid disappointment, color a small piece of hair that’s not visible beforehand. You can do this at the same time as the allergy test. However, don’t leave hair color on for longer than 40 minutes because it loses its effectiveness after this time frame.

Don’t Apply Hair Color to Freshly Washed Hair

You should wait at least 24 hours after shampooing before applying hair color. While you might think that clean hair would easily absorb color, the opposite is true. Hair color will hold better on unwashed hair. However, the main reason for not washing it right before coloring is that you’re more likely to cause irritation because your scalp will lack the protective natural oils. This especially applies to products that bleach hair.

Protect Your Skin and Clothing

Protection is key when working with hair dye. Use gloves during the coloring process, and apply petroleum jelly to the skin around the hairline before coloring to avoid staining. Wearing old clothes or a smock is always a good idea as well.

When asking around, you’re likely to get contradicting advice such as that it’s OK to forego the allergy and strand test when you’re used to a product. However, spending the time to do things right will give you peace of mind and help avoid potential disaster.

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  • Cheer Up KitCheer Up Kit
    by Dee Dee Know somebody who is feeling a little …



Make Your Own Olive Oil (continued)

Original post from the OHH blog (see it here).

…continued from part 1.

Down the shoot went the olives. The mash immediately begins to smell like olive oil. (But it doesn’t look like it at all!) This step takes no time at all, and before you know it, 1/3 of the bucket becomes about a 1/2 gallon of mash.

The next step was a complete surprise to me. I don’t know the exact term for it but it seems you have to reverse emulsion (?) by stirring the mash for at least a half hour to 45 minutes. Afterwards, you’ll see pools of oil along the sides which means it’s ready for pressing. Don’t skip this step… the press won’t work otherwise.

Wrap up the mash and top it with the block of wood and get ‘er under the press. (see update below)

The hubby cut a hole in the side of the bin to let the oil drain out. It just drops into a jar below. The liquid is a mixture of oil, water and bits of pulp. It is not the most pleasant sight. After several trial runs (and a few blow outs as mentioned above) we decided that small batches like this one is the only way to go. And PRESS VERY SLOWLY. Give the bag a nice tight squeeze to start, then wait a minute or two in between pumps. The entire bucket took the two of us (being the novices that we are) around four hours to press. The hubby’s wheels are already turning on how to speed things up.

What you end up with is a liquid that will quickly separate; leaving the oil on top! We let it sit for another hour to make sure it separated completely.

I used a turkey baster to drain off the oil and get it ready to be filtered. The consensus from other homesteaders on the web says to use coffee filters, but we don’t have any right now. So I filtered it through a thick fold of cheesecloth… twice. That was about another 1/2 hour all together. Maybe.

Oh baby! Is this a proud moment or what? One bucket gave us just over two (16 oz) bottles*** of oil. Hey, that’s what I just bought at the grocery store! So let’s break it down and see if it will be worth it after time:

  1. Set up cost to make olive oil at home – Just under $540.00.
  2. Continued cost after set up – Minimal. Maybe enough to replace the cheesecloth from time to time.
  3. The time it takes to make 32 oz – 10 hours with setup, up to 7 hours without.

As stated above, the price for olive oil at the grocery store is anywhere between $8.00-14.00 (plus gas to get there and the added temptation to buy more stuff). We figure it’ll pay for itself after doing it 50 times (using averages). And then it’s savings time! Is the time it takes to make homemade olive oil worth it? Yeah, you know it is. We gave up the better part of the weekend which doesn’t phase us homesteaders one bit. Not to mention the process is healthier and cleaner. Here’s why:

  1. It’s organic.
  2. Because it is made with very ripe olives, is less filtered and is pressed less than commercial oil, it has a distinct “buttery” flavor. Commercial oil is overly processed so it ends up clear (mostly necessary for a longer shelf life). Olive oil connoisseurs from around the world would agree that unfiltered and less processed oil just tastes better. (see this article – Cloudy Olive Oil)
  3. Commercial processing sometimes can’t remove every foreign object like twigs and leaves that make it through. Ew. (What else could be in there?)

*Tip: Green olives will make a slightly more bitter oil. Dark purple or black olives will go rancid faster. For the best results, pick them at their peak somewhere in between.

**Info: We plan to try another method using dehydrated olives and a little expeller I found online. Should be interesting!

***Info: These bottles cost $3.00 each at World Market. I probably should have used a mason jar… I know, I know.

Update: A wonderful and experienced olive oil maker gave us the most brilliant tip – stack thin layers of mash instead of adding it all to one bag. DUH!!! The hubby and I just about flipped out at this, are scrambling to try it out, and will post updated pics asap. Thanks a bunch to all the awesome bloggers and fellow homesteaders for your lovely emails! You make our world go round!

Update: Another fab and equally experienced olive oil maker (who is now making a gallon of oil a week) emailed us these mind-blowing tips – Mix (called malaxation) for longer periods of time on very slow speeds; Press when it’s warmer… if pressing outside, do it during the warmest part of the day; Pay attention to the olive types because different olives yield different amounts of oil. Great tips, thanks a billion!


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