7 Simple Ways to Spring Clean Your Home Faster

Looking for ways to spring clean your home in no time? Good. I’ve got some tried and tested ways that I’m going to share with you. Spring cleaning is one of my favorite things about the spring season, but unfortunately, I can’t enjoy it to the fullest since my schedule is always overloaded. So I’ve found a few ways to spring clean my home fast that are also great for those who don’t like cleaning.

1. Clean mini blinds
Yes, I want to start with the worst part about spring cleaning. I’m sure many of you would agree that cleaning mini blinds is a great pain. However, I’ve learned a small tip that makes it really easier. Just take your mini blinds down and wash them in the bath. They’ll be cleaner in no time!

2. Wash your walls
If you used to wash your walls by hand, this spring try washing them with a mop instead. This will save you a lot of time, I promise! Now that I know this little trick, washing my walls isn’t a big problem anymore. Give it a try and you will never think of washing the walls as a great pain.

3. Clean your oven
I don’t understand those people who clean their oven by hand when they have a self-cleaning one. A self-cleaning oven works amazingly and is so easy to operate. If you have a self-cleaning oven, just turn it on and it will do its thing. While it’s cleaning, the oven gets extremely hot and there can be a terrible smell, but you can go outdoors to avoid the smell, or do another chore to complete your spring cleaning faster.

4. Give your carpets to the professionals
If you have carpets, I suggest you to hire them done. It’s better and easier. It’s also incredibly time-saving. The professional knows what they’re doing and they can be more experienced at stain removal than you are. If you can afford, give your carpets to the professionals.

5. Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner
Purchase a ceiling fan cleaner so that you don’t have to climb up and take it all apart. Indeed, there’s a great device that you can purchase that cleans the ceiling fan. It’s like a duster but created to fit over every blade. While you still should clean the globes, it helps save you immense amounts of time and headache.

6. Clean your curtains
If you have trouble cleaning your curtains, I recommend doing all of your curtains at once. Take the day, take your curtains down and wash them. After washing, hang your curtains back up. Don’t forget to check the instructions and learn how to properly launder them. Maybe your curtains are dry clean only ones. Follow the instructions on the label and you won’t have any problems.

7. Don’t do it alone
If you share a home or if you have a big family, don’t do your spring cleaning alone, it’s just too much for one person. Have everybody muck in and help and you’ll get it done quicker and you will even have time for a spring picnic or family BBQ.

Follow these tips and you will do your spring cleaning faster and easier. Which tricks do you use to do your spring cleaning quicker? Share them with me, please, I will certainly try them all!

9 Things You Should Practice Daily to Be More Beautiful

Appearance is one of those things that really matter to all women. We can spend hours trying different things that may help us look more beautiful and attractive. Nowadays some of beautifying practices are quite expensive and they are not available for everyone. However, there are lots of simple and affordable ways that we can use daily in order to have a fantastic look. But first of all, every woman should clearly realize what beauty is. Our inner world is the main thing that makes us beautiful. If you are a happy and peaceful person who lives in harmony with the environment, everybody will see those positive emotions and feelings on your face. You can spend huge sums of money on various cosmetics and other things, but if you are always sad and discontent you will never look beautiful. It is necessary to remember that your beauty and health come from inside. Though, your shiny hair, clear skin and your physical health are also very important. Try to add the following things to your daily routine and you will understand that being healthy and beautiful is very easy.

1. Eat Green Vegetables
We used to think that only vegetarians consume a big amount of green vegetables. I should say it’s a wrong opinion. Green foods are extremely beneficial to your health and you should definitely include them into your daily diet. By eating greens you will not only improve your health but you will contribute greatly to your beauty either. These foods are known to have numerous benefits that can change your life for better. For instance, they will cleanse your blood, digestive tract and even your skin. It has been proven that these veggies are helpful when it comes to such problems as stress and anxiety. Being rich in fiber, greens give you a nice opportunity to be full for a long time and forget about hunger. Another reason why you should eat green vegetables is a great number of chlorophylls that are efficient in cleansing your body, preventing acne and they may treat your muscles successfully. You can cook these foods in different ways. I usually like to make a huge salad with fish or an omelet with greens for breakfast. Some of my friends prefer various green smoothies made of kale or spinach. It’s also a splendid idea to have a whole grain sandwich with leafy greens.

2. Sleep More
It’s a well-known fact that our sleep influences both our physical and mental health. Plus, it is one of those factors that can alter the way we look; everything depends on how many hours we sleep during the night. The main rule you should stick to is to sleep as much as your body needs. Otherwise, you will be constantly tired and depressed, your skin will be subjected to different negative changes. Moreover, there is a big possibility you will suffer from overweight. If you don’t want to have dark circles around your eyes, you should sleep as minimum 7 hours per night. No matter how busy you are, try to go to bed earlier, let your mind and body rest. When you sleep, your skin cells are regenerated and as a result you get fresh and glowing skin.

3. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is another wonderful way to care for your face and body. It can be a perfect substitute of cosmetics like anti-aging cream, face cleanser and hair conditioner. This oil is full of minerals and vitamins that can help you to avoid dry skin, wrinkles, cellulite and eczema. Just make sure you apply this product on your skin regularly. In contrast to various creams, coconut oil is light and it is easily absorbed into your skin so that every cell of your body can receive enough nourishment. Perhaps you don’t know that everything we put on our skin can get into our blood within 20 minutes. That’s why you’d better not use chemicals to care for your skin. I recommend you to choose coconut oil as a natural alternative that will provide your skin with lauric acid and Vitamin E and help you to combat wrinkles, dry skin and bacteria.

4. Drink Rooibos Tea
This exotic tea is one of my favorite beverages that I drink regularly to improve the health of my skin. You may also add this red tea to your eating plan since it is packed with antioxidants and it doesn’t have caffeine like other kinds of tea do. Taking into consideration all the positive qualities of this yummy drink, I should mention that rooibos tea is an effective remedy for dry skin, inflammations, red skin, blemishes and other skin defects. Today this tea is available at most supermarkets. Don’t miss your chance to regale yourself with this exquisite and tasty beverage.

5. Exercise Regularly
Doing physical exercises is an excellent way to keep fit and have a good mood. Nothing can make you more beautiful than your toned body and a bright smile on your face. You don’t need to tire yourself in the gym every day, some simple exercises will be enough to get rid of depression, burn calories and stabilize your heart rate. Make it a rule to move daily and you won’t have any problems with your blood flow. Consequently, you’ll have a nice blush on your cheeks and your face will look fresh and much younger. It is advisable to exercise no less than 30 minutes daily. There is no need to get upset if you lack time to do sports. All of us have an amazing opportunity to move at home while doing chores or playing with our children outside. In addition, regular physical activity can guarantee you a good and healthy sleep that also plays a crucial part in your beauty.

6. Eat Vitamins
Once you have decided to keep to a balanced and healthy diet, you should do your best to consume a large quantity of vitamins every day. That is the key to your fantastic appearance. Keep in mind that natural foods like raspberries, blueberries, sweet potatoes, yellow, red and green veggies are an enormous source of vitamins and minerals that your body can get through your meals. Dozens of recipes can be used to create delicious and wholesome dishes from these ingredients. Such healthy choice has numerous advantages including clear skin, a good physical shape and positive emotions.

7. Eat Omegas
Another group of nutrients that have a great impact on your beauty are omega 3 fats that can fight wrinkles, inflammation and acne successfully. Thus, it is reasonable for you to add foods rich in omega 3 fats to your eating plan and as a bonus you will have an attractive and slim body. You can get these useful fats when eating salmon, halibut, trout, flax, walnuts, acai berries and other foods.

8. Gratitude
Without a doubt our life is very busy and we always have to cope with different problems. Despite this fact we shouldn’t forget to be grateful for everything we’ve got. Maybe you don’t even realize, but you enjoy lots of blessings that make you a happy person. Stop for a moment and think about all your achievements, I’m convinced you have so many reasons to be proud of yourself and to be happy. If you are satisfied with your life, you will be the most beautiful woman in this world. So, it is really important to be thankful for the smallest things that make your life pleasant and comfortable. When you’re grateful, you learn to appreciate those things that are the most significant for you and you understand the greatest values of your life. When you are grateful for your success, you’ll have a charming smile and everybody will notice that.

9. Don’t Wash Your Hair Every Day
Hair is the biggest treasure for every girl. We spare no efforts to make it perfect. Very often we don’t know how to care for our hair properly and because of this we can’t reach the desirable effect. For example, most women tend to wash their hair daily in order to keep it clean and shiny, but they don’t even guess that by doing this they only harm their hair. If you want to have a beautiful and healthy hair, you should wash it every other day and use a conditioner that suits your hair type. Women who have dry hair are recommended to buy moisturizing shampoo. Those who worry about dandruff should look for a shampoo that can cleanse the scalp without drying it. By washing your hair every other day you’ll protect it from damages and it will grow faster.

We shouldn’t take our beauty for granted. This is a special gift that was given to us by nature and we must constantly refresh it and care for it. Being beautiful is not as difficult as it can seem to you. I hope that all these things will help you to be a pretty and happy woman. Which of them would you like to include into your daily routine? Can you give any other tips on how to improve our beauty?

10 Great Beauty Habits to Try

We all want to look our best every day, but sometimes we take on bad habits that keep us from it. We know we should avoid smoking, staying in the sun too long, and eating junk food, but that isn’t enough. Here are 10 great beauty habits you should work into your daily life.

1. Keep Makeup Light
Unless you’re going to the Academy Awards, there’s no reason to cake on the makeup, especially during the day. Not only does heavy makeup look unnatural, it’s bad for your skin. If you’re constantly clogging your pores with thick foundation and concealer, your skin will look tired and greasy. Clogged pores look dull and cause breakouts. Putting too much eye makeup on can cause wrinkles because you’re constantly pulling on the delicate skin around your eyes. Reduce the amount of makeup you apply every day, and consider taking 1 or 2 days off from makeup each week to give your skin a break.

2. Pat On Concealer
Concealer is heavy makeup that won’t look right if too much is smeared on. Pat it lightly into your skin, and always use your pinky finger when applying concealer around your eyes. This way you will get maximum coverage with the least amount of product.

3. Never Overdo Lips and Eyes at the Same Time
Sometimes you might want to make a statement. A smokey eye or new bright eye shadow colors can look great if it’s done right. Bright red lipstick or bright pink color can be equally attractive, but if you do both at the same time, your entire look will be off balance. Stick with one or the other.

4. Clarify Hair Once and a While
You could be having a week full of great hair days only to end with a day of limp, scraggly hair. The perfect shampoo and conditioner just don’t seem to work anymore. Clarifying your hair once and a while with a difference clarifying shampoo might be exactly what you need. Hair products have built up on your hair weighing it down. However, don’t use a clarifying shampoo more than twice a month because it can strip your hair of its natural oils.

5. Switch Products Every so Often
Sometimes you don’t need to clarify your hair. Switching hair products give a similar result without the drying effects. Have 2 or three different shampoos and conditioners on hand to keep your hair looking fresh. Do the same with other products such as skin care products or makeup. Sometimes your body just needs a change to start looking its best again.

6. Wash Off all Makeup Every Night
At night after a long day, it can be tempting to just fall asleep without washing the layer of makeup on your face. Don’t do this. Leaving the makeup on will not only stain your pillow case, it will suffocate your skin as well. It could cause acne and other inflammation. Clean your face every night with a good makeup remover or wash your face with a cleansing oil. Makeup removing clothes also work well and are easy to use.

7. Test Out Makeup Before Buying
If you buy a makeup product that doesn’t work for you, it would be wasteful to throw it out or stick it in the back of your drawer and never use it. Even if you decide to wear it anyway, you won’t look as great as you could. Whenever possible, test out makeup at the store before you buy it. If you can’t test it in the store, find a friend, maybe the one who recommended it to you, who already has the makeup and try it out. Test out foundation and concealer on the back of your hand. You can see how it matches your skin and test coverage and durability.

8. Wear Sunscreen
Age spots can be covered up with makeup, but wrinkles are hard to mask. Both signs of visible aging can be prevented or at least postponed by wearing sunscreen. If you don’t like wearing sunscreen, look for makeup with sunscreen in it or always wear a large brimmed hat when you go outdoors. Sunglasses are also important to protect your eyes from UV rays.

9. Use Scrubs and Clay Masks
Dull skin is most often caused by dirt and dead skin cells sitting on top of your skin. Use a scrub at least twice a month to gently scrub off the gunk that a regular cleaner can’t clear off. Use a clay mask once or twice a month to shrink your pores and draw out toxins. Bentonite clay is great for facial masks.

10. Follow a Healthy Diet
The most important beauty habit you can develop to keep your hair, skin, nails, and face looking their best is to follow a healthy diet. Drink 64 ounces of water a day, get plenty of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and proteins, and keep the junk out of your diet whenever possible. A healthy diet starts from the inside.

Instead of focusing on your bad habits, develop new, healthy habits. Looking beautiful everyday takes work, but it can be achieved with great results without taking on much more work.

10 Beauty Tips for Using Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar may seem like a humble salad dressing to most people, but it is actually a powerful beauty tonic that has an endless amount of uses. Raw, unfiltered vinegar is packed with healthy enzymes and is a natural antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial. It also removes dirt and product build-up from the skin without leaving it dry or irritated. The following ten tips are clever ways to use apple cider vinegar in your everyday beauty routine.

1. Hair Rinse
Shampoo and styling products can build-up in your hair over time making it seem dull and lifeless. The acid in apple cider vinegar cuts straight through this build up and gives your hair a glossy shine. After shampooing, mix one tablespoon of vinegar in one cup of warm water, and pour over your hair. Leave for two minutes before rinsing as normal.

2. Skin Toner
Vinegar is a natural astringent that tightens the pores whilst removing any leftover dirt and grime from the skin. After cleansing your face, apply apple cider vinegar to a clean piece of cotton and wipe across your T-zone. You will be able to see any leftover makeup or dirt on the cotton afterwards. If you are worried about an unpleasant aroma, vinegar does not leave any smell behind once it has dried, so you will not be able to detect it after a few minutes.

3. Deodorant
If you have decided to give up the toxic, lead-containing deodorants, then apple cider vinegar is a safe and easy way to stay fresh in summer. After a bath or shower, simply apply a splash of apple cider vinegar to your underarms. The vinegar’s natural antibacterial properties will kill the bacteria that causes body odour.

4 Mouth Wash
Mix a teaspoon of vinegar with half a cup of water, and use as a mouthwash. Bad breath and gum disease are linked to bacteria that thrive on the tongue and in-between your teeth. Simply brushing your teeth is not enough to reach every nook and cranny within your mouth, so swishing vinegar and water around your mouth for at least three minutes will help to promote better dental health.

5. Face Mask
Make a skin-softening face mask using just a few simple ingredients. Mix a paste of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% betonite clay for an inexpensive yet effective beauty treatment. You can also add a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree oil, eucalyptus or lavender to brighten your complexion. Smooth the mask over your face, and then sit back and relax for 15 minutes.

6. Foot Soak
For a soothing foot soak that will banish odour and promote soft skin, pour a cup of apple cider vinegar into a foot spa or large bowl of warm water. Leave your feet to soak for at least 15 minutes to reduce tiredness and swelling. The vinegar will penetrate the skin and make it easier to remove dry, calloused skin using a pumice stone.

7. Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins can affect everyone regardless of age or lifestyle. As well as being unsightly, they can cause pain and discomfort to those who spend a lot of time on their feet. Soak a piece of cotton in vinegar, and then apply it directly to the problem area before bed. Alternatively, you could add a few tablespoons of vinegar to your regular body lotion, and apply liberally after a bath or shower. But don’t forget to consult your doctor first.

8. Skin-Softening Bath Soak
Add a cupful of apple cider vinegar to bath water for soft, toned skin. The vinegar will slowly draw toxins out of the body through the skin whilst you lie back and relax with a glass of wine. This method is also an effective treatment for those suffering from candida or other bacterial infections of the skin. Mix a powerful elixir of equal parts vinegar, honey and olive oil and add it to bath water for a really deep moisturising soak.

9. Cold Sore Remedy
Cold sores are painful, unsightly blisters that always seem to crop up at the worst possible time. As soon as you begin to feel the tingle that indicates a cold sore is about to appear, start applying vinegar directly to the area. It can also help to dry out the blisters once they have formed. Those suffering from genital herpes can prepare a mixture of one tablespoon vinegar and one cup of water, and dab it onto the blisters using a clean cotton bud.

10. After-Sun Treatment
Spending a few hours a day in direct sunlight is essential for good health and allows your body to produce vitamin D. Apple cider vinegar makes an effective after-sun treatment in case you happen to overdo it. Place a bottle of vinegar in the fridge until chilled. Soak a washcloth in vinegar, and then apply to burned skin. Alternatively, you could fill a spray bottle with vinegar, and spray directly onto the skin.

Apple cider vinegar is a safe, inexpensive way to boost your beauty regime using a natural ingredient. If you cannot find raw vinegar in your area, you can make your own using scraps from your kitchen. Fill a large jar with apple cores and peels, and then top up with water. Cover with a cheese cloth before leaving to ferment for about two months. Strain the vinegar into a sterilised bottle, and then enjoy your own raw, unfiltered organic apple cider vinegar. Do you have any other beauty tips for using apple cider vinegar?

10 Tips to Make Hot Oil Hair Treatment

A hot oil treatment is a fabulous way to moisturize dry, brittle hair that has been damaged from heat styling and harsh weather. You can purchase hot oil treatments from pharmacies and hair salons, but it is far cheaper and more effective to create your own using natural ingredients. The following tips will help you create the perfect hot oil treatment that guarantees perfect results.

1. Choose Your Oil
You can use just about any oil you wish to make your hot oil treatment. Certain oils have individual properties that are useful on different types of hair. Coconut oil is ideal for those suffering from dandruff or itchy scalp. Jojoba oil is perfect for greasy hair as it is lighter than other varieties. For those with dry, frizzy or afro hair, avocado oil will add much needed moisture and shine.

2. Prepare Your Hair
You can apply your hot oil treatment to either wet or dry hair as long as it is clean and free from styling products. Ideally, shampoo your hair in the morning or the night before using a hot oil treatment to get the best results. Oil treatments are suitable for all types of hair whether it is oily, dry, coloured or fine.

3. Gather Your Equipment
Gather all the equipment you will need before starting to apply the oil to avoid running around the house with oily hands and hair. You will need a small jar to hold the oil, a large bowl, some old towels, kitchen roll for mopping up spills, and your ingredients. You will also need some boiling water to heat the oil to the required temperature.

4. Protect Your Clothing
Accidentally spilling oil onto your clothing or furniture could be a disaster. Certain fabrics, especially silk, are incredibly difficult to clean, and you may not be able to get the oil out without damaging the fabric. Wear old clothing and line the collar with kitchen paper. Try to stay inside the bathroom for the duration of the treatment as the oil will begin to drip from your hair as it heats up.

5. Heat the Oil
Once you are ready to begin, pour some boiling water into a large bowl. Pour your chosen oil into the glass jar and place it in the boiling water. The level of the water should be the same as the level of the oil within the jar. Depending on the thickness of your jar, it should only take a few minutes for the oil to heat up. While you are waiting, infuse your oil with some essential oils and natural herbs.

6. Add Some Essential Oils and Herbs
Essentials oils such as lavender, rosemary and sandalwood are perfect for those with dry brittle hair. If you suffer from greasy hair, an invigorating oil such as peppermint, lemon or tea tree oil is ideal. Herbs are also a great addition to hot oil treatments. For dark hair, use black tea, walnut shells, rosemary and sage. If your hair is blonde, camomile, calendula and cloves are wonderful ways to enhance your natural colour. If you use herbs, gently heat the oil for at least half an hour before using.

7. Apply Oil to Your Hair
Start by taking small handfuls of oil and massaging it gently into your scalp. This stimulates the hair follicles encouraging new growth. Slowly work your way through the lengths of your hair to the ends. You want to apply a thin coat of oil to your hair. If you drench your entire head, then you will have difficulties shampooing the oil out later.

8. Turn Up the Heat
Once you have coated your hair in oil from the roots to the tips, place a plastic shower cap over your head or wrap your hair in cling film. Wrap a warm, damp towel over your head, and leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes. Ideally, leaving the oil on your hair for two hours will allow it to penetrate deep into the hair shaft helping to repair damage and replace lost moisture.

9. Wash Your Hair
Once you are ready to wash the treatment out of your hair, begin by rinsing your hair in the hottest water that you can stand. Next, gently shampoo your hair as many times as it takes to remove all of the oil. Most people do not need to use a conditioner after a hot oil treatment, but if your hair is curly or especially dry then it is advisable to use one.

10. Enjoy Smooth, Silky Hair
Allow your hair to air dry completely or for as long as you can. Avoid using heated styling tools such as hairdryers and straighteners unless you absolutely have to. Repeat your hot oil treatments at least once a fortnight for strong, healthy hair. Experiment with different formulas until you find one that works perfectly for your hair.

Jars of hot oil treatments infused with herbs and essential oils make wonderful homemade gifts for family and friends. Once you have applied the oil to your hair, take the time to relax and read a book, sip some wine or even soak in a hot bath whilst the oil penetrates into your hair and scalp.

10 Smart Ways to Care for Your Makeup Brushes

Makeup brushes afford you easy application of everything from your cosmetic foundation and blush to eye shadow and lip color. A good set of brushes may last you for years at a time, but only if you take proper care of them. Brushes that are not cleaned, or are mistreated, will soon collect dirt, bacteria, and excess product and need to be replaced. Here are 10 tips to extend the life of your cosmetics brushes, saving you money and a trip the department store.

1. Wash your brushes
Brushes should be cleaned on a regular basis to get rid of built up makeup residue, skin oils, and other dirt. If you don’t clean your brushes, the oil and dirt on your brushes will end up being transferred to your face with each make up application. You can wash brushes with a brush cleaner or shampoo, but use something gentle enough to get out the dirt without damaging the bristles.

2. Separate new brushes from old ones
Remember that the dirt and oil from one brush can transfer to another when your brushes are all stored together. Bacteria from one brush may also jump to nearby brushes, which is damaging to the brushes and your skin or lips. To that end, if you have brushes that are currently unclean or older, it’s smart to store them in a separate location from new, clean brushes.

3. Reshape bristles
Another way to care for your makeup brushes is to reshape the bristles as soon as you are finished washing them. Prior to laying your brushes down to dry, shape them gently with your fingers. This will encourage the bristles to dry in a natural orientation, not bent or in a position that may lead them to break.

4. Learn how to dry brushes
A brush that is properly cleaned but improperly dried can actually end up in bad shape. Immediately after you wash your makeup brush, lightly brush it against a towel to get rid of some of the moisture. Then lay your makeup brush on a towel to dry, never using a blow drier. Air drying is the best means of drying your brushes because too much heat can warp the shape of your bristles. A brush may take up to 8 hours to dry, so plan ahead.

5. Store your brushes upright
Once your brushes are dry, store them upright whenever possible. This discourages the bristles from becoming bent or suffering other damage. If you must store the brushes horizontally, make an effort to keep them from becoming crushed under other, heavier, cosmetics or small appliances.

6. Keep your brushes from staining
Clean your brushes as often as needed to keep the bristles from becoming stained. While foundation brushes may only need to be washed once a week or so provided you tap off excess makeup after each use, other brushes should be washed every other day. Lipstick and lip gloss brushes, for instance, should be washed about every other day because they are used with stickier cosmetics that can damage bristles faster.

7. Keep your brushes out of direct sunlight
Much like a hair dryer can damage the bristles on your cosmetics brushes, direct sunlight can do the same. Sun may also cause the bristles to weaken or fade, so try to store your brushes away from window sill or other locations where they will be in the direct path of sunlight for more than a short period of time each day.

8. Store your brushes in a cabinet or drawer
Just like your toothbrush should be kept in a cabinet for safekeeping, your skin will thank you from storing your makeup brushes in a cabinet or drawer. Perfumes, hair spray, germs from a sneeze, moisture from a shower, and any number of other of contaminates can settle onto a brush if you leave it out on the bathroom counter for a long period of time. Protect your brush and your skin by storing it in a safe location.

9. Don’t share your brushes
While you might occasionally loan your brush to a friend or roommate, avoid making this a common practice. Sharing brushes between users only encourages the growth of more bacteria on the bristles. After you share a brush with someone else, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning and dry it fully before you use it again.

10. Consider an alcohol-based cleaner
While warm water and shampoo can do a good job of breaking up the dirt in your brushes, consider using an alcohol-based cleaner. This is especially true if you want to expedite the drying time. Cleaning products that use alcohol will allow the moisture to evaporate much more quickly than a regular soap or shampoo.

Makeup brushes are a woman’s best friend, and are often thrown into purses and travel bags to be put to use away from home. With the proper care, you can get the most from your money by utilizing the same brushes for years at a time. Remember, however, that even with proper care makeup brushes do have a finite lifespan. When bristles become too stained or dirty, it’s a good idea to toss them and replace them with a clean set. How do you clean and store your makeup brushes? Share your secrets with us, ladies!

10 Tips for Taking Care of Acrylic Nails

There are two important components of taking care of acrylic nails. The first is to take care of the acrylics themselves and the second is to take care of your actual nails. Many people think that acrylic nails are maintenance free, but that simply is not true. Follow these ten tips to ensure that your acrylics and your natural nails remain in top condition.


1. Be gentle
This is the single most important care tip for both real and acrylic nails. Don’t use them to open cans, break through tape on packages, or pry things open. You run the risk of not only breaking an acrylic nail, but also of damaging your underlying nail, which can be immensely painful. Long nails need to be treated gently, whether acrylic or biologic, and never used for prying.

2. Keep them dry
Water causes the glue that binds acrylics to loosen, especially if it sits for a long time. More importantly, acrylic nails are more likely to grow fungus and bacteria than natural nails and moisture breeds both. Dry your nails thoroughly after washing your hands and any time they get wet. If you will be submerging your fingers during any task, such as when washing a pet or gardening, then wear gloves to keep them dry. Dusting your hands with baby powder is also a great way to reduce moisture, but don’t put it on to hands that are already wet.

3. Attend to damage immediately
The faster you attend to chips and cracks, the easier they are to repair. Ignoring damage allows it to spread and makes the nail prone to even more extensive injury after a second insult. Not only will quick attention to damage protect your nails, but small problems will be cheaper to repair than if you wait until things get worse.

4. Avoid acetone
Never use a nail polish remover that contains acetone. It will cause acrylic to deteriorate, leaving pits and making your nails soft. In fact, you should avoid anything that can damage acrylic, such as high heat, turpentine, Goo-Gone, and other similar chemicals. Rubbing alcohol is fine and so is WD-40. It may sound odd, but WD-40 should be used to remove sticky residue from your acrylic nails rather than Goo-Gone.

5. Oil nails daily
You should apply a neutral penetrating oil, such as rapeseed oil, to acrylic nails at least once per day. This will keep your nails flexible and prevent them from cracking. Other penetrating oils, like jojoba, also work well.

6. Maintain your skin
Keeping the skin around your nails happy and healthy is just as important as attending to the nails themselves. Moisturize your hands daily and watch for dryness, redness, and peeling of the skin around your acrylics. These can all be indicative of an infection, which will require you to remove your acrylics until the bacteria is eradicated.

7. Apply clear nail polish
You need to apply a clear nail polish to acrylic nails at least once per week. This will seal any pits or microfractures that form and will help to maintain the finish on the nail. It is a good idea to have the salon refill your nails, which will improve their appearance and reduce your risk of infection, every two weeks.

8. Wash regularly
Wash your nails regularly with antibacterial soap to reduce your risk of infection. It is also wise to soak a Q-tip in rubbing alcohol and run it under your nails each night before bed to remove debris and kill bacteria. Not only do bacteria cause skin infections, they can actually damage and discolor acrylic nails over time.

9. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is very good for your real nails. Applying it to your fingers once a week is a great way to promote natural nail health and provide a good foundation for your acrylics. When you remove your acrylics, make sure to treat your nails with vitamin E while they are exposed. It will enhance their strength and appearance.

10. Don’t DIY
When an acrylic nail is loose or damaged, don’t be tempted to repair it yourself. You can actually do more harm than good by repairing your own acrylics. Make an appointment with a reputable salon any time something goes wrong with an acrylic nail. The nails can increase risk for infection if not done in a professional salon.

Good nail health is best achieved by keeping your hands clean and dry. Dirt and moisture are the refuges of bacteria and fungi, both of which can wreak havoc on real and acrylic nails. Both are also hard to eradicate once they gain a foothold, so avoid the problem entirely by wearing gloves when working in damp environments and by treating your nails gently. Treat your acrylics with care and you will have beautiful, healthy nails that only require a touch-up once every two weeks or so.

Herbal Mouth Wash Recipe

Our family has now completely switched to a natural oral health routine. We eat to boost oral healthand even make our own remineralizing toothpaste.

The one thing we hadn’t used since changing our oral health routine was mouthwash, as most commercial versions are filled with chemicals and artificial colors and flavors.

This homemade herbal mouth wash was the solution for us. It combines herbs that are naturally cleansing and healing to the teeth and gums in a convenient tincture for easy use.

This herbal mouth wash cleanses and freshens the mouth while naturally killing germs and alkalizing the mouth.

Cloves are traditionally used in oral health preparations for their natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Clove paste and clove oil even help sooth toothache or minor cavities until they can be healed or filled.

Peppermint adds the traditional mint flavor, but is also antibacterial and cooling to the mouth.

Plantain is antibacterial and antimicrobial and is traditionally used in healing preparations for its ability to speed wound healing.

Rosemary is an aromatic and cooling herb that is also antibacterial and soothing to sore gums. I got most of the ingredients from Mountain Rose Herbs, including:

dried Peppermint Leaf
dried Plantain Leaf
Rosemary Leaf
Cinnamon or Peppermint Essential Oil
Herbal Mouth Wash Recipe

Ingredients

8 ounces of rum or vodka (for tincture)
1 tsp dried cloves or clove powder
2 tablespoons dried Peppermint Leaf
2 tablespoons dried Plantain Leaf
1 Tablespoon Rosemary Leaf
15 drops of Cinnamon or Peppermint Essential Oil (or more to preference-optional)
Instructions

Place herbs in a pint size mason jar. Pour enough boiling water over herbs to just dampen all of them. (this helps release the properties of the herbs).
Pour the rum or vodka into the jar with the herbs and hot water.
Cover tightly and put in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks. Each day, shake the jar to help the herbs infuse into the alcohol mixture.
After 2-3 weeks, use cheesecloth or a very fine mesh strainer to strain the herbs out of the tincture. Discard the herbs and pour the tincture into small dropper bottles or other glass jar to store.
Add the essential oils, return lid and shake well.
How to Use Herbal Mouth Wash

Keep glass bottle with herbal tincture on bathroom counter with a small cup or glass.

For each use, mix a mouthful of water with about 40 drops of the tincture and swish well for 30 seconds.

For extra cleansing, add 40 drops of the tincture to a half and half mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water instead of plain water and swish for 30 seconds.

Mouthwash Alternatives:

If you’d prefer to avoid the hassle of making mouthwash, oil pulling can be a simple one-ingredient alternative. The basic idea is that an oil, like unrefined coconut oil, is swished in the mouth for up to 20 minutes as a way to help remove plaque and support gum and tooth health. There is even some evidence that coconut oil may be effective against the streptococcus mutans bacteria that causes tooth decay.

Though oil pulling is somewhat controversial and experts debate its ability to whiten teeth or benefit other parts of the body, they all seem to agree that it is a safe and effective alternative to mouthwash.

Here is a full tutorial about how to try oil pulling.

Other DIY Products for A Healthy Mouth:

If you enjoyed this recipe and like making your own products, you might also enjoy these other natural oral health products:

Homemade remineralizing toothpaste
Simple whitening toothpaste recipe
How to whiten teeth with charcoal
How to remineralize teeth naturally

DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash (& Preserver)

In a perfect world, we’d all have the food budget to meal plan only organic foods, have someone else cook them for us (kidding- sort of), and use the time to relax in a nice detox bath.

Since reality is often not very close to perfection, (and I’m yet to find a way to have an organic on-demand chef so I have time to take relaxing baths, or a dryer that automatically folds clothes), compromise is often necessary.

If fully organic isn’t in your budget, you can eliminate much of the pesticides from your foods by prioritizing certain organic foods.

Prioritizing Organic Foods

For our family, buying organic, grass-fed and pasture raised meats is a first priority, since conventional meats are often much higher in pesticides, antibiotics and unhealthy fats (and lower in Omega-3s and CLA). For produce, we prioritize buying the “Dirty Dozen” organic and don’t sweat the “Clean 15” when budget is tight.

The Environmental Working Group has named these as the most recent list of Dirty Dozen and Clean 15:

Organic or not, if I didn’t grow the produce myself or get it from family friends who are trusted farmers, I always make sure to carefully wash all produce that we eat. This is especially important with non-organic produce, but I even wash organic store-bought produce as well.

Store-Bough Produce Wash?

The University of Maine studied the most popular store bought fruit and vegetable wash brands and found that not only did many of them contain chlorine (to kill bacteria on the produce), but in lab testing, they were no more effective than using distilled water.

Unfortunately, neither commercial washes or distilled vinegar completely removed waxes, pesticides, and other residue from produce.

The solution?

Homemade fruit and vegetable washes are effective at removing residue from produce and also help preserve the fridge-life of these foods since bacteria that may cause decay is removed.

To be most effective, different vegetables call for different methods of washing, but three simple and inexpensive recipes will clean virtually every type of produce.

How to Wash Most Fruits & Vegetables

The simplest and least expensive natural produce cleaner is plain white vinegar. For most produce with a skin, this is all I use. I’ll place the fruits and veggies in a freshly cleaned kitchen sink (or a large bowl), fill with water,  and add 1 cup of white vinegar.

I let soak for up to an hour, scrub gently and rinse.

To prevent decay, I let dry fully before returning to the fridge.

How to Wash Lettuces & Greens

Lettuces and greens are more delicate and more difficult to wash. They also are more likely to contain insects or other little visitors.

For greens, I dissolve 2 tablespoons of salt in 2 cups of water and add the juice of one lemon. I spray this on the greens, let sit for about a minute, and then add them to a sink of diluted vinegar water. I soak for about 15 minutes, rinse in cool water and dry completely (a salad spinner helps), before putting in the fridge.

I like to store greens in mason jars with lids to keep them fresh longer.

How to Wash Berries

Berries are perhaps the most difficult to clean because they are so delicate and take on the flavor of anything they come in contact with (vinegar flavored blueberries anyone?).

I use diluted fresh lemon juice to clean berries. I mix 2 cups of water with 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice and spray on the berries. I make sure the berries are well coated and then soak in fresh water for about 15 minutes. Dry completely before storing in the fridge!

Other Produce Tips:

Produce Sticker Numbers:

You know those annoying little stickers that you have to pull off of your fruit before you can eat it? Those stickers can also be an easy way to tell how your produce was grown. Each fruit has a four of five digit Price Look-up (or PLU) code that is given based on how it was grown. Produce that is conventionally grown has a four-digit PLU code and generally begins with a three or four. Organically grown produce has a five-digit code and begins with a nine. Genetically modified produce has a five digit code as well, but the first number is an eight.

For example, the PLU for a conventionally grown banana would be 4011; an organic banana is coded 94011; and a genetically modified banana is 84011.

Most produce is clearly labeled as organic or conventional these days, but this tip can help you verify how your food was grown.

Women In This State Wash Their Hair The Least Often

Refinery29© Photographed by Erin Yamagata. Refinery29

The wheel is generally considered to be the most important invention of all time, which seems fair enough, but dry shampoo can’t be all that far behind. Much like it would be impossible to pinpoint the exact origin of the humble wheel, nobody can say for sure who first created a blend of highly absorbent powders and bottled ‘em up for use on no-wash days, only that it exists and the world is better for it.

Dry shampoo saves time, money (think of your water bill!), and the environment (provided your can doesn’t contain ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, of course) — and, clearly, it also allows many American women to skip washing their hair for days on end. Everybody wins! A recent survey conducted by online beauty boutique Lookfantastic found that, while 49% of women washed and blowdried their hair every day, the other 51%… didn’t.

Element 1: <p><strong>As a Texturizer<br></strong>Fun fact: Many Hollywood hairstylists use dry shampoo on their clients to get that perfectly beachy look (like Chrissy here). Use it as you normally would on your roots and then lightly mist the mid-lengths and ends before going in with your curling iron to add some loose waves.</p><p><strong>As a Volumizer<br></strong>You already know what dry shampoo can do for dirty roots, but have you ever tried it on clean, shampooed hair? The starches in the spray <a href="http://www.purewow.com/beauty/Dry-Shampoo-Volumizing-Hack">bind to each strand</a>, which increases their diameter, so you end up with a thick, lush ’do.</p><p><strong>As a Styler<br></strong>Calling all ladies with pixies: Coat your fingertips with some dry shampoo and pinch any puffy pieces together to add some definition and polish. Whereas waxes or pomades can sometimes be too heavy (especially for ladies with very fine hair), dry shampoo is much lighter.</p><p><a href="http://www.purewow.com/beauty/pixie-haircuts"><strong>RELATED: </strong>10 Pixie Haircuts That Will Make You Want to Chop, Chop</a></p>10 Ways to Use Dry Shampoo That You’ve Never Thought AboutCalifornia came in the cleanest, with the majority of the poll’s participants reporting that they washed their hair once a day, followed by Texas, Florida, Ohio, and North Carolina. On the other end of the spectrum, Alabama came out to an average of once every 5.5 days, followed by Nevada, Colorado, and Maryland, at once every 6 days. The winner in the least-washed hair category? Tennessee, which claimed an average of just once a week.

With so many differing opinions on how often to wash your hair for best results — a licensed expert believes that a clean scalp is a healthy scalp, while Connie Britton says that washing infrequently helps keep her iconic hair in such good shape, so it’s your call on who to believe — there’s no real wrong or right answer to the eternal question. You know your hair better than anyone, and if it looks and feels its best on day seven, with an inch-thick layer of dry shampoo buildup, then by all means. Still, you may want to consider an intensive cleansing treatment every so often, just for your scalp’s sake.