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As spring brings light and length to our days, our hair begins to come out from under our winter hats. Now is a great time to think treating your hair to a little extra TLC.

Healthy hair is actually more about doing less than about doing more. The loss of your gloss is actually due to the unhealthy practices of over washing, blow drying, and using chemical products. Even the best shampoo washes out the natural oils in your hair, leaving hair dry even after using conditioner. The first steps to healthy hair are wash your hair less, only once or twice a week. Rotate between shampoos to keep things balanced. Use a gentle, non-detergent based shampoo.

A healthy, balanced diet also contributes to both healthy hair and skin. Brushing your hair and scalp massages not only feel good but help to distribute your natural oils and stimulate blood flow to the hair follicles.

Instead of hair conditioner, consider using an herbal hair rinse or herbal vinegar rinse. You can buy an herbal rinse from companies like Honey Bee Holistics, with their Organic Rosemary Hair Rinse for itchy scalps, or a Sage Herbal Hair Rinse from Dragonfly Herbs. However, it’s also easy to make your own with a little patience.

Here’s a recipe for a vinegar hair rinse for dry hair.

1 oz. nettle

1 oz. marshmallow root

1 oz. calendula

Apple cider vinegar

Drops of an essential oil of your choice (peppermint or myrrh is great for dry hair)

Distilled water

1. Fill a quart jar halfway with the herbs. Cover them with the vinegar and cap tightly. Place in a warm spot for 3-4 weeks. Shake it daily to keep the mixture agitated.

2. After 3-4 weeks, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or double cheesecloth. Add the essential oils, rebottle it in a plastic bottle, and store this is your bathroom.

3. Before you take a bath, dilute the rinse with distilled water. For dry hair, dilute 1 part rinse with 6 parts water. After you shampoo, pour the vinegar rinse through your hair, massaging it into your scalp. Rinse with warm water and if you can stand it, cold water too.

You can play with the essential oils in this mix to give it different scents, but I chose peppermint not only for its properties but also because it is invigorating and awakens the senses. You can also use essential oils such as lavender or chamomile for normal hair, or lemon, patchouli, rosemary, and tea tree oils for oily hair.

I encourage you to get your hair out from under that hat, grab a friend, and exchange head massages with a drop of your favorite essential oil. You’ll thank me!

posted by Lydia Krupinski

It’s the eve of the eve of Valentine’s Day and you’ve totally forgotten to get a gift for your sweetie! What do you do? Make a handmade eco-friendly gift of course! Pinterest and blogs are teaming with easy tutorials that will give a personal spin on your v-day gift giving.

My favorite is the Birds on a Wire project. Unisex, stylish, and upcycled, this mini-art piece will speak volumes to your crush. Not into birds? Change up the subject to match your own message. This simple and easy-to-make project gives you the flexibility to take it in any direction you choose.

Do you have another suggestion for a handmade gift? Post your ideas in the comments below!

written by Molly Kay Stoltz

When I am sick or sore, when I’m uninspired, when it is dark and cold outside, or when I am stressed and need time alone, I take a bath.

Baths have become something of a luxury, but they shouldn’t be. Our lives are busy, and it is always easy to take a shower and get on with your day, but a bath forces you to slow down and think. And the benefits grow when you take a moment to add herbs or salts to your bath water.

The first thing to consider is the temperature of your water. Cool or room-temperature water can help to lower a fever or normalize your system, and can firm and strengthen you if you are able to brave the cold! On the other hand, warm water is soothing and opens your pores which can help you become decongested or eliminate toxins from your body, for example, after a hard workout or a massage. Read the rest of this entry »

By Lydia Krupinski

As we are all busy running about trying to find the perfect handmade gifts for the season – many of us forget an essential – gift wrapping!

To keep you from procrastinating, and purchasing that gaudy roll of wrap that’s strategically placed at the register end cap, create your action plan now with these great easy-to-make alternatives that I pulled from my website Pierogi Picnic.

Newspaper – If you’re looking for something cheap and chic, newspaper is the best way to go. The high contrast black and white will give your gifts an elegant look with a rustic edge. For some great suggestions on how to best use this upcycled material check out Design Apothecary’s article here.

Paper Bags  – If you ever take a spontaneous trip to the grocer and are (gasp!) caught without your reusable shopping bags – never fear! Those old-fashioned paper bags can be put to use! The stock of paper that’s used for your average grocery sack lends itself perfectly for wrapping gifts. Check out this awesome post from My Home Ideas for some great tips on using this everyday item.

Looking for more tips? Read the full article here.

Alderman Joe Moreno of the first ward is sponsoring a piece of legislation that would push Chicago into a greener era: a ban on plastic bags. The ordinance proposes that big box retailers, ala Target, K-Mart, Walmart, etc., would no longer be allowed to distribute the ‘white plague’ as it’s called abroad. Under the new rule, large retailers would be required to provide reusable or biodegrable bags for their customers.

According to RUB (Reusable Bags Chicago), “Every year, over a trillion plastic bags and 10 billion paper bags are used in the United States. This equals to over 12 billion barrels of oil used to produce a product that only gets recycled 1 in a 100 times.” Enabling a complete ban for all stores may not be an easy task at first. But if enough residents show their support – who knows what can happen! To have your voice heard sign the RUB petition today and lets move towards a healthier and more sustainable future for our metropolis.

Molly Kay Stoltz, urban garden theatre diva extroardinaire, is joining the Sprout Chicago family! We are excited to have Molly coming on board to contribute her knowledge of green city living.

Molly runs her own sustainable clothing business, works at one of Chicago’s leading garden emporiums and also blogs about natural health remedies on Urban Herbal Girl.

If you have a moment take a peek at her freshly posted bio under the Contributors page. And if you’re itching to do some earth-friendly shopping take a peek at her adorable handmade line of clothing and accessories Rags by Sock Monkey here.

Welcome Molly!

 

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