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Natural and Herbal Ways to Lighten the Hair

blonde hair

(This is a guest post submitted by Ms. Jenny Corteza, a reader from L.A. I find this article timely in the context of the approaching summer, when soft, bouncy and light-colored hair rocks like no other. Do read and share this interesting piece on how to lighten your locks in a natural and safe way.)

The summer days lead to tanner skin and lighter hair. If you can't get to the beach soon enough to get bleached blonde hair, there are numerous ways you can naturally lighten your hair. Visiting a salon to lighten your hair can be expensive, and the chemicals salon use on your hair can cause breakage and permanent damage.

Here are a few ways to naturally lighten your hair:

1. Use honey, honey!

Sweet to the taste and lightener for the hair! To do this, add four parts of honey to one part apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar will serve as a conditioner to your hair. If you'd like to go extremely light, add a couple capful of hydrogen peroxide to the mix. Do not use hydrogen peroxide on black or dark hair, it may turn orange.

Let your mixture set for 30 minutes to one hour before applying the mixture to your hair. After letting the mixture sit, apply to head in small doses and then put on a plastic hair cover, you can substitute a store bought hair cover with a plastic bag. Let the mixture set for at least two hours. You can peek at your throughout the process until you reach your desired color. After coloring is complete, simply rinse out the mixture with warm water, wash and style and condition as usual.

In order to maintain this look throughout the summer, after each shampoo, combine 1/4 cup honey with a 1/2 cup of a conditioner of your choice.

2. Cinnamon

Use cinnamon to get a light red hue. Simply combine cinnamon powder and water and let the mixture sit on your hair for at least one hour.

3. Plain apple cider vinegar

Rinse your with 1 part apple cider vinegar to 6 parts water and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. The color will show up after several weeks of consecutive rinsing with the mixture. Apple cider vinegar will also help to condition your hair.

4. Plain Old Table Salt
Make salt water and let it sit on your hair for at least ten minutes. Salt take the shortest time to make the most noticeable difference.

5. Baking Soda

Much like apple cider vinegar, washing your hair with baking soda will help to lighten your hair over time.

6. Lemon Juice

Rinse your hair with a mixture  lemon juice and olive oil and water and let the juice sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the hair is crunchy to the touch, it is ready to be rinsed. On another note, lemon juice can serve as a natural hairspray as well. Lemon juice does have a drying effect on the hair, so be sure to use the olive oil which will help to lighten hair, combine lemon juice and olive oil in equal parts. Lemon juice is not recommend for those with brown or darker hair as it may produce an orange hue.

7. The sun

Nature's lightener! Being in the sun will help swiftly turn your locks into a lovely summer shade of beach-ready blonde! You can do this in a productive way if you’re working on a special project over the summer -- such as working with custom router bits, doing woodwork or other DIY carpentry projects.

Photo Credit:

Sauteed Green Onion Recipe

sauteed green onion recipe
Green onions, otherwise known as scallions or spring onions, are often thought of as herbs. And herbs are often thought of as too spicy or pungent to be eaten on their own. However, green onions are different in that they are not as overpowering as say, red chili or ginger. They are really sweet, docile and mellow herbs.
This sauteed green onion recipe, for example, is mellow enough to land on my 13-year-old tween’s favorite foods. Last Saturday, the husband and I went to the farmer’s market. And as was my custom, I really had no specific vegetable in mind. I only want to see what’s abundant and in season and that pretty much dictates what our meals for the next week would be.
Upon seeing unusually thick and cheap bunches of long, firm green onions displayed on almost all tables, I turned to the husband and asked if he wanted me to cook sauteed green onions. I knew the answer and should not have asked really. He could never resist this recipe.
Credit for this recipe goes to the Maranaos who originally make this side dish recipe extra spicy, like punishingly hot. I however, have my tween in mind and so I made this dish tolerably hot, like fit-for-a-tween hot.

garlic, onion, red bell pepper and green onions
You can see from the slew of ingredients that this is really a very healthful dish. All are herbs -- garlic, onions, red pepper, red chili (which is not in the picture, sorry) and green onions. Herbs are dense storehouses of powerful antioxidants -- much, much denser than fruits and vegetables. And when you combine them together, that makes for an especially potent detox recipe. Here’s a good article on the health benefits of spring onions.
By the way, this bunch of scallions is only worth 15 pesos or $0.33. At other times this would normally command a price of 30 pesos -- which is why I should not pass up the rare opportunity to cook something healthful and tasty.

sauteed green onion recipe

My tween and the husband liked it so much they devoured platefuls of rice which kind of made it less healthful. We consumed the whole thing in just 4 meals, would you believe that. It's either it is that good or we just have much too hearty appetites.

sauteed green onion recipe

Sauteed Green Onion Recipe

  • a whole head of garlic, crushed, peeled and minced
  • medium-sized red onion, minced
  • red bell pepper, minced
  • 6 pieces red chili, minced
  • a thick bunch of green onions, minced (Mincing this much scallions takes up much time, I must warn you!)
  • cooking oil

  1. Heat 5 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.
  2. Sautee garlic until browned and crisp.
  3. Add in the onions and cook until limp and translucent.
  4. Add in the red bell pepper.
  5. Add in the red chili pepper. Season with salt.
  6. Add in the green onions and cook until limp and soft.
  7. Adjust seasoning.

  • Use either RBD coconut oil or VCO. However, as the oil "sleeps" or turns solid at a low temperature, you may want to go for olive oil instead as it stays liquid even in the fridge.
  • You can sneak in a bit of ground meat or shrimp to add more flavor.
  • This recipe is also good as spread and dipping for bread and bread sticks. Try it!
  • Filipinos eat this with rice mostly. It also goes so well as a side dish for grilled fish.
  • You can certainly use more than 6 pieces of red chili pepper. The husband would have wanted a handful!

How to Grow Pandan

Pandan, otherwise known as screwpine leaves, is one of the must-haves in your backyard garden. As I’ve outlined in this post, pandan has many uses, to wit: cockroach repellant, natural car freshener, potpourri, food flavoring agent, gout remedy and of course, rice add-on.
I keep several pots of pandan in my garden because it’s one crop that I use on a daily basis -- because well, us Filipinos eat rice thrice a day! If you’re new around here, you may want to check out my blog post on how I use pandan as a rice add-on. It’s amazing how fragrant your rice becomes because of this simple addition.
how to grow pandan

Here are my tips on how to grow pandan or screwpine leaves:

Start with a pot of already-growing pandan plant.

I bought mine from the farmer’s market for just 20 pesos. I transferred it to a bigger pot filled with rich, dark soil. I have read that pandan grows so fast that if you plant it on the ground, it will overrun your garden in no time. Keeping it in a container does a good job of really limiting its growth to a manageable level.
You will find pandan to be quite a lovely plant to keep. It has this perfect radial symmetry with its spray of thick, robust leaves. You can certainly use it as an ornamental plant. However, it would be such a waste not to use it as a food flavoring agent especially as it has many health benefits.
pandan plantlets

pandan plant

Grow pandan in two ways.

You can multiply your pandan plant in two ways. Firstly, you can look for those smaller plants shooting out from the base of the main plant and either transplant them into separate pots or just let them grow alongside their mother plant. Secondly, you can cut off the mother plant and transplant it.
Here is a pandan plant from which I regularly break off a couple of leaves every morning. You can see that it has grown tall and spindly and has grown many sturdy roots. It is high time to cut it off, taking care to include as many prop roots as possible so it can live on its own right away. You can see that there are several plantlets at the base and so cutting off the mother plant would allow these baby plants to live on their own, so to speak.
how to grow pandan
Use a sharp knife to make a quick, clean cut. A sharp, clean diagonal cut is the ideal way of cutting it. You may also trim off extra leaves so the transplant can have better chances of surviving. Plant the cut into a rich soil and water it right away. Shield it from the sun for a couple of days or weeks and water it everyday. Pandan is a sun-loving plant and so you the moment you see the new plant thriving well, transfer it to a sunny spot where it can get almost half a day’s worth of direct sunlight.

how to grow pandan

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