Blog Posts by Good Housekeeping

  • 5 Common Hair-Care Myths

    Think brushing your hair 100 strokes each night is healthy? Will frequent trims really make your hair grow faster? Read on to discover the simple truths behind great hair.

    Myth #1: Frequent trims make hair grow faster.
    Truth: "Hair grows a half-inch per month, whether you cut it or not," says John Barrett, owner of the John Barrett Salon in New York City. Hair may grow slightly faster in the summer, but that has nothing to do with the stylist's scissors and everything to do with hormones, which do speed growth a little. One thing a trim will do: Eliminate split ends, making hair look better.

    Related: Hairstyles to Fit Your Face

    Myth #2: Stress can make your hair fall out.
    Truth: Although your hair is falling out all the time, to the tune of 50 to 120 strands per day, it's possible that you may lose a few more strands when you're "catastrophically" stressed, meaning you have had a major life change such as a divorce, lost job, or surgery, says Gerome Litt, M.D., an assistant professor

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  • Save Gas on Your Next Road Trip

    Almost 33 million Americans plan to hit the road this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends and family. If you're among them, don't get behind the wheel until you've read these tips for cutting your car's fuel consumption.

    Related: Buy Smart Guide: Fuel Efficient Cars

    Lighten your load.
    A bunch of junk in your car's trunk can really weigh you down, causing your car to be less fuel-efficient. For every 100 pounds of cargo, MPG is reduced up to 2% - that's like paying an additional 7 cents per gallon, based on the national average gas price of $3.65. In addition, anything strapped to the roof creates drag, which means your car has to work harder to maintain speeds, reducing fuel economy by up to 5% (and adding up to 18 cents per gallon to the tab). If at all possible, pack your stuff inside.

    Plan your fuel breaks before you run low. Convenient right-off-the-highway rest stops are often a huge rip-off. Use to find gas stations and prices (as well as food and

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  • 6 Great Google Apps

    Google can do more for you than provide easy access to websites, photos, videos, maps, news, shopping, and email. It offers a suite of mobile apps to simplify your life. And they aren't just for Google Android devices - you can get many of them on other platforms like the iPhone or Blackberry. The ones below aren't brand new, but they're the ones I find super useful (or just plain fun!) in my daily life.

    1. Google Voice Search: If you're a multi-tasking mom, you probably juggle lots of things at once. Google Voice Search gives you a hand (literally and figuratively!) by allowing you to search queries on your phone using voice commands. I also like Voice Actions for "dialing" phone calls and sending texts without tapping on the keyboard.
    Use when: You're driving and can't (and shouldn't!) type on your phone.

    2. Google Places: The newest of the bunch, Google Places connects you with restaurants and services. Like Yelp, it gives you honest reviews from real people.
    Use when: You want the

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  • How to Fix Trouble Clutter Spots For Good

    Even the best-kept home will always have one or two trouble spots... Even being a professional organizer like me does not mean that you won't have something that always bothers you to some degree! The good news is that the majority of these trouble spots can be fixed or at least improved.

    Embrace these problem areas as a teaching tool! Observe carefully what is going on so you can figure out how to stop it from recurring.

    Here are some questions to ask as you look at the evidence:

    • What are the functions of the space? If there are too many major functions in a room it will be difficult to accommodate all of them, and some functions may need to be relocated. Your spare bedroom cannot realistically be a combination home office/guest room/craft room/exercise room/meditation space.

    Related: Organizing Tips for Summer Travel

    • Does your space have structure, like a "skeleton," to support the functions you require? We see "boneless" spaces most often in garages, where there are bare

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  • 15 Things to Pack for Camp

    Make sure your child is prepared for a great camp experience by packing everything that they'll need.

    1. Clothing that can be layered Replace a cold-weather jacket with T-shirts, flannels, and light sweatshirts that will allow your child to shed or add layers depending on the weather. Old clothes are often recommended, and all items should be marked with your child's name.

    2. A variety of shoes Appropriate footwear is a must. Pack everything from hiking boots to water shoes, depending on the activities your child will participate in.

    3. Swimsuit For those hot summer days when your child will need to jump in the lake or pool to cool off, a swimsuit and any swimming safety equipment (depending on age/skill level) are key.

    4. Flashlight and extra batteries Make sure your child is never searching for the outhouse in the dark by packing a flashlight and an extra set of batteries.

    5. Small first-aid kit Band-Aids and Ace bandages are important to have on hand for common cuts, scrapes, and

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  • 4 Festive Fourth of July Decor Ideas

    Show off your American spirit and celebrate summer with these colorful patriotic decorations!

    1. Patriot Games
    For safer-than-sparklers favors, fill a pail full of cheery DIY scrapbook-paper pinwheels mounted on slim wooden dowels. Get the how-to instructions.

    Related: Fourth of July Decorations

    2. Front and Center
    Betsy Ross would delight in this entryway festooned with her signature work. Simply stick mini flag toothpicks into a Styrofoam wreath until the wreath looks full. Top it off with a garland of flags clothes-pinned onto twine.

    3. Garden Glory
    In a patriotic palette, wildflowers from the backyard or no-fuss blooms from a grocery store look especially sweet gathered into a simple vase or classic mason jar. Tie with a snappy gingham ribbon to finish.

    Related: Red, White and Blue Decorations for the Fourth of July

    4. Star Power
    School may be out for the year, but what's to keep you from borrowing these favorite teacher stickers? Where to put them: on the outsides of glass

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  • 5 Summer Stain Busters

    Barbecues, beach trips, and baseball games all make for summertime fun - and likely disaster for your clothing. Don't worry! Below, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute's (GHRI) cleaning product experts share how to zap troubling summer stains, so you can spend time outside instead of being stuck in the laundry room.

    1. Grass

    Your best line of defense is an enzyme-based liquid laundry detergent like Arm & Hammer, because the enzymes target protein-based stains. Rub a little of the detergent into the stain. Wash the items in the hottest water that's safe for the fabric and use chlorine bleach if the garment label says you can.

    Related: Solve Any Cleaning Crisis

    2. Sunscreen

    It's inevitable that this summer staple is going to end up on your beach towel, bathing suit, or shorts. When that happens, remove as much of the excess sunscreen as you can by dousing the fabric with sand. Sand will cause the lotion to clump, making it easier to roll it off without pressing it into the fibers.

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  • 10 Ways to Extend the Life of Your Laptop

    Last week, I told you how to make your cell phone last as long as possible. Now, as promised, here's how to extend the lifespan of your laptop:

    1. Optimize your settings to save power. For instance, set your screen brightness at a lower level.

    2. Use sleep, hibernation, or standby when you won't be actively using your computer.

    3. Keep the battery contacts clean so power is delivered as effectively as possible. You can clean them with a cotton swab and a bit of rubbing alcohol. (Be sure the device is powered down before you start swabbing!)

    Related: 5 Ways to Cut Clutter in the Computer Room

    4. Charge your battery according to the instructions in the manual. Most lithium ion batteries can be partially discharged and recharged without a problem, but avoid fully discharging if you can. Old nickel-based batteries should be fully drained and recharged. (Not sure what type you have? The info will be on the battery itself.)

    5. Keep the computer cool to maximize its efficiency and battery

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  • 5 Rules for Summer Food Safety

    Picnics and barbecues are tons of fun, but, in warm weather, you need to be particularly careful about handling the fixin's if you don't want to get sick. Here are our cardinal rules for summer food safety:

    1. Bring on the Ice: Pack at least a half-pound of ice per quart capacity of your cooler.

    Related: Three Secrets to Packing a Safe Lunch

    2. The Food Goes First: Fill your cooler with food then place the ice on top - cold air and melted ice will travel down.

    3. Keep the Sun Away: At the picnic site, keep the cooler under a tree or in a shaded spot where it's out of direct sunlight.

    Related: Food Safety Quiz

    4. Box 'em Separate: Pack a separate cooler for snacks like fruit and drinks. That way every time the cooler's opened, meat and salads won't be exposed to hot air.

    Related: Best Insulated Coolers

    5. No Drips Allowed: Make sure raw meats are well packaged so they can't drip on other foods or utensils.

    Check out the GHRI blog for the rest of our food safety tips, including advice

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  • Throw a Perfect Outdoor Party!

    Playing host out back is easier and less expensive than you think. Here are economical ways to transform your outdoor bash:

    Get Seated: If you need more seating or surfaces, relocate indoor furniture, like benches or stools. Skip the disposable utensils, too: Use durable everyday dishes and cutlery, parking trays to catch cleared plates next to trash cans. Finally, set up buffet-style food and drink stations, and the party will run itself.
    Related: Outdoor Entertaining Products

    Serve Yourself: Position your buffet under an overhang or umbrella to protect it from the elements. Then order its contents this way for easy cruising: plates, sides, buns, meats, fixings, and flatware; place an extra set of seasonings (salt, ketchup, etc.) at a central location elsewhere for guests' mid-meal adjustments. (Note: If perishable foods aren't gobbled up in an hour, swap them out with a fresh supply.)

    Raise the Bar: A beverage station separate from the food lets guests mix drinks and mingle. Stock

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