How to Straighten Your Spine

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The spinal column runs down the middle of your back and contains the spinal cord, which is like a superhighway of nerves that connect your brain to every tissue in your body. Needless to say, the health of your spine is of paramount importance. From the lateral or side view, your spine contains three main curves, which are needed for flexibility and stability.[1] However, viewing your spine from the back, it should be straight and not deviate from side-to-side very much at all. Some people are born with abnormally curved spines, but ill health, poor posture and inadequate nutrition are more responsible for spinal pathology.

EditSteps

EditUnderstanding How to Care for Your Spine

  1. Maintain good posture. Maintaining good posture while you sit, walk and sleep is probably the most important thing you can do for the health of your spine.[2] Many people have sedentary jobs where they sit for most of the day, so the height, comfort and support of chairs are crucial. Make sure your office chair is adjustable (so you can customize it to your dimensions) and try to get one with lumbar support for your low back. At home, use cushions to support your back and prop your legs up while watching television.
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    • Try not to cross your legs or feet when you sit because it makes your hips unlevel and puts a strain on your lower back.
    • Make sure your computer screen is at eye level and centred in front of your chair, otherwise, you’ll strain your neck and possible develop an abnormal curvature.
  2. Wear quality shoes. Your feet are crucial for good posture because they are the foundation for your entire body. As such, wear sturdy shoes with good arch support, a slightly raised heel (1/2 – 3/4 of an inch) and plenty of room for your toes. In contrast, avoid regularly wearing high-heeled shoes because they affect the body’s center of gravity and induce compensatory alignment of the entire body — they can cause too much extension (called hyperlordosis) in the lumbar spine.[3]
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    • If you are really heavy, have flat feet or a short leg, then consider getting orthotics (custom-made shoe inserts) of heel lifts. Orthotics promote a healthy spine by supporting the arches and allowing better biomechanics when running or walking.
    • Orthotics are made by podiatrists, medical specialists and some chiropractors.
  3. Sleep on a firm mattress. You likely spend at least 1/3 of your life in your bed, so pay a little more attention to the quality of your mattress and how you sleep on it. For most people, firm mattresses are the best strategy in order to provide the necessary support for their spine. Memory foam top covers may also be helpful. You should consider changing mattresses every eight to 10 years. The thickness of your pillow should match the distance from the side of your head to the tip of your shoulder — a good rule of thumb to keep your neck aligned while sleeping.
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    • The best sleeping position for your spine is laying on your side, with your hips and knees slightly bent, and with a small pillow wedged between your thighs, which helps to keep your hips aligned also.[4]
    • Try not to prop your head up with too many pillows while in bed reading because it will strain your neck and possibly reverse its normal lordosis (curve).
  4. Avoid carrying a heavy backpack or messenger bag. Even if you are only carrying the weight from class to class, or from school back home, the weight of a heavy backpack can have serious consequences on your spinal health, as it compresses your spine. It can cause spine curvature and may even prevent you from reaching your full height![5] Even worse, if you carry your backpack on only one shoulder or wear a bag that puts all the weight on one shoulder, such as a messenger-style bag, your spine can begin to curve.[6]
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    • When carrying a bag or backpack, make sure the weight is always evenly distributed between your shoulders. If you are carrying a very heavy suitcase or briefcase, make sure you don’t always carry it on the same side.
    • Consider a rolling backpack or briefcase.
    • Try to make more trips to your locker throughout the day and swapping out textbooks instead of carrying them all with you. If your locker is far away and the passing periods are short, see if you can get a note from your doctor that will allow you a little extra time to go to your locker between classes.
  5. Exercise and be more active. Moderate exercise has many health benefits, including weight loss and increased muscle strength, which both positively impact the spine.[7] Carrying too much weight puts excessive pressure on spinal joints, making them more susceptible to wearing out and becoming misaligned. In addition, stronger muscles keep bones and joints within their normal positions. Weight training is a great way to build stronger muscles, but be careful not to overwork certain muscle groups while ignoring their counterparts because that can lead to poor posture. Consult with a personal trainer if you’re unsure of how to train properly.
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    • Every morning when you wake up, turn on your back and slowly do “snow angels” with your arms and legs for three to five minutes. The motions are great for warming up and lightly stretching many muscles important for keeping your spine aligned.
    • Using the rowing machine at the gym will strengthen the muscles between your shoulder blades and promote better upper body posture.
    • Pilates and yoga are other exercises that stretch and balance your body, especially the core muscles (abdomen, pelvis, low back), which form the foundation of good posture.
  6. Intake the necessary nutrients. To maintain strong, straight and healthy bones, certain nutrients are needed. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium and boron form the mineral matrix of bone and a deficiency of these can lead to bones that are too brittle and susceptible to fractures (known as osteoporosis). Vitamin D is also essential for bone health, and a lack of it leads to bones that are too soft and easily deformable (known as rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults).
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    • Vitamin D is produced by your skin when it’s exposed to intense summer sunshine.
    • The recommended dietary intake for calcium is 1,000 – 1,200 mg daily, depending on your age. The best natural sources of calcium are collards, kale, spinach, sardines, tofu, almonds and sesame seeds.[8]

EditEvaluating Your Spine

  1. Get a scoliosis screen. Scoliosis is an abnormal lateral curvature of the spine, usually in the thoracic region (area between your shoulder blades), that can lead to back pain and restricted movement.[9] For unknown reasons, some people are born with scoliosis, while others develop it during adolescence. Screenings are usually done in middle school by nurses, but most health professionals are qualified to examine you for scoliosis. Screening usually involves bending forward at the hips and seeing if one shoulder blade sticks up more than the other.
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    • Scoliosis screening is more important for kids than adults because some treatments (bracing or implantation of metal rods) can slow down or stop the progression of the condition while the spine is still developing.
    • Girls have a greater risk of developing scoliosis and a much higher risk of the curve worsening and requiring treatment.[10]
  2. See a medical specialist. If you have a positive scoliosis screening or have reason to believe your spine is somehow abnormal, then see a medical specialist. An orthopedic surgeon will carefully examine your spine and likely take X-rays to better understand your problem. The specialist will look for relatively common spinal pathologies such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and herniated discs — all of which can lead to abnormal spinal curvature and biomechanics.[11]
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    • Specialists may also use CT scans, MRI, bone scans or more sophisticated X-rays to further diagnose your spinal condition.
    • Surgery is rarely used to treat or cure spinal diseases or abnormalities.
  3. See a chiropractor or osteopath. Chiropractors and osteopaths are spinal specialists who rely on more natural methods to treat the spine and other parts of the body, and don’t rely on pharmaceuticals or use invasive methods such as surgery. They can evaluate your spine for any abnormalities including unusual curves, restricted motion or tight muscles.
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    • Although some forward curvature in the thoracic spine or mid-back is normal, too much leads to a hyper-kyphosis or hunchback.[12] The most common causes of a hyper-kyphosis are osteoporosis, arthritis, tumors and bad (slouching) posture.
    • The thoracic spine can also be completely straight, which is actually considered abnormal and sometimes referred to as “military spine.”
  4. Be aware of a small hemipelvis. Your pelvis is made up of two bones which are fused with ligaments. If one of these bones is smaller than the other, then it can cause you to sit or stand while tilting to toward the smaller bone.[13] This can lead to a curved spine in addition to many other health and posture problems. If you find that you often sit with your body tilted toward one side, ask your doctor about small hemipelvis.
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    • To correct small hemipelvis, you can get inserts for your shoes and carry around a book or magazine to sit on so you don’t lean to one side.[14]

EditGetting Helpful Treatments

  1. Get chiropractic adjustments. Regular treatments (perhaps monthly) from a chiropractor or osteopath is not only effective for spinal pain, but it may also keep you better aligned.[15] Chiropractors use a type of physical manipulation called spinal adjustments, which attempts to realign or unjam the small facet joints of the spine. Spinal adjusting can’t reverse a scoliosis, but it can be important for maintaining normal spinal curvatures — especially following significant spinal trauma such as whiplash from a car accident.
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    • Adjustment of a spinal joint may result in a popping sound — the same as when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released.
    • There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved with spinal adjustments.
  2. See a massage therapist. Get a back, shoulder, and/or neck massage from someone qualified to do so. Massage reduces muscle tension, which may be helpful for spinal alignment if you have tight muscles surrounding or attached to your spinal column and pulling on it. Massage is also effective for reducing stress, which is often a factor in developing poor posture, especially of the upper body.
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    • Massage can squeeze lactic acid, toxins and compounds that cause inflammation out of muscles and other soft tissues and into your bloodstream, so always drinks lots of water in order to flush them out of your body.
    • Some massage therapists practice reflexology, which is the stimulation of parts of the foot to improve health. Ask your therapist to stimulate the points that are related to spinal health.
  3. Seek out physiotherapy. A physical therapist can show you specific and tailored stretches and strengthening exercises for your spine, and if need be, treat your spinal muscles with electrotherapy such as therapeutic ultrasound or electronic muscle stimulation. Exercises targeting the back extensors, neck flexors and pelvic muscles are crucial for good posture.
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    • Progressive resistance training with weights can halt or reverse bone loss in some cases, which can help with spinal health and alignment.
    • If your muscles are sore following exercise or massage, then take an Epsom salt bath. The magnesium within the salt is great for relaxing tense muscles and dissolving pain.
  4. Get a prescription for medication. If you have osteoporosis or low bone density within your spine and fear fractures or deformity, then ask your doctor about medications that promote stronger bones, such as the numerous bisphosphonates that are on the market (Boniva, Reclast, Fosamax). Hormone-based medications that can help build bone density include raloxifene, calcitonin, and parathyroid hormone.[16]
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    • Bisphosphonates can increase the risk of rare fractures and cause bone, joint or muscle pain.
    • Teriparatide, a form of parathyroid hormone, increases the rate of bone formation and s the FIRST FDA approved drug for the treatment of osteoporosis and new bone formation.
  5. Consider surgery. Surgery of the spine should be considered a last resort for most people who have spinal problems, but sometimes it’s the first choice for a child whose scoliosis is rapidly deforming their spine. The operation for scoliosis is a spinal fusion — essentially a “welding” process.[17] The basic idea is to realign and fuse together the curved vertebrae so that they heal into a single, solid bone. All spinal fusions use a bone graft, which are small pieces of bone that are placed into the spaces between the vertebrae to be fused. The bones then grow together, similar to when a broken bone heals.
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    • Metal rods are typically used to hold the spine in place until fusion happens. The rods are attached to the spine by screws, hooks, and/or wires and then usually removed at a later time.
    • Possible complications from surgery include infection, allergic reaction to anesthesia, nerve damage and chronic swelling / pain.

EditTips

  • A big part of having good posture is being aware of your posture. Look in the mirror and correct your posture, focusing on how it feels, then train yourself to be aware of your posture at all times.
  • Spinal surgery is a major procedure that involves moving muscles and realigning the skeleton.The amount of pain people report after surgery varies a great deal from patient to patient.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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How to Be a Great Speaker

There is a commonly cited statistic that people are generally more fearful of public speaking than they are of death. The idea of performing a speech in front of an attentive audience is a nerve-wracking concept for most people. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Being a great speaker is a skill that is learned just as much as any other. When you have a strong command of your voice and self-presentation, confidence with public speaking tends to fall into place.

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EditSteps

EditArticulating Your Voice

  1. Listen to recorded speeches.[1] If you want to become a great speaker, you should first have an idea on what it means to be great. Famous speeches became that way in part because the speaker knew how to wring the most feeling and meaning out of what he was saying. Pay attention to the pauses they take, the words they emphasize, and the steady pace most famous speakers perform at. Public speaking is ultimately an art. There are countless ways you can perform the same speech.
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    • The most famous speeches of the 20th century are easy to access. Their iconic status also goes to show how much power a gifted speaker has to change peoples’ minds.[2]
  2. Talk slowly.[3] As a public speaker, you should never feel the need to rush through a presentation. Because anxiety tends to make people speak much faster than they normally would, you should be aware of your rate of speech. Make a conscious point of speaking slowly. If your speech is happening at a more manageable rate, it will be easier for you to feel like you’re in control.
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    • Speaking slowly does not mean speaking in a monotone. Just because you’re taking your time doesn’t mean you need to be boring. The best public speakers will keep a steady speaking pace and use that extra time to inject more expression into their act.
  3. Minimize filler words and stammering. Filler words include things such as “like” and “um”. They are words that only exist in a live presentation because the speaker’s mind need a second to catch up with the rest of the speech. Mishaps like this and other verbal slip-ups are most often the result of anxiety. While anxiety is totally natural and is to be expected, it’s a good sign you need to slow down. A speaker speaking really slowly is better than one who is stuttering through important lines.
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    • If you need a moment to recollect yourself in the middle of your speech, you should allow yourself the time to pause.[4] While filler language only serves to detract from your presentation, a pause can be beneficial for the audience to digest what you’ve said so far as well.
  4. Emphasize or repeat particularly important lines.[5] Even if you have gone over every word of your speech with a fine-toothed comb, there are going to be lines that are most important to the central idea you’re discussing. In the case of these especially important lines, it’s crucial you bring added attention to them somehow. This can be done by saying them more slowly, more loudly, or repeating the same line twice. Your audience will immediately pick up on the tactic you used and will take extra care to remember that point.
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  5. Express emotion through inflections. Although you may feel very anxious going into a speech, it may actually make things easier if you allow yourself the ability to connect emotionally with the topic and express yourself. Raising and lowering your voice to denote certain feelings can do a ton to engage an audience. As a general rule, people like to feel like they’re being spoken to by a red-blooded human being. Acting like a robot may seem like a safe route if you’re nervous about speaking, but you’ll get a lot farther if you’re candid with your audience.
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    • Avoid a monotone delivery. This approach is common with people who put too much emphasis into a rote memorization of the speech lines, and didn’t leave room for an organic quality.
  6. Pause for effect. Much as with an emphasis technique on a given word, a well-placed silence can say a lot. Pauses are a good thing to place after a particularly heavy or important idea has been stated, or in between relatively unrelated points to serve as a sort of paragraph break. A pause also gives the audience a chance to show their appreciation. Even if you don’t need the warmth, members of your audience will feel more confident in your abilities if they see other people in the crowd cheering you on.
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  7. Interact with your audience.[6] Speeches can be memorized with enough time and practice, but a truly gifted orator will use parts of his speech as an opportunity to communicate directly to the audience. If an audience member has a question, it would be a wasted opportunity not to answer it. The audience will be impressed by your willingness to play off the books and interact seemingly spontaneously.
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    • An audience won’t interact with a speaker unless some stakes have already been raised. You have to get an audience interested in what you’re talking about if you want them to respond actively.[7]
    • Trying to engage the audience yourself is always a risk. You can’t control what an audience member will say, and you’ll need to improvise a response to whatever they say. Worse still, getting no response from an audience will embarrass you as a presenter.[8]

EditMaximizing Your Body Language

  1. Keep a firm posture.[9] A strong posture is one of the most telling signs of confidence. Suffice to say, it’s a look you’ll want to have whenever you’re speaking publically. Keep your back straight, and your shoulders jutted outward. If you’re someone who struggles with a slouched posture, it may take some time to reprogram yourself. However, after enough time doing it, you’ll eventually do it without thinking.
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  2. Allow yourself to express emotion through your face.[10] If you’re nervous, your face will freeze up. Words alone only go so far in communication. The best speeches are emotionally hard-hitting, and it’s intensified when the same feelings are being mirrored by the speaker. Whether rehearsed or not, matching facial expressions will lend your speech with a great air of authenticity.
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  3. Stake a claim on your personal area.[11] Whether you’re speaking on stage or something more casual, chances are there’s a larger physical space you could be occupying. Even if you’re the most riveting speaker, there is going to be a part of your audience that wants to be engaged visually as well. Getting your audience’s eyes to follow you as you stride across the stage will make your presentation (and topic) feel all that more dynamic.
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    • If you’re addressing the audience directly with someone, you should walk towards them on the stage. This creates an effect of urgency.[12]
  4. Scan your eyes across everyone you’re speaking to.[13] Eye contact is essential if you want to foster a connection with the audience he’s speaking to. This doesn’t need to be a constant thing, and you don’t need to make eye contact with each individual in the crowd. Instead, simply scanning your eyes around the your audience from side to side can instill a sense of interaction between the speaker and his attendees.
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  5. Use gestures in tandem with what you’re saying.[14] Body language is a powerful tool on the stage, but it’s only worth as much as it relates to the topic you’re speaking about. Think of hand waves and gestures as exclamation marks in your speech. By using your body as an additional form of communication, you can ride home your point on multiple levels.
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  6. Keep your movements controlled.[15] Above all, you should keep every noticeable movement of your body under control when you are speaking. Many people will fidget and squirm when they’re nervous. This isn’t the sort of impression you want to get across if you intend on a successful presentation. Your body language should not be left up to whim or chance. If you’re not comfortable with public speaking enough yet to balance the vocal presentation with purposeful body language, it is preferable to keep yourself completely still. Rest assured, unconscious movements are going to work against your presentation.
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EditKnowing Your Words

  1. Structure your speech with a beginning, middle and end.[16] Speeches are like oral essays. They tend to follow a similar format for the most part. If you’re writing your speech yourself, you should try breaking it up into sections in order to better organize your points. Even if you haven’t written the speech, it’s a good idea to know what structural role each part represents. Generally speaking, virtually all speeches will have three parts:
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    • An introduction. This is where you will introduce either yourself or the topic that needs to be discussed.
    • The main body and supporting points. This is where the details of your argument or discussion are fleshed out. This is by far the biggest part of a speech, and is analogous to all of the paragraphs in an essay between the first and last.
    • Closing statements and summary. At the end, the audience will be looking for some closure to signal the speech’s end. Take this as an opportunity to note the widespread implications of the topic, as well as a to-the-point recap of the ideas you explored in the main body.
  2. Include a take-home message. No matter how complex the subject you’re talking about is, there should be a line or two from your speech that will be instantly memorable for anyone who is hearing it. This could be the thesis, or central point of what you’re trying to say. A take-home message should preferably take the form of an applied request.[17] Telling your audience to do or reflect upon something on their own time will hopefully keep your audience attentive on your subject long after the presentation itself has ended.
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    • Any messages of particular importance should be spoken more boldly, more slowly, or repeated.
  3. Keep time in mind.[18] While great speakers will keep their speaking pace relaxed and take cares not to speed up, you should respect the time of your audience. There is no need to have a half-hour speech where all of the same points could be covered in 20 minutes. It’s much easier to revise the speech itself than to try to speed through sections of your speech. If you think your speech could be shorter, give it a run through and decide for yourself which lines could be done without.
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  4. Rehearse your speech.[19] Nothing great ever came about without hard work and practice. Rehearsing your speech is necessary if you want your audience to take something away from your presentation and take you seriously. Perform your speech in front of a mirror and pay attention to the way you look while you’re speaking. It also helps to record yourself speaking. That way, you’ll be able to see what you’re doing right and wrong more clearly.
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    • It’s a good idea to give your speech a run-through in front of a friend or family member before going live. That way, the other person can offer you feedback from a fresh perspective.
  5. Thank your audience once the speech is over.[20] Even if you’re the one who is performing, your audience members are taking time out of their schedules to hear you speak about your topic. For this, they deserve some gratitude. Telling a crowd how much you appreciate lending their time to you will end your speech on a positive note of warmth.
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EditTips

  • Public speaking doesn’t come naturally to many people. It’s something you’ll probably have to spend some serious time practicing in order to perfect. Don’t let yourself feel down if you slip up the first few times you perform. It’s a lifelong skill, and once you get the hang of it, it will stick with you for the rest of your days.
  • Include visual aids (such as Powerpoint) in your presentation, but only if it legitimately adds something of value.[21]

EditWarnings

  • You can never know for sure how an audience will react to your presentation. Be prepared for a less-than-stellar reception, and should the case arise, make sure you roll with the punches. Getting visibly on stage won’t do anything for your credibility.

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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How to Revive a Dying Aloe Vera Plant

Aloe vera plants make great indoor or outdoor plants; they are also handy to have around because of their healing properties. These plants are succulents, and therefore can become sick due to overwatering, underwatering, and other environmental factors. Root rot is one of the most common ailments of Aloe vera plants, but they can also become sunburned. If your Aloe vera plant looks a little under the weather, don’t lose hope! You can still revive it!

EditSteps

EditRepotting Due to Root Rot

  1. Remove the Aloe vera plant from its current pot. One of the typical reasons for Aloe vera plant death is root rot. In order to determine if this is the case, you need to first take the plant out of its pot.[1]
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    • Loosely hold the base of the plant and the bottom of your pot. Tip the pot upside down, and continue holding the plant with your other hand. Hit the bottom of the pot with your hand or knock it against a table ledge (or other hard surface).[2]
    • Depending on the size of your plant, you may need another person to help you. One person should hold the plant base with both hands, while the other person tips the pot upside down and hits the bottom.[3]. You might also find it helpful to jostle the pot back and forth until the plant comes loose.
    • If you still have difficulties removing your plant with two sets of hands, you can run a trowel or knife around the interior of the pot and try releasing it again, or push some of the soil out through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If your plant still does not come out of the pot, you may need to break your pot, but this is a last resort.[4]
    • While releasing the Aloe Vera plant from its pot, be sure that you are keeping the plant itself as steady as possible. All the movement should be centered on the pot, not the plant itself. In other words, hold, don’t pull, the plant. Hitting the bottom of the pot will keep your roots intact, and gravity will push the plant downward.
  2. Tend the roots. Examine the roots and determine how many of the roots are still healthy. Mushy roots are characteristic of root rot and need to be removed.[5] Any roots that aren’t black or mushy are good and can be kept.
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    • If you see a lot of healthy roots and only a section of dead or mushy roots, you can likely save your plant without too much trouble, but you’ll need to cut away the damaged roots.[6] You can use a sharp, sterilized knife to cut away the dead roots,[7] but make sure to get them all.
    • If you notice that the majority of your plant has damaged roots, it will take a little more effort to save the plant, and it may be beyond saving. In this case, you can try to save the plant by removing the largest leaves (with a knife). Cut away about half of the plant. This method is risky. However, with fewer leaves to nourish, the small amount of undamaged roots can better direct nutrients throughout the plant.[8]
  3. Chose a pot that is one-third larger than the root system. Any excess soil will hold water and could cause root rot in the future, so a smaller pot is better than a larger one.[9]
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    • The roots of Aloe vera plants grow horizontally, rather than vertically. [10] Aloe vera plants can also become quite heavy, and the weight of the plant can cause a narrow pot to tip over. Thus, select a wide pot, rather than a deep or narrow pot.[11]
    • The pot you choose should also have plenty of drainage holes on the bottom so that excess water does not sit in the soil.[12]
    • A plastic pot is best if you live in a dryer climate, while a pot made from terra cotta or clay is best for cooler or humid areas.[13]
  4. Use potting soil suitable for cactus or succulents. This type of soil has a higher sand content and produces a well-draining environment for your plant. You can find this type of soil easily at your local garden center.[14]
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    • You can also create your own soil mix for your Aloe vera plant by mixing equal parts of sand, gravel or pumice, and soil.[15] Be sure to use a coarse sand (like builder’s sand), rather than a fine sand. Fine sand can clump and hold water, rather than allowing it to drain down and through the pot.[16]
    • Although you can use potting soil for Aloe vera plants, they will thrive better in a mixed soil.[17] Potting soil is more likely to hold moisture and could therefore cause root rot.
  5. Replant your Aloe vera. Prepare the pot by filling it with the potting soil mixture, and shake your Aloe vera plant gently to remove about a third of the soil that has attached itself to the root ball.[18] Place your plant in the newly prepared pot and cover the top with more of the potting soil mixture. Be sure that the entire root ball is covered with the soil mixture , but don’t bury the plant deeper than it was in the first pot.[19]
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    • You can also layer small rocks or gravel on the top of the soil, which helps reduce the evaporation of water.[20]
  6. Do not water immediately after repotting. Your Aloe vera plant needs a few days to readjust to its new pot and to repair any broken roots.[21]
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EditMonitoring Water

  1. Check the soil. You can tell if your Aloe vera plant needs to be watered by pressing your index finger a few inches down into the soil. If the soil is dry, your plant needs water. Aloe vera plants are succulents and do not need to be watered often. Overwatering can kill your plant![22]
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    • If you keep your plant outside, watering every two weeks should be sufficient.[23]
    • If you keep your plant inside, water it every three to four weeks.[24]
  2. Modify watering according to the season. Aloe vera plants need more water in the warmer months, but less in the cooler months. Water less often in Fall and Winter, especially if your plant lives in a cool space.[25]
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  3. Examine the leaves. As a succulent, Aloe vera plants store water in their leaves. If you notice the leaves are dropping or are becoming almost transparent, your plant likely needs water.[26]
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    • However, the same qualities can be a sign of root rot, caused by overwatering. Ask yourself when you watered your plant last. If you watered it recently, you should remove the plant from the pot and check for root rot.[27]
  4. Water until the soil is just moist. Water should never sit on top of the surface of the soil, so water with a light hand. Continue to check your plant weekly or bi-weekly by testing the soil to see if it needs to be watered.
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EditCaring for a Sunburnt Plant

  1. Check the leaves. If the leaves of your Aloe vera plant are turning brown or red, your plant may be sunburned.[28]
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  2. Reposition your plant. Move your plant to a place where it receives indirect, rather than direct, sunlight.[29]
    Revive a Dying Aloe Vera Plant Step 12.jpg
    • If your plant is typically in a position to receive artificial light rather than sunlight, reposition the plant so that there is a greater distance between it and the light source. You can also try moving it outside so that it is getting some indirect natural light, rather than artificial light.[30]
  3. Water your plant. Check the soil and determine if your plant needs to be watered. The soil is likely dry if your plant has been getting too much sunlight, since the water would be evaporating more quickly.[31]
    Revive a Dying Aloe Vera Plant Step 13.jpg
  4. Remove dead leaves. With a sharp, sterilized knife, cut the leaf away from the plant at the base. Any leaves that are dead take nutrients from other parts of the plant, so be sure to remove them so that the rest of your plant doesn’t suffer.[32]
    Revive a Dying Aloe Vera Plant Step 14.jpg

EditTip

  • Instead of snapping off leaves when you want to use the aloe, cut the leaves at the base with a sharp knife where the leaf meets the soil. The plant will heal itself better from a more precise cut.[33]

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How to Use a Trailing Stop Loss

A trailing stop loss is a type of stock order. Using this order will trigger a sale of your investment in the event its price drops below a certain level. The trailing stop loss order can help make the decision to sell easier, more rational and less emotional. It is designed for the investor who wishes to minimize risk, helping him or her minimize losses while maximizing potential gains.[1] With the trailing stop loss, it all happens automatically, so you and your trader don’t constantly have to watch the stock price.

EditSteps

EditUnderstanding a Trailing Stop Loss

  1. Understand how a trailing stop loss works. The trailing stop loss is a type of sell order that adjusts automatically to the moving value of the stock. Most pertinently, the trailing stop loss order moves with the value of the stock when it rises. For example:[2]
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • You purchase stock at $25.
    • The stock rises to $27.
    • You place a sell trailing stop loss order using a $1 trail value.
    • While the price moves up, the trailing price (stop price) will stay at $1 less than the current price.
    • The stock price reaches $29 and then it starts to drop. The trailing stop loss would be at $28.
    • Once the stock price hits $28, your trailing stop loss order will become a market order. This means that you will sell the stock. At this point, your gains are locked in (assuming a buyer can be found).
  2. Recognize what a traditional stop loss is. A traditional stop loss is an order designed to limit losses automatically. It does not follow or adjust to the stock’s changing price, unlike the trailing stop loss order.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • The traditional stop loss order is placed at a specific price point and does not change. For example:
    • You purchase stock for $30.
    • You set your traditional stop loss order at $28. In this case, the stock will be sold at $28.
    • If the stock price rises to $35 and then dips suddenly, you will still sell at $28. You will not protect the paper profit you made from the stock’s recent rise.
  3. Understand how the trailing stop loss order helps to maximize your profits. Use a trailing stop loss order instead of selling at a predetermined level. Instead the order automatically adjusts when the price of your investment rises.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • With a traditional stop loss order, say you have a $15 stock. You establish a sell level (say, $10) that will not change. If the price of your stock goes up to $20, you still have a $10 sell level. If the stock plummets, you will still sell at $10.
    • With a trailing stop loss order, say you have a $15 stock. You might establish a trailing stop loss order of 10% instead of a traditional stop loss order at, say, $13.50. If the stock goes up to $20, you will still use the 10% level. This makes your stop loss order effective at $18 (10% below $20). If you had used a traditional stop loss, your order would have sold at $13.50, and you would have lost the profit you made when the stock went up.
  4. Use an easy, proactive strategy. With a trailing stop loss order, your trader won’t need to manually change the stop conditions. Rather, the trailing order changes automatically depending on the price of the stock.[3] Placing the trailing stop loss order is easy to do.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 4.jpg

EditPlacing a Trailing Stop Loss Order

  1. Find out if you can use a trailing stop loss order. Not every broker will allow you to use this strategy. Likewise, not all types of accounts will permit a trailing stop loss order. Be sure to check if your broker allows this type of transaction.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 5.jpg
    • It is highly recommended that you have the option to use this order.
  2. Track the historical movement of your stock. It is helpful to understand the historical volatility and price movements of your stock. This will give you an idea of how much the stock moves up or down in a given period of time. Use this to determine a reasonable trail value that balances between triggering a premature sale and leaving too much profit on the table. [4]
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 6.jpg
  3. Choose when you want to place the order. You can place a trailing stop loss order anytime. You can do this immediately after the initial purchase. You can also track your stock and decide to put in the trailing stop loss order later on.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 7.jpg
  4. Choose a fixed or relative amount. As noted, a trailing stop loss can be created in one of two ways. You can either use a fixed price or a relative one based on a percentage. [5]
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 8.jpg
    • For example, you can determine either a strict dollar amount (e.g., $10) for the trail or a percentage of the stock’s value (e.g., 5%). In either case, the “trail” is related to the value of the stock. This trail changes over time as the price of the stock changes.
    • By using the fixed-dollar option, you limit to a strict dollar value the amount the stock can go down from its highest point before a sell order is automatically placed. Dollar amounts cannot have more than two decimal places (in other words, no tenths of a cent.) [6]
    • By using a percentage approach, you can define the appropriate range to allow the stock to go up and down while in a generally rising trend. Percentages used must be between 1% and 30% of the current price. [7]
    • Know the risk. The risk with any stop loss is that the stock may dip below the sell point and trigger a sale. Then the stock may reverse and go back up, leaving you behind without the newly accrued profit.
  5. Determine a reasonable trail value. Figure out how much you’d like your trailing stop loss to be. [8] Talk with your broker to determine an appropriate dollar amount or percentage for your trailing stop loss order.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 9.jpg
    • If you set the value too tight, you might trigger a sale prematurely.
    • If you set the value too wide, you might leave too much profit on the table if the stock begins to fall.
  6. Specify if you want a day or GTC order. The trailing stop loss can be placed as either a day or GTC (Good ‘til Canceled) order. This defines the length of time that the trailing stop loss order will be in effect.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 10.jpg
    • The day order is good until the close of the current day’s market (4 p.m. Eastern Time). If you place the day order when the market is closed, it will remain in effect until the close of the next day of trading. [9]
    • The GTC order is good for 120 days in most cases. Thus, the order will be canceled after 120 days. There are some orders that allow for unlimited time on a GTC order.
  7. Choose between a market order and a limit order. A market order is an order to buy or sell the investment at the best current price available. [10] A limit order allows you to set up the purchase or sale of stock at a certain price.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 11.jpg
    • Once you reach the stop price that you’ve specified in your trailing stop loss order, you can put through a market or limit order. This means that you will sell your stock.
  8. A market order is a default order. It will execute without regard to price.
    Use a Trailing Stop Loss Step 12.jpg

EditTips

  • A trailing stop loss can also be placed on short equity positions and options.

EditWarnings

  • Choose a traditional stop loss order for highly volatile stocks.[11]

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How to Solve Relationship Problems

Relationships may develop problems for a variety of reasons, but poor communication is often the reason why some people have a hard time solving these problems. If you are in a relationship that has hit a rough patch, then you may benefit from improving the communication between your partner and yourself. You can also learn how to deal with problems as they arise in order to move past arguments and toward solutions. After things have gotten better, there are things that you can do to ensure that your relationship continues to thrive and grow.

EditSteps

EditImproving Communication

  1. Schedule time to just talk. When problems start, communication often breaks down and you may notice that you and your partner do not talk as much as you used to. To start improving your communication again, try making little appointments to chat about little things.[1][2][3]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • For example, you could set aside 15 minutes per morning to sit and tell each other about your plans for the day. Or, you could give your partner a call on his or her lunch break to check in and see how your partner’s day is going.
    • Scheduling time to talk about relationship problems can be useful as well. By setting a time limit for discussing your problem, you may reduce some of the tension in your relationship and get closer to a solution. For example, you could decide to discuss a specific problem from 7-8pm.
    • Keep these conversations as light as possible and avoid discussing anything that might upset your partner during this time. The goal is to get a rapport going again. Of course, if your partner is having a bad day or is feeling stressed about something, listen and be supportive and encouraging.
  2. Discuss problems in a public place. If you and your partner are prone to shouting at each other during arguments, try going to a public place to discuss problem topics. Got to a library, a coffee shop, or the mall to talk through the issue. The knowledge that you may cause a scene if you yell at each other should help you to keep your voices down and have a more civil conversation.[4]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 2 Version 2.jpg
  3. Work on active listening skills. Problems may also arise in relationships if a partner feels like he or she is not being heard. To eliminate this potential problem, practice active listening skills when your partner is talking to you.[5]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 3 Version 3.jpg
    • Make eye contact with your partner when he or she is talking. Do not look away, look at your phone, or anywhere else when your partner is talking to you. Give your partner your full attention.
    • Nod your head and indicate your interest with neutral statements, such as “yes,” “I see,” and “go on.”
    • Rephrase what your partner has just said to make sure that you have understood him or her.
  4. Stick to “I” statements. Making “you” statements may cause your partner to feel as though you are assigning blame. This can lead to defensiveness and even a fight. Therefore, it is important to use “I” statements to let your partner know what is bothering you.[6]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 4 Version 4.jpg
    • For example, instead of saying, “You never make the bed in the morning,” say, “I would really appreciate it if you could make the bed if you get up after I do.”
  5. Express your appreciation for each other. Feeling unappreciated can cause problems in a relationship as well. That is why it is so important to remember to say things like “thank you” and “I appreciate you” as often as possible.[7]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, if your partner often loads the dishwasher after dinner and tidies up the kitchen, let him or her know that you value these activities. Say something like, “I just want to say thank you for keeping our kitchen so clean and nice. I appreciate that so much.”
  6. Think before you speak. Sometimes an argument may get heated and you may find yourself saying or wanting to say things that are meant to make your partner feel bad about him or herself rather than to solve your problems. If you feel the urge to say something hurtful to your partner, take a moment to stop and think about what the problem is and what you could say to move closer to a solution.[8]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 6 Version 3.jpg
    • For example, instead of calling your partner a mean name or insulting him or her in some other way, identify what you want him or her to do.
  7. Allow your partner to finish speaking before you respond. Interrupting your partner before he or she has finished speaking is also a common cause of problems. If you often interrupt your partner, try to end this habit and allow your partner to finish speaking before you say anything. Doing so will help your partner to feel heard and give you a chance to learn what his or her complaint is all about.[9]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 7 Version 2.jpg
  8. Apologize if you are at fault. Sometimes you will need to apologize in order to move forward with your partner. Try to be honest with yourself and determine if you are at fault and if you need to apologize. If you make an apology, make sure that it is sincere, specific, and expresses what you plan to do to make things right.[10]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 8.jpg
    • For example, you might say something like, “I am sorry for not calling you to tell you that I was going to be late. I will try to be more thoughtful in the future.”

EditWorking Towards a Solution

  1. Identify the problem. The first step in solving a specific relationship problem is to figure out what the problem really is. For example, if you and your partner have been arguing a lot lately, try to pinpoint the reason why. It may be different for each of you.[11]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 9.jpg
    • For example, you may feel that your partner is not helping out around the house as much as he or she should be, and your partner may feel like you are too demanding. Take some time to think about what is bothering you and have your partner do the same.
  2. Express your needs. Once you have identified the problem, you will need to express how you feel to your partner. When you do so, make sure that you use “I” statements to express your feelings and avoid blaming your partner for the way that you feel.[12]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 10.jpg
    • For example, you might say, “I have been feeling overwhelmed by the housework and I could use some more help from you.” Your partner might say something like, “I have been feeling overwhelmed as well because of my work schedule and I feel like you don’t appreciate how hard I work.”
  3. Acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Acknowledging that you have heard your partner and that you understand how he or she feels is a good way to move forward. Avoid getting defensive because this will only lead to an argument and deepening resentment. Instead, let your partner know that you hear and understand.[13]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 11.jpg
    • For example, you might say something like, “Okay, I hear what you are saying. I did not realize that you felt that way.”
    • Do not get defensive even if your partner responds to you with a defensive claim, such as “You are always nagging me and you never appreciate how hard I work.” Acknowledge your partner’s feelings and move on.
  4. Make a plan with your partner. Once you have expressed yourselves and acknowledged each other’s feelings, you and your partner will need to come up with a plan to cut down on the frequency of disagreements and the amount of time spent arguing. Try to reach a compromise with your partner so that both of you feel like your needs are being met.[14]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 12.jpg
    • For example, if your partner has been feeling unappreciated, then you can promise to acknowledge his or her efforts more often. You might also make it a rule that you will not ask you partner to do anything until he or she has had a chance to unwind a bit. Your partner might then promise you that he or she will be more consistent with certain household chores.
  5. Keep your promises. Once you and your partner have come up with a plan to resolve your issues, make sure that you keep your promises. Otherwise, you may end up in the same place as you were before.[15]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 13.jpg
    • For example, if you promised to take out the garbage every night after dinner, make sure that you do so. Otherwise, your partner may start to feel resentful and begin lapsing on his or her promises as well.
  6. Be prepared to repeat these steps. For relationships to work, each partner needs to work on the relationship consistently. Productive, assertive, open, trusting, and respectful communications and using problem solving skills can help in resolving relationship issues. A relationship is always a work in progress, and new challenges will arise. Work with your partner to maintain a healthy, supportive relationship.
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 14.jpg

EditMaintaining a Healthy Relationship

  1. Start a date night. Set aside one night per week or at least once per month as a date night for you and your partner. Go out to dinner, see a movie, go for a hike or bike ride, or do whatever you like to do together. Having regular date nights will help to improve your intimacy levels and help to keep things fun as well.[16]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 15.jpg
  2. Go away together for a weekend. An occasional weekend getaway is a great way to improve intimacy in a relationship. Try to set aside two weekends per year to get away from your normal routines and just spend some quality time together.[17]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 16.jpg
    • You don’t need to go far to get away. Try visiting a nearby city for a couple of nights. Go out to a nice dinner, see a play, or visit some museums together.
  3. Hold hands, hug, and kiss. Physical contact is crucial to maintaining a positive relationship and it can also help to relieve stress. s is a great way to maintain a physical bond, but casual physical contact can provide benefits as well.[18]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 17.jpg
    • For example, you can hold your partner’s hand while watching a movie, give your partner a kiss before you leave for work, or hug your partner before you go to bed each night.
  4. Give each other space. Having time apart is a good way to keep a relationship fresh and healthy. Make sure that you maintain friendships and other interests so that you do not rely too heavily on your partner. It is important to have a life of your own as well as with your partner. Set aside some time each week to indulge in your own interests and spend time with your friends.[19]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 18.jpg
    • For example, you might have a girl’s or guy’s night out once per week, take a class by yourself, or join a special interest group on your own.
  5. Try new things with your partner. To keep growing your relationship, taking up a new hobby together or doing something that is totally new for both of you is a great way to strengthen your bond. Choose something that you both want to do, but that neither one of you has tried before. [20]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 19.jpg
    • For example, you could take a gourmet cooking class together, join a local hiking club, or try to learn a new language together.
  6. Consider couples therapy. If you still cannot resolve your relationship problems despite your best efforts, then couples therapy may be the best option. Sometime communication can become so forced and resentment may be so intense that professional help is required. Find a therapist who specializes in couples counseling to get best possible help for you and your partner.[21]
    Solve Relationship Problems Step 20.jpg

EditTips

  • Try to be patient. Solving relationship problems can be a long process, especially if the problems have been going on for a while.
  • Remember to be mature. Jumping to conclusions, screaming at one another, and trying to get revenge is not the way to go. This can lead to more issues in the relationship.

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How to Circular Breathe

In normal breathing, people usually inhale through the nose and exhale using just the lungs. For woodwind players, this process can be limiting. They can’t hold notes for as long as they may need to, and they can’t adapt some of the music written for other kinds of instruments. Circular breathing, a method that lets you exhale and inhale simultaneously, opens up more possibilities for these musicians. While relatively new to western music, circular breathing has been practiced in other cultures for centuries or longer, perhaps first developed by Aboriginal populations in Australia.[1]

EditSteps

EditLearning the Method

  1. Fill your cheeks with air, and breathe in and out through your nose. What you’re doing is establishing a second a second source of air that you can use when your lungs run out.[2]
    Circular Breathe Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • While this may make you look like a chipmunk, the more useful analogy is to think of yourself as a human bagpipe, and your cheeks as the bellows.[3]
  2. Blow out the air you have been holding in your mouth. Close your jaw, but make a tiny opening in your mouth, and use your cheek muscles to push the out slowly.[4] Continue to breathe in deeply through your nose.[5] Control the motion so that it takes between three and five seconds to blow out the air in your mouth[6]
    Circular Breathe Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Experts differ somewhat on this step. Some recommend keeping your cheeks puffed out the entire time, refilling them frequently with little bits of air from the lungs.[7] Others, however, suggest that it might be more natural to let your cheeks return to a normal breathing position as you let the air out of your mouth.[8]
    • Experiment with both to determine which is more comfortable—and effective—for you and your instrument.
  3. Switch to exhaling using your lungs when the air in your mouth runs out. Since you have been breathing in through your nose the whole time, your lungs should fill up by the time the air in your mouth runs out.[9] You can change where the air is coming from by closing your soft palate.[10]
    Circular Breathe Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Fill your cheeks with air again. You should do this right before your lungs run out, so you have time to fill your lungs again while you are using the air stored in your mouth.[11]
    Circular Breathe Step 4 Version 3.jpg
  5. Repeat this sequence continuously. Once you are able to turn it into a seamless process, you will never have to pause to take a breath while playing your instrument again.[12]
    Circular Breathe Step 5 Version 2.jpg

EditPracticing the Technique

  1. Practice spitting. Spitting a thin stream of water can give you a good sense of the technique, in part because water is visible while air is not. Spitting while circular breathing will also more closely replicate the force you will need to produce sound on your instrument.[13]
    Circular Breathe Step 6 Version 2.jpg
    • Fill your mouth with as much water as you can.
    • Breathing in and out through your nose, spit the water into the sink in a thin, continuous stream.
  2. Use a straw. Pursing your lips around a straw will mimic the embouchure (mouth position) you use to play your instrument, so this is a good way to practice. Put a straw in a glass of water, and follow the steps for circular breathing while trying to blow in such a way that produces a constant stream of bubbles.[14]
    Circular Breathe Step 7 Version 2.jpg
  3. Vocalize. Circular breathing may have been first developed to play the didgeridoo, most often used to produce long, sustained notes. Teachers of this instrument suggest that vocalizing can lead to a smoother process.[15]
    Circular Breathe Step 8 Version 2.jpg
    • Make a strong “HA” sound when switching from the air in your cheeks to the air in your lungs.
  4. Try your mouthpiece. Blowing through a straw can help with technique, but it won’t give you any sense of how it sounds. With just your mouthpiece, you’ll know if you’re producing sound without having to worry too much about its resonance or quality.[16]
    Circular Breathe Step 9 Version 2.jpg
    • If you hear any noticeable break in the sound, you are probably waiting until one source of air is fully depleted before switching to the other one. Switch from your mouth to your lungs and vice versa the second before the one you are using runs out of air.
    • This exercise is also helpful because it will give you a sense of how firmly you need to hold your lips for the technique to be successful.

EditGoing to Your Instrument

  1. Try it as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you have mastered the technique in practice settings to apply it to your instrument. The only way to get better at it is to do it, so add the rest of your instrument as soon as you can make a sound using just your mouthpiece.[17]
    Circular Breathe Step 10 Version 2.jpg
  2. Work your way up. Do not start with complicated music, or with songs at all. Instead, start by holding single notes, then move on to easy, repetitive exercises. This will let you continue to perfect your technique.[18]
    Circular Breathe Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Some registers will make this easier than others. You may find it easier to start with exercises that hit the higher part of your instrument’s range.[19]
  3. Practice a little bit each day. Circular breathing can be mentally and physically tiring at first, so you might find it hard to keep it up for long. However, this doesn’t mean that you should only practice once in a while. Instead, try three daily sessions of a few minutes each while you are learning the technique.[20]
    Circular Breathe Step 12 Version 2.jpg

EditTips

  • Continue to breathe into and from your diaphragm while you are circular breathing. This is something extra, not something that lets you throw out the basics of goof breathing technique.[21]
  • Don’t think of the technique in terms of switching from one source of air to another, which can lead to a less than seamless transition. Instead, think about it as one continuous process.
  • When you first start learning the technique, don’t try to go through the whole process at once. Get used to the first step, then the first and the second step, and so on.[22]
  • Be prepared to devote months or even years to perfecting the technique. It took you years to become skilled at your instrument, and circular breathing is no different.[23]

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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How to Make a Triple Chocolate Cake

If you want a decadent chocolate cake with three different flavors of both cake and frosting, this is the cake for you. With white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate cake as well as frosting, this three-layer cake will satisfy any chocolate lover who has a passion for cake.

EditIngredients

EditFor the White Chocolate Cake[1]

  • all-purpose flour
  • white sugar
  • butter, softened
  • 1-2 eggs
  • buttermilk
  • white chocolate
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • hot water

EditFor the Milk Chocolate Cake[2]

  • + all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • cocoa powder
  • 1 egg
  • milk
  • vegetable oil
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • vanilla extract
  • boiling water

EditFor the Dark Chocolate Cake[3]

  • + all-purpose flour
  • sugar
  • milk
  • 1 egg
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • baking soda
  • dark cocoa powder
  • salt
  • vegetable oil
  • vanilla extract
  • – boiling water

EditFor the Frosting

White Chocolate Frosting[4]

  • white chocolate
  • all-purpose flour
  • milk
  • butter
  • sugar
  • vanilla extract

Milk Chocolate Frosting[5]

  • butter
  • cocoa powder
  • powdered sugar
  • milk
  • vanilla extract

Dark Chocolate Frosting[6]

  • butter
  • dark cocoa powder
  • powdered sugar
  • and milk
  • vanilla extract

EditSteps

EditMaking the White Chocolate Layer

  1. Preheat the oven to . Grease and flour a round 9-inch cake pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 1.jpg
    • If you have one, try using a cake pan with a removable bottom. This can make it easier to remove the cake from the pan later.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 2.jpg
  3. Melt the white chocolate. Using a small saucepan, melt the white chocolate and combine it with the hot water. Mix the combination until it becomes smooth.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 3.jpg
  4. Allow the white chocolate mixture to cool.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 4.jpg
  5. Combine the butter and sugar. Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream them together using a hand mixer.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 5.jpg
  6. Crack the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time. Mix well after adding each egg.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 6.jpg
  7. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and buttermilk. Combine well.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 7.jpg
  8. Add the white chocolate into the cake mixture and mix well.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 8.jpg
  9. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the leftover cake batter out of the bowl and into the pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 9.jpg
  10. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 10.jpg
  11. Allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 11.jpg

EditMaking the Milk Chocolate Layer

  1. Preheat the oven to . Grease and flour a round 9-inch cake pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 12.jpg
    • If you have one, try using a cake pan with a removable bottom. This can make it easier to remove the cake from the pan later.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder with a whisk.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 13.jpg
  3. Add the wet ingredients. Crack in the eggs and pour in the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to blend the ingredients together for about two minutes, or until fully mixed.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 14.jpg
  4. Stir in the boiling water with a spoon. The batter will be thin at this point, which is normal.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 15.jpg
  5. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the leftover cake batter out of the bowl and into the pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 16.jpg
  6. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The time may vary. However, you can tell when the cake is done if you poke a toothpick into the center, and it comes out clean.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 17.jpg
  7. Allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 18 Version 2.jpg

EditMaking the Dark Chocolate Layer

  1. Preheat the oven to . Grease and flour a round 9-inch cake pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 19.jpg
    • If you have one, try using a cake pan with a removable bottom. This can make it easier to remove the cake from the pan later.
  2. Sift the dry ingredients. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and dark cocoa powder with a whisk.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 20.jpg
  3. Add the wet ingredients. Crack in the eggs and pour in the milk, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Use a hand mixer to blend the ingredients together for about two minutes, or until fully mixed.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 21.jpg
  4. Stir in the boiling water with a spoon. The batter will be thin at this point; that’s normal.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 22.jpg
  5. Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the leftover cake batter out of the bowl and into the pan.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 23.jpg
  6. Bake the cake for 25 to 30 minutes. The time may vary. However, you can tell when the cake is done if you poke a toothpick into the center, and it comes out clean.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 24.jpg
  7. Allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 25.jpg

EditAssembling the Cake

  1. Remove the cakes from their pans. Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to make the cakes easier to remove, then place wire racks over the top of the cake pans and flip the cake pans over. Pull the pan off the cake carefully and allow the cake to fully cool.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 26.jpg
    • If you used cake pans with removable bottoms, pop the bottoms of the cake pans out and move the cakes to the wire racks to allow them to cool fully.
    • Use the time that the cakes are cooling to make the frostings, as you can’t frost the cake when it’s still warm – the frosting will melt if you try.
  2. Make the white chocolate frosting. The white chocolate frosting will add a delicious, light flavor to the layer cake.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 27.jpg
    • Start to melt the white chocolate in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir it continuously to ensure that it doesn’t burn.
    • Add the flour and milk to the melting white chocolate. Mix it until the mixture has thickened considerably.
    • Set the mixture aside to fully cool.
    • Cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a separate bowl until the mixture is fluffy.
    • Gradually mix in the white chocolate mixture, and continue to beat the mixture with a hand blender until the consistency resembles whipped cream.
  3. Make the milk chocolate frosting. Be aware that you’ll need to make more of the milk chocolate frosting than the other frostings, in order to cover the entire cake.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 28.jpg
    • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
    • Add in the cocoa powder and mix.
    • Alternate between adding the powdered sugar and milk, stirring thoroughly while adding.
    • Pour in the vanilla extract and mix.
  4. Make the dark chocolate frosting. This frosting will give the cake an extra touch of the deep flavor of dark chocolate.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 29.jpg
    • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
    • Add in the dark cocoa powder and mix.
    • Alternate between adding the powdered sugar and the milk. Mix the combination thoroughly while adding.
    • Add in the vanilla extract and mix.
  5. Place the milk chocolate layer on a plate.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 30.jpg
  6. Frost the top of the milk chocolate cake. Use either the white chocolate frosting, or the dark chocolate frosting.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 31.jpg
  7. Stack the white chocolate layer on top of the frosting.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 32.jpg
  8. Frost the top of the white chocolate layer. Use the flavor of frosting that you didn’t use for the milk chocolate layer – for example, if you frosted the milk chocolate layer with dark chocolate frosting, frost the white chocolate layer with white chocolate frosting.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 33.jpg
  9. Place the dark chocolate layer on top of the frosting.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 34.jpg
  10. Frost the whole cake with milk chocolate frosting. You can use a clean palette knife to smooth out the frosting, or in a pinch, a rubber spatula.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 35.jpg
    • If you have enough frosting, try decorating the cake with the frosting, such as by piping it.
  11. Garnish the cake, if desired. You can try many things to garnish the cake – you can top it with fresh berries, chocolate curls or shavings, chocolate sauce, or whatever you want that would go well with your triple-chocolate cake.
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 36.jpg
  12. Serve. Cut the cake into slices and place them on plates. Serve the cake alongside ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!
    Make a Triple Chocolate Cake Step 37.jpg

EditTips

  • If you want to frost the cake with white chocolate frosting or dark chocolate frosting instead of milk chocolate, you can cut the recipe for milk chocolate frosting in half and then double the recipe for the desired frosting.
  • Try stacking the cake layers in different ways (for example, with the dark chocolate layer on the bottom) if you want to change up the look of the cake.
  • The boiling water added to the cakes will moisten them, so you may want to avoid omitting it.
  • Consider garnishing the cake with 1 cup of your favorite nuts such as walnuts or pecans.

EditWarnings

  • Be careful not to over-mix the cake batter, or the cakes may turn out to be rubbery and tough.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • 3 9-inch round cake pans
  • 3 wire racks
  • Mixing bowls
  • Hand mixer
  • Spoons
  • Measuring tools
  • Rubber spatula
  • Knife
  • Plate
  • Palette knife (optional)

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations

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How to Survive a Heart Attack when Alone

Heart attacks often occur when people are alone, and knowing what to do when heart attack symptoms come on can save your life. Keep reading for more information.

EditSteps

EditKnow the Warning Signs

  1. Know the most common symptoms. The most obvious and most common symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, but there are other typical symptoms you should be aware of, too.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 1Bullet1.jpg
    • Chest discomfort usually occurs in the center of the chest. It could also be described as heaviness, tightness, pressure, aching, burning, numbness, fullness, or squeezing, and the pain can either last for several minutes or go away and come back. People sometimes mistake it for indigestion or heartburn.[1]
    • You may also experience pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
    • Additional symptoms associated with heart attack can include:
      • Difficulty breathing
      • Sweating or “cold” sweating
      • A feeling of fullness, indigestion, or choking
      • Nausea or vomiting
      • Light-headedness, dizziness, extreme weakness, or extreme anxiety
      • Rapid, irregular heartbeats
  2. Note that women’s symptoms can differ. Even though women frequently experience chest pain and other common symptoms of heart attack, they are also more likely to experience less common symptoms, as well.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 2Bullet1.jpg
    • These symptoms can include:
      • Upper back pain or shoulder pain
      • Jaw pain or pain that spreads to the jaw
      • Pain that spreads to the arm
      • Unusual fatigue for multiple days
      • Difficulty sleeping
    • Up to 78 percent of female heart attack patients have experienced at least one other common or uncommon symptom for more than one month prior to their heart attack.
  3. Never downplay your symptoms. People often expect heart attacks to be dramatic and instantaneous, but the truth is that many heart attacks are mild and can continue for an hour or longer. Mild heart attacks can be just as serious, though, so if you experience any of the symptoms described here for 5 minutes or longer, you should being taking steps to ensure your survival.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 3.jpg
    • You should try to get treatment for your heart attack within the first hour of your initial symptoms. If you wait longer than that, your heart will have more difficulty repairing the damage. The ultimate goal is to have the constricted artery back open within 90 minutes to minimize damage as much as possible.[2]
    • People often wait to seek treatment because the symptoms vary from what they expect or because they think the symptoms are related to other health issues. They may also delay if they are young and skeptical about a heart attack happening to them or if they are in denial about the seriousness of their symptoms and trying to avoid the embarrassment of going to the hospital for a “false alarm.”

EditTake Action

  1. Call 9-1-1 immediately. The most important thing to do when you suspect that you are having a heart attack is to call emergency medical services.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 4.jpg
    • Always call 9-1-1 before you attempt to contact anyone else. This will almost always be the quickest way to get treatment, and even if you live in an area that an ambulance may have a hard time getting to, the 9-1-1 dispatcher can provide you with instructions on how to minimize the damage.
    • Emergency help can begin treatment as soon as they arrive, which is another reason why this is a better option than calling a friend or relative for help.
  2. Consider contacting someone to come over immediately. If you have a trustworthy neighbor or relative who lives nearby, make another phone call asking that person to come meet you. Having another person nearby can be helpful if you suddenly go into cardiac arrest.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 5.jpg
    • You should only do this if the 9-1-1 dispatcher gives you permission to get off the phone or if you have a second line you can call on while the dispatcher stays on the first line.
    • Do not rely on another person to get you to the hospital unless instructed to do so by the 9-1-1 dispatcher. Wait for emergency paramedics to show up.
  3. Chew on aspirin.[3] Chew and swallow a single 325-mg non-enteric coated aspirin tablet. This is especially effective if done within 30 minutes of your first symptoms.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 6.jpg
    • Aspirin inhibits platelets, which are a key component in the formation of blood clots. Taking aspirin can delay the formation of blood clots that could further block your arteries during a heart attack.
    • Do not use enteric coated tablets since these will release too slowly to be of much use.
    • Chew the aspirin before swallowing it. By chewing the aspirin, you release more of the medicine directly into your stomach and hasten its ability to get into your blood stream.
    • If you are on a medication that interacts poorly with aspirin or have otherwise been told by your doctor not to take aspirin, do not use this treatment.
  4. Do not attempt to drive. Driving yourself to the hospital is not recommended, and if you begin to experience heart attack symptom while you are behind the wheel, you should immediately pull off to the side of the road.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 7.jpg
    • The only reason you should consider driving yourself to the hospital is if all other options have been completely exhausted and it is, quite literally, the only way for you to get emergency medical treatment.
    • If you suffer from complete cardiac arrest, you will probably end up passing out. This is the main reason why driving while suffering from a heart attack is ill-advised.
  5. Remain calm. As frightening as a heart attack is, rushing around or putting yourself into a state of panic can worsen the problem. Relax as much as possible to keep your heart rate steady and calm.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 8Bullet2.jpg
    • To calm yourself down, think of a soothing memory and assure yourself that you have familiarized yourself with what you need to do and that help is on the way.
    • Count as a way of slowing your heartbeat. Make sure that your counts are slow, and use the standard one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand, three-one-thousand… approach.
  6. Lie down. Lie on your back and raise your legs upward. This opens up the diaphragm, making it easier for you to breathe and supply oxygen to your blood.[4]
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 9.jpg
    • Make the position easier to maintain by propping your legs up on pillows or another object. You could also lie down on the floor with your legs propped up on a couch or chair.
    • If you cannot immediately lie down or sit, such as working on a ladder or crossing traffic, you make your way carefully, using the horizon and what you see to help keep yourself oriented. If you feel dizzy, or unable to walk properly, watching a fixed object such as the horizon, or a large fixed object, might help calm you and help you control the situation until help arrives.
  7. Take deep, steady breaths of fresh air. Even though your natural instinct might be to take rapid breaths when you experience a heart attack, the best way to maintain a steady supply of oxygen to your blood and your heart is to take slow, deep breaths.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 10Bullet1.jpg
    • Consider lying down in front of an open window, open door, fan, or air conditioner. Providing yourself with a consistent stream of fresh air can further help supply your heart with oxygen.
  8. Do not attempt “cough CPR.”[5] For quite some time, there was an Internet hoax going around saying that you could survive a heart attack when alone by coughing in a particular manner. This probably won’t work, and worse still, attempting this technique may even put you in graver danger.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 11Bullet2.jpg
    • Cough CPR is used in hospitals on occasion for patients who are about to go into full cardiac arrest. Even then, it should only be done under the strict supervision and instruction of a doctor.
    • Attempting this procedure on your own can cause you to accidentally throw off the rhythm of your heart and make it harder to get oxygen into your blood rather than easier.
  9. Avoid food and drink. Eating and drinking are probably the last things on your mind when you experience a heart attack, but just in case, you should avoid food and drink even if you want them. Having anything other than aspirin in your system can make it more complicated for paramedics to give you adequate treatment.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 12.jpg
    • If necessary, you can swallow a little water to help you get the aspirin into your system, but even this should be avoided if possible.

EditFollow-Up

  1. Talk to your doctor about what to do in the future. Suffering a heart attack once increases your risk of experiencing a heart attack in the future. When you survive your heart attack this time around, you should talk with your physician to discuss ways of improving your chances of survival if you should suffer from one again.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 13.jpg
    • Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to treat underlying cardiac problems. For instance, he or she might give you nitroglycerin to help widen the blood vessels and lower pressure on the arteries. He or she may also try beta blockers, which work by blocking the hormones responsible for triggering stress responses in the heart and surrounding cardiac tissue.
    • A doctor may also give you bottled oxygen for you to inhale should another heart attack occur.
    • Aside from talking about medications, you should also talk with your doctor about ways to reduce your risks of experiencing further heart disease through diet, exercise, and lifestyle.
  2. Check into getting a Personal Emergency Response System (PERS). A PERS is an electronic device you can wear around your neck or slip into your pocket. You can activate the device when you experience a heart attack or other medical emergency and are unable to reach a phone to call 9-1-1.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 14.jpg
    • Even if you have a PERS, you should still call 9-1-1 when you are able to do so. A PERS is not quite as reliable as calling 9-1-1 directly, and you will probably get treatment faster by calling 9-1-1.
    • You should also do thorough research before purchasing a PERS to determine which has the best features and the best known reliability.
  3. Pack a “go bag”. If you are risk of experiencing a heart attack in the future, you should have your medications and emergency contact information in a bag that can be quickly grabbed on your way to the hospital.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 15Bullet1.jpg
    • Keep the bag near the door in an easily accessible area.
  4. Keep a card with your medical information in your wallet, regardless. Include physicians, medications with dosage and contact info for significant others, kin or caretakers.
    Survive a Heart Attack when Alone Step 15Bullet2.jpg
    • Place all your regular medications in the bag so that the paramedics and doctors know what kinds of drugs you are on. Also include a list of doctors and family members to contact in case of emergency.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Telephone
  • Aspirin

EditSources and Citations

Cite error: <ref> tags exist, but no <references/> tag was found

How to Cut a Fade Haircut

The fade haircut is a popular, flattering style that encompasses any type of cut in which the hair is cut short near the neck and gradually gets longer near the top of the head. Do a little research to figure out what type of fade you want, then use clippers and a pair of barber scissors to cut the fade. Read on to find out how to get started.

EditSteps

EditPlan the Haircut

  1. Figure out how short to cut the hair. Fade haircuts are typically short, even buzzed, near the nape of the neck. The hair gradually gets longer on the back and sides of the head, and it’s longest at the top of the head. Any type of gradual transition from short to long is considered a fade, so before you begin, it’s important to know how short you want the shortest part, and how long the longest part should be. Consider these distinctive fade haircut styles:
    Cut a Fade Haircut Step 1 Version 4.jpg
    • A Caesar fade: The Caesar fade is cut very short in the back and on the sides with a slightly greater length on top. The hair on top is combed forward, rather than parted, and the short bangs are typically swept to the side.
    • A high and tight: A high and tight haircut is virtually shaved on the sides and in the back, with a short cap of buzzed hair on top. It’s a popular military style.
    • A Princeton: This type of haircut is an inch or two long on top with a gradual fade to a shorter length in the back and on the sides.
    • A fauxhawk: This cut is like a Princeton, but with a sharper fade. The top is quite long and the back and sides are buzzed or shaved.
  2. Decide where to start the fade. Everyone has a different preference for where the hair should fade from longer to shorter. The fade typically starts at the ears and becomes shorter down to the neck. Fading at the ears flatters most head shapes, but you should take the following factors into account to personalize the cut:
    • If the person’s hair is finer in some places than in others, the fade should begin where the hair texture changes (as long as that’s close to the ears). This will make it easier to created a blended look.
    • If the person has a cowlick that would make it difficult to fade at a certain point on the head, plan to start the fade just above or below it.

EditCut a Short Fade

  1. Use clippers. Using clippers for a close cut results in an even, neat effect that’s more difficult to attain with scissors. Using a different guard setting for each length – #3 for the top, #2 for the sides, and #1 for the neck area – is the best way to create a high and tight or another shorter style. This method is often called the 1-2-3 method.
  2. Start with the #3 guard. Set the clippers to the #3 guard length and buzz the entire head, including the top, sides and back, so that each part of the hair is a uniform length. Work against the grain of the hair to achieve an even cut.
  3. Switch to the #2 guard. Beginning in the back, cut the hair in vertical strokes from the neck toward the crown, stopping just short of the crown so that the hair on top of the head is left long.
    • As you near the crown with each stroke, pull back a bit so that the hair lengths fade together smoothly. Do the same on the sides of the head, taking care to pull back at the same height around the head.
    • Blend any uneven lines by going back over them with the #2 guard.
  4. Finish with the #1 guard. Start at the nape of the neck and work in upward strokes toward the middle of the back of the head. Pull back a bit to blend the shorter hair with the longer hair. Continue around the head, pulling back at the same height in each area.
  5. Examine the cut. If there are any spots that are uneven, too short or too long, go back over them with the appropriate clipper guard. Shave the hair from the neck to create neat edge at the bottom of the hairline.

EditCut a Long Fade

  1. Use a combination of scissors and clippers. More complicated fade haircuts like the Caesar and the Princeton require the use of more than one tool. The concept is the same – longer on top, shorter on the sides and in the back – but the method for achieving longer fade looks is completely different.
    • Wetting longer hair may makes it easier to work with. Have the person whose hair you are cutting shampoo his or her hair and pat it dry with a towel before you get started.
  2. Trim the bottom. This time start by trimming the bottom of the hair, starting at the nape of the neck and moving upward. Use a comb to lift sections of hair between your forefinger and middle finger. Your fingers should be aligned vertically with the head. Use the scissors to trim the portion of hair sticking out from between your fingers. Continue gathering small sections of hair and trimming them to the same length until the back of the hair has been trimmed from the nape of the neck to just below the ears.
    • If the person whose hair you are cutting wants buzzed hair at the bottom of the fade, use the #3 guard on the clippers to trim the hair from the nape of the neck to just below the ears and the line between them around the back of the head. Use upward strokes and pull back gradually just before you reach the ear line.
  3. Move up to the sides and the back of the head. Using the same method you used to gather sections of hair between your fingers and cut the hair protruding from them, work around the sides of the head and the area above the ear line on the back of the head. This time, side your fingers away from the head slightly so that less hair protrudes from them.
    • Angle the scissors slightly so that they follow the slant of the head. Pointing the tips of the scissors toward the head, rather than slightly away, will result in a choppy-looking cut.
    • When you’re finished with the second part of the fade, examine the hair. It should be shorter around the neck and up to the ear line, and slightly longer above the ear line and just below the crown. Correct any spots that look choppy by carefully trimming sections of hair with the scissors, always angled to follow the slant of the head.
  4. Trim the top. Lift sections of hair straight up from the top of the head so that the tips of the hair protrude from between your forefinger and middle finger. Snip the tips of the hair with the scissors. Continue trimming the hair at the top of the head in this fashion until you’ve trimmed it all to the same length.
    • Examine the fade from the crown area to the back of the head. Is the fade smooth? If not, use the scissors to even things out. Remember to hold your fingers vertically, rather than horizontally, to prevent a staircase effect.
    • Check out the front of the hair. Are the bangs trimmed to the correct length? Take extra care to trim the bangs and sideburns neatly.
  5. Examine the haircut. Comb the hair, then have the person check out the sides and back to make sure he or she is happy with the way it turned out. If necessary, wet the hair again and use the scissors to even it out in places where it looks choppy.

EditVideo

EditTips

  • You will not be able to apply the exact same technique or sequence in cutting for everyone. As you begin cutting, you will see all kinds of hair types and depending on the type, you will notice you will have to adjust your technique. Determining the exact formula that works on each head will take time. With enough practice, you will be able to just look at the hair and know what to expect.

EditThings You’ll Need

  • Professional grade clippers (with at least 3 adjustable guard lengths)
  • Barber scissors
  • Barber comb
  • Mirror

EditRelated wikiHows

EditSources and Citations