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DIY beauty treatments and fashion fixes

By Natalie Ermann Russell, Real Simple
January 13, 2012 -- Updated 1255 GMT (2055 HKT)
Instead of going to a salon, save money by putting your hair in an elegant updo on your own.
Instead of going to a salon, save money by putting your hair in an elegant updo on your own.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Instead of taking your worn-down heels to a shoe shop, use pliers and fix it yourself
  • Pamper yourself with a relaxing salon-style pedicure
  • Trim your own bangs rather than rushing to the hairdresser

(Real Simple) -- Save time and money with these easy step-by-steps.

Mend Hems or Seams

Time: 15 minutes, plus drying time.

What you need: Mighty Mendit bonding agent ($20, mightymendit.com). Note: Don't use this product on dry-clean-only clothing, Velcro, denier nylon (luggage fabric), vinyl, or very sheer or delicate textiles.

How-to:

Step 1. Determine where the fabric should fold up for a hem or where it should overlap for a split seam so that everything lies flat.

Step 2. Working in one- to three-inch sections, apply Mighty Mendit adhesive in a thin, wavy line (or in zigzag dots) on one of the two sides that will be joined. Fold the fabric over for a hem or press it together for a seam. Continue working in small sections until finished.

Step 3. Allow to dry for two hours. The garment can be washed after 24 hours.

A pro charges: $15 to sew up one garment

DIY cost: $0, after the initial $20 for a bottle of bonding agent

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Replace a Worn-Down Heel Tip

Time: 5 minutes.

What you need: Pliers, heel-tip replacements ($5 a pair, newheeltips.com), and a hammer.

How-to: This works best when you have at least two millimeters of plastic remaining on the heel. Use the pliers to remove the old tip from the heel. Choose a tip that fits the shape of the heel (print the type chart from newheeltips.com) and insert it into the now vacant hole. Hammer the tip into the heel (or carefully bang it against a hard surface) to make sure it's secure. Repeat for the other shoe. Strut your stuff.

Tip: Use a left-to-right twisting motion to remove the old tip rather than pulling it out. Cover the hammer and pliers with masking tape to avoid damaging the heel.

A pro charges: $12

DIY cost: $5 for heel tips

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Repair a Broken Necklace or Bracelet Clasp

Time: 5 minutes.

What you need: A magnifier or reading glasses, two pairs of flat-nose pliers ($5.50 each), a new clasp ($2.50), and jump rings if the old ones are broken ($3.50 each for silver-plated; all available at firemountaingems.com).

How-to: This is so quick, you'll be sorting through your jewelry box for other pieces to repair. Work with the magnifier or reading glasses in a space with ample light.

Step 1. Open the two jump rings, which link each side of the clasp to the string or chain. Each of these rings has a slit. With a pair of pliers in each hand, gently grip one of the rings on both sides of the slit, using a light touch. Push one hand away from you while pulling the other hand toward you until the opening is large enough for the clasp to slip out. (Don't pull the ring out to the sides or you'll misshape it.)

Step 2. Remove the old clasp and rings if they're damaged. Slip the new rings and clasp onto the necklace or bracelet and close them gently with the pliers. You're done.

A pro charges: $30

DIY cost: $11 for pliers, $2.50 to $9.50 for supplies

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Trim Your Bangs

Time: 5 to 10 minutes.

What you need: Sharp scissors (such as Rickycare six-inch shears; $15, rickysnyc.com) and a mirror.

How-to: Start with dry hair. (If your hair is wet, your bangs will wind up too short.) To ensure that you are cutting straight, look in the mirror and place the comb horizontally at the spot where you want the bottom of the bangs to be. (They should fall just above the eyebrows.) Make small snips at a vertical angle to create a soft fringe, using the point of the shears rather than chopping with the entire blade; this will give you more control. Make sure the comb remains parallel to the floor. And, finally, show restraint: Watching those cuttings raining softly into the sink can be dangerously satisfying.

A pro charges: $20

DIY cost: $0, after the initial $15 for scissors

Get a Reflexology Treatment

Time: 7 to 14 minutes.

What you need: Your hands. (Reflexology works parts of the hands or the feet to relieve tension in corresponding body parts; this routine is just for the hands.)

How-to: Perform each step for 30 to 60 seconds, on your dominant hand first, then the other. These instructions are for the right hand.

Step 1. Relax the right hand by holding the wrist and moving it around.

Step 2. Place the left thumb on the top of the right hand and, with your fingertips, massage the fleshy part beneath the right thumb. This helps to relax the spine.

Step 3. Flip over the right hand. Walk the thumb of the left hand from the right wrist to the top of the palm, making six to eight rows up and down. This can relieve tension in the spine, neck, shoulders, and organs.

Step 4. Place the right hand flat on a table. Work the left thumb over the top of the right wrist to help energize your entire body.

Step 5. With the right hand still flat, work the thumb side of the right wrist with the tips of the left fingers, which helps relax the lower-back muscles.

Step 6. Keeping your right hand on the table, work the top of the thumb with the left pointer finger, which can release neck tension.

Step 7. Lift your hand and press the left thumb into the right palm an inch below the second and third fingers. Gently rock the fingers on the right hand back and forth for overall relaxation. Say "Ahhh."

A pro charges: $60 for one hour

DIY cost: $0

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Do Your Own Pedicure

Time: 45 minutes.

What you need: A metal nail clipper, a disposable nail file, a buffing block ($4, probeautywarehouse.com), a foot file (preferably disposable; $11, buynail.com), a cuticle pusher ($3.50, buynail.com), a tub for soaking, foot cream, non-acetone polish remover, a foam toe separator or paper towels, and three polishes―base coat, color, and topcoat.

How-to:

Step 1. Trim the toenails with a clipper, then shape them with the fine-grit side of a nail file. Stroke the file in one direction; don't saw back and forth.

Step 2. Buff off any remaining fragments with a buffing block.

Step 3. Soak feet in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes or until the water turns cool. (Add a bath oil to the tub for extra softening.)

Step 4. Exfoliate with a foot file, focusing on rough patches, like the heels and the outside edges of the big toes.

Step 5. Push back cuticles using the pusher or a warm wash cloth; follow up with your favorite foot cream.

Step 6. Clean the nails with polish remover and separate the toes with a foam toe separator or pieces of paper towel.

Step 7. Apply a base coat. By the time you finish painting the last toe, you'll be ready for the colored polish.

Step 9. Apply two coats of color, allowing each coat to dry for a few minutes. Tip: Start each nail with a dab of polish in the center, then fan out in even strokes to the right and the left. Get a salon finish by swiping the brush along the tip of each nail to round the edges.

Step 10. Finish with the topcoat.

A pro charges: $35

DIY cost: $0, after the initial $18.50 for supplies

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Style Your Hair in an Updo

Time: 15 minutes.

What you need: The Pinupgirl Kit ($22, rsessiontools.com), which contains pins, elastics, and instructions for creating this and three other updos. If you need to add volume to your hair, apply a texture styling spray and curl your hair with a large-barrel curling iron.

How-to:

Step 1. Pull hair up into a ponytail and secure with an elastic band or a bungee (an elastic band that closes with hooks).

Step 2. Place the hair-bun accessory around the base of the ponytail and fasten with large bobby pins. (If your hair is thick enough, you can skip the bun accessory.)

Step 3. Flip your head over and evenly fan out the ponytail over the bun to cover it. Secure with another bungee.

Step 4. Wind the remaining hair around the base of the bun so it conceals the bungee; fix in place with bobby pins.

A pro charges: $40

DIY cost: $0, after the initial $22 for the kit

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