DIY or See a Pro?
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Thanks to a slew of new at-home products (not to mention countless tutorials of all kinds on the Internet), taking the DIY approach towards your beautyroutine is easier and more popular than ever. You could, quite feasibly, polish, primp, and perfect from head-to-toe, all in the privacy of your own bathroom. Does this mean it’s time to cancel all of your salon and spa appointments? Not quite. We asked experts to weigh in on ten common beautytreatments to determine exactly what you can do yourself…and what you should really leave up to the pros.
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The Verdict: DIY
It’s fine to wax easily accessible areas—think legs, arms, upper lip—in the privacy of your own home, says Nandi Wagner, aesthetician at Bliss Soho. To ensure super smooth skin, exfoliate the area a few days beforehand to remove any dead skin that can clog hair follicles and lead to unsightly bumps and irritation. (Just don’t exfoliate immediately prior to waxing, as the exfoliator can leave behind a residue that prevents the wax from properly adhering). Make sure you hold the skin taut as you remove the wax; this both helps you remove hair more thoroughly and minimizes the ouch factor, explains Wagner. And don’t plan on going to spin class afterward; sweat can irritate freshly waxed skin.
See a Pro If… You need to wax hard-to-reach areas, like your bikini or back. “A professional can quickly, safely, and effectively remove hair in these more tricky spots,” says Wagner.
Manicure and Pedicure
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The Verdict: DIY
If you’ve mastered the coordination to paint your own nails, we applaud you and say go for it; after all, weekly appointments can quickly put a dent in your wallet. And with new polishes launching daily, even formulas previously only available in salons, like no-chip gels, can now be found at the drugstore. Even if you haven’t yet perfected the polishing part, regular upkeep is essential for nail health. File, buff, and apply cuticle oil regularly to keep nails strong and healthy, advises Anjelica Guttierez, a nail technician at Juko Nail + Skin Rescue in Chicago.
See a Pro If… You simply enjoy the relaxation aspect of it all. After all, massaging your own feet never feels quite as good. It’s also worth hitting the salon if you need to ensure your mani or pedi lasts: “Expert filing, shaping, buffing, and polish application result in longer polish wear,” says Guttierez.
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The Verdict: See A Pro
Despite the onslaught of new, at-home microdermabrasion devices touting results comparable to the in-office version, this is most definitely not something you should try to do yourself, cautions Annet King, Director of Global Education at the International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica. “Even skilled professionals require hours of extensive training to learn how to properly and safely operate a microdermabrasion machine. Done incorrectly, it can cause trauma to the skin and even draw blood,” she says. The bottom line: It’s not about the machine, it’s about the technique. No matter how many times you read the instructions, this isn’t worth attempting yourself.
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The Verdict: See a Pro
“Even though it may seem like just a trim, any adjustment to your bangs merits seeing a professional,” explains Ray Civello, founder of Civello Salons.“Bangs can make or break a haircut, and the seemingly simple exercise is more complicated than it appears.” (Not to mention bangs grow out slowly, meaning you’ll have to live with any mistake for quite awhile). Most salons offer complimentary bang trims…just ask!