How to Do Just About Anything

From organizing your closet to surviving a nuclear disaster, we’ve got dozens of new skills for you to try.



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[Beauty & Style]

…Cope with Blushing

The only way to truly avoid blushing is to avoid life in general, thus “eliminating” the triggers that activate a blush, according to Dr. Erin Walker, a board-certified dermatologist at the Westchester Medical Group in White Plains. Like the sight of a loved one, the memory of a really special time with said loved one, alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sun, stress, spicy foods, exercise, wind, a change in weather. Given the alternatives, we’d rather be in the pink.

…Wash Your Hair—the Right Way

Marty Sareri, a junior stylist at the Pirri International Hair Group in Eastchester who shampoos loads of heads of hair every day, isn’t shy about lecturing clients who don’t properly moisturize (guilty as charged) or otherwise care for their tresses. “The first thing I do is diagnose the hair,” he says. “The right shampoo or conditioner can make or break your style.” For dry hair, choose moisturizing products; volumizing ones for fine or thin hair. And for those who color, use products for color-treated hair. Sareri’s favorite product? “Pirri Element’s Lava Glaze. It’s made with bergomot oil and aloe vera, gives great shine, and works on all hair types.” Water temperature too is key. “Heat opens the cuticle of the hair, cool closes it. So if you wash your hair in hot water, the color will fade sooner. A cool rinse will close the cuticle, locking in the color. You can probably extend the life of your color two to three weeks by sticking with lukewarm to cool water.” Oh, and about the “lather, rinse, repeat” instructions on the back of the shampoo bottles? Forget it. “That’s just a gimmick created by marketers to sell more product,” Sareri says. “Most people are fine with a single shampoo.”

...Avoid Going Bald

In an era of hair transplants and wigs, there are solutions to losing your prized locks. According to Yael Halaas, MD, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon from Scarsdale, you don’t have to live the rest of your life in a baseball cap.

1: Skip the Tight Hairdos. Hairstyles including cornrows, tight braids, and hair extensions have long been know to cause alopecia, or baldness, says Dr. Halaas.

2: Use Products. Dr. Halaas recommends using Propecia and Rogaine together: “Propecia prevents the stimulation of the hormone that causes hair loss, and Rogaine increases blood flow locally.” Rogaine is available in a foam solution or shampoo that can be used daily for a couple of months ($30 for the foam or $6.99 for the shampoo). Propecia requires a prescription.

3: Cover It Up. Dr. Halaas notes that, in addition to wigs, hair transplants, and laser surgery, a less extreme option is Topix, a powder that you sprinkle on your head to make your hair look thicker.

…Get a Tattoo

So you’ve finally gotten over your fear and decided to get that rebellious tattoo. What next? Have you decided where to put it? (Perhaps the newest tattoo hotspot—your ribs?) We asked local ink expert Chris Wilcock, co-owner of Addicted to Ink in White Plains, the steps to follow to get that tat.

1: Find a Design. Dragon or unicorn? Heart or skull? Wilcock suggests Googling different images, then printing out the ones you like to take to your tattoo artist.

2: Mark the Spot. “You can’t have multiple words on your wrist, and you don’t want a tattoo in a place with dips because it will look distorted,” he says. So where are the most popular locations? For girls: foot, lower back, and hip. For guys: ribs and arms.

3: Know When Cheap Is Too Cheap. Tattoos can cost $50 to a couple of hundred bucks. “If someone is willing to give you a tattoo for twenty dollars, that’s a red flag,” he says. “They are cutting corners somewhere.”

4: Prepare for the Pain. Remain seated at all times, and minimize your fidgeting by distracting yourself. Many tattoo shops provide entertainment such as television, magazines, and Xbox. The most important part of preparation? A full stomach, Wilcock says. “Clients who tend to faint arrive on an empty stomach.”

5: Understand the Aftercare. Scabbing, bleeding, and fading are common occurrences after getting tattooed and are no cause for panic, says Wilcock. And stay calm if you wake up to find that your bed sheet has an ink stain with your tattoo design. It’s all part of the healing process.

…Get a Tattoo Removed

It is an incontrovertible truth that your skin will look old and crepey much longer than it will look young and hot. So that cute little rose bud on your tush may be appealing in your firm and fabulous 20s, not so much so in your 40s or 50s. If you didn’t have the foresight to get your tats done with erasable ink (a biodegradable ink that is more easily removed via laser), you’re going to have to face the painful, expensive truth of multiple, painful, expensive laser treatments. How many? Plan on six to eight treatments, says dermatologist Dr. Walker with the Westchester Medical Group. How expensive? Figure at least $1,000. The number of visits and cost are determined by the size and colors of ink, black being the easiest to remove; brown and green the hardest, Walker reports. “I had one patient who wanted to wear a backless Vera Wang wedding gown—it took seven months to remove the multi-colored winged Pegasus that covered her entire shoulder. A small black zen symbol would’ve been much easier to remove.”

…Zap Acne For Good

First, know this: you’re not alone: acne is the most common skin condition in the country, affecting nearly 80 percent of those aged 11 to 30. Dr. Brent Wainwright, a board-certified dermatologist and an assistant clinical professor at NYU’s School of Medicine, offers these tips:

1: Gently wash affected areas twice daily. Vigorous washing and scrubbing can irritate your skin and worsen acne.

2: Use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid; it helps exfoliate skin cells, which may plug the pores. (Try Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash.) Higher concentration salicylic acid products are available for “spot-treating” individual lesions (Clinique Acne Solutions Spot Healing Gel is one).

3: Use an oil-free and non-comedogenic (meaning doesn’t clog pores) moisturizer. Try Olay’s Total Effects Daily Moisturizer or Anti-Aging Anti-Blemish. Even better, use a moisturizer with SPF as certain acne products can make you skin more sensitive to the sun (and you’ll prevent photo-aging).

4: Don’t pop, squeeze, or pick at blemishes. This can result in scarring.

5: Go to a pro. Prescription treatments may include topical medications and/or oral antibiotics that kill the acne bacteria and reduce inflammation. Newer therapies include ultra violet and laser light sources which target the acne bacteria and may decrease sebaceous (oil) gland production.

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