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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

11 Ways Beauty Products Can Basically Solve All of Life’s Little Problems

Take your favorite products beyond the bathroom cabinet and use them to clean, fix, and beautify in every room.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/AndreaAstes

Nail polish fixes shoes

If your shoes are looking a bit scuffed, cover up the mark with nail polish. Find a shade similar to your shoes, and dab it on the scuff to cover it up. If you’ve got a stain from color transfer, you’ll want to use the opposite: nail polish remover. Soak a cotton swab in the remover and use it to rub the mark away. Here are other clever tips to make your shoes last longer.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/imagehub88

Lip balm unsticks zippers

Rub a little lip balm on a stubborn zipper that refuses to close. The balm acts as a lubricant to help the parts slide the way they’re designed. This trick works on windows and drawers too. Spread your lip balm over the track to help them slide shut smoothly.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Lee Rogers

Hairspray gets rid of static

You’re trying to run out the door when you realize your skirt is clinging to your body—and not in a flattering way. Spritz on a bit of hairspray in place of Static Guard and you’re on your way.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Cristian Mihai Vela

Hair dryer fixes car dents

No matter how carefully you drive, you’re bound to get little dents and dings in your car. Luckily, an impression in a metal panel like the door, fender, roof, or hood can be tackled with a blow dryer. Using medium heat, aim the hot air toward the dent for about a minute, or until the paint starts to get warm to the touch. Then push the dent out from behind and hold it in place for one more minute until it cools down and the dent is nothing but a memory.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/kyoshino

Shaving cream cleans up makeup

Shaving cream can come to the rescue when you’ve spilled makeup. On tougher surfaces like rugs (delicate ones should be left to professionals), use a bit of shaving cream to clean up the mess from your foundation. If lipstick is the culprit, spritz hairspray on the area and let it sit for about ten minutes before dabbing the stain with a washcloth. This method is gentle enough for clothes, so toss your shirt in the wash to remove any remaining color.

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Emma Kapotes/, Travis Rathbone for Reader's Digest (photo)

Nail polish remover to clean a keyboard

If your computer keys are looking grubby, take a bit of nail polish remover to wipe off the grime. If all you need is a bit of dusting, use a clean eye shadow brush between the keys.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/mphillips007

Toothpaste polishes silver

No need to buy a special product to polish dingy silver. Dab some regular white toothpaste into the mark to keep your silver looking like new. Check out these other weird tricks for cleaning silver.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Lee Rogers

Petroleum jelly removes gum

If you get gum stuck in your hair, clothes, or shoes, a jar of petroleum jelly can come in handy. Work a bit through the sticky mess to remove it. Find out more cool uses for petroluem jelly here.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Grassetto

Sunscreen removes ink

When you get permanent marker on leather furniture, don’t despair—dig out the sunscreen from your beach bag. A clear, spray-on version that lists denatured alcohol as the top ingredient could do wonders against the stain. Test a bit on a less-visible section first to make sure it won’t ruin your couch’s finish, then spray some on a soft rag or cotton ball to gently tackle the stain. You might have to work at it for a bit, but the ink spot should start to get lighter. Here are more inexpensive ways to fix wear and tear around your home.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/hatchapong

Baby oil polishes wood

When wood is starting to look worn, polish it with baby oil. Mix baby oil with about a tablespoon of lemon juice, then shake it up in a spray bottle. Spritz the mixture onto a soft cloth and rub it into your furniture. The lemon juice will get your wood clean, while the baby oil adds a lustrous shine. Don’t miss these clever ways to use olive oil to polish furniture and more.

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Emma Kapotes/, iStock/Virynja

Foot pumice to de-pill sweaters

You’ve heard of using a razor to get rid of unsightly bumps that appear on your cozy sweaters, but a foot pumice can also do the trick. Run it over the pilled spot to keep your clothes looking fresh. Here are more secrets to make sweaters last longer.


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.