Professional or at-home repairs that will save your soles.
When to Go to a Pro While you can do a few quick repairs at home, it's often easier ? and just as affordable ? to make that (wobbly) trip to the shoe-repair shop.
Broken Heel The Solution: A shoe pro can replace the metal pin that runs down the center of the heel. "Replace both heels at once for better balance," says Louise Ramuta of Ramuta's Shoe Repair, in Seattle. Cost: $10 to $30 per heel. Options:If your stilettos tend to snap, create a sturdier pair of shoes by having the shop grind a quarter inch off the existing heels. Cost: $10.
Torn Strap The Solution: Your shoe repairman can sew, glue, or tack a ripped strap back into place. Resist the urge to DIY with superglue, says Ramuta ? it tends to crack leather. Cost: $6 to $12 per strap. Options: If your straps are so brittle that you'd rather have them replaced, a shoe repairman can sew on a new, bone-colored strap, then dye it to match your shoes. Cost: $15 to $18.
Worn-Out Soles The Solution: "Replace your soles when the centers feel soft and spongy," says Frank Sorrentino, who replaces 50 to 100 soles a week as owner of Mont Clare Shoe Repair, in Chicago. Cost: $25 to replace leather soles; $15 to replace rubber soles. Options: Apply thin rubber sole guards to the bottoms of new shoes to prolong their life. When the guards wear out, you can replace them rather than the soles. Cost: $15 to $20.
Ill-Fitting Slingbacks The Solution: Your shoe repairman can shorten the straps, add elastic, or punch an extra hole in the buckle, says Nick Valenti of B. Nelson Shoes, in New York City. Cost: $5 and up to shorten the straps or add an extra hole; $8 and up to add elastic. Options: Transform slingbacks into slides by having the back straps removed. Ask a shoe pro for advice, though, since the front part alone might not be enough to hold your foot. Cost: $5.
Fading Color The Solution: To restore your black pumps to their original shade, pros remove as much of the existing color as possible, then apply at least two coats of dye, allowing 48 hours between coats. Cost: $12 to $20. Options: If those pink slingbacks are now a bit too Barbie for your tastes, you can dye them a new color, like black, navy, or camel. However, going from light to dark works best. Cost: $12 to $20.
Badly Scuffed or Torn Shoes The Solution: A shoe repairman can sand and smooth the plastic base of the heel or replace the heel cover. But if there are deep gouges in the leather, you may need new shoes. Cost: $20 to $30. Options: If your dog is the culprit, Valenti recommends spritzing your shoes with bitter apple. RS pick: Grannick's Bitter Apple Spray, $5, PetSmart, www.petsmart.com.
Boots That Don't Fit in the Calf The Solution: Can't get that zipper all...the...way...up? Your shoe-repair shop can stretch the calf area or add a zipper or an elastic gusset (a triangular insert that allows more stretch up top). Cost: $15 to stretch the calf area; $35 to add an elastic gusset or a zipper. Options: Alternatively, if your boots are too big up top, have them taken in. "We take the boot apart, recut it to fit the contour of your leg, then resew it," says Sorrentino. Cost: $35 and up.
Uncomfortable Pointy-Toes Shoes The Solution: If your pointiest shoes have become unbearable, your shoe repairman can give them a more comfortable round-toe shape by using a round mold, says Ramuta. Cost: $35 and up. Options: You can also go from round to pointy-toed or change your conservative pumps into open-toed shoes. Cost: $35 and up.
When to Do It Yourself You're not quite ready to hand tool a pair of loafers, but you can do your own quick fixes to solve these common shoe problems. Scratched Leather The Solution: Camouflage scratches on black or brown shoes with a matching fine Sharpie pen, then apply a cream polish in the same color. Buff the leather with an old T-shirt, then top off the job with a horsehair brush (plastic bristles leave marks). What to Use: Meltonian Shoe Cream, about $3 at shoe-repair shops. Horsehair brush, $7, www.joesshoeservice.com.
Salt Stains The Solution: To remove salt marks on leather or suede, Ada Hopkins, a conservator at the Bata Shoe Museum, in Toronto, recommends using a soft sponge dipped in a solution of one cup of water and one teaspoon of white vinegar. What to Use: White vinegar (16 ounces), about $1 at supermarkets.
Bad Odor The Solution: Shoe deodorants with odor-absorbing ingredients, like baking soda and charcoal, will help. But your best bet is to "wear them on alternate days to give them time to dry out," says Tom Adams, owner of Tom's Shoe Repair, in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. What to Use: Odor-Eaters Foot & Sneaker Spray Powder, $6 at drugstores.
Water Damage The Solution: If you get caught in a downpour, place your rain-soaked shoes on cedar shoe trees (cedar absorbs moisture) as soon as you get home. Make sure they're at least a few feet away from a direct heat source so they can dry naturally. What to Use: Cedar shoe trees, $17, .
Shoes That Are Too Small The Solution: Spray-on shoe-stretching liquid makes leather more pliable, says Howard Davis, a professor of footwear design at Parsons the New School for Design, in New York City. Saturate your shoes with the spray, then wear them around the house for about a half hour. What to Use: Premier Shoe Stretch, $3, www.shoeshinekit.com.
Shoes That Are Too Large The Solution: Insert Spenco pads, which have a thick, flat insole and a heel grip in the back to fill out a shoe that's a bit too big. "Your shoe will feel a half-size smaller," says Ramuta. Note: These pads work only with closed shoes, like pumps and boots - not sandals. What to Use: Spenco Heel Supports, about $20, www.spenco.com for store locations.
Dry, Brittle Leather The Solution: Perspiration usually keeps leather lubricated, but if your shoes have been sitting in storage over the summer, you can apply cream polish or mink oil to restore them. And if patent-leather pumps have lost their shine, use Windex or Pledge, says Nick Valenti. What to Use: Meltonian Mink Oil, $4, www.shoeshinekit.com.
Makeup reviews: cream foundation vs powder foundation
A quick guide to the pros and cons of cream versus powder foundation and it's uses.
Looking your best, minimizing those imperfections and facing the day with a fresh glow all create a high sense of self-esteem. A high self-esteem can lead to confidence in your abilities that can make all the difference in the day. Start this process with an easy and reliable makeup foundation suited to your needs. To create a smooth, even skin tone that will last throughout the day without overpowering the highlights of your blush, mascara, or lipstick; a foundation suited for your skin type is an important first step. Foundation is available in powder and cream form and is strictly a personal choice based on your preference and skin needs. Since age, stress and climate can affect your skin, re-evaluate your skin type and needs on a quarterly bases; more often if you feel it is necessary.
First determine your skin type.
Dry or Mature skin can feel tight throughout the day and may frequently show signs of flaking. A foundation with moisturizers is necessary for this skin type.
Oily or Shiny skin will frequently have a "glow" throughout the day and may require blotting of excess oil. An oil-free foundation is best for this skin type.
Combination skin, the most common, will show both dry and oily skin at different portions of the face. Water-based foundations or powder foundations are best for this skin type.
Sensitive skin can be occur with dry, oily or combination skin, and is associated with reactions to chemicals and scents within the product. Specialty foundations are available for sensitive skin to avoid reactions. These foundations may cost slightly more but are well worth the cost.
Once you've determined you skin type, decide upon cream or powdered foundation. Both types come in a variety of colors and finishes and can be used on a daily basis. Some of the pros and cons of both include the following:
Cream foundations offer a sheer, satin or matte finish that can be distributed lightly for quick coverage or more heavily for darker areas. Creams tend to last longer than powder foundations and a little can go a long way. Dry or combination skin will benefit the most from cream foundations as many varieties include a moisturizer that will benefit the skin as well as create a smooth tone. Those with mature skin should look for a cream foundation that lies on top of the skin, many creams will find their way into cracks and wrinkles by the end of the day; the opposite of what is wanted with foundation. Those with oily skin types may have a reaction to cream foundations creating an orange pigment rather than a creamy or nude tone. Cream foundations can feel heavy on your skin, as well as become tacky in hot weather.
Powder foundations also offer a sheer, satin or matte finish that easily blends on oily or combination skin. Powder foundations are available in loose powder or pressed powder. Loose powder is similar to talc powder and should be applied lightly with a brush. The best matte finish can be achieved with loose powder and it will last longer than pressed. Pressed powders are pressurized to create a particular form or can include oils to hold the powder together. Powder foundations can quickly eliminate shininess but touch-ups may be required if frequent face touching occurs throughout the day.
Decide on a color, or two, that best match your skin pigment. Try a few colors in different areas of your face as under the eyes and nose can greatly vary in colorization from your cheeks. Sometimes a blend of two colors will create the perfect skin tone match. Don't be afraid to experiment or take the advice of a makeup consultant. Keep in mind the lighting in which you'll be viewed. Makeup under florescent lights can vary in color when viewed in sunlight; test your colors in the light you'll be in most of the day.
Use the proper tools for application to get the best results. Synthetic brushes and sponges work best with creams, while natural bristle brushes will release powder foundations in a more even tone. Remember to keep in mind allergies as many makeup sponges or synthetic brushes can contain latex and other chemicals.
Whichever choice you make, keep in mind that sun damage can result; no matter how heavy makeup is applied. Remember to add sunscreen whenever you'll be in the sun or select foundations with sunscreen built in.
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