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Manicures, waxes and hair coloring: When to do it yourself, and when to call a pro

DIY mani? You've totally got this. Emergency blowout? You're no star stylist, but you mastered blow-drying your mane long ago. How about ombré hair color, a Brazilian bikini wax and a no-chip manicure? This week I've rounded up those beauty treats you can effectively DIY and those that should only be done with professional help.

Try it: Clear gloss

For those looking to add quick shine and softness to locks, there are a bevy of at-home shine glosses that are easy to apply and practically idiot proof. Ideal for hair that's frazzled thanks to a summer of fun and sun, at-home glosses mimic salon results without the hefty price tag. And as long as you pick a clear gloss, there's really no way to mess up this DIY hair treat because a DIY clear gloss is designed to impart shine without changing your color. I've tried, and love, John Frieda's Luminous Color Glaze Clear Shine; get it for $9.99 at Ulta.

Skip it: Ombré color

Women are clamoring for ombré color (also called dip-dye) a la Jessica Alba. Regular salon visits can get pricey, but this is one investment worth making. Creating ombré hair color, characterized by dark roots and lighter ends, is best left to professionals. Don't let products like L'Oreal Feria Wild Ombré Hair Color fool you; there's no easy way to get ombré at home (unless your stylists makes house calls). I tried Feria and found it tough to master and harder on the health of my hair, leaving ends frazzled and frayed.

Skip it: No-chip mani

I'm a huge fan of no-chip manicures and pedicures. In fact, I can't think of a vacation in the past several years that didn't start with a trip to my favorite spa to get a no-chip sure to last my entire trip. So I was excited when brands began introducing DIY no-chip manicures like Red Carpet Manicure, one of the first I tried. The result looked great but chipped within 24 hours. Sally Hansen Salon Gel Polish was a step up, but at the end of the day, the only no-chip manicures I get that last and look flawless are the ones done by trained professionals.

Skip it: Brazilian wax

Let me reiterate what a true Brazilian wax is. Unlike a regular bikini wax, a Brazilian banishes hair in the front, back and in between. So, while products such as Andrea Brazilian Hard Wax for Private Parts may tempt you to "dare to be bare," unless you have really long arms and gymnast-worthy flexibility, you just can't duplicate the smoothness you can get at the hands of a professional.

Try it: Nail art

Another trend that won't quit, nail art is one that actually lends itself to DIY. While there are expert nail artists, they can be hard to find. Plus, playing with colors, shapes, embellishments and more yourself is half the fun. Sephora.com has an entire section devoted to DIY nail art, everything from uber-easy decals to texture sets such as Nails Inc. Bling It On Denim and Studs, replete with Denim Effect Nail Polish, gold and silver star decals, glue and other tools ($23). Sephora also offers a Typography four-piece nail polish set ($16) designed to emulate the newsprint manicure that's gained popularity of late; no craftiness required.

Manicures, waxes and hair coloring: When to do it yourself, and when to call a pro 09/05/13 [Last modified: Thursday, September 5, 2013 2:35pm]

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