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Emily Bracken Headshot

5 Beauty Items for Home Repair

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I usually set about fixing the vast number of almost-working items in my apartment as I'm trying to write, waiting for the muse to marionette my fingers into motion. Somewhere between futility and endeavor, I open up my box of lady tools that are stored in a khaki storage container made of canvas, the kind that makes a wrrring sound when you scratch it. Inside my Home Depot diorama lives some dilapidated Krazy Glue, used birthday candles, mangled duct tape, feral push pins, an art-deco door-knob and nails of varying length scattered about like a game of pick-up sticks for toddler Goths.

The stash is adequate for simple jobs, but sometimes the repair requires more substantial tools. And if, like me, you're the thrifty sort and don't want to spend money on hardware you'll likely only use once or renting a hire-a-dude for the day, look no further than your own cupboards and closets for a solution. Resting there on the shelves are five multi-tasking beauty products that not only maintain your appearance by day, they upkeep your home by night.

1. Cuticle Cutters: If you like to paint your own nails on occasion, you'll have quite a nail menagerie in your bathroom cupboard. And when you need to turn a bolt tighter or loosen a nut, go ahead and retrieve that cuticle cutter and have a go at the silver nugget. The flat edges of the cutter blade grip well against the steel, and the small ergonomic shape of the handle makes for a splendid hold. My cuticle cutters are actually the least cumbersome pliers I've ever used, and they work splendidly in hard-to-get-at, small spaces. Not only that, they can also cut small wires. This little hand tool is like a two-fer in the lady tool department.

2. Tweezers: After you've finished plucking the stray hairs from your eyebrows and -- let's be honest -- a few unruly ones on your chin, take the tweezers over to that little Ikea shelf you want to mount, or to the wine-stained chair's seat that you need to recover after last week's dinner party. You are now armed not with a hair extractor, but a small flathead screwdriver that might also work on a small Phillips-head screw. You'll have to pull the tweezer apart slightly to fit the head into the socket, but once you do, presto-chango; you'll finish that screw job in no time.

3. Wedge Heels: Before you set out for the day in those riding boots or that stacked wedge heel, you might consider hanging that piece of art on the wall. No hammer to whack the nail with, you say? No problem. Remove your shoe, left or right, hold the nail in place and give it a few good, hard smacks, square in the center of the heel. With such a ginormous surface area to work with, you really can't miss -- and the nail will drive swiftly and smoothly into the wall. Art hung, problem solved, you'll walk off in your heels humming, "It's hammer time!" -- ready for work or to lend a hand on any construction site.

4. Eyebrow brush: So you're doing your post-shower face routine: wash, tone, finger pat the moisturizer, brush the eyebrows -- because the guy you're cooking for will be over in an hour and you want to look fresh. Then you notice that gnarly stain in your porcelain sink. The bathroom needs to be clean, obviously, but how to remove the stain without scratching the sink's surface? Luckily for you, those bristles of your eyebrow brush are made of soft nylon -- yes, that's a scratchless material. Pour on some bleach and rub in circular motions until the offensive mark disappears. While you might have to toss the brush, a grunge-free sink will be worth every penny.

5. Toothpaste: You've brushed your teeth and you're ready for bed, but then you notice that those damn ants keep marching their way into your home in-between tiles in your kitchen and bathroom. Arm yourself with a tube of toothpaste, ideally the non-gel kind, and a run-of-the-mill q-tip. Spread the toothpaste into the cracks and use the q-tip to spread the paste evenly. Congratulations, you've just caulked your first tile. And if that wasn't enough, your toothpaste is also a handy way to fill in any wall holes made by your nail-driving wedge heels.