15 Things You Didn’t Know Your Hair Dryer Could Do

istock
istock

You know a good hair dryer can fight frizz, tame cowlicks, and accentuate curls and layers. But its other functions might blow you away. You don't need to be a stylist to use your hair dryer as any of these things.

1. SHOE SIZER

Breaking in new shoes can be a painful process. Skip the wait—and the blisters—by putting on a pair of thick socks, stepping into your new kicks, and then blow-drying the tight areas for a few minutes. Walk around until your feet cool off to loosen up the leather. Be careful using this method on synthetics, though; it's possible to melt the shoes on too high a setting. 

2. GLASSES ADJUSTER

If your glasses are too tight or too loose, here's how to get them just right: Take off your frames and use a hair dryer to blow hot air on the part that hooks over your ears. After a minute or so, gently adjust the bend up to loosen or down to tighten. Repeat on the other side. Spec-tacular! 

3. STICKER REMOVER

Price tags and other stickers can be a pain to remove, unless you've got a hair dryer to loosen the adhesive’s hold. Blast the pesky paper for 30 to 45 seconds and peel it right off. (With some patience and a lot of heat, you can get bumper stickers off this way, too.) 

4. BAND-AID PEELER

The previous trick doesn’t just work on inanimate objects. Don't rip off a Band-Aid—and all your arm hair. Blow some warm air on it for a few seconds and peel it off painlessly. 

5. GUM CLEANER 

When chewing gum gets stuck in carpet or clothing, don't curse. Find your hair dryer! Heat softens the gum so you can pull it out. 

6. AIR MATTRESS INFLATER

Can't find the pump to the air mattress you last used in 2003? Impress your houseguest by inflating it with a hair dryer. Just make sure you use cool air—there's nothing hospitable about a melted bed. 

7. EYELASH CURLER

Combine an eyelash curler and hair dryer for maximum curl power. Blast the curler for a few seconds on medium heat and then check the temperature on your wrist before using. 

8. CAKE FROSTER

Bakery-style frosting is a piece of cake. Lightly blow warm air over your dessert's frosted top and sides for a glossy finish. 

9. SHOE SHINER

Shoes look brand new when you blast them with some heat between coats of polish. Shine on!

10. ICE CREAM THAWER

Scooping ice cream shouldn't be an upper-body workout. Give your frozen Ben & Jerry's pint a quick blast of warm air for easy transfer from the container to your bowl to your mouth. 

11. SPOT IRON

A completely wrinkled cotton garment requires an iron. Everything else can be tamed by your hair dryer. Hang the garment up, spray a little water on it, and then blast it with hot air from an inch or two away until the wrinkle disappears. If you're really in a hurry, you can even do this carefully with your clothes on. 

12. TOWEL WARMER

Some people have fancy heated towel racks and use the word "summer" as a verb. The rest of us have a hair dryer to make towels toasty and use "summer" strictly as a noun. (You can also do this with sheets in the winter for that cozy, straight-out-of-the-dryer feeling.) 

13. CRAYON CLEANER

When the muse calls, young artists listen, which can result in crayon all over the wall. Blow hot air to melt the wax, then wipe it up with regular dish soap and a paper towel. This trick works on most walls, but you should start with a test spot just to be sure—some walls can be prone to "ghosting" when the image doesn’t quite disappear.

14. ART MEDIUM

Then again, maybe you like the look of crayon on the wall. If so, here's an even cooler way to do it. Peel the labels off a pack of crayons and hot glue them to the top of a blank canvas. Once the glue's dry, put some newspaper on a table and then prop the canvas at an angle crayon-side up. Melt the crayons by blowing hot air on a low setting, so you won't get wax everywhere. Go all Jackson Pollock and vary the tilt to control the drips. Once your masterpiece is dry, you can hang it up or sell it for $1 million. Your choice. 

15. KEYBOARD DECRUMBER

There's a good chance you're reading this while eating at your computer. No worries—just make sure you clean up your keyboard every now and then. Instead of a compressed air duster, try using your hair dryer to excavate the crumbs. Stick to cool air to avoid melting your spacebar.

The World's 10 Most Expensive Cities

An apartment complex in Hong Kong
An apartment complex in Hong Kong
iStock.com/Nikada

If you think San Francisco is pricey, you should see some of the other metropolises that appear in a new ranking of the 10 most expensive cities in the world. As The Real Deal reports, Singapore, Paris, and Hong Kong have been jointly named as the three cities with the highest cost of living in a new analysis by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

It was the first time in the history of the Intelligence Unit’s Worldwide Cost of Living report that three cities have tied for first place. Billing itself as a global business intelligence group, the EIU takes the prices of more than 400 items into consideration for its annual list, including food, clothing, household supplies, private school fees, and recreation.

Singapore's appearance on the list is no surprise, considering that it has been crowned the world’s most expensive city for the past five years in a row, and Paris has consistently made the top 10 since 2003. Hong Kong, meanwhile, rose three places in the newest ranking, while Osaka, Japan rose six places.

New York City and Los Angeles also made the top 10 list this year, tying with other cities for fourth and fifth place, respectively. This is partly due to exchange rates.

“A stronger U.S. dollar last year has meant that cities in the U.S. generally became more expensive globally, especially relative to last year’s ranking,” the report notes. “New York has moved up six places in the ranking this year, while Los Angeles has moved up four spots.”

Check out the 10 most expensive cities below, and visit the EIU’s website to download a full copy of the report.

  1. Singapore; Hong Kong; and Paris, france (tied)

  1. Zurich, Switzerland

  1. Geneva, Switzerland; and Osaka, Japan (tied)

  1. Seoul, South Korea; Copenhagen, Denmark; and New York City (tied)

  1. Tel Aviv, Israel and Los Angeles (tied)

5 Fast Facts About the Spring Equinox

iStock.com/AHPhotoswpg
iStock.com/AHPhotoswpg

The northern hemisphere has officially survived a long winter of Arctic temperatures, bomb cyclones, and ice tsunamis. Spring starts today, March 20, which means warmer weather and longer days are around the corner. To celebrate the spring equinox, hear are some facts about the event.

1. The spring equinox arrives at 5:58 p.m.

The first day of spring is today, but the spring equinox will only be here for a brief time. At 5:58 p.m. Eastern Time, the Sun will be perfectly in line with the equator, which results in both the northern and southern hemispheres receiving equal amounts of sunlight throughout the day. After the vernal equinox has passed, days will start to become shorter for the Southern Hemisphere and longer up north.

2. The Equinox isn't the only time you can balance an egg.

You may have heard the myth that you can balance on egg on its end during the vernal equinox, and you may have even tried the experiment in school. The idea is that the extra gravitational pull from the Sun when it's over the equator helps the egg stand up straight. While it is possible to balance an egg, the trick has nothing to do with the equinox: You can make an egg stand on its end by setting it on a rough surface any day of the year.

3. Not every place gets equal night and day.

The equal night and day split between the northern and southern hemispheres isn't distributed evenly across all parts of the world. Though every region gets approximately 12 hours of sunlight the day of the vernal equinox, some places get a little more (the day is 12 hours and 15 minute in Fairbanks, Alaska), and some get less (it's 12 hours and 6 minutes in Miami).

4. The name means Equal Night.

The word equinox literally translates to equal ("equi") and night ("nox") in Latin. The term vernal means "new and fresh," and comes from the Latin word vernus for "of spring."

5. The 2019 spring equinox coincides with a supermoon.

On March 20, the day the Sun lines up with equator, the Moon will reach the closest point to Earth in its orbit. The Moon will also be full, making it the third supermoon of 2019. A full moon last coincided with the first day of spring on March 20, 1981, and it the two events won't occur within 24 hours of each other again until 2030.

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