Best Tips and Tools to Whiten Your Smile
Turn back time with the latest lip enhancers, tooth whiteners, and more.
Kiss and Makeup
"Lipstick bleeding is the first sign of an aging mouth," says New York City makeup artist Laura Geller. To stop lip color from migrating into lines, pretreat the area around the mouth with concealer: Using your fingertip, lightly dot on one that contains reflective particles. Try Boots No7 Radiant Glow Concealer ($13, Target), and then lightly dust with translucent powder. The rest of Geller's tips for younger-looking lips:
1. Use a lip brush to apply lipstick. The tool gives you optimum precision as well as control over how much color you lay down near the edges.
2. Go bright. "The brighter, the better," says Geller. If your teeth are stained, "muted colors make graying or yellowing teeth look worse." Brights, however, are like a face-lift in a tube. Think pink, rose, or a true red. Try Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Gentlemen Prefer Pink ($8, drugstores) or Laura Geller Lipstick in On Stage ($15.50, laurageller.com).
3. Steer clear of matte lipsticks that are either too dry (true mattes) or too glossy (creams). Either extreme highlights signs of age: matte, by emphasizing lines; cream, by bleeding all too easily into them. "A pearlescent formula looks moist and stays put," says Geller.
4. Line your lips with a lip pencil after you apply lipstick. "You'll get a fuller-looking pout than if you do the reverse," says Geller. "To make sure the liner is undetectable, use one that's the same shade as your lip color."
All the White Moves
The biggest smile booster, bar none, is whitening. In-office treatments, which range from laser- and light-activated bleaching to veneers, provide dramatic improvement, but they also come with a hefty price tag ($300 - $5,000). "But if your teeth just need a little pick-me-up, you'll probably be fine with an over-the-counter bleaching product," says Apa. One he particularly likes: the new Crest 3D 2 Hour Express Whitestrips ($55 for four; drugstores). Like in-office treatments, at-home bleaches oxidize stain molecules with hydrogen peroxide - or ingredients that break down into it - albeit in lower concentrations. The other kinds of at-home whiteners - whitening toothpastes or rinses - use polishing and other non-bleach agents to either scrub off or chemically remove stains that are closer to the surface.