All White Now: The Luxury Of A Bright Smile

We’re intrigued to see if it’s really possible to go a FEW SHADES BRIGHTER. Beauty editor SARAH HALLIWELL puts one process to the test …


There are no make-up rules, especially when it comes to lipstick. A make-up artist once told me that no one over 40 should wear red lipstick, which is nonsense. The only thing that might restrict your choice of lip colour, really, is your teeth. Sometimes you swipe on a glorious orangey-red, or autumnal purple, excited by their rich colour, only to find it is less than flattering beside your teeth (unless you’re 20 and still have perfect whites). Chances are that a love of tea/coffee/red wine, combined with general wear and tear, have had an impact – and while we don’t hanker for a fakely gleaming TV smile, we’re intrigued to see if it’s really possible to go a few shades brighter.

You can wear all the strips you like (we’re trying Irish brand Spotlight’s), and go through endless tubes of whitening toothpaste, but a trip to the dentist is the only way to make a proper difference, safely. It’s an investment. And a time-consuming process when done properly – at Seapoint Clinic in Co Dublin (, you need to allow two hours for a consultation, check-up and three sessions of 15 minutes under the UV lamp with the optimum levels of hydrogen peroxide. Everyone experiences different levels of sensitivity, but it’s entirely painless, though my teeth did feel uncomfortable for a few hours afterwards (Sensodyne helps).

Dentist Elaine Hogan was really thorough, explaining the process and aftercare; you take home custom-fitted trays to continue the whitening process at home, or keep for future top-ups. Before and after pictures reveal the difference, but the new tone of your teeth is immediately clear without being screamingly obvious – you won’t leave with “paper-white” Blake Livelys, but they’ll be several shades brighter, becoming more so over the next few days if you use the trays. Just be aware you’ll need to avoid certain food and drink for a few days for best results – for example, prepare to go coffee-free if you can (turns out my passion for tea and coffee easily defeats my sense of vanity).

The day after, I lashed on the jammiest blackcurrant lip lacquer I could find (Nars’ Kiki), and wore it with abandon – and I can now embrace the unforgiving palest nudes without a second thought. I’ve nearly rear-ended several cars while admiring my new teeth, and have been surprised how uplifting it is; people say you look well without knowing why. You’re looking at €355 for the treatment and take-home bleach, so it’s a definite luxury, but results last for up to three years. And as for the cost per wear … Roll on the new season of berry lipsticks.

Sarah Halliwell

Love Sign up to our MAILING LIST now for a roundup of the latest fashion, beauty, interiors and entertaining news from THE GLOSS MAGAZINE’s daily dispatches.