Makeup tricks to make your teeth look whiter

Bleaching isn't the only option when it comes to brightening your smile. Try these two makeup looks for whiter-looking teeth today

By Janine Falcon

Makeup tricks to make your teeth look whiter

For some, teeth bleaching just isn't an immediate option—maybe you have caps, or you have super-sensitive teeth, or you just can't deal with the peroxide flavour. But you can still make your teeth look brighter with makeup. No, not on your teeth—the right lip colour and some skin-tone enhancement will do the trick. Think glam lips à la hot TV series "Mad Men," or a sun-bronzed complexion, a little like George Hamilton but prettier. Seriously! Here's how to achieve each smile-enhancing look.

Complexion prep

An even complexion will allow your unique features to be the beauty focus. Cleanse and moisturize, then apply light foundation and concealer and set with a light dusting of loose powder.

Glam lips for whiter teeth

Striking lip colour is best offset by simple, defined eyes and brows and subtle cheeks. Blue-based reds will counteract any yellowness in teeth.

  1. Sweep a nude matte eye shadow, such as Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow Stay Matte ($17.50, 2.5 g), from lashline to brow. Highlight inner corner of eyes and browbones with shimmery shadow, such as Sephora Colorful Pearl Mono Eyeshadow in Pearl No. 1 White Pearl ($12, 28 g). Use an angled eyeshadow brush to apply dark shadow along the base of your upper lash lines. Try M.A.C Eye Shadow in Print ($17, 1.5 g), or Revlon Line Fantasy Cream Eyeliner in Black (limited edition, $12.95, 4.6 g).
  2. Curl lashes and apply a mascara such as Maybelline New York Volum' Express Colossal Mascara ($7.99, 9.2 mL) in black.
  3. Define brows. Try the Sephora Eyebrow Palette, ($15, 2.5 g).
  4. Enhance cheeks with a neutral powder blush, such as Rimmel Underground Cheeky Blush in Cool Down ($8.95, 8 g).
  5. Line lips with Revlon Colorstay LipLiner in Clear ($9.95, 28 g) to prevent colour migration. Use a lip brush to apply colour, such as Chanel Glossimer Lip Gloss in Red Shine (limited edition, $30, 5.5 g); Clarins Joli Rouge Lipstick in Raspberry #723 ($26, 3.5 g); Lancôme Paris L'Absolu Rouge lipstick in Berry Noir ($33, 4.2 mL); or Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupté Lipstick SPF 15 in Rose Culte ($38, 4 g).

Sunkissed glow

If you use a daily glow moisturizer, such as Olay Complete Touch of Sun Daily UV Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 ($19.99, 75 mL), on face, neck and decolleté, you may be able to skip foundation (remember, your concealer needs to match your faux-tanned skin).

  1. Prep and even out complexion.
  2. Sweep shimmery peach-gold, such as PlantLove 100% Natural Origin Eye Shadow in Marigold ($20, 3 g), over lids to just below browbones. Dab pale gold shadow, such as Cargo EyeLighter in Gold ($18, 2 x .8 g), on inner corners of eyes. Use an angled brush to intensify upper lashlines with deep bronze eye shadow such as Estée Lauder Pure Color Eye Shadow in Bronze Cube ($20, 2.1 g).
  3. Curl lashes and apply mascara, such as L'Oréal Paris Carbon Black Voluminous Mascara ($9.95, 8 mL).
  4. Define brows lightly with brow powder.
  5. Apply Benefit Benetint cheek and lip stain ($35, 12.5 mL) or Smashbox O-Glow Microcirculating Cheek Colour ($34, 15 mL) to apples of cheeks for a healthy, outdoorsy flush.
  6. Dust powder bronzer, such as Physician's Formula Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Bronzer ($21.99, 9 g), across forehead, cheekbones, bridge of nose and tip of chin.
  7. Top lips with a sheer colour with blue undertones. Try Benefit Benetint Pocket Pal ($25, 3.2 mL/clear gloss 2.8 g); CoverGirl Wetslicks Amazemint Lip Gloss in Un-Wined or Toast-ed ($6.99, 8 mL); Bath & Body Works Liplicious Tasty Lip Color Sheer in Black Cherry ($7, 14 mL); Rosebud Minted Rose Lipbalm ($9.50, 23 g); or The Body Shop Lip Gloss Dot in Bilberry Juice ($10, 6.5 mL).

More tips for whiter teeth

Pro makeup artist Andrea Claire, whose work has appeared in Elle (Singapore edition) and TV's "Stylin' Gypsies," has an unusual tip for making teeth look whiter: a tiny bit of red food colouring gently rubbed into gums with a soft toothbrush. "It's quirky, but really works," she says. "It won't stain your teeth; instead it makes gums look a healthy red, which makes teeth appear whiter."

Food colouring aside, Claire's favourite smile-enhancing lip colours are Benefit Benetint, Face Atelier Lipstick in Red Fuchsia ($22, 4 g) and M.A.C Lipstick in "Red" She Said ($16.50, 3 g). If your chosen colour is more orange than blue, she suggests slicking a bit of sheer blue lipgloss on top. Try CoverGirl Wetslicks Amazemint Lip Gloss in Happy Hour ($6.99, 8 mL).

Janine Falcon is the founder and editor of Beautygeeks, a site about stuff that delivers best-you beauty and style.

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Web exclusive: November 2008

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