Thursday, April 07, 2011

Teeth Whitening -- The best how to guide

Written By Robert Ringbom and brought to you by our content partner Men's Life Today -- Handpicked for you by our team.

The No-excuse Guide to Teeth Whitening

If it's true that the first thing a woman notices about a man is his smile, chances are you'd be luckier in love if your teeth didn't resemble tree bark. No matter the culprit -- cigarettes, coffee, inferior genetics -- brown teeth just aren't that sexy. And perhaps you've noticed they aren't quite so common anymore either: According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, teeth whitening has mushroomed from a $1.4 billion industry in 2005 to one worth $14 billion today.

Perhaps you've also noticed that there are now about as many teeth-bleaching methods to choose from as versions of Tide. Sure it’s confusing, but that shouldn’t stop you. We asked Dr. Maryann Lehmann -- a dentist and teeth-whitening expert in Darien, Conn., who holds several patents related to dental tooth color analysis -- to suss out the pros and cons of the various options now available to brighten your mouth. It turns out there’s a workable option for every budget. But before you do anything, she warns, see a hygienist. Whitening solutions can’t be absorbed into teeth caked in layers of nasty plaque.

In-office Whitening

Cost: Approximately $395 per visit

The most effective, immediate and, yes, expensive method for bleaching teeth is by way of an in-chair procedure. You say “Ahh,” and your dentist carefully seals your cheeks, lips and gums before applying a strong concentration of either hydrogen or carbamide peroxide to your fangs. Some offices employ lights or lasers to activate the solution, while others mix in components that kick-start the cleaning. “How the whitening works is that the peroxide is absorbed into the enamel rods,” says Lehmann. “Think of them as a matrix of straws in your teeth. This solution clears them out.” After the 60- to 90-minute procedure, patients may experience some passing sensitivity; in other words, lay off the Haagen-Dazs for a few days. And if your ultimate goal is to achieve a blinding Billy Bush-like smile, you can return to the chair up to three times per month. Say “Cheesy!”

Custom Tray Molds

Cost: Approximately $495 per three weeks of treatment

Unlike one-size-fits-all over-the-counter products (see below), custom trays are actual molds of your teeth that are cast during an in-office visit, and perfectly cover every last molar. “They fit like a glove and give you the most comfort and best isolation so that the solution stays where you want it,” says Lehmann. “They also let you choose the best strength of peroxide for you.” You’ll need to slip on the mouthpiece every night for two consecutive weeks (or longer for seriously gunked-up teeth) to see appreciable results. Incidentally, the younger you are, the faster this all works; younger teeth, it turns out, are more porous and thus easier to flush clean. Sorry, gramps.

Disposable Whitening Strips and Trays

Cost: Approximately $30 to $60 per kit

Taupe. Ochre. Russet. All lovely shades of brown. But if they describe the color of your teeth, and the above methods are out of your budget, head to your local pharmacy. Walk the oral-care aisle, and you’ll find all kinds of cool whitening products offered by trusted brands, like Crest. Of course, as usual, you do get what you pay for. Fact is the bleaching agents in these OTC products are much weaker than those you’d purchase directly from your dentist. But do they work? Unless your teeth resemble Raisinets, yes, they should make them whiter. But keep your expectations in check. “If you must choose, go with trays instead of strips,” says Lehmann. “Strips only cover about six teeth. Trays cover all of your teeth.”

Whitening Toothpastes and Pens

Cost: Approximately $2 to $6 per 6-ounce tube; $10 to $130 per pen

The newest toothpastes and whitening pens boast such breakthroughs as peroxide whitening oxygen bubbles, microbeads and crystals that are supposedly engineered to lift and remove gnarly surface stains from your teeth like some kind of dental ShamWow. Great pitch, only toothpastes and tooth pens can’t penetrate the dentin, the bone-like tissue residing just beneath the enamel. If your dentin is discolored, sorry, but no amount of scrubbing will clean it. “Toothpastes simply are not in contact with the tooth long enough to make an impact,” says Lehmann. Our advice? Save up your tooth-pen money for three months and invest in a disposable tray.


Robert Ringbom has written for Men’s Journal, Maxim, Wired, and dozens of other magazines on topics ranging from health and technology to crime and finance.

How to choose the right Sunglasses to match your face

Written By Jessica Lothstein and brought to you by our content partner Men's Life Today -- Handpicked for you by our team.

Best Sunglasses to Match Your Face

Seems like every summer the sunglass industry (with a little help from Hollywood) honors its favorite decade by reviving a classic from the past. But just because Brad and Leo can get away with Aviators on the red carpet, and the entire male cast of Gossip Girl is partying in reissued Clubmasters like it’s 1959, doesn’t mean you should run out and buy a pair of either -- at least not just yet.

“The rule with sunglasses, just like regular glasses, is that you want to offset the geometry of your face shape,” says Kenny Moscot, co-owner of Manhattan’s famed 90-year-old Sol Moscot Opticians. “If you have a strong jawline or cheekbones, you want to look for glasses with more curves. If you have a round or oval face, you want to look for boxy rectangular frames.”
And unlike trends, your face -- of which there are five basic shapes -- is here to stay. Here’s each kind of mug along with which kind of frames look best.

“Remember this mantra: Round glasses on a round face only make your face appear even rounder,” says Moscot. Instead, look for boxy or rectangular frames to introduce some lines and angularity to your face.

Framous Icons: 1950s Beat Generation, Malcolm X, Johnny Depp
Try: Ray-Ban’s newly reissued Clubmaster, $140, available at Sunglass Hut (or find a retailer near you at the Ray-Ban Web site); Moscot’s Zelig (Henry Kissinger-esque), $199; Nebb (for Hipsters), $179. The last two are available at Moscot stores.

If you have a prominent jawline, you want to draw attention to the top part of your face (and away from the bottom -- the widest part). “Look for top-heavy frames with some curves to help soften and balance your face,” says Moscot. Square-faced men can’t go wrong with Aviators.

Framous Icons: Fighter pilots (Tom Cruise in Top Gun), G-men (Will Smith in Men In Black)
Try: Ray-Ban’s original Aviator, $130, available at Macy’s (or find a retailer at the Ray-Ban Web site); Tom Ford’s Charles Aviator, $320, available at Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus or Bergdorf Goodman stores.

You want to visually offset the length of your face, so choose a shape that covers as much of the space between the top and bottom of your nose as possible (known as a deep frame). “And absolutely stay away from small or geometrical frames,” says Moscot. “They’ll make your face look even longer than it is.”

Framous Icons: Run D.M.C. and the ’80s hip-hop scene; the entire cast of “Entourage”
Try: Prada Linea Rossa, $275, available at Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue; Polo Ralph Lauren 3039J, $160, available at Sunglass Hut.

“Offset a wide forehead and cheekbones with rimless narrow frames,” says Moscot. They’ll draw attention away from the narrowing of your face (downward toward your chin) and prevent the top half of your face from looking bigger.

Framous Icons: Marathoners, police officers, Barack Obama
Try: Ray-Ban 3217, $150; Oakley’s Nanowire 2.0, $300. Both are available at Sunglass Hut and Macy’s.

Downplay a strong chin and jaw with semi-rimless or top-heavy frames. “They create an optical illusion by drawing the eye up toward the top of your face and away from the widest part, the bottom,” says Moscot.

Framous Icons: Lance Armstrong (semi-rimless), Buddy Holly (top-heavy)
Try: Oakley Half-Wire 2.0, $175, available at Sunglass Hut or Macy’s; Moscot Lemtosh, $180, Moscot Web site.

Jessica Lothstein is a freelance writer most recently on staff at Best Life magazine and Organic Style. She writes on a range of subjects, including fashion.

Styles that make you look like a Rock Star

Written By Michael Rovner and brought to you by our content partner Men's Life Today -- Handpicked for you by our team.

4 Style Extras to Make You Look Like a Rock Star

Photo Credit: Prince - Getty Images

From Brando to Johnny Depp, everyone loves a bad boy -- and who’s badder than a rock star?

With these style tips, you’ll pass muster in the office while letting the world know you were born to be wild. Keep in mind, though, there are a few general guidelines when it comes to rock ’n’ roll style:
  • The more broken-in the item, the more authentic it appears
  • Forget oversize fashion, and opt for a fit smaller than you’d normally wear
  • Don’t don it all at once, unless you want to be mistaken for The Food Network’s Guy Fieri

Biker Jacket
Good style is essentially about pairing traditional elements in a way that feels fresh. One way to mix it up: Take a casual item and add it to an otherwise dressy outfit -- like adding a biker jacket to your normal office attire. Not in place of a blazer, mind you, but as outerwear with edge.

Nothing says “I’ve got a life outside the office” more than mixing a classic leather biker jacket with your khakis, oxford and tie. And since not everyone can pull off the belted biker jacket without appearing like a West Side Story cast member, opt for simplicity with fewer snaps and pockets. Begin by checking out the classic version from Schott (Classic Perfecto Leather Motorcycle Jacket, $520). My favorite is the pre-broken-in version (the Authentic Motorcycle Jacket, $2,300), available online from Jean Shop in New York City.

Raw Denim

There’s no shortage of denim options, and it’s impossible to rock without it. Those in the know, though, go for selvage, or raw, denim, the increasingly popular premium made from the edges of the fabric spool. Perhaps the greatest proponent is A.P.C., which can be thought of as a French Gap (check out its New Standard Jeans, $165). All-American J.Crew just launched its raw-denim line (484 Slim-fit Jean, $225) with an experiment: Employees wore the jeans for six months straight without washing them in order to create a custom look for each wearer. Purists claim it’s the only way to get the right look, and if you can commit, you’ll see why a real blue-jean baby wouldn’t have it any other way.

Leather Cuff

A thick leather wristband sends a few messages that a Timex doesn’t -- first, that you don’t need to know what time it is, and second, that you’re keeping up the long tradition of the outsider antihero (even if your version cost 75 bucks from a boutique in L.A.). The key to incorporating this into your look is to keep it casual. If you’re wearing a dress shirt, keep it untucked with the cuffs unbuttoned. Remember: The emblems of individuality work only when the whole outfit feels synced.


The most inexpensive item on our list may also be the most practical. A broken-in, bleached-out bandanna knotted around the neck can catch the sweat on a warm day, but it’s also the ultimate antifashion fashion statement. It’s rough and classic yet a casual embellishment that few dudes off a construction site are man enough to attempt. It’s versatile enough to be worn Axl Rose–style, keeping your hair off your face, or like a headband knotted in the back. The rule here is just not to wear more than one at a time; else you’ll be mistaken for a boy-bander.

Michael Rovner a former staffer at Women’s Wear Daily, has covered fashion for The New York Times Magazine and The New York Post and has written for Vogue, Esquire and Details.

Your Hairstyle -- What it conveys

Written By Jessica Lothstein and brought to you by our content partner Men's Life Today -- Handpicked for you by our team.

Cut for Success? What Your Hairstyle Says About You

You get just one chance to make a good first impression -- and your haircut needs to be an asset, not a liability. Here are the signals your hair’s sending and why.

Interview suit dry-cleaned? Check. Shoes shined? Check. Mohawk perfectly sculpted with extra pomade?

Hold on a second there, cowboy. This is a job interview, where you’re supposed to strut your experience, not your feathers!

“Research says we make our assessments of others in the first 15 seconds we meet them,” says John J. McKee, founder of the Business Success Coach Web site and author of Career Wisdom: 101 Proven Strategies to Ensure Career Success. “Within those first critical moments,” he says, “you’re being judged based on how you look, not what you say.”

And how you look doesn’t just include your clothes and your hygiene, but how you fashion your locks. McKee says it may have something to do with the fact that women make up a majority of the hiring force today, and “women are much more conscious and concerned about grooming, especially when it comes to hair.” But experts agree that you can infer a lot about people based on how they fashion their coif, including how you think they’re going to function as employees.

“The truth is, the way you present yourself -- from your body language and clothing to the style of your haircut -- absolutely determines how people treat you, especially in the workplace,” says Bernardo Carducci, Ph.D., professor of psychology at Indiana University Southeast and fellow of the American Psychological Association. “It’s a rapid judgment call termed ‘cognitive efficiency’ that stems from caveman times, and it’s based on using past experiences to predict future outcomes. Basically, if you don’t look the part, you won’t be deemed fit for the job (whether it’s true or not), and it could mean the difference between getting hired or not, or moving ahead as opposed to getting landlocked.”

So how do you know if you look the part? Here’s what your hairstyle really says about you.

Side Part

Popular in: Finance, politics, insurance.

Says: Serious and business-minded. You’re a hard worker who wants to get ahead.

Why: It’s on the conservative and simple side, but it still shows that you put some effort into your grooming routine. It’s also a classic look that will never go out of style, because it conveys a sense of class and importance. “There’s a secret among HR people: You’re more likely to get a promotion if you look like you’ve already made it,” says McKee.

“Take a cue from the hairstyles of the people one level above your current role,” concludes McKee. Chances are, you’ll see lots of side parts.

Buzz Cut

Popular in: Medicine, professional sports, the Army.

Says: Confident and masculine. You care about appearance, but you’re too busy to spend too much time on your hair.

Why: There’s a reason this look is favored by the military. It’s not just extremely low-maintenance, leaving time for more important business (or battles, as the case may be), but it’s a bold statement that shows you “want to look like you’re part of the team and move up the ranks,” says McKee.

Faux Hawk

Popular in: Fashion, photography, hipsterdom.

Says: Creative and extroverted. You’re concerned about standing out from the crowd.

It's an edgy look that conveys a lot of confidence and personal style. That said, it's also just breaking over into mainstream, so if you work in an environment where everyone else is sporting side parts, you’re going to attract a lot of attention. If, however, you work in a creative field where suits are optional (and even tattoos are acceptable), wear your faux hawk with pride. “If your appearance syncs with the rest of the workplace, it gives the impression that you’re able to handle the technical skills,” says McKee.

Textured Bedhead

Popular in: Hollywood, media, public relations.

Says: Trendy and detail-oriented. You care about the little things.

Why: It’s a look that requires a fair amount of time to create and maintain, so it shows that you put a lot of effort into keeping up your appearance. “People in positions of power, especially recruiters, like to see that a potential employee takes care of himself and keeps up with trends,” says McKee.

Caesar Cut

Popular in: Law, theater, gladiator rings.

Says: Intuitive and savvy. Concerned about looking perfectly pulled together.

Why: You have more important things on your morning agenda than spending hours styling your hair, but you still want to look like you take pride in your appearance -- and more importantly, that you mean business. This look is great for guys of all ages, but it’s an especially good style for guys just entering the workforce. “Younger people want to believe people will hire them based on competence and not appearance,” says McKee, “but unfortunately, that’s not the case. You do have to give up some of your identity if you want to be part of the team and move up the ranks.”
Jessica Lothstein is a freelance writer and former editor at Best Life magazine. She writes on a range of subjects, including grooming and fashion.