Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ultradex Daily Oral Rinse

RRP: £8.15/500ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Alcohol free rinse, safe for daily use. The iQ+ ActiveOxi Technology® is clinically proven to: instantly eliminate odour-causing compounds (VSC) and deliver 12 hours' fresh breath; whiten teeth within 14 days by gently lifting organic stains to reveal their true brightness (excellent for use as part of a whitening maintenance programme); and be highly effective against bacteria that can cause tooth decay, gum problems and plaque. Contains fluoride (230ppm) to help strengthen teeth. Free from colouring and available either preflavoured with mint or as original unflavoured (comes with a separate mint sachet to suit personal taste)."

Has a stylish appearance and the screw-top cap closes securely. Overall a practical and not too cumbersome part of your dental care arsenal. We were sent the 250ml version for free by Ultradex's PR, and this size is convenient for travelling (although a 100ml size, to comply with airlines' hand baggage requirements, would be even better).

Easy to use - just slosh around in your mouth for 15-30 seconds after cleaning your teeth, before spitting it out.

A slightly foamy, clear-coloured liquid that leaves no visible residue on the teeth.

--Scent and taste--
Has a neutral scent and taste that is not too strong, giving a refreshing light mint flavour. However, you still couldn't say it has a natural mint taste exactly.

A watery consistency that foams a little in the mouth. However, towards the end of the bottle, the texture of the mouthwash got thicker and grittier, which made it less pleasant to use and would indicate that you need to shake the bottle before each use.

--Effects on the mouth--
Freshens breath as promised, putting the 12-hour claim to the test favourably. There have also been no tooth or gum problems while using the product. Whitening effects, however, were not noticeable.

--Value for money--
While this product works well, other brands are preferable due to a greater consistency of texture. At around £5 for 250ml and around £8 for 500ml, this mouthwash is also marginally more expensive than other commercial brands, so you would really need to like it in order to purchase it regularly over others.

perfect partners
Low Abrasion Toothpaste, £6.10 for 75ml
Wire-Free Interdental Brushes, £4.99 for 30
Fresh Breath Oral Spray, £3.05 for 9ml

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Smile Brilliant! LED Teeth Whitening

RRP: $40, plus shipping

--What does the promo say?--
"The LED teeth whitening system by Smile Brilliant is perfect for those who want great tooth whitening 
results but are on a budget. Our LED system is competitively priced when compared to popular whitening
strips sold at your local grocer. However, it is far more effective due to its 22% carbamide peroxide tooth 
whitening gel and high strength LED light which accelerate the whitening process. With hundreds of 
reviews available on the internet and thousands of satisfied customers, our LED teeth whitening system 
is a superior alternative to over-the-counter whitening products.

High Intensity LED Accelerator Light:Accelerates the teeth whitening process
Teeth Whitening Gel PenConvenient, 4ml whitening pen (brush-on applicator) with 22% professional strength whitening gel
Lip & Cheek ProtectorUpper and lower protective tray (prevents gel mess)
Detailed Instructional BrochureGuide to using your LED teeth whitening kit effectively"

The ensemble arrives in a surprisingly posh-looking black cardboard pouch. This contains tooth moulds, an LED light, and the whitening gel, in an elegant silver-effect twist-up pen. The whole thing is therefore quite portable, and so suitable for travel, as well as not taking up too much space in your bathroom.

Squeeze a very small amount of the gel at the bottom of the tooth moulds. Not much is needed as the gel is pushed up inside the moulds once inserted. The LED light then must be held between the teeth and switched on. The LED light will switch off automatically once the recommended 20 minutes has passed. How easy this is will vary between individuals: those who produce a lot of saliva, for example, will find it difficult as you are unable to remove the moulds mid-treatment in order to spit (swallowing could risk you swallowing some of the whitening gel, especially if you have been overenthusiastic in your first application of it). The tooth moulds are also one-size-fits-all, so it makes sense that they will fit some people better than others. As it renders you unable to communicate and makes you look pretty stupid to have an LED light about the size and weight of a matchbox sticking out of your mouth, I’d recommend doing this when nobody else is in.

--Texture and consistency--
Suffice it to say that having a mouthful of gel for 20 minutes feels about as good as you’d expect it to. Have a glass handy so that when you remove the tooth moulds you’re able to give your mouth a good rinse afterwards. The website says you can use this for as long as 120 minutes, but I think you'd have to be very patient.

The gel itself is clear and leaves no visible residue on the teeth after use.

--Effects on the teeth-- 
Unfortunately, the packaging and promotional material gives no guarantee of any particular result, and while I understand that the company doesn't want to be accused of mis-selling, or at least of disappointing people, some promises are needed so that you can compare the initial state of your teeth with what you are supposed to get at the end. No indication is given of how long one is supposed to use the product for in order to see any result at all (4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks...). As I was not prepared to continue using the product ad infinitum with no indication of what the result could be, I have no long-term results to report. For what it's worth, I did not see any immediate results either. The website narrows things down slightly by saying 7-14 applications is enough to see results, but don't say if this is seven 20-minute sessions or seven 120-minute sessions.

--Value for money-- 
This is a relatively cheap tooth whitening system which, if it works, is better value than the majority of at-home whitening systems that currently exist. However, so little detail is given about what the consumer can expect that it would be unsurprising if few people are prepared to use it for a long enough time period to find out whether or not it does work. More effort is therefore needed from the company in terms of adding more detail to its product's claims so that users can adjust their expectations accordingly and commit to use of the product for a realistic time frame.

perfect partners
Custom-fitted trays and 1 whitening gel syringe, $90
3 x 3ml teeth whitening gel syringes, $35
1 x 4ml teeth whitening pen, $30
3 x 3ml desensitizing gel syringes, $20  

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Muse-ic to our ears

As many of you may know, I'm a bit of a fan of Estée Lauder's cosmetics and skincare. I won't pretend that I love every single product I've tried from this brand, but I've never once concealed my admiration for their highly effective Take It Away makeup remover, the wearable Beautiful Love, the joyful Idealist serum, the failsafe DayWear Plus, and the deeply conditioning Pure Color Gloss.

Now, just in time for Christmas, the brand has added another fragrance to its arsenal, which perhaps most famously consists of Pure White, Pleasures, and Beyond Paradise. Modern Muse is already awash with five-star ratings online, and its sparkling floral notes sound right up my alley, tallying with the personalities of my current favourite fragrances (YSL Parisienne and Hugo Boss Femme). Combining citrus and jasmine notes with patchouli, vanilla, amber and musk, this promises to be a balanced yet special fragrance for the festive season and beyond.

Don't believe me? Then perhaps this will convince you:
And if that's not enough, the Estée Lauder website offers 2 free samples with every order - so there's every chance to try before you buy (or at least, before SANTA buys :) ).