If You Aren't already Doing This, I'd Suggest You Start
I know the abundance of anti-aging options can sometimes feel like more of a blessing than a curse. They can be time-consuming. Expensive. And ever-evolving. Just when you commit to a skincare or haircare routine, you're told it's time to upgrade to something newer and better. I get it. But like most things in life (especially as we're older and wiser), I believe you pick and choose what matters most to you, then allocate your time and money there. That may be Botox, private yoga lessons, gel manicures, salon haircolor, acupuncture, or even blepharoplasty. The bottom like is that you get to choose what treatments make you feel good at every age—then skip the rest. However, there is one exception. If you're not whitening your teeth at least once a year, I think you're missing out.
Basic whitening is incredibly easy, not that time consuming, and, boy does it make a difference. Everyone's teeth grow yellower (or greyer) with age. Everyone's. (Unless you've invested in perma-white veneers, in which case you can stop reading now). So, while I hate to write in hyperbole, whitening can take years off your face.
I’ve tried all kinds of whiteners: in-office laser-light whitening, customized trays plus a bleaching solution for at-home use, whitening strips, pastes and rinses. I’ve gotten the most dramatic results from in-office treatments—but the at-home options are quite good as well and probably sufficient for most. In fact, I have white calcium deposits on my front teeth (some dentists say it’s from taking antibiotics as a kid, others say it’s just genetic) so I prefer the at-home options because they don't whiten quite as much or make my white spots as apparent.
Some at-home options take a week or two for full results. Some take just a few hours. I’ve found the express versions work just as well as those that take weeks so, um, why wouldn’t you opt for that?. I recently tried the Luster 2 Minute White set, and it was ridiculously easy to apply—and worked. Not like in-office-whitening worked. But my teeth looked cleaner and brighter. The routine: Rinse with a ph-balancing solution, then paint the bleaching solution on the front of your teeth. Do this after brushing twice a day for three straight days. Done. What was also great about Luster is that I had absolutely no sensitivity (and I am usually a little nervy for a day or two after whitening).
Another speedy option is Crest 3D Whitestrips 1-Hour Express Teeth Whitening Kit. Included in the kit are four sets of strips (top and bottom) that can either be used for an hour a day for four straight days or, as I prefer, one day for one hour every four to six months (so a kit lasts me almost two years). Unless your teeth need quite a bit of brightening, four days in a row seems like overkill, plus I think it could make you quite sensitive. (Even with just one treatment, my teeth are little jumpy for a few days.) The whitening results from Whitestrips are a bit more dramatic than I got with Luster (which also means my calcium spots become more obvious), but it's comparable on the easiness scale. Just brush your teeth after dinner, put on your whitestrips, watch an episode of Big Little Lies. Done. If only Retin-A worked that fast.