All posts by brettknowsbeauty

Makeup Brushes that are out of this world…

There are so many great makeup brushes on the market today. And yes, you can find them in all price points, from inexpensive Wet ‘n’ Wild, moderately priced Real Techniques and so many others. Artis Digit series fall under the more expensive category, but I believe they are worth their hefty price. Why, you ask? Let’s discuss.

  1. They are super soft. They may be the softest brushes I own.  And that, in my opinion, makes them easier to blend for softer looks (which I am often drawn to). While I wouldn’t be able to do a look with a cut crease with these (maybe you could!), but aside from that, I have zero complaints.
  2.  They don’t suck up a ton of product. While I have loved a BB for years – I hated how much they sucked up my precious, precious makeup. These brushes are so very different. A little product goes a long way. For example, in this half makeup, half bare face pic, I only needed a few drops of foundation ( I use NARS, so it was like a 1/4 of a pump to get this kind of coverage) and as you can clearly see, I have a lot of red in my skin.
  3. They are great when you are in a hurry. Most days, I cannot afford the time to spend hours on my makeup, so being able to get out the door in a reasonable amount of time is important to me. I did this look in about 15 minutes, using only Artis Digit Series brushes. I am saving so much product that I can barely contain my excitement!Which are your favorite brushes that you wouldn’t want to live without? I’d love to hear.



Fighting Blemishes? Do this…

I know it may be your least favorite part of playing in makeup (it sure is mine!), but those makeup brushes do need to be cleaned. Dirty brushes can not only make your makeup look muddy and dark, but they can also add stress to your face, causing breakouts. If you’ve suddenly noticed you’re breaking out, and haven’t figured out a cause, I’d definitely take a few minutes and get those brushes and beauty blenders clean.


There are lots of cleansers out there, at high price points, which do a good job –  I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend my money on makeup, not a makeup brush cleanser!

There’s an inexpensive alternative that gets the job done. Next time you visit the grocery store, Wal-mart or even a Dollar Tree, pick up a bar of Zote Soap.

It’s only a dollar or maybe even less, depending on where you purchase, but this will last a long, long time. I simply wet my brush and then swirl it around directly on the bar of soap. Once I’ve rinsed and repeated until the water is clear, I use a towel to press some of the water out then store upright until they are dry.

You will definitely see a difference the next time you apply your makeup!

December Favorites

Hi Darlings! I hope 2017 is off to a running start for each one of you! Do you have any makeup goals for this year? Trying to branch out? Learn something new? I say go for it. Now let’s get down to the favorites!


  1. Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick

I’m seriously behind on trying these liquid lipsticks from Stila. They are amazing. With 20 shades to choose from, there is a great variety. And they live up to their name. They really do stay all day. My persona favorite color is Bacca, a raspberry color. I wore it all day on Christmas, through eating and drinking and it looked just as good at 2am as it did at 10am.  Yes, it can be a little drying, but I popped a gloss over top and it still stayed on all day. That’s pretty powerful – because who wants to spend all day retouching their lipstick? Not this girl!

2. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

I like to exfoliate. A lot. But some exfoliators are not meant to be used daily, and my skin was becoming redder and redder by using them daily. Then I found Dermalogica’s Microfoliant. I love that it’s effective, yet gentle enough to use every day. Hallelujah!

3. Alterna Caviar Style Satin Rapid Blowout Balm

If you know me, or have read much here, you know how much I dislike washing and styling my hair, so I try to do it only once or twice a week (it’s actually GOOD for your hair, too) and when I do get to the point of needing a wash, I don’t want to spend forever drying and styling. Hello Satin Rapid Blowout Balm! Just a couple of pumps of Alterna’s magic balm on my towel-dried head cuts my drying time in half. It also seems to help with flyaways, leaving hair dry and smooth. It’s one of those products that makes you wonder how you ever lived without it.

4. LORAC Pro Palette 3

I haven’t picked up a new eyeshadow palette in quite a while (mostly because I have so many single shades), but this palette caught my eye and I decided to splurge.

I love the warmth of the colors, and the pigmentation is very good. Yes, there’s a little fallout, but not terrible. A spritz of setting spray will go a long way to keep fallout at bay.  The mix of matte and shimmer (not glitter) is even and I find that I am able to create lots of looks from just this palette alone. Oh, and it comes with a shadow primer, too!

Let’s enjoy 2017 together – I don’t know about you, but I am ready for this new year ahead of us!



Holiday Packing Tips

The travel arrangements are made, last-minute shopping is done and all that’s left to do is sit back, relax and enjoy some time off – or is there something missing?

In addition to packing any holiday gifts and ugly sweaters, has compiled a simple go-to guide below to make sure you remember all of your toiletry necessities to help you look (and smell) your best as you visit friends and family this holiday season.
Shampoo and Conditioner
If you are staying in a hotel then typically the hotel will provide a trial size of shampoo and conditioner, yet that is not guaranteed. Therefore it’s always safe (best!) to bring your own. Only bring what you need to save room for other things in your luggage.
Body Wash recommends using a bar of soap rather than liquid for the simple fact it takes up less room. (and you can ditch it before heading home!)
Face Lotions
If you condense the bottle that you use now into a smaller bottle or a tub it can be easier to carry in your toiletry bag.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Try to find a traveling toothbrush ideally one that folds in half. If you have a travel sized toothpaste tube already then recommends keeping it on hand and refilling it when it runs out. That way you don’t have to spend more on buying travel-sized toothpaste tubes. Another idea would be to try toothpaste powder or baking soda. These powders tend to come in tiny bottles that hardly take up any space.
Facial Wipes
These can be a quick fix to any emergency! If you have a long layover and need to freshen up, or even just to take your makeup off at night before you go to sleep facial wipes can be a lifesaver. No limit on the packaging so a big pack can fit right in your carry on.

Happy and safe travels!



Considering a Wrinkle Cream?

We recently discussed’s quest to find the very best in wrinkle creams, and the top three, but for those of you looking for something more or different, here are some additional findings:

Other Wrinkle Creams to Consider

Peter Thomas Roth Un-Wrinkle Night and Peter Thomas Roth Mega Rich Intensive Anti-Aging Cellular Creme. Packaging aside (more pots — we feel like a broken record) we liked both of these anti-wrinkle creams well enough. Un-Wrinkle has the most retinol (listed 12th) as well as some glycolic acid, but you’ll be shelling out over $100 for 1 oz of product that doesn’t have any coveted hyaluronate. Its counterpart, the Cellular Creme, is a more affordable $85 for 1.7 oz, but unsurprisingly its retinoid is much lower in the ingredients list and its hyaluronate is nearly last.

Philosophy Ultimate Miracle Worker Night ($80). It contains our three wishlist ingredients (although it has the least retinol of all our top picks) and is comparable in size and price to Dr. Dennis Gross, but the Ultimate Miracle Worker had some downsides. Denatured alcohol as one of the first ingredients which is ultra-drying in the bad way, plus you have to stir little “pearls” into the cream to “activate” it when you first open it — so gimmicky!

“Retinol is a truly effective wrinkle reduction treatment. It is much better to have a product with retinol than without it.” Dr. Diane Ford, MDDSF Cosmetic and Medical Dermatology

Stop Time: Best of Wrinkle Creams

Turning back the clock and showing a more youthful self is pretty much on our minds all the time, right? From using sunscreen, to moisturizing and exfoliating, we’ve done it all. has set out to find the best of the best in wrinkle creams, and here are their results:

The 30-Second Review

According to the studies researched, and the dermatologists and chemists interviewed, the best wrinkle creams do work — as long as they’re made with the right stuff. Retinol is the only non-negotiable, but they scoured the ingredients lists of over 200 products looking for two other clinically proven anti-agers: alpha hydroxy acids and hyaluronate acid. Holy grail wrinkle creams do exist, but they definitely come at a price.

237 Contenders  → 3 Top Picks
Best Overall (If You Can Afford It)

A super-light serum that contains all three powerhouse ingredients — retinol, AHAs, and hyaluronic — in a sleek pump bottle. At $510, it’s five times as expensive as our other top picks, but it doesn’t get much better.

Other Top Picks

Wrinkle cream is the long con of skin care, a commitment to a daily routine that won’t show results for months, or even years. There’s no over-the-counter quick fix for wrinkles — nothing we can slather on one night and wake up crease-free the next morning. When it comes to wrinkle creams, we invest in the routine (not to mention the product) and, to a certain extent, cross our fingers that 10 or 20 years from now we may look 10 or 20 years younger than we would have without them.

So it’s good news that the science behind the most powerful wrinkle fighters — retinol, for one, but alpha hydroxy acids and humectants like hyaluronic acid too — says they do actually work to decrease the appearance of fine lines and signs of aging. The bad news: They don’t come cheap.

Sure, La Prairie Cellular Power Charge Night is $510, but it’s the only wrinkle cream found that not only includes the three best ingredients to fight signs of aging but includes them in effective amounts. Plus, it comes in an airless pump bottle (this is a big deal!) that eliminates any chance for the product inside to degrade, and it instantly absorbs, making it ideal to layer into your skincare routine. If you’re serious about results and don’t want to go the prescription route, this is the product to splurge on.

Runner-up, Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Ferulic + Retinol Anti-Aging Moisturizer, feels like a steal by comparison, but retinol is nearly two times lower on the ingredients list, so it’s just not as effective. It also comes in a pot, as opposed to a pump, making it more susceptible to contamination — and trickier to portion out. That said, it does contain all three ingredients that make the best wrinkle creams work, which is hard to find. If you’ll only apply it with clean hands and in a sunless room, this is a decent (and more affordable) option.

When we stumbled onto Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum, we were ecstatic. Voila: a product with even more retinol than La Prairie, in good packaging, for about $20. It has a pretty perfume-y fragrance, which will be a turnoff for some, and it doesn’t have any alpha hydroxy acids, which, after retinol, are the most effective wrinkle fighters. But if you can deal with the scent and load up on AHAs in other aspects of your skincare, this wrinkle cream is a perfect pick.

How They Found the Best Wrinkle Cream

For the past five years in the US alone, consumers have spent well over $2 billion annually on anti-aging products. Worldwide, the market is estimated to be nearing $200 billion in the next few years. Needless to say, there are a lot to choose from: Whole aisles in drugstores and department stores are devoted to combatting wrinkles, fine lines, and sun-damaged skin.

To find the best wrinkle cream, looked for products for the whole face (our review on best eye cream is a good read for anyone looking for a more targeted approach). We compiled a list of 237 creams, serums, and gels from top retailer roundups; recommendations from popular beauty magazines, blogs, and experts; and best-sellers from stores like Ulta, Sephora, Nordstrom, Saks — even Walgreens. And then we started digging into their ingredients.

No retinol? That’s a deal breaker.

Retinoids are the only over-the-counter wrinkle fighter proven to reverse the signs of aging in study after study. A derivative of vitamin A, retinol works in two ways: by drying and exfoliating the epidermis (aka cell turnover) and by spurring the collagen production that naturally degrades as we get older, which improves elasticity and fills in lines.

You’ve heard of the original retinoid, tretinoin, by its brand name Retin-A, a prescription topical solution developed by dermatologists in the ‘60s. Retinol is its over-the-counter little sister, and while it’s not quite as strong or immediately effective, a three-month, double-blind, randomized study of 34 women showed there was no significant difference in efficacy between 1.1 percent retinol and 0.025 percent prescription tretinoin. In short: Retinol really works.

According to our experts, over-the-counter “wrinkle creams” that don’t contain retinol are either just moisturizers or purporting to contain some sort of new wrinkle fighter that hasn’t been put through the rigorous studies that retinoids have.

Plus some AHAs

Alpha hydroxy acids, which are derived from fruits and milk, are the second most important weapon in the fight against wrinkles — multiple studies have shown their effectiveness in improving the look of aging skin. There are many AHAs in nature, but glycolic acid and lactic acid have the ability to penetrate skin, so those are the two they targeted to find the best wrinkle cream.

They work by dissolving lipids, the adhesive that clings to old, dead cells. A wrinkle forms when there’s a faulty repair of the skin and a short collagen bond happens instead of a long one. Our bodies just start making these kinds of mistakes as we get older, and alpha hydroxy acids get in there, break up the junk, and give your skin another shot at making the right bond between cells. These guys are exfoliation powerhouses, sloughing off old cells in favor of newer, younger-looking skin at the cellular level. If you’re looking to reverse signs of photoaging (like dark spots) as well as reduce the appearance of fine lines, AHAs are your best bet.

AHAs alone will do wonders for the appearance of your skin, but by selecting a product with both retinol and an AHA, you’re getting a two-fer: the best of clinically proven anti-aging ingredients.

And finally: hyaluronic acid.

Retinol and AHAs work behind the scenes targeting long-term results. Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, will give you immediate benefits while you wait for those other guys to kick in. This acid is different than the ones in AHAs; it’s actually a humectant.

Humectants work by forcing water into cells and keeping it there — and hyaluronic acid (and its derivative, sodium hyaluronate) is the latest and greatest humectant out there. “There’s been a renaissance in skin care products, particularly topical ones, which now include a number of ingredients to improve wrinkles. Hyaluronic acid is one of those ingredients now available topically,” says Dr. Diane Ford, a DC-area dermatologist and lecturer. A hyaluronic acid molecule can hold 800 to 1,000 times its weight in water, and it’s been engineered to the point that it can actually penetrate the epidermis rather than just sit on top. That immediate turbo-hydration helps skin look plumper and full of life, but it has longer-term benefits too, ranging from improved skin elasticity to reversing UV damage.

After running all 237 through what they considered a pretty easy wish list, guess how many passed muster? Four. Four! So they tossed three more to try out into the mix, making sure they contained at least retinol, but not necessarily AHAs or hyaluronic acid, and started having some fun.

They examined the packaging.

Anti-aging ingredients, especially vitamin A derivatives like retinol, are wildly sensitive to sunlight. UV rays can break them down immediately and render your hundred dollars of product completely ineffective. “Have you ever noticed how vitamins and prescription drugs are distributed in containers to protect from UV light? Those amber prescription bottles from CVS are amber for a reason!” says chemist Jennifer Reid.

They took each bottle or tub into a dark room and shone a flashlight through it to see if light could penetrate the container. (It felt like a kindergarten science project in all the best ways.) The top picks all passed this test — even the containers that looked transparent actually had an opaque liner. Well played.

Not so well-played was packaging that protects against contamination. Namely: tubs. Reid explains, “Sticking your fingers directly into the product can introduce bacteria, and open tubs also expose a large surface area of the product to oxygen.” Like UV rays, oxygen can degrade the effectiveness of our key ingredients. But bacteria is a whole other mess. Studies have shown contaminated beauty products contain nasty bacteria like staph and E. coli. How do they get in there? Your fingers. Yuck.

Who knows why 109 of our 237 contenders come in tubs, because it makes no sense whatsoever. (Maybe they’re all trying to look like La Mer?) Sure, you might wash your hands and face before applying your wrinkle cream, but what if you don’t get every particle of dirt out from under your nails? Boom: bacteria.

Of course there are ways around that. Some tubs come with applicators: little spoons that you’re supposed to use to take dollops of the product out. Maybe you’re the type that can always follow the rules (I’m not) — so while they didn’t declare tubs a deal breaker, they did consider it.

And tried them all on.

Was any smell off-putting? Did they hurt or sting in any way? Did they have any negative reactions? Keeping in mind that everyone’s skin is different and we all react to products in a unique way, so they looked for any glaringly obvious issues in the immediate aftermath of use. They  didn’t evaluate any product on its results — even the best wrinkle creams take around six months before results are visible. Those ingredients need time to do their thing. was pretty ticked that the best wrinkle cream is also the most expensive. (And honestly, so was I) We’re talking really expensive: over five times as much as any of our other top picks for slightly less product (only 1.35 oz). Come on. For $510, you can buy a roundtrip plane ticket to Cancun, where they sell prescription Retin-A in the airport for $35 (not that we’re recommending this…).

But La Prairie’s Cellular Power Charge Night has everything you want in an over-the-counter wrinkle cream: all three of the wishlist ingredients, plus a completely opaque bottle with a pump. The packaging has an otherworldly feel to it. It’s sleek, minimal, and futuristic. It looks like the wrinkle cream androids would use. The airless pump bottle means not only no contamination or oxygen degradation, but also that each portion is tightly controlled — you’re not at risk of over-serving by even a single drop.

Equally important as including all three ingredients is including enough of each. Retinol stood out here at spot 12 on the ingredient list — the second-highest of all the top picks, with Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum coming in first with retinol at number 11.

And the texture is sublime: It’s a very lightweight serum that absorbs instantly with no residue. One thing about these wrinkle treatments is that they can be drying, so there’s a temptation to add a heavy duty night cream on top. With the thicker wrinkle creams (like the ones we tested by Peter Thomas Roth and Dr. Dennis Gross), it’s cream overkill, but La Prairie’s practically invisible formulation lends itself to layering.

The serum felt good, and it smelled clean and crisp. Best of all, they felt no irritation upon application or the following morning, which we couldn’t say about many of the other creams. With each of the other top picks they woke up feeling something. Not pain necessarily, but definitely tightness. Not so with La Prairie. This is probably due to the addition of plenty of plant-based oils, which packed the top of the ingredient list. The other top picks listed a jumble of unpronounceable “-xanes” and “-xides” before getting to our wrinkle fighters. Something about seeing words like jojoba and sunflower seed oil up top soothed their minds as well as their skin.

We searched and searched for other options that did wrinkle cream as well as La Prairie, but couldn’t. This one just nails it. A brief survey of eBay reveals that there’s a hot second market for it (or for knockoffs) — and we found it on Amazon for closer to $200 — so we’re not alone in thinking the price tag is simply ridiculous. Elle Magazine also notes its effectiveness in the face of a blinding price tag. If you have the cash, you can feel confident spending it here, but if you’re just a regular person and not a cartoon oil tycoon, there are more reasonable alternatives.

Runner-Up in the Wrong Packaging

This wrinkle fighter came in a package that looked the most medicinal of all those we tried: It’s in an amber-tinted pot and the logo is a little cross like you see outside of pharmacies. You may think that’s some marketing sleight of hand (“Ooh, this looks like it came from an old-timey apothecary! It must be good!”), but Dr. Dennis Gross packs a punch in terms of ingredients. Retinol shows up the lowest on its ingredients list out of our three top picks (around 20th), so it won’t be quite as efficacious as La Prairie, but it does include both glycolic and lactic acid (which Neutrogena lacks), plus a hyaluronic element. It feels luxurious going on — a little thinner than a night cream, a little thicker than a moisturizer — and has a pleasantly light citrus and lavender scent.

Now, for the bad news: It’s in totally the wrong packaging. There is a white plastic liner inside the pot so the cream isn’t getting exposed to light at all times — but what about when you open the container? If you can trust yourself to either thoroughly wash your hands or use a spoon to take the product out of its pot (and to only do that far away from any windows), we say it’s worth trying. After La Prairie, $72 feels like a steal, but be warned: You only get 1.7 ounces and portion control can be tricky without a pump.

Best Drugstore Wrinkle Cream

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum  was so happy to have found this stuff. The other drugstore pick, RoC Deep Wrinkle Night Cream, did only so-so in our testing — which is especially surprising since the “R” in RoC stands for retinol. Out of Deep Wrinkle Night’s 35 ingredients, retinol was buried at 27th out of 35, and its best attempt at an AHA was 19th. “If you see the word ‘retinol’ listed in the first few ingredients, it will probably have a more significant effect. However, if it is listed as one of the last ingredients, it may not be as effective for anti-aging and wrinkles,” says Ford. When they realized they weren’t happy with any of the drugstore creams they’d been recommended, they set back out to CVS and read the ingredients list of literally every wrinkle fighter in the store to find a decent product for those of us with tighter budgets. (Yay!)

According to its box, Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum is new to market, and feels pretty sure this one is going to take off in a big way. Unfortunately, it lacks any AHAs — but it does include enough retinol and hyaluronic acid to be effective, and it comes in the right container. Best yet: It’s under $20.

It calls itself a serum, but the texture is more like a thin moisturizer — it’s quite creamy. That needn’t bother anyone too much, but if you’re a stickler for grammar, you might want to take a Sharpie to the packaging. The only other thing we disliked about it: its scent. The fragrance is strong. For a daytime treatment, that might be fine, but we’re not sure you’ll want to go to bed smelling like a perfume counter.

Curious about other wrinkle creams? That will be coming up in the next blog post – stay tuned!

August Favorites

Oh my – so much goodness I found in the month of August. The list may not be long, but the love I have for these products runs deep.


1. I am in love, love loving this Blue Ionic BlueWave NanoIonic Square/Round Brush. The squarish design gives you so much more traction on wet hair to dry faster and with less frustration. Since I bought it, it’s been my go-to hair brush. The extra-large is shown here at $28, so it’s not even that pricey of a brush.

2. NARS you keep breathing new life into my makeup game. Case in point; Rigel. This metallic Rose Gold eyeshadow is so gorgeous I could weep. Yes, it’s just that good. It’s gorgeously light and luminous when applied dry, but apply wet for MAJOR shadow drama. You will be lit from within! $29

Those have been my new favorites in the month of August. Still going strong today. Don’t you love trying something new and realizing you’ve been missing it your entire adult life, but didn’t know until just now? Yeah, me too.


June Favorites

There’s so much good stuff I’ve been using this past month. So, so much! So let’s get started.

Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser
I have very red cheeks. Not Rosacea, as far as I can tell, but highly pigmented cheeks. Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Cleanser helps to soothe and calm my cheeks while removing dirt, grime, and makeup at the same time.  Actually, the entire line of Redness Relief products are great, but it all starts with the cleanser, right? You can find the entire line at – I like shopping on their site directly because they allow you to purchase SAMPLES (for .50), which is a great way to try something new without breaking the bank to do so – or to buy products that are the perfect size for traveling. The full size is around $17 – not too bad at all.

NARSSKIN Double Refining Exfoliator
One thing I learned from Nars’ International Makeup Artist Uzo is that EXFOLIATING is the way to keep your skin looking young and fresh. Sure, moisturizer is important as well, but keeping those dead skin cells turning over is the way to glowing luminous skin. I really like this formula because you can feel the grains, but they are small and rounded. They don’t hurt or irritate skin, but after you rinse the product off your face, you can definitely tell your skin is smoother. This is the time to use that moisturizer you love. It now has a better chance of sinking into skin, and giving you the benefits you desire. At $34, it may sound a little expensive, but you will be surprised at how long it lasts. I’ve been using mine for a little over 3 months now and haven’t had to buy a new bottle. And yes, you can (and should) use this type of exfoliator every day. I prefer to use in the AM, but PM would be fine also. NARS products can be purchased in the boutique (if you’re in Atlanta), online, or in a full Sephora store (not the ones in JCP)

Rodial Instaglam Compact Deluxe Banana PowderINSTAGLAM-COMPACT-DELUXE-BA
While I have heard of the banana powder craze, Rodial’s version was my first to try. A true skeptic, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I am a believer now!

I put this pressed powder on thickly after I use my under eye concealer and let it “bake” for a few minutes while I finish up the rest of my makeup. I do the same thing along my jawline, right below my contour.

Once I have finished my makeup, I dust off the excess and BAM – my under eye discoloration is gone and my eyes look well rested. It doesn’t settle into lines or look cakey at all! My jawline looks amazing and it makes my contour look even better. Now I have to try Rodial’s Contouring Powder! The luxe compact is $57 and is supposed to be available online and in Blue Mercury stores, but I haven’t been able to find it.  When that information becomes available, I’ll leave a comment for those of you who are interested in purchasing it.

Terry De Gunzburg Thé Glacé Parfum
I love perfume. I’m always switching it up and trying new fragrances based on the time of the year and my mood. Despite my penchant for fragrance changes, I’m falling hard for The Glacé. What a gorgeous fragrance this is. It’s a light citrus (I smell a hint of lime) that dries down to a soft musk that is still undeniably feminine. Sure, it’s expensive; it even smells expensive. There’s a sophistication in the fragrance that screams luxe. However, at $170 for a 100ml bottle really is not that expensive, comparatively speaking. And if you love it as much as I do, you’ll wear it all the time and get your money’s worth out of it. Look for it on Barney’s website.

That’s all I have to share for June favorites. Leave a comment down below if you’d be interested in reading about UNFavorites.



My Total Mouth Restoration

Hi, Everyone!

This is a bit of a more personal post, as it has to do with me and my smile.  I was fortunate enough to be able to have porcelain veneers laid over my top front 8 teeth when I was 17 (in 1995).

BEFORE – As you can see, there were few teeth showing and my upper lip was virtually non-existent.
After having braces, and seeing the ridges they left in my teeth, I was so relieved there was an option to make my teeth look beautiful again. And they did. I got compliments all the time on my new white smile. It was awesome.

Fast forward to 2015 – 20 years later. Despite how well you care for veneers, they do have a lifespan (Typically 5-15 years back then) and I had ridden them out for 20 years. Impressive. But along the way, my gums receded, a veneer or two chipped and was patched with

My first glimpse of what could be...but the end result is so much better!
My first glimpse of what could be…but the end result is so much better! And yes, those were my teeth (top image). Gross.
composite bonding (which stains very easily) and even the whole structure of my jaw had changed and even if I had wanted to show my teeth (which I didn’t); they really didn’t show in smiles anyway. I was embarrassed and walked around looking angry all the time because I was too self-conscious to smile and my jaw looked like it was collapsing in on me. Not cute or sexy in the least!

Late December 2015, I met with a Prosthodontist named Dr. Louisa Berman (in Atlanta at Maple Drive Dentistry), who walked me through the steps we’d take to get me the smile I longed for.

MIDWAY - This is probably the halfway point.
MIDWAY – This is probably the halfway point. You can see we’re coming along nicely.too closed in.
Let me speak about Dr. Berman for a moment. She is so kind and caring when it comes to her patients. She’s always happy to see me, rejoices with me in the small victories along the journey we’ve taken and has incredible skill at what she does. In order for her to become a Prosthodontist, she went to post-doctoral schooling for specialized training – think of what she does is create prosthetics for your mouth. You wouldn’t want a regular doctor creating a prosthetic for your leg if you needed one; you’d want an orthopaedist. Same thing applies in the dental world. You want a Prosthodontist creating dental prostheses for your mouth, not a garden variety dentist. Trust me on this! (My first go around was with a regular dentist – this has BY FAR, been a much better experience!)

AFTER - Shiny new smile, happier me!
AFTER – Shiny new smile, happier me!
And I would be a fool not to recognize one of Dr. Berman’s dental assistants, Sandie Abernathy. Not only is she extremely talented, she takes the time to treat every patient like royalty. Warm neck pillow? Yes, please. Rub my shoulder or hold my hand if I’m nervous. Of course. At this point, I’ve considered her my soul sister. She is great.

I won’t say it was a fast process, nor was it always a comfortable process. but those are temporary restraints. Dr. Berman was able to give me a little vertical lift in my upper teeth so they could be seen when I smiled. She widened the necks of my upper teeth to build up a little bit of mass so that my top lip wasn’t nearly invisible. But she also cleaned my teeth, removed any decay and calculus (which we laugh about because I call it math – get it? calculus, math, haha) and she removed old metal fillings and replaced with ceramic ones and crowns where needed. So not only does my smile look great, my mouth is HEALTHY and happy.

I have a new lease on life now. My gums and teeth are healthy, my smile is white and bright and wide and I swear I look younger. It was dumb luck that I ended up in her office, but I am so thankful I did. She’s changed my life in so many ways! I LOVE MY NEW SMILE!

(I have not received any compensation for sharing my story. It is my own opinion of the services I received and paid for at Maple Drive Dentistry. I just think they’re great!)

Match Co. Custom Foundation – First Impression

I have to say, I was pretty excited to try the MatchCo app.

Match Co. App

By utilizing the camera on your smartphone, MatchCo takes images of your skin on both sides of you wrist, your cheeks, and your forehead.

It’s definitely easy to use, and the idea of having a fully customized foundation, complete with your name on the bottle sounds pretty awesome and revolutionary.

You must be makeup-free to do the scans, and you will also need to calibrate your phone before scanning. It’s super easy and the voice walks you through each step.

Once you’ve finished your scans, it gives you the option to purchase for $49, plus shipping (free if you choose Priority Mail – that’s a quick turnaround!)

If your foundation arrives, and for some reason it’s not a perfect match (mine was not – I believe it’s due to the redness in my cheeks – don’t worry, you can return it within 30 days and try again.

I think this is a great way to purchase foundation if you don’t have too much redness in your face – that seems to throw everything off balance. But for pale, even, less red skin tones, I believe you will be pleased. If not, there’s nothing to lose!