Style » Grooming

May Grooming Guide: Smile, It’s Almost Summer

by Mark Thompson
EDGE Style & Travel Editor
Monday May 9, 2011
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Some years ago, the "New York Times Magazine" ran a cover essay revealing what the rest of the world admired about Americans. Mind you, this was before our reputation was savaged by the "war on terror" - but one somewhat startling result was that the rest of the world admired our teeth. Our big white teeth. Our smiles.

Oh, those were the days - when Americans were admired for their toothy optimism. Well, it’s spring again and summer’s around the corner - and that’s enough to make us smile once more. And given the recent advances in periodontal care, we’re focusing some of this month’s grooming guide on our pearly whites.

Because, as Louis Armstrong sang, "Smile and the whole world smiles with you." And if you let a smile be your umbrella, your face is guaranteed to shine. And if you keep on smiling, it makes people wonder what you’ve been up to, which is just what you want when you’ve got spring in your step and summer’s almost here. Because, after all, a smile a day keeps the doctor away. And don’t worry, be happy, because as Mae West said, "Don’t cry for a man who’s left you, because the next one may fall for your smile." After all, smiling is the second best thing you can do with your lips.

Or as Raymond Chandler wrote, "Go ahead, give someone a smile they’ll feel in their hip pocket." And then make your face as beautiful as your smile with this month’s grooming guide.


Desert Essence: Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream

Of course, with the advent of summer comes late nights. The sun doesn’t set until nearly nine and you’re out cocktailing by the river, on the rooftop, by the shore until ten - and then eating dinner at midnight. Morning comes and your eyes look like you walked into a bus. That’s when you reach for Desert Essence’s Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream.

Loaded with antioxidants (to help fight all those free radicals that you unleashed the night before, thanks to your unsavory behaviors), Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream is a rich blend of hibiscus, lavender, and pomegranate extracts, which revives your weary eyes. The organic acerola (vitamin C) helps to smooth your tired skin (especially where that shoe was mashed against your cheekbone), while jojoba oil and vitamin E helps with cellular regeneration.

Founded in 1972, Desert Essence offers a full range of natural and organic skin care products that are both vegetarian and cruelty-free, as well as free of parabens and artificial colors and fragrances. The sustainable skin care line utilizes natural botanicals such as aloe vera, jojoba, and tree tree oil (which they introduced to the States) to create high quality products that are as respectful of the environment as they are effective.

As Desert Essence’s motto states, "Beauty blooms in the desert," which might be just how you feel after fixing your face with Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream. From the desert of your hangover, your eyes emerge again - as radiant as the bloom on a hundred-year cactus.

PRICE: $15.99 / 1.0 fl oz / 30 ml
LINK: Desert Essence Daily Essential De-Puffing Eye Cream

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REMBRANDT® Deeply White™ + Peroxide Fresh Mint Toothpaste and REMBRANDT® Deeply White™ + Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash

Finally, these are the products that we’ve been waiting for: toothpaste and mouthwash, loaded with sodium fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and hydrogen peroxide to visibly whiten teeth. Think about it: you’re brushing and gargling and swishing with a product that is cleansing your teeth, strengthening your enamel, whitening your pearlies, and freshening your breath. Talk about multi-tasking - about the only thing these products don’t do is windows.

Way back in 1989, Rembrandt was the first company with a whitening toothpaste. For you children too young to remember, this product was somewhat revolutionary - and very expensive (at least relative to the toothpastes your mother was purchasing). As Rembrandt explained to the marketplace, there are two kinds of stains: extrinsic and instrinsic - or surface and deep. Rembrandt proved that a peroxide-based formula whitened teeth - over a period of time.

Rembrandt® Deeply White™+Peroxide Fresh Mint Toothpaste whitens teeth above and below the surface and works by combining both sodium fluoride, an anti-cavity agent, with rapid-release peroxide that, just like the Rembrandt® Deeply White™+Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash, starts working on contact with deep stains.

Here’s what you do: brush your teeth. Let’s say it again: brush your teeth. Then after you finish brushing, all you do is swish a couple teaspoons of Rembrandt® Deeply White™+Peroxide Whitening Mouthwash in your mouth for sixty seconds. Do this twice a day - and each time you do it, don’t eat anything for thirty minutes after. Think about it: this product is a diet aid as well!

Go on now, start gargling - and get your teeth white for Pride!

PRICE: $6.99 - $7.99
LINK: REMBRANDT® Deeply White™

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Frownies: Under Eye & Eyelid Gels

We have them on their face right now - so don’t expect us to answer the door. We’re going out this evening, so we’re wearing Frownies Eye Gels Under Eye & Eyelid Treatment - to be better prepared for our close-up. They look like transparent slugs that have landed under our eyes - and they smell delicious, like roses. Already we can see a difference. Probably no one will recognize us tonight; probably everyone will say, "You look phenomenal!" - before adding, sotto voce, "Did you have work done?"

Nope, it’s Frownies Eye Gels. Surely you’ve heard of them by now. Ever since 1889, Frownies have been eradicating wrinkles and reversing the signs of aging for men and women the world over, particularly those in the entertainment industries. Gloria Swanson famously wore them in "Sunset Boulevard" - and Olivia de Havilland had them sent to her hotels. Even the Kennedy women used them. 



We once knew a man who went to retrieve his mother after she’d had some "work" done on her face - and the ensuing trauma of seeing his mother’s bandaged and bruised face made him swear that he’d never go under the knife. Perhaps his mother had never considered Frownies. 



The signature product of the Frownies empire is Frownies Under Eye & Eyelid Gels (yes, we’re still wearing them - ten more minutes), which are all-natural gel patches of cactus collagen, aloe, and other plant-derived natural vitamins. One 30-minute treatment delivers deep hydration (we can feel it happening already), while increasing circulation to that delicate undereye area. The result? Fewer visible lines and wrinkles, negligible dark circles - and a surfeit of compliments. Trust us - this isn’t the first time we’ve worn Frownies Under Eye & Eyelid Gels. We’re actually centenarians, but no one ever believes us.

Best of all, each pair of patches can be reused, with Frownies Rose Water Hydrator Spray to activate and help preserve the eye gels. You might think of them as something equivalent to mother’s little helpers - and you’ll definitely grow as fond of them as you would a goldfish.

PRICE: $37.50 / three pairs of eye gels
LINK: Frownies Under Eye & Eyelid Gels

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(Grooming Guide continues on next page: Blissoma, supersmile, Dr. Shahani...)


Blissoma: Evening Facial Créme

Okay, here’s the truth. On a recent cruise through Central America, our face got cooked. Don’t ask; we were stupid - but the smart thing we’d done was pack Blissoma’s Evening Facial Créme in our carry-on. So, after we’d been rotisseried, we applied this calming, anti-inflammatory treatment to our face before bed - and that made all the difference.

Blissoma founder and formulator Julie Longyear is educated in both art and chemistry - and the company is 100% natural and vegetarian, using only natural essential oils and a majority of certified organic ingredients. Blissoma’s Evening Facial Créme is infused with restorative minerals, including organic dulse and nori seaweeds, as well as dandelion root, which contains trace nutrients for cellular regeneration.

And while Blissoma’s Evening Facial Créme is not marketed as an après-soleil emollient, in our case, it was a life-saver. Loaded with acai oil and organic shea butter, as well as organic pumpkin seed oil, Blissoma’s Evening Facial Créme soothed our skin, while providing a rich and nourishing lipid layer that our skin needed after the hell of North Pacific sun.

Use Blissoma’s Evening Facial Créme while you sleep; the organic gingko aids in circulation while comfrey helps speed cell turnover - and the fragrance is somewhat akin to sleeping on a summer porch at the shore. Best of all, the result is a more radiant you in the morning - and who has a problem with that?

Founded in 2005, Blissoma is sold at Whole Foods, Abe’s, and Amazon (as well as more than 200 international retailers) - a marketing success that is all the more remarkable when you consider that Blissoma eschews advertising, choosing to rely instead on positive word of mouth. Many products are also vegan, which is one reason why Blissoma is an approved Whole Foods Premium Bodycare line. "Health is beautiful" is Blissoma’s mantra - and after our bout with the sun, we’ll toast to that.

PRICE: $17.99 / 1 fl. oz.
LINK: Blissoma Evening Facial Créme

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supersmile: Quikee

Whose life isn’t hectic these days? Who doesn’t stash a toothbrush in a manbag and another in a desk drawer? We know one guy who carries a change of clothes with him on the way to the office - because he’s going from his desk to the gym to a cocktail party - and then to dinner. And why is he always smiling? Because he’s also using supersmile Quikee.

After the morning’s coffee and the red wine at lunch, your teeth are about as pretty as those of a cannibal. What you need is supersmile Quikee. For years, supersmile (who knows what’s not up with the lowercase s, but that’s how they want it...) has been the source of supermodel smiles. Using a patented product called Calprox®, along with Urea Hydrogen Peroxide, supersmile Quikee removes coffee, tobacco, red wine - and just about any other lethal, tell-tale stain. At the same time, the combination of calcium and phosphates helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

What is particularly attractive about supersmile Quikee is how it removes stains and freshens breath - when you forgot your toothbrush. What happens is that the Calprox® dissolves pellicle, the protein to which bacteria, plaque, and stain adhere. The tube applicator (with enough for 60 uses) is perfect for applying while you hustle down the hall, heading for the elevator and your next rendezvous. The quick dissolve formula freshens your breath - and you don’t even have to rinse. Smile; you’re on!

PRICE: $16.00 / .35 oz
LINK: supersmile Quikee

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Dr. Shahani’s: Pro-Flora Adult Strength Chewables

Since we’re cleansing our teeth and skin, why not cleanse from within as well? Constipation, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and IBS (if you don’t know, look it up...) are some of the most common complaints in the States. Hmm. Funny about that, right? Can we talk diet? What we all need to do is insure that our immune systems are functioning properly, which means insuring that our intestines are supplied with probiotics. In other words, good bacteria.

Most of us eat processed and over-refined foods every day, thereby bombarding our bodies with chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotics. Not to mention alcohol, caffeine, stress... Frankly, it’s a wonder we get out of bed in the mornings.

Since 1981, Nebraska Cultures has been providing exceptional probiotic products to the public, so much so that Dr. Shahani is generally considered the father of today’s probiotic industry. So what’s the case for probiotics? Oh, just a few little things, like the stimulation of the immune system; the suppression of pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella; the reduction of skin problems such as acne, psoriasis and eczema; the detoxification of the blood to help with liver function; the reduction of cholesterol in the blood; and the ability to combat yeast and fungal infections. Nothing too major, right?

People, take charge of your lives. Take one Dr. Shahani’s Pro-Flora Adult Strength Chewables tablet a day - and feel the difference. For real.

PRICE: $24.95 / 90 count chewable tablets
LINK: Dr. Shahani’s Pro-Flora Adult Strength Chewables


A long-term New Yorker and a member of New York Travel Writers Association, Mark Thompson has also lived in San Francisco, Boston, Provincetown, D.C., Miami Beach and the south of France. The author of the novels WOLFCHILD and MY HAWAIIAN PENTHOUSE, he has a PhD in American Studies and is the recipient of fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo, and Blue Mountain Center. His work has appeared in numerous publications.

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