Soy sauce and merlot, cigarettes and coffee, cola and blueberries: These are sins, to a dentist. But Jennifer Jablow, D. D. S., of Park 56 Dental, can absolve you of them. “Your teeth have pores, so they’re constantly absorbing everything they come into contact with,” Dr. Jablow says. “What at-home kits do in a month my system can do in 45 minutes.” Here’s how it works.

First Dr. Jablow covers your teeth with a proprietary 25 percent hydrogen peroxide gel. All hydrogen peroxide solutions, whether strips, gels, or another form, unleash a certain amount of highly reactive oxygen molecules—the stain busters—when activated. But Dr. Jablow boosts the output with a blast of UV light. More molecules in contact with the teeth mean more reach the dentin below each tooth’s enamel, she says.

Dr. Jablow claims the system (called “Zoom!”) brightens choppers an average of 7.7 shades, at a cost between $350 and $1,000. “But how you take care of your smile at home is just as important as what I can do in my office,” she admits. To that end . . .

Plug in Your Toothbrush
“Using an electric toothbrush is the single best thing you can do to break up plaque and stains,” says Dr. Jablow. And while whitening toothpastes are great for upkeep on your teeth, don’t expect them to work magic on a subpar smile: “They’re really for removing superficial stains and preventing future staining,” Dr. Jablow says.

Chew on This
“If you chew gum, pick a brand with xylitol,” says Dr. Jablow. It’s a sugar substitute that helps remineralize the teeth.” We like Trident Sugarless.

Fortify with Fluoride
If you’re on anti depressants or antihistamines and you’re experiencing dry mouth, ask your dentist for a 1.1 percent fluoride toothpaste or a fluoride rinse, says Dr. Jablow. Without enough saliva, the acid level in your mouth rises, making you more vulnerable to cavities. The extra-strength fluoride can help protect your teeth.





Brush with the Best

You should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, holding the head at a 45-degree angle away from your gums. Go with medium or soft bristles—stiff brushes will scrape your gums raw. Best, though, are the electrics—they clean better, they’re gentler on gums, and they make you commit to the entire 2 minutes. You should ditch your stick every 60 days or when the bristles become bent, whichever comes first.

Watch Your Whites

First-time users of tooth whiteners often experience sensitive teeth, says Richard Price, D.M.D., of the American Dental Association. Salvation: A study in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry reports that people who brush with potassium nitrate toothpaste for 2 weeks before starting at-home whitening are less likely to feel increased sensitivity. Our favorite: Tom’s of Maine natural toothpaste.

Just as important: knowing when to stop your whitening routine—like if your chompers start to turn blue around the edges. “This signals a breakdown of dentin,” says Jonathan Levine, D.M.D., founder of GoSmile, “which is the substance beneath the tooth enamel that’s being whitened.”

Make Your Teeth Shine

When picking an at-home whitener, use common sense. “Don’t be fooled by false whitening claims,” says Gerard Kugel, M.D., an associate dean of research at the Tufts University school of dental medicine. Simply put: Stronger bleach concentrations work faster. If you want a complete overhaul from a home kit, look for a carbamide peroxide concentration of at least 10 percent. In a German study, in-office trays whitened teeth six shades in three sessions ($500 to $1,000), and the at-home variety required seven uses ($300 to $600). Whitening strips required 32 applications ($20 to $150).

But you can’t just suck a strip and forget it. Use a whitening toothpaste to keep the shine from fading, and a whitening floss—the plaque-heavy areas between your teeth soak up colors. Finally, watch the coffee, juice, and wine: They’re oral-bling killers.

Banish Dragon Breath

If brushing and flossing aren’t doing the trick, go hunting for tongue gunk. “Your tongue is like a shag carpet from the 1960s—bacteria are hanging out, clinking champagne glasses,” says Jonathan Levine, D.D.S., which means they’re probably smoking pot, too. The answer: a tongue scraper. Look for one with a rigid edge like OraSweet’s ($3.50, ). Reach as far back as you can, then pull forward, scraping your tongue. Follow with a peroxide mouthwash. Don’t overscrape, warns Fuad Malik, D.D.S., a New York City dentist. It can cause “hairy tongue,” which isn’t kinky at all.


Freshen Your Face Faster
Wash your face anywhere but the shower and you’re wasting time—the steam-rich environment opens your pores for a deeper cleaning. Begin with an exfoliating face scrub, using soft, circular motions to spread the sandlike grains over your mug. Exfoliation frees ingrown hairs and wipes away dead skin cells that would otherwise prevent your facial cleanser (or soap) from reaching the layers below, says Paul Frank, M.D., author of Turn Back the Clock without Losing Time. Dab your face halfway dry when you leave the shower, then put on moisturizer. “When you exfoliate, you’re stripping good oils as well as dead skin, so it’s important to hydrate right away,” says Denise Vitiello, director of the fitness center and spa at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City.

Moisturize Now, Age Later
Applying moisturizer in response to dry skin treats the symptom but not the disease. The skin’s internal scaffolding—a network of elastin and collagen fibers—has already started to loosen and unravel, and letting your skin dry out worsens the decline, causing the lipid-secreting glands of the face to atrophy and robbing your mug of its natural lubrication. The result: premature wrinkling. Moisturizing every day, however, can delay wrinkles for years. “Apply it after you leave the shower in the morning, midway through your day, and after you hit the gym,” suggests Vitiello. Look for nutritive compounds in the lotion—like the biopeptides in Biotherm Homme’s Age Refirm lotion—that can perk up your besieged oil glands and collagen networks.

Send Your Bags Packing
Those fleshy pillows under your eyes are part of your genetic blueprint, says Rhoda Narins, M.D., a clinical professor of dermatology at the New York University school of medicine and coauthor of Turn Back the Clock without Losing Time. And aging wears away the skin around your eye sockets, which, at 0.00079 inch, is already the thinnest on your body. Eventually, the blood vessels beneath show through, and the waterlogged fat sponges around your eyes start to sag, causing dark circles and bags.

A pearl-sized dollop of eye cream or serum, dabbed under each eye before bed, can take years off your peepers. Most creams contain topical anti-inflammatories—chemicals like caffeine that dehydrate tissue, tightening the skin into a taut, dense layer to hide the dark circles. Serums add antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C, and E, to reverse cellular damage from the sun. Both also moisturize the skin to minimize existing crinkles.

Bad behavior can make the bags bigger: Smoking stalls the microcirculation in your skin, causing connective tissue underneath to sag; too much sodium can cause your body to flood with water, fattening the pouches; and sleeping without proper head elevation can cause fluids to pool. So be good, add a pillow, and for particularly bad bags, apply a caffeine-based eye gel like MD Skincare Continuous Eye Hydration ($45, to tighten skin.

But if you regularly notice blue circles, see your doctor—it could be a sign of iron deficiency.

Manage Your Oil Reserves
Start by using oil-free moisturizers—about half of all lotions fit the bill. If you still end up shiny only moments after you towel off, try a soap that contains salicylic acid, which will dry out your skin a bit more, says Howard Sobel, M.D., director of the Skin and Spa Cosmetic Surgery Center in New York City. People still calling you Slick? Move to an over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide cream, like Fostex (available at pharmacies). Finally, if you have a real gusher, bring out the big gun—a leave-on mattifier that soaks up oil like a sponge.

You should also try a weekly facial mask to combat blackheads. Masks pull embedded grime from your pores, then tighten them. But first, you need to coax your pores to release their gunk. Prepare a bowl of hot, steaming water and set it on a flat surface. Drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl so that the edges of the towel fall just outside the lip. Let the steam dilate your pores for at least 5 minutes, then apply the mask. “Do it right and your skin will look brighter and feel smoother,” says Eric Ruimy, owner and founder of Nickel Spa SF for Men. Bonus: Unlike harsh astringents, clay masks don’t interfere with the moisture-producing glands that naturally lubricate your skin.

Lock Down Your Breakouts
Stop obsessing over pimples. Harvard researchers found that washing with a mild cleanser twice a day reduced acne count, while washing more (four times) or less (once daily) did not. “The more irritation, the more acne,” says Kenneth Bielinski, M.D., a dermatologist in Orland Park, Illinois. Battle breakouts by preventing them in the first place. Keep oil and grit away from your mug. Wash pillowcases and wipe phones often, and avoid resting your face on your hands.

When you have a problem, address it at the source. “A blackhead is sebum, or oil, that’s trapped in the pore and turns black as a result of oxidation,” says Dr. Sobel. “You have to remove that blockage.” Glycolic skin pads and at-home peels will help by chemically and mechanically cleaning out the gunk. Follow with a toner that contains witch hazel to remove traces of soap.

Peel Away Grime
Facial peels work like paint thinner, chemically dissolving the adhesive bonds between cells to strip away blemished, blotchy, or uneven skin and reveal the virgin layers below. One hurdle: “If you use the wrong peel, it can throw off the chemical balance of your face,” says Amy Wechsler, M.D., a dermatologist at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center.

Dry skin responds best to peels containing lactic or glycolic acids, which also act as humectants, grabbing moisture from the air and depositing it a tenth of an inch below the skin’s surface. Trichloracetic and salicylic acid peels, however—like the Bullie Refinement mask—strip away moisture, making them best for oily complexions.

Most at-home peels contain only 2 to 3 percent acid, compared with the 20 percent-and-up formulas used by dermatologists, but it’s best to avoid shaving and other forms of exfoliation on the same day.

Bare-Bones Skin Care
Skin experts, perhaps not understanding the scope of the average guy’s sloth, recommend that you apply six products each morning—cleanser (regular soap can irritate your face), preshave oil (to bring your follicles to attention), shaving gel, aftershave, face serum (to moisturize and rejuvenate), and a lotion-sunscreen combination. All are good products, so use as many as you can as often as you can. But when in doubt, you can’t go wrong with just the bookends: cleanser and lotion.




Shopping for cologne is brutal. You sniff for woman pleasers until your nose burns out, and then the potions all smell the same.

So know this: Your purchase isn’t all about scent. Men who use cologne are more confident than those who don’t, according to a recent University of Liverpool study. “It’s body armor around his ego,” says Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., who studies emotional links to scent. The smell may fade, but the effect lasts.

The same study found that when women simply see a man apply a scent, they consider him more attractive. Easy as that: Use a scent you like, and your confidence carries you.

Brand matters only in a personal way. “When you wear a scent,” says Martin Lindstrom, the author of Buyology, “you subconsciously buy the com-pany’s image and make it your own.” To help guide you, we asked 200 women what each brand makes them think of. Look to the right for their top answers.

1. Banana Republic Republic of Men 
$45; smells like clementine, herbs
“Clean, traditional”

2. Usher VIP 
$50-$65; bergamot, saffron
“Masculine, mysterious”

3. D&G l’Amoureux 
$65; spice, musk
“Stylish, sexy”

4. Zegna Colonia 
$50-$70; cedar, florals
“Rugged, virile”

5 Axe Instinct 
$5; leather, spice
“Energetic, youthful”

6 Lacoste Challenge 
$40-$60; citrus, woods
“Sporty, cool”

7. Yves Saint Laurent
La Nuit de l’Homme 

$72; woods, lavender
“Sophisticated, elegant”

What 200 Women We Polled Say About Cologne

56% Say wear it every day. . . .
. . . but never apply more than three sprays a day, say nearly 68% of women.

59% Say the cologne of an ex is still a turn-on. . . .
. . . and it can be sexy on you, too, say 63%.

99% Say you shouldn’t smell like cologne from more than a foot away. . . .
. . . and up close, it smells best on your torso, say 51%. Only 9% like it on your wrist.