As an avid consumer of all things teeth-staining—lattes, soda, blueberry pie—I could use some smile brightening. But I've always found the options too pricey (about $500 for a one-hour whitening treatment at the dentist's office) or too time-consuming (two weeks of daily whitening strips). So Luster 1 Hour White ($40;, an at-home kit that comes with a promise to get teeth "up to six shades brighter in only 60 minutes," intrigued me. Like all drugstore teeth-whitening products, Luster's active ingredient is a form of hydrogen peroxide—but the company says its battery-operated "whitening light" (a less powerful version of the blue light dentists use in their bleaching treatments) helps the peroxide penetrate more effectively. Here's how the kit works:

teeth whitening 1. Rinse with the included mouthwash, which contains a disinfectant that washes away bacteria that can dissolve peroxide.

teeth whitening 2. Brush peroxide solution on all visible front teeth; let dry for 20 seconds.

teeth whitening 3. Hold light up to teeth for two minutes.

4. Repeat all three steps. Ten to 20 times. In a row.

After almost an hour, and ten treatments, I was exhausted and bored, so I gave up. But I'd done enough to get my teeth noticeably whiter. Six shades whiter? No. Maybe three. Not dazzling, but definitely undimmed. — AF

Next: How to get longer, fuller lashes
Photos: Donna Alberico
As a reminder, always consult your doctor for medical advice and treatment before starting any program.


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