Teeth Whitening: What’s the best method?


From whitening toothpastes, to over-the-counter whitening strips, to dental office procedures, all tooth-whitening measures contain hydrogen peroxide to lift away stains. The real difference is the concentrations of hydrogen peroxide used in each product and how it is applied to your teeth. And of course, cost is also a factor. Read on to learn more about the different methods available.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are the cheapest tooth whitening method and contain 1% to 1.5% concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. Those concentrations are adequate to clean surface stains but won’t penetrate your tooth enamel. The enamel tends to hold the deepest, hardest-to-remove blemishes—that black coffee or red wine gradually accumulates on your smile and leads to tooth discolouration. So if your teeth are seriously stained, a whitening toothpaste alone won’t get the job done, no matter how hard you brush. (In fact, brushing forcefully can damage your gums and tooth enamel, so is never advisable.)

Gels and Whitening Strips

Over-the-counter gels and strips are the next level up on the hydrogen-peroxide and price spectrum. They usually contain 6% to 10% concentrations of hydrogen peroxide and at these concentrations can penetrate microscopic holes and fissures in your enamel to bubble away stains.

While over-the-counter options can be very effective, the key is to apply gels and strips evenly and keep them on as long as directed. If strips or gel are applied incorrectly, your teeth could look unevenly white and gum irritation is also possible.

But there is an important caveat: whitening agents do not work on caps, crowns or fillings. If you’ve had some dental work done, you should speak with your dentist before you whiten your teeth to be sure the results will look uniform.

Dentist-Supplied Tray & Gel Systems

Another step up in both cost and potency is dentist-supplied tray and gel systems, which contain hydrogen peroxide in the 10% to 15% range and can cost several hundred dollars. They require a trip to the dentist, where a custom fitting of your mouth is made with a mold.  With this mold your dentist creates a tray to use with a whitening gel for you to use at home. The custom tray ensures the gel is evenly applied, and it can produce some pretty impressive results, but requires leaving the trays and gel on for several hours at a time.

Dentist Whitening Treatments

The final and most expensive option is settling into your dentist’s chair for a series of 10 to 15 minute whitening treatments. With hydrogen peroxide concentrations as high as 35%, these treatments can quickly make your smile a dozen shades brighter. They can also run you more than $1,000.

So how white should you go?

That’s really a personal preference. While some people want their teeth as white as possible, “natural” looking teeth are often just as attractive as ultra-bright white smiles.


How to Make Your Own Flower Crown



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From the catwalk to Cochella, flower crowns are everywhere right now. While they  might look complicated, they’re surprisingly easy to make yourself.


Using either fresh, dried or good quality fake flowers, florist wire and a long piece of ribbon, here’s our how to guide (it involves 17 steps, but it’s easier than it looks!):


1. Pick flowers you love (and that go with your outfit) to create your flower crown. You’ll need a mix of smaller ‘filler’ flowers and larger statement flowers.cos-01-flowercrown-de

2. Cut ten 15cm pieces of thin florist wire, and a few 10cm pieces, so that you have them at the ready as you build your crown.


3. Pick and cut your starting filler greenery. Leave a long stem, so you have a base to build from.

cos-03-flowercrown-de4. Wrap a smaller piece of wire around the first flower to make sure it’s secure and sturdy. Make sure this starting piece is extra long, as you’ll be securing the ribbon to tie it on later.

cos-05-flowercrown-de5. Cut more filler and add the filler, as well as a smaller bunch of flowers 2 or 3cm behind the starter stem. Continue to wrap the florist wire around the stems to secure them.


7. Voila! Your starting piece of your flower crown is finished! Make sure you have a stem sticking out of the bottom so that you have something to keep building from. Now, add the statement flowers!

cos-09-flowercrown-de8. Choose your statement flower. Snip most of the stem off, leaving some of it so that you can fish the wire through to eventually keep it facing forward.


9. Push the wire through the stem and out of the center of the flower.

gkX1G710. Bend a hook at the end of the wire, and then pull the wire toward yourself, so the hook hangs onto the middle of the flower, anchoring it.


11. Wrap the wire around the stems of your previous filler, making sure the flower faces out along the arch of the crown.


12. Continue adding more filler, wrapping the wire around the stems, followed by another statement flower.


13. This is what the underside of your crown should look like. Remember to always make sure you leave the stems jutting out, so that you have something to keep building on.


14. Repeat steps two to seven till your crown fits just over half way around your head. Create an identical end piece to attach to the opposite end of your flower crown to finish it.


15. Tie on your ribbon by taking a 60 cm long piece of ribbon, creating a loop around your green starter stem, and sliding the ends of the ribbon through it. Then, secure it by tying a knot around the loop you just created to keep it from unraveling. Then, let the rest of the ribbon to hang. Repeat on the other side.


16. Choose how you’d like to wear your flower crown and tie it just below the crown of your head in a bow or knot.


17. Enjoy your new, fresh, gorgeous accessory!





New Year’s Resolution: Great hair for 2014



Ah, New Year’s, where everyone grabs a sheet of paper and writes down resolutions; words that after a few weeks lose their intensity. Yes, I include myself in the masses, but this year I  have but one resolution: great hair for 2014.

Now don’t get me wrong, my hair isn’t (always) a complete disaster, but I seem to always fall into a few hair traps that keep me from truly fab, great hair. With these resolutions I’m guaranteed to avoid bad hair days all year.

1. I will deep condition once a week


It only takes a few minutes, but whenever I take the time to deep condition I notice the difference and so does everyone else! I’ve tried a few different treatments and just can’t beat anything from the Kérastase range of deep conditioning masques.

2. I will wear sunscreen


As a bit of a sun worshipper, I’m pretty good at remembering to use sunscreen on my skin, but my hair is almost always forgotten. This means by the end of summer my hair is badly damaged by all that sun,salt  and chlorine exposure. Because prevention is better than the cure, this year I’m going to invest in some products from the Kérastase Soliel range so that my hair doesn’t closely resemble straw by the end of February.

3. I won’t skip the heat protectant


When I’m rushed I often forgo the heat protectant when heat styling my hair. One too many styling sessions without the protectant can leave my hair noticeably more brittle and dry. I love Kérastase Resistance Ciment Thermique, which doesn’t only guard against heat and friction, but makes my hair shiny and incredibly soft. From now on I will always take the time to protect my hair when heat styling.

4. I will invest in the right tools


Investing in the right tools for the job, instead of making do with some random brushes and clips, will mean I can style my hair without damage and my ‘do will come together more quickly and look better than ever before. My flat iron wasn’t designed to last forever either, so I think it’s time to toss it in the garbage and shop for a fabulous new one.

5. I will leave colouring to the professionals

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As a (not-so-natural) blonde my colour does require some regular upkeep to avoid too much tell-tale regrowth. In the past I’ve tried to save some cash by doing my roots at home. Sadly, as I’m not a trained colourist, my attempts at home hair colour have inevitably gone wrong – think Ronald Mcdonald – eeek! This year I swear to leave colouring to the professionals to avoid any further disasters.

6. I will rebook my next appointment in advance

My hair never looks better than after a visit to the salon. While committing to the regular cost of booking in every six weeks can be a bit scary, I always regret leaving it too long between visits. To keep my hair in tip top shape, I’m going to invest in good hair by always rebooking my next appointment.

Post-Holiday Beauty Tips


Summer sun, salt water and partying can play havoc on our hair and skin. With the holiday break coming to an end for many, now is the perfect time to start repairing the damage done by all that fun.



It’s a good idea to start your post-party detox by switching out your usual tea or coffee for water. A glass of water with the juice of one half lemon, rather than drinks containing caffeine, will help flush the toxins out of your body and keep your skin supple and looking fresh.


Too many gin and tonics deplete the body’s supply of Vitamin A and oxygen, drying it out and damaging your collagen. Add smoking and UV rays to the mix and the natural ageing process is accelerated. Result? More noticeable fine lines, puffiness and a severe lack of radiance. To get your glow back, look for creams and serums that soothe skin. Ingredients like lavender, rose and aloe vera will nourish the complexion. A moisturiser with a slight iridescent sheen can mask the issue, but to address the problem look for lotions that feed the skin.

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We love Trilogy’s Ultra Hydrating Cream. And at RRP: $36.90, you can’t find a better price for a super-hydrating moisturiser.

For the ultimate skin rejuvenation experience we highly recommend a visit to Alisha at Le Mer Day Spa (conveniently located next door to Reds)Our favourite skin specialist

Reduce puffiness

Alcohol and late nights can make the eye area puffy. To reduce puffyness chill your eye cream or face moisturiser in the freezer for 10 minutes, smooth onto the inflamed skin under your eyes, from inner to outer corners, and let it sit for five minutes.


Burt’s Bees Sensitive Eye Cream is fragrance free and hypoallergenic formula means it’s perfect for eye-cream novices and contact lens users. Plus, the nifty pen-like applicator means you can map out the eye area with just the right amount of product before blending.

Mask it

The sun, arid environments, and salt water dry out ends incredibly fast, so use an at-home reconstructive mask at least once a week. For a spa experience at home, after you apply the mask, wrap hair with a hot towel to help the ingredients absorb faster. Rinse out your hair when the towel is cool to the touch.


Keratase has developed professional hair masques for all hair types. These luxury masques have been designed to condition, nourish, add volume, strengthen, & boost hair colour.

Feed your skin


Oily fish like salmon and tuna, vegies like spinach and avocadoes and vitamin C-rich foods like tomatoes and citrus fruits, will help you glow from the inside out. Sugar doesn’t do skin any favours, so get snacking on seeds, nuts and yummy summer fruits for a zinc boost, essential for preventing rashes and unwanted skin irritations.