Smile Brilliant, Custom DIY Teeth Whitening Trays

Having a pearly white smile is far more appealing than having your grill show the after effects of your love of coffee and red wine (two of my guilty pleasures!). For most of us, getting pricey cosmetic treatments in a dentist office are not ideal or realistic. Those professional whitening services are great and may give you more results than using Crest White Strips at home but most won’t actually commit to having that done.

You can imagine how excited I was when Smile Brilliant, the latest development in DIY whitening, reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their product. I couldn’t say yes fast enough!


I wasn’t really sure what to expect but a few days later, I got a little care package in the mail from Smile Brilliant with detailed instructions and I couldn’t wait to get started. First I watched this YouTube video here, which gave me a little more of an idea what to expect. Once I watched, I felt really confident in making my own trays.

DSC_0265 DSC_0266 Simply mix the purple base paste with the white catalyst paste and knead together until you get the pretty lilac color shown below. DSC_0267 Keep going!DSC_0268 Thats it!DSC_0269 Press the paste into the tray, then the tray onto your teeth and close your mouth. You have likely had this done at the dentist office, if you ever had braces. Give it a minute to mold, then wiggle it out of your mouth.DSC_0270 Do this on both top and bottom. Then place your molds into the pre-labeled packaging that came with your kit. Send it off and wait for your very own, custom trays. DSC_0271

In a short time, I had my very own custom whitening trays, desensitizing gel, whitening gel, and a nice little case for them (think of the case that your post-braces retainer came in…but a sleek, black, grown up version). Time to start whitening!

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They sent 3 syringes of the desensitizing gel and 3 syringes of the whitening gel. One syringe is 3 full applications so 3 syringes will give you 9 applications total.  I was unclear on if I should use both each time. Since the instructions say that the desensitizing gel can be used 20-60 minutes each time and the whitening gel is recommended for 20 minutes to 3 hours, I was mostly worried that this was going to be a real time suck. Don’t get me wrong, beautiful white teeth are worth some investment of your time, but I am the working mother of an incredibly active 14 month old boy so when was I going to squeeze this in!

I emailed the company and they promptly answered my question (great customer service!) and let me know that I only needed to use it if I had sensitive teeth. So I did a little experiment, I used it the first time before I whitened. Then the next time, I went straight to the whitening step. My teeth didn’t seem to be sensitive or feel any pain after, so I didn’t use the desensitizing gel again.

Here is my before:


And here is my after:photo-1 photo


Here is my honest review of this product…I love it. And here is why.

1. The gel really coats your teeth on all sides and works on the stains that are in between teeth. I feel like if you are a daily coffee and/or red wine drinker, that is where you seeing the most staining over time and it is really hard to get rid of. Crest White Strips, which I love, can miss that.

2. You can do this in your home, on your own time. Not that I have too much spare time, but I can put these trays in when my son is taking a nap. I can use them when I have 20 minutes or several hours, not that I often get several hours to do anything. But you can whiten while doing laundry or other household duties.

3. One thing that was not cool about other whitening products that Ive used before is that they do not whiten any bonded or fake teeth, only natural teeth. So if you have one or two falsies, or veneers, your real teeth will whiten and the venners will stay the same. And when next to your new whitened teeth, the veneers look really stained! I was excited when I watched the video on the product that Smile Brilliant will bleach your veneers too! I won’t tell which one but one of my top teeth is a falsie.

4. The results are pretty darn instant. I think my smile was considerable brighter after each use, which is total motivation for keeping it up.

There are always some cons, so here are my dislikes…

If you over use the gel, it will squeeze out of the tray. Obviously, it has to go somewhere. It tastes foul and is strangely foamy when it reacts with your saliva. Just be careful with that, only because its annoying. Not because it will kill you or anything.

So overall, way more likes than dislikes when it comes to this product. I highly recommend that you order this product and try it for yourself.  As I mentioned, I do not have much time, like most folks, so to be perfectly honest it took me several weeks to use the product 9 or 10 times. I think if I had used it every day or even several times a week, I would have gotten better results, more quickly. But I am satisfied with this product and will continue to use it.

Are you ready to get started on your own custom DIY trays? You can use the affiliate link the company made for us here and order your own now!

A huge thanks to Smile Brilliant for sharing their products with me so that I could try them out. I am a HUGE fan and am so happy to have found a great product that I can use at home and get professional whitening results. Follow Smile Brilliant on Instagram and Twitter for updates.


Love Letter Themed Wedding Shoot

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I was so honored when I got the call from photographer, Nikki Santerre, about the shoot she was planning. When she shared her inspiration and the story board behind the shoot, I was 100% sold and excited to be part of the team.

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The images are one of 5 styled shoots that were accepted to Burnette’s Boards for their styled shoot contest. You can see more images on the post on Burnett’s Boards blog here.  View More:

We have some pretty stiff competition, all 5 of the shoots that were accepted are beautiful. To help us take the lead, go here and vote for our entry, The Loving Type. Share with your friends and help us get the word out. View More: It is always an honor to work with such talented vendors.

Nikki Santerre, photography

Anthomanic, floral design

Paisley and Jade rentals

Amanda Burnette, Into It Events

Cake: Sweet Fix RVA

VA Center for Architecture

Letters of Grace, calligraphy and stationary

View More: over to Burnett’s Boards and vote our entry to the top!


Step by Step Tutorial Using Makeup Forever Flash Palette


Remember a few weeks ago when I created this look for the Face Chart contest for the Makeup Show in Los Angeles? I was inspired by Kevyn Aucoin’s Bird of Paradise image shown below. The Face Chart competition called for artists to take an image from one of Kevyn’s books and create a look inspired by his. The original rules were to do the look on a live model, mine is shown above, and show your work on a face chart, mine is shown below. I am proud to have been a finalist in the contest! See my top moments from the Makeup Show, in this post here.

Since I love to create video tutorials, I thought this was a fun look to show you the step by step process on how I created it. Here, in this post,  is a little more insight into what into preparing for the show and creating this look.

This is the finished face chart and the inspiration photo by Kevyn Aucoin. What do you think?
photo 3Have you used the flash palette and what do you think of it?


Spring Skin Care Routine

Skin Care Routine Made Easy For Spring

Now that may has arrived, it is officially spring, and a new season always means new battles for your skin. With summer right around the corner, it’s good to get into a healthy skin regimen so that you can stay beautiful rain or shine.

After a long winter, your skin could feel dry and leave you with rough patches that you want to get rid of (especially when you can finally lose the coat). The most important thing you can do in the spring is start a skin care regimen that is right for you, so that by the time you get to summer you know exactly what your skin needs so you can be looking beautiful even when it starts to get cold again.


The first step in any healthy skin regimen is to clean up your skin. Finding a gentle cleanser that will clear away any impurities from your skin while not drying out your skin too much will be the perfect balance your skin needs in order to bring back your skin’s healthy glow just in time for spring. Beauty by Clinica Ivo Pitanguy is a great product that is not only anti-aging, it also perfectly cleanses and removes makeup by the face. It detoxifies deep and levels your skin out.

Image courtesy of


Next, it is best to exfoliate. If your skin is feeling a little dry and irritated from the cold winter, you want to make sure you still use an exfoliant, but don’t over do it, because it could do more harm than good. Something like the Skin Soho Ex-Foliating Cloth is perfect to deep clean and not irritate your skin. In order to get that glow you want, you have to clear away the dead skin cells and repair the damaged areas.


After exfoliating, it is essential to hydrate your skin. The best thing to do is to find a moisturizer that is hydrating and not oily. You want to repair and prevent, not overcompensate with a product that has too much of a lotion base. Clearing the dead skin away and then helping your skin retain moisture will give you the fresh face you want for spring and put you in a great routine for when summer rolls around. It would be best to find a moisturizer that has SPF to use in the morning so that it can protect your skin during the day when you’re exposed to the sun. It also has beneficial vitamins that will make your skin brighter and smoother.

Love Your Body

This routine doesn’t just have to be for your face – your entire body could benefit from some exfoliation and hydration. With a body wash with exfoliating beads, you take care of the rest of your body too. And finding a body lotion that repairs all of that dryness can be the perfect combination to leave you looking and feeling fresh just in time for these warmer days.

By repairing the damage caused by winter and revealing that smooth, bright, healthy skin underneath, you will be in the perfect position to prevent any damage that will come in the summer. Equipping yourself with products that react well with your own skin tone will be beneficial not only to get you through the season, but through the rest of the year as well.

Gwen Lewis is a writer and professional makeup artist who lives in Southern California. Her writing focuses on anything beauty and health. She hopes you really enjoy this article!

3D FiberLash Mascara

Check out this guest post from my pal and amazing MUA Mikal Sky. Also, head over to Money Making Makeup Artist to see her interview there. 

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3D FiberLash Mascara $29
I have found a mascara that has blown my mind!  It’s a non toxic, chemical free 3D mascara that gives your lashes 300% more length and volume instantly.  It’s a simple application process that takes less than one minute.
Every girl should have 3D mascara in her make up arsenal!
Use one or two coats to add length and volume or pack on layers like I do to create drama.  You are going to love it!
Recipe for Bad Ass Lashes:
Apply one coat of regular mascara and let it dry.  (Not necessary, but it gives the gel something to build on.)
Then, apply the transplanting gel to your lashes.
While the gel is still wet, apply the Green Tea Fibers.
Reapply the gel to secure the fibers to your lashes. 
Use a clean eyelash spoolie to separate if necessary.
I’ve been doing three layers and a little lip gloss and I’m good all day.
This product line is super clean, non toxic and won’t damage your lashes or I wouldn’t recommend it to my friends. It is the next best thing to eyelash extensions.
3D Fiber Lash is water resistant, so it won’t end up all over your face or in a puddle next to your spin bike!
Take it off easily with an oil based eye make up remover.  (I use almond oil).
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 The link to purchase is
Who doesn’t want more amazing lashes with just mascara! I know I do! Will you be trying this?