That time I had my teeth whitened.

I admit, I am incredibly vain. I worry about wrinkles and sun damage, I like having pretty hair,  and I’m especially vain about my teeth. My dentist suggests any cosmetic thing and I’m all “sign me up!”

This is how I ended up with Zoom whitening.

I have stains on my teeth from fluorosis, from swallowing toothpaste as a kid. If you’re around my age, you might remember those AquaFresh commercials where they did this big triple layer swirl of toothpaste on the brush, and it was my goal in life to make the perfect toothpaste swirl. And then I swallowed the toothpaste. That combined with fluoridated water stained my adult teeth as they were forming. They’re kind of grey with white spots. Traditional bleaching with trays has always just made the white spots brighter and more noticeable.

My dentist tells me Zoom whitening can help even out the coloring. Zoom is where they paint the bleaching solution on your teeth and then activate it with it a light. It is supposed to lighten eight shades in one office visit.

The good part? It works. My teeth lightened a lot and they did even out quite a bit. The bad part? It HURT.

Before my visit, they told me to use Sensodyne toothpaste and take ibuprofen for sensitivity. I thought sensitivity would be a manageable thing, not bad at all. I did not expect to have “zingers” shooting into my jaws on my drive home. I swallowed one of my giant headache pills without water on the drive because it was all I had and I could not take it.

Obviously, this is a rare reaction, or Zoom whitening wouldn’t be a thing. But I don’t know if I would recommend it because I’m not sure there is a way to tell if you’re a person that is going to have a bad reaction to it or not.

I’ll put it this way: I’d have another baby, if I could. I would not do Zoom whitening again.

Should you decide to try it, I would definitely recommend using Sensodyne for two weeks before. I kept using my usual Sensi-namel or whatever it’s called, but go with the actual Sensodyne. Use ACT fluoride rinse for a couple of weeks also. I’d get the kids version because it is just fluoride, no alcohol. Definitely take ibuprofen before your appointment, 800 mg. And if your teeth start feeling zingy during the treatment, it’s time to stop, don’t tough it out!

Obviously, this is not medical advice. But, I’ll answer any questions I can as someone that’s tried it!

Daily Skincare Routine

Several months ago, J took a picture of me and I was not happy with how my skin looked. My skin tone looked terrible, it had no glow and looked dehydrated. Up to that point, I thought I was doing okay with my “skincare routine” of only washing my face in the morning and sleeping in my makeup at night because I never broke out. Surely that meant it was fine! Yeahno.

I sucked it up and determined my days of never washing my face were over, and it was probably time to invest in some skincare products. Skincare has been a bit of trial and error, so I will share what has worked for me. Note: I have really dry skin. I don’t know why this was a revelation to me, but I started paying attention and realized my cheeks felt really tight during the day, and if I moisturized really well, my nose stopped shining. If you’re oily, the majority of these products will be way too much for you.


Morning and Night

Clarisonic with Indie Lee Brightening Cleanser—I got this cleanser in a PopSugar box and fell in love. It’s ridiculously expensive and I feel guilty buying it, but it smells so good and is actually decent at removing makeup.

I’m not sure that using a Clarisonic twice a day is recommended, but it works for me. My skin seems to want to have layers sloughed off on the regular.


Paula’s Choice Resist Intensive Repair Cream—Day moisturizer with retinol. I like to frequently retinol my face.

Anessa Perfect Essence sunscreen—This is Asian sunscreen that I bought off of Amazon. “But Lisa,” you say, “they make sunscreen in the US.” Yes, but you know how for all the new things they’ve done to sunscreen it really hasn’t changed that much since we were kids? It still smells the same, is greasy, leaves a white layer on your skin? That’s because it really hasn’t changed since we were kids. The FDA has such a backlog of sunscreen ingredients to test that nothing new has been approved since 1990. The Sunscreen Innovation Act went into effect last year to force the FDA into making decisions on some of these ingredients that have been on the list for so long. Anyway, this stuff is amazing. It looks like it is going to be greasy because after it is as rubbed in as it is going to get, my face is really shiny and there is a slight white cast, but then it dries down to a nice satin finish like a makeup primer and there is no scent at all. It’s completely weightless, I can’t tell that I have anything on at all, and most of these (another on my list to try is by Biore) wash off with cleanser, they don’t take a cleansing balm or oil.


Neutrogena Eye Makeup Remover—This stuff removes Benefit’s They’re Real. That is my ultimate test of makeup removal, if it will remove They’re Real without scrubbing out all of my lashes, it is decent stuff. And available in any drugstore!

Paula’s Choice Intense Wrinkle-Repair Retinol Serum—I have no idea if this repairs wrinkles or not. It does make my skin look nice and plump and hydrated. It is pretty moisturizing on its own, but the retinol can be tough on the skin, so a good calming moisturizer is needed, in my experience.

Paula’s Choice Clinical Ultra Rich Moisturizer—This is getting way too heavy for hot weather, but in the winter when it was dry, it was a face-saver. It is full of coconut oil and shea butter, and almost feels like a body cream, but worked perfectly for moisturizing a dry face.


You’ll notice a lot of Paula’s Choice products on the list and there are a couple of reasons. One being that they are really reasonably priced for anti-aging skincare. Retinol products can get really expensive and PC stays pretty reasonable and usually runs decent sales. They also have good customer service, always willing to help you find the right product or exchange one that didn’t work, and almost everything is available for purchase in a sample size. I’m a sucker for samples. If you’re interested in trying them and aren’t opposed to referral links, here is mine. They do referrals right; you get $10 off your order, minimum $15. (Ahem, StitchFix.)

Now that I’ve written all that out, I’ll say that I’m probably going to switch it up by throwing Clinique Take the Day Off Balm in at night, and I’ll probably have to change up some of the heavier lotions for summer, especially my day moisturizer. What is your skincare routine, any products you love and can’t live without?