August 17, 2012

What Price Beauty? About $9.99

 Disclaimer: Of course this is not me.
Sometimes I worry about how easily I’m influenced by other people. Frankly, it depends on who is doing the influencing and what the influencing is about.
For example, yesterday right before dinner (or “supper” as we hicks call it) I received a call from a man who said he was with a major software company.  He said that since I was a registered user, he was privy to my information. Behold – he said – you are about to crash.  You must let me help you.
We went through three or four minutes of dialogue in which I explained that I don’t have any software registered with “Unknown Caller.” 
If he would only give me his number, I would be happy to call him back. (This one always works and really annoys people.)
He said, “I won’t be fixing your computer today!” and slammed down the phone.
This ex-Girl Scout, vigilant for scams, did the right thing.
Today I’m not so certain. On the recommendation of an Open Salon friend who shall remain nameless (let’s just say she’s one of the best writers around and tells us that she resembles Benjamin Franklin but I don't see it) made a recommendation that I lapped up like a newly weaned kitten to milk.
My friend is emptying capsules of activated charcoal (available at most pharmacies over the counter) to make a paste or “slurry” to whiten her teeth. She’s seen progress in just a few days.

As a coffee drinker (and damn don’t take that away from me, I don’t have white sugar or flour or real Coca-Cola anymore) my teeth have seriously yellowed over the past few years. I’m considering getting professional whitening at my dentist (which costs between $300 and $500. 
We don’t have dental insurance, so if on the remote possibility that insurance covered it, I would be up that stinking crick without the paddle.)
I’ve taken my before picture just for a reference point.  No way am I going to publish it here.  Had to take about ten before I got once that eliminated wrinkles and other odd assortments of things on my face.  Can’t bear to look at myself from that angle.  That’s the great thing about getting older: you can’t see how bad you look unless you do an extreme close-up.
So I found the capsules at Walgreens for $9.99.  I’ve never tried to open a capsule before.  Apparently there’s some skill to it that I don’t possess.  I thought, I’ll cut it open with my cuticle scissors. 
What I didn’t anticipate (duh!) was that “activated charcoal” is code for “black crap that sticks to everything.” 
I opened the capsule and immediately this black stuff was everywhere on my white marble countertop.  I poured the remainder of the contents into a paper cup and opened another capsule for enough stuff to make a paste.
I bought a new cheap toothbrush just for this purpose, added a little bit of water (probably too much), and made a goo that resembled tar but more liquid. 
Leaning over the white sink, I put  my brush into the oily ebony substance and rubbed it against my ivories.
Having worn braces most of my childhood (I’ll spar you the photo with the face bow.  It’s just too pitiful.) I learned how to brush really well.

Did you know that if you are brushing with an inky material on your teeth that you may end up with inky material all over the walls, the mirror, the sink and the countertop?  (Yes, I know, I'm a porcine.)

That wasn’t even the most of it.
I looked in the mirror and  saw black teeth, a black tongue and black lips.
 We are supposed to be at the neighbors in forty minutes, and this is an unacceptable look for me.
I brushed a bit and most of it came off.  But I felt compelled to get out my battery-powered toothbrush and really give it a go.
This might be the secret of the activated charcoal.  Maybe you want to brush the black off so badly that you have the cleanest teeth of your lifetime.
Now this wasn’t as stupid as the time my college roommate “Naired” her eyebrows (see Nair.  We made a short visit to the local Emergency Room. Frankly I was going to do it next, but her results weren’t really very good (severe burns near the eyes.)
I’m going to try the activated charcoal  for a month.  It’s cheaper than the dental whitening and doesn’t burn the gums like bleach does.  And activated charcoal is generally used for preventing flatulence, which of course, I’ve never had but might get someday.