Dr. Jeff Golub-Evans, a cosmetic dentist based in New York City who has worked with celebrities and Broadway actors, says a superior smile begins with a look in the mirror.
"Simply start practicing smiling in the mirror with your teeth slightly parted, as if you are really excited about something," he says. "You'll show more white teeth, because the lower teeth won't be hiding behind the uppers, and your smile won't look forced."
To get a more sparkling smile, wet your teeth just before the photo. You can add more shine by putting a spot of gloss in the center of your lower lip.
Avoid smiling too broadly if you have a full upper lip. "Smile enough to show your teeth, but not so much to thin your lips. If your upper lip is thin, smile so that the bottom edges of your upper teeth touch your lower lip. The visual impact of the upper teeth combined with the lower lip will take attention away from the thin upper lip."
If your upper teeth are irregular at the bottom, or if some upper teeth are too long, smile so that the lower lip hides the bottom edges.
Do your gums show a lot or have irregular contour or color? Then practice smiling so your upper lip hides them.
Hide minor defects in your smile, such as stains or cracks, with petroleum jelly. You'll distract away from the defect and make your lips look even and supple.
Lipsticks with berry and red shades and blue undertones, as well as bronzers that look more brown than gold make smiles appear whiter, Golub says. Magenta colors can make them look more yellow. Rose or pink or sheer usually offers enough of a contrast.
Just as with the haircut you choose, your best smile sometimes depends on your face shape. In general, people with oval faces look good with any type of smile. Those with longer, or more vertical, faces look better with smiles that accentuate the horizontal aspect of their teeth. The opposite is true for rounder faces: A longer-looking grin will balance out facial wideness. A wider smile will help a square face to appear more oval and balance out a heart-shaped mug.
How widely we smile is related to whether we're truly happy in the moment. Some people simply can't fake a real grin. But you can trick yourself into one by thinking about someone you love or something funny.
If you simply can't muster up the image of something humorous or loving, try breathing in and smiling as you breathe out. It'll relax your face muscles and give you a more natural grin.
Many say the key to a genuine smile is crinkled eyes. Remember this when posing for a picture: You can tell you're smiling with your eyes by the extra lift in your cheek bones. To get a better feel, practice in the mirror by covering up your mouth and only looking at your eyes when really smiling.
Putting your tongue behind your teeth when smiling will relax your face.
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