Beauty

The Real Tea About Uniform Teeth

If you’ve been following me for some time you know that I’ve been raving about my treatment with Uniform Teeth – San Francisco’s clear aligner teeth straightening service. Today I’m going to share with you the real tea about my experience...

Background: 

When I was young my parents could not afford dental work let alone braces. I had major crowding and my two front teeth overlapped with my canines – needless to say, I was insecure about my smile. I was 19 when I got my first set of braces, it was traditional, metal wires, rubber bands and impressions that made you gag. I had them for the full two years and at the end of my term, I told my orthodontist I wanted it off. At this point, I was about to graduate college and I didn’t want the metal brackets to encroach on my lifetime achievement. So she took them off and I went about my life. I think my retainers made it all of 2 weeks before it fizzled out and a year later my bottom teeth started to overlap again.

Smile Direct Club:

With the help of heavy advertising, I came across a brand called Smile Direct Club. They claimed that their clear aligners will straighten your teeth at a fraction of the cost without ever having to go to a dental office. All they needed was a set of good impressions (from a kit they send you) and in return, you’ll get clear aligners to help you achieve your perfect smile. So I bought the kit with a single time payment at $1895 and hoped for the best. 

A few weeks later I received a kit in the mail and tried to do the impressions myself. From there I waited about 1.5 months before I actually got my first set of aligners and guess what, it didn't fit. I consulted the customer care team and they advised me to try it out for a few months before they would send me another kit. By the end of my 3rd month, I was aggravated, to say the least, nothing had changed. I had forked over about $2000 and it was time to give up.

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Uniform Teeth: 

I wasn’t unhappy with my teeth but I knew if I didn’t fix them they would potentially get worse or go back to the way they used to be. So a few years after my Smile Direct experience, I decided to do a little research and came across Uniform Teeth. They are a San Francisco based company that pairs clear aligners with a real orthodontist to oversee treatment. Not only were they trusted by employees of Google, Airbnb, etc. they incorporated precision 3D X-Rays to ensure your treatment plan will actually work. 

I loved everything I saw and the more I learned about the company, the more I trusted Uniform Teeth. Full disclosure, I reached out to them at this point to see if we could work out a partnership and they said yes! I booked my free consultation (yes, it’s actually free for everyone) and went over my treatment plan. They explained that the 3D X-Rays were important, not only to get accurate fitting trays but to see how the root of your tooth will affect treatment. With an at-home impression kit, you are creating a treatment plan based off of the tooth that is showing but the majority of your tooth is beneath your gums. Moving the tooth without seeing the roots can result in major tooth damage in the future. I felt safe to know that my treatment was handled by doctors with years of education that had a passion for changing the industry with science rather than profit.

I was also told that the majority of my check-ins would be done via the Uniform Teeth mobile app. All I had to do was take a photo of my smile and the doctor will check to see if everything is fitting correctly. Apparently, the appointments with Invisalign is to give you the trays, but with Uniform Teeth, they send you the trays via mail to cut down on the office visits. I am near the end of my treatment and I’ve only gone into the office 3 times. Once for the initial consultation, once to get my bumps put on (my treatment included the attachment of tooth-colored bumps to help my teeth move faster) and once to get it polished off.

Downside: 

Uniform Teeth is not the cheapest option but it's also not the most expensive. Treatment ranges anywhere from $2500-$5000 while direct mail treatments cost around $2000 and Invisalign can go up to $9000. Also, be prepared to have your a few of your teeth filed down a hairline to achieve perfection. This is common with other Invisalign treatments and will not make the tooth more sensitive. Dr. Stephanie Purnomo actually took the file to her skin to show me that it was extremely gentle. At this time they are only in San Francisco but they plan to expand across the country very soon.

Overall I’ve truly enjoyed my experience with Uniform Teeth and I’ve recommended family members that feel the same way. The staff is extremely attentive and their technology is next level. Most importantly, it works!

Book your Free Consultation Here and Mention “Erica Luo” for $150 off your treatment!

-Erica


5 Things I Wish I knew Before Getting Lip Fillers

Since I posted about getting lip fillers many of you expressed that it’s been something you’ve been thinking about it and had a ton of questions about my experience and pain level. To be honest, it was an impromptu decision and I didn’t do too much research so here are the top 5 things I wish I knew before getting lip injections:

 
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1: It’s Painful!

I would say that I have a pretty high pain tolerance and I’m not scared of needles, so discomfort did not cross my mind. In fact, I’ve gotten botox and fillers in other areas of my face and those injections felt like light pinches so I really had my guard down. However, lip injections are different, your lips are really sensitive and the cosmetic doctor/nurse has to build your desired shape. That means a lot of little pokes and be prepared for the needle to wiggles as they fill, at minimum be you'll need 4 shots -  top left, top right, bottom left, and bottom right. That being said, they do numb you beforehand and there is lidocaine (numbing solution) in the filler so after the initial injections you won’t feel it as much.

2: Pay attention to the pre-op and post-op instructions

I went to Skin Refine Med Spa and they informed me to stay away from fish oils, multivitamins, aspirin, and drinking for at least a week before. I remembered all of it except for the last one and truly paid for it. Basically, these instructions are in place to help minimize swelling and bruising so just do yourself a favor and follow the instructions. I was also told to not suck out of a straw or kiss for at least a day to prevent the product from shifting. It took me about 1.5 days to not feel self cautious about going out.

Pro Tip: Pineapples contain a specific enzyme called bromelain that can help dissolve blood clots and fade bruising.

3: You will be swollen and you will feel like a duck

I was warned about the swelling but it was still a bit shocking when it happened to me. I got my lips done around 1 pm and by 8 pm that night I felt like a little duck. Everyone told me the swelling is the worst the next day so I was eager to see how big my lips would actually get. I also thought this was how my lips were going to look when the swelling went down and almost freaked out. But then I woke up the next day and the swelling went down and the trend continued for about a week after.

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4: Be clear about your end results

If you’re thinking about getting fillers, I hope that means you’ve thought long and hard about how you want your lips to change. For me, I wanted to balance out a dent that I had on my upper lip and also wanted my lips to look the same with or without makeup as I always overline. A lot of the times, people feel as if they’ve wasted their money because their lips haven’t changed enough or have changed too dramatically. If you do want a noticeable difference, make sure you communicate this with your doctor. They will be able to recommend what type of filler and how much to use for the desired results. For a plump, pillowy pout try Juvederm, which is a newer variation of the Hyaluronic acid filler. Or, if you want a more natural look, Restylane is a great option. The usual amount of filler per session is one syringe, which is normally 1 ml. If you want that “Kylie Jenner lip” effect, you would probably need to go up to two or three ml.

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5: It’s expensive

Like most fillers you will have to get topped off - it’s not permanent. I got Restylane Defyne which last for a year but some solutions only last for 4-6 months. One syringe can cost anywhere between $400 to $1000, so be prepared to drop that cash. My friends over at Skin Refine Medspa were kind enough to offer my followers a discount, just mention my name “Erica Luo” and they’ll hook you up!

I hope this gave you a bit of insight on the lip filler experience. My last bit of advice is to not make your final judgment until a week after your procedure. I had a pretty swollen pout and was borderline regretting my decision but after everything settled I’m left with the perfect pillowy pout. If you have any additional questions don’t hesitate to reach out!

-Erica

Everything You Need To Know About Eyelash Extensions

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Eyelash extensions have been around for quite some time now but without the proper research you could end up with a puffy eye and lashes all over your bathroom sink. Here are a few tips to ensure your money is well spent and you come out looking your best!

1: Finding the right technician

There are a lot of beauty techs that claim they know how to put on lashes but to be honest, I wouldn't let 90% of them touch my eye and you shouldn't either. I once went to a nail salon they put on 3 chunks of lashes, charged me $35 and I felt like hot shit. That is until 1 of those chunks fell off and I had two clumps of lashes spiraling out hanging on for dear life. Lash extensions are supposed to be put on individually, matching one false lash to your real lash or a few false lashes to your natural lashes if you want a more dramatic look.

I found Yuki Lashes on Yelp a few years back and I fell in love with her style! She uses mink lashes which give a soft fluffy look and goes to training conventions to stay up to date on the latest techniques. I highly recommend her if you’re in the San Francisco, Bay Area or use Yelp to search for a technician if you’re further - the key is to look at pictures!

If you feel discomfort, tell your technician! You could be allergic to the glue or the tape could be cutting in to your eye.

2: The Most Flattering Lash Extensions to Get, According to Your Eye Shape

Deciding on what style you want will determine how you look in the end. However different eye shapes will yield different results, the key is to pick a style that accentuates your eyes rather than fight with it.

Almond Eyes

About: “Almond eyes are about twice as wide as they are high and are the most common eye shape. Because almond eyes are considered the most proportionate eye shape, they can support nearly any lash styling.”

For the pro: “Use a cat eye on clients who want to elongate their natural shape or an open eye on those looking to brighten up their features.”

For the customer: “I would recommend you ask for a more standard C curl, which is not too curly or loose. You really have creative freedom here depending on what look you want!”

Hooded Eyes

About: “Hooded eyes—or monolids—are eyelids without a crease. Hooded lids can appear very heavy, even ‘swallowing’ the lash line underneath it. You’ll want to open up hooded lids and break through a heavy lash line.”

For the pro: “I recommend L and L+ lashes. These specialty lashes have a flat base and severe curl that shoots out from under the lid, lifting the lash line, making the eyes appear bright and fresh.”

For the customer: “I would suggest asking for the longest lengths to be placed to a mid-outer eye and for your technician to use the curliest lash available. The curliest lashes available are a D/L/and L+ curl. This more dramatic curl allows for the eye to really open up!”

Round Eyes

About: “Round eyes are very open and alert, but if styled incorrectly, they can end up looking surprised.”

For the pro: “To tone down the alertness, shorter lengths in a looser curl (like a B curl) should be used. This relaxes the eye shape, giving the appearance of [an] almond shape.”

For the customer: “If you have round eyes, you would ask for a less curly curl and the longest length toward the mid-outer eye. In lash terms, this is a B curl lash. This helps shape the eye to more of that almond shape.” (NADINE HEAD-GORDON via In To The Gloss)

3: Eyelash extensions last longer than you think.

With proper care, I can get my extensions to last up to a month and a half. Most places recommend you come back every 2-3 weeks for a touch-up, but if you’re looking to save a bit of money, you can prolong their lifespan. The trick is to wash your lashes with foaming baby shampoo and to brush it out to dry. I will even blast it with a hairdryer on low after I shower to refresh them. Never use oil products because that will break down the glue and make them fall out faster.

4. The only way to get rid of them is to get them professionally removed or have them fall out naturally.

Having the extensions removed is as easy as having them put on–painless and relatively quick. Every salon will have this service available. If you're not looking to spend any more money, however, the extensions do fall out with the natural shedding of your lashes. This is a much slower process, but it is $free.99, so there's that. ( FAITH XUE via Byrdie)

 -Erica

Does CoolSculpting Really Work?

CoolSculpting has been around for a few years now, it was popularized by Khloe Kardashian as her fat freezing secret to her revenge-bod! Since then, many celebrities including Molly Sims, Kris Jenner and Gretchen Rossi have admitted and supported the use of this non-invasive procedure to help them achieve their dream look.

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About 3 months ago I had the opportunity to try it out at Skin Refine Medspa and the results were incredible! I did ONE session on my lower abdominals and these were the results:

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What is CoolSculpting?

Basically, CoolSculpting is a non-invasive fat reduction procedure that works by sucking in an area of fat and freezing it over a 35-60 min session. Then over the course of the next 2-3 months, your body will naturally excrete it i.e you’ll poop it out. There is no down time and results are permanent as long as you maintain your weight!

“CoolSculpting fat-freezing procedure is the only FDA-cleared,* non-surgical fat-reduction treatment that uses controlled cooling to eliminate stubborn fat that resists all efforts through diet and exercise”

Does it hurt?

Every time I tell someone about my CoolSculpting experience, the follow up question is ALWAYS “Did it hurt?”, The answer… a little. For the first 7 minutes your body is adapting to the cold temperature so you’ll feel a minor tingling sensation accompanied by a bit of discomfort. Dependent on your pain level and where you are getting the procedure done, I would say it ranges from a 2-5 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being unbearable pain. After the 7 minutes, your body becomes use to the cold and you no longer feel anything.

When the timer is done a quick 2-5 minute massage is recommended to help “thaw” out the area. Apparently this massage makes the procedure 68% more effective but to me it was the most uncomfortable part...not unbearable, just uncomfortable.

How much does it cost?

It can range from a few hundred to thousands dependent on how many sessions you need and how many areas you are looking to treat. In the San Francisco Bay Area, I would say a safe bet is approximately $750/application for each session. Skin Refine Medspa was kind enough to offer my followers a discount, just mention my name “Erica Luo” and they’ll hook you up!

Am I a candidate?

You can book a free consultation or take this quiz to see! But the key factors are, you’re 30lb within goal and you have pinch-able fat

I hope this was helpful and if you test it out let me know! As always, follow me on Instagram @ericaluoo and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven't already.

Love,

Erica

Bombshell Blowout for Beginners

I remember the first time I got a blowout...I think I was 13 years old on vacation in China. My mom took me to get my hair washed at a salon - apparently, that’s a thing. You go into the salon, ask for a wash, and it costed about $1 USD, much better than doing it yourself.

It started with a little shampoo and conditioner...you know the usual... and ended with just about the classiest thing I’ve ever experienced. When I got back home, I ran to Target picked up the first round brush I could find, and took a wack at this “blowout” business. Immediately I ripped out a million strands of hair and got my brush stuck in my locks. At that point, I put the brush down and forgot about it.

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Fast forward a few years, I learned the proper hand position and with a little bit of practice, I nailed the blowout! Today I’ll teach you how to achieve the bombshell look in 5 easy steps!

Step 1: Prep

Infuse your hair with oils and serums to protect from the heat. My favorite products are Fanola Nutri Care Restructuring Fluid Crystals - $39.99 and AMIKA Brooklyn Bombshell Blowout Volume Spray - $25

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Step 2: Divide & Conquer

3 sections for me but if you have thick hair feel free to piece it out more

Step 3: Rough Dry

Your hair should be AT LEAST 75% dry before running a brush through it.

T3 Cura Hair Dryer - $179

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Step 4: Smooth Operator

Hold your dryer with your dominant hand and the brush with your other hand. *refer to video for tutorial

T3 VOLUME 2.5 - $35

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Step 5: Cool It

Blasting your hair with cool air will help seal in shine and to hold its voluminous shape. It closes up your hair cuticles for a smoothing effect.

PRO TIP: After your conditioner, rinse your hair with cold water to start the smoothing process.

That's it! Nice and easy. With practice this will get a lot easier. Remember to dry your hair at least 75% before running a brush through it, otherwise you’ll just damage your hair! If you give this a try, please tag me on IG at @ericaluoo #ericaluoo <3

-Erica


The Perfect Bite

Have you ever picked up the perfect lipstick only to try it on and have it look horrendous on you? I definitely have and it happens pretty often! I go to the store, test out the lippy every famous blogger swears by, look in the mirror and marvel at the clown looking straight back at me.

It’s terrible.

Now, I recently found out about the Bespoke Service at Bite Beauty where they create custom lipsticks for you, pretty much ensuring you will never look a mess again.

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HOW IT WORKS:
 


CREATE A SHADE

Your Lip Lab artist will use their expertise to create colors according to your specifications.

SELECT A FINISH

We will guide you through Bite’s high performing finishes to select the right one for your needs: Luminous, Matte, Sheer Cuvée.

SELECT A SCENT

Finally, pick a scent for your creation: Cherry, Mint, Vanilla, Mango, Violet, Coconut, Wild Berry, Fresh Citrus.

The service runs about $150 and you get 2 custom lipsticks WITH ENGRAVING and a priming kit which includes a lip scrub, lip mask, and prime pen.

For my first option, I opted for a brown nude color with a matte finish and mint scent. Super light and fresh to keep me going all day.

For my second color I wanted something that I didn't have in my collection but would still use and that was a bright orange-red color that takes me on a tropical vacation every time I look at it. I paired this one with the mango citrus scent to tie in the theme and voila, my two custom lipsticks were done!

Tips:

1: Tell it like it is!  

Don’t be afraid to tell your lip artist what you don’t like, don’t worry they won’t get offended! Trust me, I changed one color about 6 times because I couldn't describe the color I wanted. They want you to love the color and it’s your job to tell them what you want. 

2: Think about seasons!

I was struggling a lot in coming up with the second color. The lip artist will try and help you/let you try everything on, but my recommendation is to think about what you will actually wear. While I love my red-orange lipstick, we are heading into fall soon and I don’t think I’ll be taking tropical vacations soon, thus I think I would’ve gotten more wear out of a nice berry color.

LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES PEOPLE.

3: Go with a friend!

Bethenny from The Real Housewives of New York went with Luann in one of their episodes which means you can be just as cool! I’m just kidding, but in all seriousness the appointment can range anywhere from 15-45 minutes so bring your bestie along, I promise you won’t regret it.

PS: They have BOMB pre-made glosses or lipsticks if you just want to check out the brand!