Cosmetic dentist to the stars, Dr Uchenna Okoye is the dental expert behind the glistening smiles celebrities including Millie Mackintosh, Christine Bleakley and Lisa Eldridge. But she's also something of a star herself; as the expert dentist on Channel 4’s makeover programme, 10 Years Younger, she became London’s most famous smile expert and specialises in both cosmetic dentistry as well as cosmetic facial treatments such as Botox.
Uchenna, 49, now runs her hugely successful, multi-clinic practices as Clinical Director of London Smiling Dental Group. She's also a mother of a young daughter and, we discovered, something of a beauty obsessive.
"I like products that are fast and efficient. I look for antioxidants and hardworking actives to keep me looking fresh and youthful. I have an oily T-zone although my overall skin has gone drier as I’ve gotten older. I had lots of spots as a kid and didn’t manage [them] well and as a result, I have lots of pigmentation on my cheeks."
Many of us inherit our beauty habits from our mothers, but Uchenna describes her mum as "firmly of the soap and water brigade. I only just got her into using a separate moisturiser for her face but maybe she’s onto something good as she has fabulous skin!"
Here are Dr Uchenna's beauty must-haves.
1. Smashbox: Always On Liquid Lipstick, Bawse, £19 - Buy online
"If you care for your teeth and keep them in optimum condition, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t show off your smile with a bright lipstick. Zesty oranges, blue-based reds and robust pinks are set to be big colours for spring this year.
"I personally love a warm red for my skin tone, but a blue-based red can always make teeth look whiter, so I’d always recommend you opt for a strong hue to highlight your pearly whites. Smiles are linked to confidence, and I feel a bright hue will bolster this."
2. Elizabeth Arden Superstart Skin Renewal Booster, £45 - Buy online
"I enjoy using this skin booster prior to serum or moisturiser, it helps boost the results of the other skincare products you use, and it works like a probiotic for the skin. It leaves my skin refreshed and ready for the day ahead and after applying it I’ll use a moisturiser with SPF and sometimes a serum or surface hydrator like squalene. Many beauty editors would also agree with me that it is a must-have in your skincare routine."
"A rich nourishing lip balm is top of my list when it comes to the mouth, as smiling is one of the things I wholly encourage. It only takes 17 muscles to smile, yet 43 to frown – so it’s a no brainer in my opinion! I particularly love this balm because it has an SPF20 element, it also contains lysine – a natural antiviral and essential amino acid. It isn’t occlusive like most lip balms which create a superficial layer on the lips and do little more than lock in existing moisture. This balm continuously keeps my lips hydrated and the alpine rose element gives it a beautiful soft scent."
4. Tweezy Tweezers, £8 - Buy online
"The eyebrows are the window frames to the eyes, and if I’m not using mascara to accentuate that feature, I’ll ensure my eyebrows are perfectly groomed. These tweezers are so precise, and any stragglers are quickly and effectively plucked from the root – every girl I know is lost without this handbag essential and it’s taken me a long while to find a decent sleek tweezer I can’t live without!"
5. Oral B Genius 9000, £120 - Buy online
"As a dentist, naturally I’m going to extol the virtues of a fantastic toothbrush. I am all about efficiency and effectiveness… and the science. This brush ticks all the boxes. It has a small head so can get into all the nooks and crannies, the pulsating technology means it gets under the gums where the bacteria hide and it is powerful, it has so much scientific research advocating it and is endorsed by the British Dental Health Foundation, which is rare. It has a pressure detector so slows the brush down if you are pressing too hard and it is fantastic at removing superficial stains, so teeth look whiter too."
6. Dr Sam’s Flawless Cleanser, £16 - Buy online
"As a busy dentist and mum, I want hardworking skincare that is uncomplicated and effective. I adore this cleanser with a jelly consistency which melts off all of my makeup, sunscreen and dirt and debris of the day in just one minute. It’s also fragrance-free and non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores and leaves no oily residue that I find I dislike with other cleansers."
7. Rien Intense Eau De Parfum Etat Libre D’Orange, £115 - Buy online
"I am such a fan of this unisex perfume that I initially smelled on a journalist. A year down the line she gifted me with it, and I’ve never looked back. It’s a spicy, zesty scent, and as soon as I envelope myself in it, I instantly feel happier and confident. The vanilla/opium accords set off the spicy blackcurrant bays, while soft musky notes of blond suede compliment the peppery, rose and leather notes. I can’t describe this perfume to its credit, but it’s described as a ‘second skin’ and is certainly addictive."
8. Charlotte Mensah Manketti Oil, £48.00 - Buy online
"This beautiful blend of manketti nut and ximenia oils helps add shine and tame my frizz. It’s my all-year-round saviour for dry, dehydrated and unruly locks. With continued use it can also help protect against styling. It’s a multitasking product which makes my hair easier to manage."
9. Herbivore Jade Roller, £26 - Buy online
"I’ve succumbed and jumped onto the jade roller bandwagon, and it hasn’t disappointed. I like to keep my skincare simple and believe in natural alternatives. Facial rolling has been used in China for many years and Jade is considered to bring harmony and peace. I team rolling with a tiny bit of facial oil, I find it helps to reduce tension in my face and jaw (from talking all day!) as well as reducing puffiness."
10. Emma Hardie Brilliance Facial Oil, £39 - Buy online
"This lightweight oil is great for my skin and doesn’t feel heavy or clogging. It contains a blend of essential oils such as rose, geranium, vanilla, palmarosa (so you can imagine it smells divine!) as well as plant-based oils sourced from apricot, olive, almond and grape seed oil.
"It’s a real pampering treat and helps revitalise my skin in the morning after a busy day at the practice. I am concerned about free radicals and pollution in the city, so I find that a lot of the antioxidant ingredients help protect my skin along with the daily SPF I use. Growing up, natural oils were always a big thing in Nigeria, I have memories of my grandmother massaging oils and this brings back great memories."
Find Dr Uchenna at the London Smiling Clinics in Goodge Street and Gloucester Road, London.