Gleaming, white teeth are what separate the beautiful people from the peasants. You’ll notice — the first physical transformation TV producers give to new starlets is a $500+ teeth whitening treatment. But there’s even more to our obsession with pearly canines than the desire for celebrity good looks. According to a study from researchers at the British universities of Leeds and Central Lancashire, teeth are “the human equivalent of a peacock’s tail.” In other words, the prettier the pearly-whites, the more likely to attract a mate. Needless to say, we’d all love to have a top-tier set of teeth. But we don’t want to spend a big chunk of our beauty budget on some unpleasant, bank-breaking whitening system that doesn’t produce results. To help you navigate the ever-increasing number of teeth whiteners out there, we had Totalbeauty.com readers test a range of products. Check out their reviews to find out which treatments will whiten and brighten your grin, and which will give you nothing but trouble.
The Worst: No. 4: REMBRANDT DEEPLY WHITE 2 Hour Whitening Kit,$22.99 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 5.9*
Why: Readers were extremely disappointed with this ineffective, frustrating whitening kit. Here’s how it’s supposed to work: you apply a whitening gel to plastic applicators, which are promised to conform easily and comfortably to your teeth. You leave the plastic trays in your mouth for four 20-minute intervals, washing your mouth with water in between. Sound like trouble? Most readers found that it was. “No matter how well you get the whitening trays to conform to your teeth and how long you leave it on, it barely whitens your teeth at all,” one reader complained.
But even those who did receive slightly whiter teeth at the end of the treatment ended up with worse problems. “Although, it did whiten my teeth by 2-3 shades, it left me with horrible damage to my gums. If I could give this a zero I would!” another reader reported. Plenty of reviewers experienced similar gum and teeth irritation. Affordable or not, approach this product with caution.
No. 3: Supersmile Superquick, $79.99 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 5.1*
Why: “Messy” and “expensive” are a few adjectives our readers used to describe the Supersmile Superquick whitening kit. For $80, you receive a tube of accelerator formula, toothpaste, mouth rinse, floss, a toothbrush and tongue cleanser. Although the collection is quite complete, most reviewers found that it wasn’t as effective as promised. “Tried for over a month and it didn’t work,” one disappointed user reported. Others had slightly more success and found that the products did “whiten teeth and freshen breath” — but they still thought the price was too high. All in all, the consensus was that there are simply better products out there, and you can probably afford to skip this one.No. 2: Aquafresh White Trays, $32.99 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 5.1*
Why: With well over 60 reviews, most of which are negative, Aquafresh White Trays land in the second-to-worst spot on our list. You use the product by placing gel-filled whitening trays on your upper and lower teeth and keeping them in for 30-45 minutes, once a day for up to a week. Readers had numerous complaints with the product, saying that the trays are uncomfortable to wear, the gel tastes bad, the formula irritates sensitive gums and sometimes even turns them white. Plus, the final results are inconsistent. Though some users did end up with whiter teeth, most could not get past the uncomfortable, messy experience of using the product. “Wouldn’t recommend it to anyone,” said one user, who reported that the tray didn’t stay in place, the gel was “nasty,” and it generally “didn’t work at all.” Yikes.
No. 1: Supersmile Quikee Whitening Tooth Polish, $18 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 4.2*
Why: Uh oh. Here it is — the teeth whitener our Totalbeauty.com reviewers said is the No. 1 waste of money. This Supersmile tooth polish is an on-the-go whitening paste that comes in a small tube. After meals and snacks, you’re instructed to apply a pearl-size drop to your teeth and smooth across with your tongue until it’s dissolved. No rinsing. Although the treatment seems convenient, reviewers were disappointed overall with the size of tthe tube and the product itself. “Don’t waste your money on this. It’s basically toothpaste that you smear on your teeth with your tongue. Ew. I’d rather brush,” one reader criticized, “the tube is ridiculously small — I was actually insulted with the size of the product for the price.” Other readers agreed. Pricy, paltry and it does little more than freshen your breath. According to the reviews, you’d be better off with an Altoid.
The Best: No. 2: Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advanced Vivid, $42.99 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 9*
Why it’s great: Finally, a whitening treatment our readers adore. Reviewers find that these Crest strips are easy to adhere and stay in place. “I can precisely put them on the teeth that I want to whiten, let them sit, and remove them without any weird gunk or sticky mess. I am always left with white teeth!” one reader described.
Every single reviewer found these strips to be “extremely whitening” — nothing less than success was reported. Readers do advise “to consistently use them every day as directed on the box,” and although the results are not immediate, you will notice whiter teeth after five days. Readers also caution that if you have sensitive teeth, you should limit your uses, but don’t have to quit the treatment entirely. Moderation is the key. All in all, the strips’ foolproof effectiveness and user-friendliness earn them the silver medal of teeth whiteners.
No. 1: Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System, $10.99 TotalBeauty.com Average Member Rating: 9.2*
Why it’s great: Affordable, fast-acting, gentle and effective, it’s no wonder that the Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System tops our list. Like other treatments, this kit consists of a pre-whitening rinse and a gel-filled mouth tray. But the results with Plus White can’t be matched. “I am so glad I found this product!” one user gushed, “the kit comes with an ultra comfy gel mouth guard, and it was all so easy to use. The instructions say 5 minutes, or 15-20 if you want a deeper level of whitening. I did 20 minutes twice in the first day; I couldn’t believe the difference. I would highly recommend and will be repurchasing this in the future.” Other users had similar experiences and found the treatment to be quick, easy and super-whitening. Not to mention astoundingly affordable. All things considered, Plus White 5 Minute Speed Whitening System is without a doubt our winner.