I Didn’t Believe At-Home Teeth Whitening Kits Really Worked—Until I Tried This One

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Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light Hero

 Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

We purchased Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light Teeth Whitening Kit so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.

Whether you can’t function without your morning coffee or have an unwavering love for red wine, there are a number of factors that can cause your pearly whites to end up, well, not so pearly over time. Many dentists offer an effective treatment for fading pesky stains and brightening your smile, but not all of us are willing to shell out the big bucks to visit a professional.

Luckily, there are plenty of at-home whitening products out there—from toothpastes to whitening pens to full-on treatment kits—available at a variety of price points. The most popular of them all? Crest’s Whitestrips family of products.

The brand's latest iteration, the Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light—which features both the classic Whitestrips and a handheld blue light device—is designed to be the brand’s most effective treatment kit yet. To see if it lived up to the hype, I put it to the test myself. Read on for my review.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light

Uses: Teeth whitening, stain removal

Star Rating: 4.8 / 5

Active Ingredients: Crest doesn't list an active ingredient, but the product description reads, “The active ingredient in Crest Whitestrips is the same as what you’ll find at your dentist’s office.” Hydrogen peroxide, which the product includes, is one of the two chemical agents typically used in tooth whitening products.

Potential Side Effects: This product may cause mild tooth and gum sensitivity. Additionally, it's not advisable to use it if you have oral cancer, are being treated with photodynamic therapy by your doctor, are taking light-sensitive medications that include aminolevulinic acid or porphyrin, or are sensitive to light.

Price: $99.99

About the Brand: Crest is an oral hygiene and care brand under the Proctor & Gamble umbrella known for its toothpaste, mouthwash, and at-home teeth whitening products.

About My Teeth: Slight staining

I’d like to think I take pretty good care of my teeth, brushing at least twice a day with clean toothpastes, such as Wildist’s Brillimint All Day Natural Toothpaste or Burt’s Bees’ Charcoal Peppermint Fluoride Toothpaste, and flossing (pretty) regularly. However, my affinity for coffee and a college smoking habit has definitely taken a slight toll on my once-pearly whites, resulting in yellowing and staining on my canines and premolars. Years back, I tried drugstore whitening toothpastes without any success, and ever since, I've been curious to explore other options that would actually fade stains and even out my smile.

How to Use: It's pretty easy

Crest’s 3D White Whitestrips with Light Teeth Whitening Kit was pretty straightforward and, more importantly, didn’t require me to take much time out of my day. For 10 consecutive days, either while getting ready in the morning or during my evening Netflix binge, I applied both the upper and lower whitening strips, which covered both sides of my front teeth back to my first premolar. As per the directions, after an hour, I kept the strips on for another 10 minutes while holding the small blue light device up to my upper and lower teeth for five minutes each, then removing the strips. Bonus: the light has an automatic shut-off to signal when each five-minute treatment is finished, so there’s no need to watch the clock.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light $99
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Ingredients & Technology: Blue light is key

There’s no denying that Crest’s Whitestrips products are effective; its original whitening kit wouldn’t have earned the American Dental Association official seal of approval if they weren’t. Whitestrips use the same ingredient that dentists use for professional treatments—hydrogen peroxide—and this latest iteration gets a powerful boost from a specially engineered blue light device. When the strips are used together with the blue light, the treatment penetrates your tooth enamel more effectively to help weaken stains.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
 Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

The Feel: Comfortable to use

Whitestrips are dry to the touch, but a gel-like substance formed around my teeth once I applied them. The no-slip grip technology kept them in place in my teeth, though, which I liked. Once I removed the strips, I found that they left behind a gunky residue.

The blue light device is super lightweight and the perfect size to cover your front teeth while fitting comfortably in your mouth. 

The Taste: Mildly unpleasant

Because Whitestrips stay in place, you can pretty much go about your at-home routine without evening noticing them. However, saliva can cause some of the product to leak onto the tongue over the course of the hour you wear them, which can lead to a mild bleach taste and a temporary tingling effect on your tongue. However, I only noticed this a couple of times during my 10-day treatment. My advice? Try not to brush your tongue against the strips during use if you can. 

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
 Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

Brushing: Brush after, not before

While you might feel inclined to brush your teeth before you start a treatment, Crest doesn’t recommend it as it may cause gum irritation once the strips are on. Gently brushing your teeth post-treatment to remove any remaining residue is suggested (and believe me, you’ll want to), which is why you’d probably want to treat from the comfort of your home.

Side Effects: Slight tooth sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is always a factor to keep in mind when considering a whitening treatment beyond toothpaste, and I did experience a bit of it with this product. While I didn’t feel any discomfort the first few days, I began to notice a slight sensitivity to hot and cold by day four, which intensified to a general mild ache over the course of the rest of the treatment. It began to subside as I approached the end of the 10 days, but even in the first two days after I finished the full treatment, I still experienced a slight sensitivity while eating and drinking.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
 Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

The Results: Stains faded and teeth noticeably whiter

Don’t be disheartened when you don’t see instant results after your first day. This product truly does work, but it'll take the full 10 days. For me, I didn’t notice any change in my smile at first, but by day five, it was apparent that my stains were beginning to lift. By the time I reached day 10, my teeth were noticeably a few shades lighter, and the staining on my canines and premolars had faded significantly. My smile is much more even overall, which is exactly what I was hoping for—I might just even drop my smize for an actual teeth-baring grin to show off my new pearly whites.

But the real question: Does this kit live up to Crest's claim that results last up to 36 months? Only time will tell. Currently, I'm approaching the five-month mark, and despite the fact that I still drink coffee every day, my teeth have remained stain-free and noticeably brighter. They're not as *shockingly* white as they were immediately after the testing period, but they're still perfectly even in tone without any staining around my past problem zones, which is what's most important to me.

Crest 3D White Whitestrips with Light
Byrdie / Jenna Igneri

The Value: Worth the price

This product retails for around $100, though you may be able to find it on sale at retailers like Amazon. Either way, spending close to a hundred bucks on an at-home teeth whitening product might not be considered budget-friendly necessarily, but this product is certainly more affordable than professional treatments and yields similar results. Sure, the average drugstore whitening toothpaste will only cost you between $5 and $10, but the results are nowhere near as dramatic. You’re getting what you pay for, and in my opinion, it’s a steal. 

Similar Products: The best out there

There are a slew of different whitening kits available today, including a number by Crest itself. Why choose this one over another, especially when the brand’s original, the Crest 3D White Luxe Whitestrip Teeth Whitening Kit, earned official approval from the ADA?

The answer, for me, is efficacy and longevity. The original kit claims to last at least six months, while this kit claims to last for up to three years. Sure, the light kit requires a little over an hour a day to work compared to the original kit’s 30 minutes, but for $30 more, it yields full results in just 10 days (compared to the original kit's 14) and is expected to last much longer.

Our Verdict: Strong results for an at-home kit

Crest’s 3D White Whitestrips with Light Teeth Whitening Kit is the real deal. For just a fraction of what you’ll spend at the dentist, this kit will dramatically whiten your smile and lift stains in just 10 days—with minimal effort required!

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