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I Tried An LED Teeth-Whitening Kit And Honestly You Should, Too

*Flashes smile* Notice anything…different?

If you’re familiar with the pearly world of teeth whitening, then you already know it’s a sensitive process. And if you see your dentist and go the professional route, it can also be an expensive one. 

But Glowup is here to make achieving a brighter smile more convenient, affordable, and, perhaps most important of all, not at all irritating. It’s the latest company to tout the wonders of teeth-whitening kits with blue LED accelerator lights (see also: HiSmile, Smile Direct Club, and Crest), with one main difference: a customized formula based on your personal sensitivity and discoloration. 

Take it from someone who’s tried whitening toothpaste, whitening strips, and overnight teeth-whitening trays — it’s one thing to get your teeth white, but it’s another thing to keep them white. And not to mention teeth sensitivity is no joke. Could this newbie service deliver an Instagram influencer–esque smile and make it last, even with my cup-of-coffee-every-morning routine? 

GlowUp
BuzzFeed

The Basics

Glowup costs $60 for a one-time kit, or $30 if you sign up for a bimonthly subscription, which is around what you’ll spend for most at-home whitening kits. A treatment takes only 10 minutes (compared with overnight trays or strips you keep on for 30 minutes to an hour), and the claim is it’ll whiten your smile up to eight shades in as little as six treatments, or a week. 

How does it work that quickly?

It’s all thanks to the blue-light mouthguard, which helps the whitening gel penetrate the enamel. Think of it as a tone-downed version of the curing lights found in your dentist’s office. The light hustles to weaken stains and causes the bleaching agent to work quicker and more effectively. While there isn’t a ton of research on LED whitening kits, if you’re hesitant about using a light during your whitening process, always consult with your dentist first!  

To start the customization process, you’ll take a GIF-filled quiz regarding your dental hygiene and general tooth sensitivity. The questionnaire allows Glowup to create a formula tailored to accommodate your specific needs and target your level of yellow. 

My blend included hydrogen peroxide (the whitening ingredient commonly used by dentists), menthol (to provide a refreshing minty sensation), and cellulose gum (to fight off irritation and discomfort). For anyone who’s all about natural ingredients, Glowup also utilizes pomegranate seed extract, chamomile flower, and aloe leaf juice to remove bacteria and disinfect breath.

The kit arrives with a 16-LED light mouthguard, three whitening gels, and adapters for either an iPhone or Android phone. The light can be plugged directly into your phone so the whitening process can be done as you’re hanging on the couch catching up on the latest season of The Crown.

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What/Who It’s Best For

Those with a history of tooth sensitivity looking to improve the color of their teeth, smile-conscious individuals who are short of spare time, or anyone into the idea of all-natural additives.

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The Good

I love a schedule: setting one and keeping one. So brushing my teeth at night and using the kit was a cinch. I’d apply my custom gel to the mouthguard, set a timer for 10 minutes, and plug the cord directly into my iPhone’s charging port. It truly was that easy.

Each gel pen is marked so you know exactly how much to dispense onto the mouthpiece each time. There’s really no guesswork involved, so I found the entire process to be very streamlined. Plus, 10 minutes went by in a blink of an eye. I would finish getting ready for bed while keeping the mouthpiece in, and before I knew it, my countdown alarm was going off.

When you whiten your teeth is entirely up to you. I enjoyed the pre-bed routine, but you can do it at any time. It also doesn’t have to be done at the same time every day, which means a ton of flexibility throughout the entire process.

The Not-So-Good

Honestly, not much. The only minor negative is the taste; when you take the mouthpiece out, you get hit with the gel flavor and it’s not super pleasant. But it’s also whitening gel, so what do you expect? It’s nothing a quick rinse can’t fix.

As for the mouthpiece itself, it’s surprisingly comfortable. It’s made of a soft rubber, so it’s pretty pliable. It fit in my mouth well and was not an uncomfortable experience to endure. Yes, it was bright and not something I’d stare at directly while plugged in, but if nothing else, it makes for one entertaining selfie. 

GlowUp
BuzzFeed

The Takeaway

For such a mindless process, I saw a significant difference in the color of my teeth after a week of daily use. Seeing that I’ve never used a whitening light before, I was skeptical. But I can say that a bright blue light in my yap did, in fact, speed up the whitening process. It certainly felt more effective than applying strips and sitting for an hour. 

So far my teeth have stayed white and it’s been about four weeks since I first tried the kit. I didn’t experience any sensitivity during or after the process, but should you have an issue, you can contact Glowup directly to tweak your formula. I recommend going for the bimonthly subscription, which you can cancel any time, no questions asked. Whether you’re new to the teeth-whitening game or just wanna see what all this blue-light magic is about, Glowup is definitely worth checking out. 

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Every product covered here is independently selected by opinionated humans. But so you know, buying stuff through our links may earn us a small share of the sale or other compensation.

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