Not only is Tarte’s teeth-whitening pen vegan and cruelty-free, it has also proven to be as effective as more traditional methods in the same price range. It only takes 30 seconds to work (applied four times a day, as recommended), and will have you showing off your new pearly whites with just a few swipes of a pen. Sure, you have to grin weirdly with an open mouth for 30 seconds, but what’s half a minute compared to a lifetime of whiter smiles?
Tooth sensitivity can be a major factor with traditional whitening methods, and the culprit is the main ingredient in most of these treatments: peroxide, which can soak through the enamel of your teeth and temporarily increase dental sensitivity (densitivity?). While Tarte’s formula does contain hydrogen peroxide (as well as amorphous calcium phosphate, a patented vegan-friendly compound that enhances whitening effects), our testers didn’t experience any increased sensitivity while using it — probably because the product only sits on your teeth for 30 seconds, where many other treatments sit for 30 minutes or more. In addition, it contains a “neutralizing complex” that balances pH levels to create a gentler feeling when applied. One of our reviewers noted that her teeth are usually quite sensitive, but she was still able to use the Tarte pen comfortably over a long period.
An unfortunate fact of life is that — unless you’ve actually been wearing your retainer every night for the past 20 years like your orthodontist told you to (oops!) — you might not have perfectly straight teeth. Those people can find it difficult to use whitening strips, since they come in one size and shape. The Tarte pen is a great solution to that problem, as it lets you paint each individual tooth for an even application, thanks to its soft-bristle brush and gel designed to cling to teeth for “360-degree effects” — a success for straight and uneven teeth alike.
While you do have to apply it four times a day, the overall time commitment is still less than most strips, which often require you to stay put for 30 minutes to an hour. And reviewers noted that the tube is about the size of a lipstick, making it easy to use on the go. The site even recommends using it “post-coffee,” which is great for people like me who can just see our teeth getting yellower with each sip of coffee.
Granted, it takes a little longer to see the same level of whitening as with our $$ pick, Crest Whitestrips (hence the multiple times a day), but if you’re looking for a safe bet that’s pain-free and cruelty-free, this treatment is for you.