In the vast world of intensive, time-consuming, expensive, and extreme beauty treatments, professional teeth whitening has never been one to particularly appeal to me. This is largely, if not entirely, because I hate nothing more than the gloved hands of strangers roaming around my open mouth, applying pastes and gels and plastic trays and god only knows what else. I hate just THE IDEA of that. I gag and panic when the dentist tries to take annual x-rays of my teeth … which is why I do my best to avoid the dentist altogether, by taking what I am pretty sure is “meticulous” care of my mouth. I brush, I mouthwash, I floss, and I definitely don’t use my back teeth to open stubborn containers (haha, OK, I do that all the time), so I am generally in pretty good, if not tip-top, dental health.
But as for the visual aspect of my teeth, well, that’s (kind of?) a different story. I’m a coffee guzzler and a red wine enthusiast, and I am not about to stick a bendy straw in either of these to preserve the whiteness of my teeth. This is not to suggest that my teeth are, like, orange or brown or decaying. They’re not gross at all, they just err more “eggshell” than white. Or they did, at least, until I dedicated a Tuesday night to “Peep Show” and Rembrandt Deeply White 2 Hour Whitening Kit. (Note this is literally no different from any other Tuesday night of my life, except the whitening kit is interchangeable with some other questionable No Boys Allowed beauty experience, like an exfoliating foot peel or plucking out my leg hair or wearing a pair of mittens filled with Bag Balm for five hours.)
I’ve used Crest Whitestrips and HATED them (so slimy), so I was happy to find that the Rembrandt kit has very little in common with the strips. It uses trays which you first submerge in super-hot water, then you put them in your mouth real quick so that they conform to your teeth. This makes them softer and actually comfortable, and much less like you have a mouth full of weird, cold plastic. There’s a do-it-yourself element to the kit: it comes with 8 vials of the whitening gel, which you use to line the inside of the trays each “session.” Rather than popping on the trays and waiting 2 hours to remove them, you leave the trays in for 20 minutes, then take them off, clean them out, and wait 10 minutes before repeating. You follow this procedure four times for a total of 2 hours.
My teeth definitely felt sensitive, and my gums burned a little, especially towards the end of the 2 hours, but this is actually kind of remarkable considering I have the most sensitive teeth and gums of all time. My gums ALWAYS be bleedin’. I thought the whitening would be much, much more painful and bothersome than it actually was — in fact, if I hadn’t set timers for the end of each session, there were times I probably could have forgotten they were in. (Make no mistake, though, distraction is KEY.)
BUT DOES IT WORK? Yeah, definitely! My teeth aren’t, like, gleamy movie star-caliber teeth, but I don’t think they ever will be. Unless I got a new set, which I might, one day. But for a $20 kit that you can do yourself, at home, in 2 hours, whenever you want, this shit is GOLD. So yes, without further ado, here are the teeth in question before and after, captured in some excruciatingly awkward teeth photography. Assess for yourself (and snag your own 2 Hour Whitening Kit here):