There are plenty of ways to achieve pearlier whites. However, we don’t always have the budget for a pricey visit to the dentist—nor do we want to brush our teeth with turmeric and coconut oil every morning. Luckily, whitening strips were invented to be quick, easy to use and pain-free. We decided to test out two popular picks, Crest 3D Whitestrips ($46) and the Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips ($21), to see which one yields a brighter smile.
Meet the Testers
- Nakeisha Campbell is an associate editor of news & entertainment at PureWow, where she reviews shows and movies, as well as beauty products every once in a while. She is a first-time strip user and will be reviewing Crest 3D Whitestrips. Her goal is to remove years of stains from drinking a lot of tea and eating curry often.
- Chelsea Candelario is an associate editor at PureWow, who often tests the latest beauty and wellness products. She is also a first-time strip user and will be reviewing the Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips. Her goal is to remove stains from drinking coffee, wine and orange juice.
How We Tested the Crest 3D Whitestrips and Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips
We both tested our respective strips—Crest 3D and Lumineux—every day for a week, as directed. During that time, we documented our experiences and measured the strips against the PureWow100 criteria, looking at their overall value, functionality, quality and aesthetics. Both testers also have sensitive gums, so we took sensitivity into consideration. Most importantly, we compared before/after photos to see if the whitening strips actually gave us a brighter smile.
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My Review of Crest 3D Whitestrips
- Value: 18/20
- Functionality: 15/20
- Quality: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 20/20
- Whitening Power: 20/20
- Total: 93/100
For starters, I’m happy to report that the Crest 3D Whitestrips actually work. And considering that a professional whitening treatment at the dentist’s office could easily run you over $100, they’re also a much more affordable way to whiten your teeth at home.
The pros: I remember feeling nervous about wearing these because I thought they might slip off my teeth at any given moment, but that wasn’t the case at all. The strips were easy to put on and they stayed secure the entire time. Removing them was also a breeze.
The cons: The strips do cause some sensitivity. I used them for seven days straight and almost gave up midway because they were making my teeth so sensitive. By day three, I had to avoid really hot and cold foods because of the discomfort. By day five, my teeth were starting to ache a bit from the sensitivity. After day five, the discomfort subsided a bit, so I decided to continue wearing the strips for two more days, cutting back to just 30 minutes instead of the full hour recommended on the package. Overall, I’m happy with how my teeth look after using the strips. I just didn’t like how sensitive they felt during the treatment.
Final thoughts: The strips brightened my smile a full shade, which was noticeable but not as drastic an improvement as I’d hoped. This could be due to the fact that I cut the wear time in half for my last two days. However, they are easy to use and much cheaper than a visit to the dentist. And they deliver on their promise to make teeth whiter in just a week.
$46 At Amazon$45; $37 At Walmart
My Review of Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips
- Value: 20/20
- Functionality: 18/20
- Quality: 19/20
- Aesthetics: 17/20
- Whitening Power: 17/20
- Total: 91/100
The Lumineux Whitening Strips are a great choice for beginners. The kit comes with seven strips, which is super helpful for me. As a first time user, it was great to try it out for one week without wasting my money on buying a bulk of whitening stripes at a time. It gave me the opportunity to test the waters and be OK with it working or not.
The pros: These whitening strips are made for sensitive teeth. I’ve heard horror stories about certain brands and how you suffer from sensitivity after using them. I was lucky (and relieved) that I didn’t have to experience any pain or discomfort while using these. Since they’re made with essential oils, I didn’t have to worry about any harsh chemicals or flavorings in my mouth.
The cons: If you’re trying whitening strips for the first time (like me), no one can prepare you for how strange it is to wear them. The first time I applied them, I felt like I couldn’t speak. And TMI, they made me drool more than usual. However, by the third or fourth day, I became a pro at applying the strips, which was made easier by the detailed steps included on each strip packet. The top strip never gave me trouble, but the bottom strip was always a bit more difficult to keep in place. Since it has a smaller design, I had to constantly press down on it to keep it secure—and looking at the reviews, it appears I wasn’t the only one having this problem.
Final Thoughts: Personally, I don’t think a week is long enough to get the job done. I did see a small difference in the brightness of my teeth compared to the first day, but I wouldn’t say the strips left me with the same pearly white results I saw on multiple influencers. That said, I did notice that many of them paired the strips with the brand’s mouthwash and toothpaste, so that might have helped. Overall, I like how I can use these strips on my sensitive teeth without causing any discomfort to them. I also liked that it only takes 30 minutes and the application process is fairly straightforward (minus the gooey residue).
$21 At Amazon$30 At Walmart
What’s the Difference Between Crest 3D Whitestrips vs. Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips?
The Crest 3D Whitestrips and the Lumineux Teeth Whitening Strips have a few key differences. For one, Crest comes with 44 strips (22 packs), while Lumineux comes with 14 strips (7 packs), which lets you choose how often you want to use whitening strips in your routine. The formulas are also different, which plays a huge factor in sensitivity and strength. Crest strips have hydrogen peroxide, which helps to remove up to 20 levels of stains in two weeks. They’re the best-selling whitening strips on Amazon and they’re dentist-recommended. Their main drawback is that they might be too strong for those with sensitive teeth and/or gums. On the flip side, Lumineux strips are made with coconut oil and dead sea salt, which is a gentler option for those with sensitivity. However, it might take longer to see results and they might not be as drastic.
The Bottom Line
Both whitening strips can help brighten your teeth when used consistently. However, if you have sensitive teeth or gums, Lumineux might be a better option. But if you’re looking for a more dramatic brightening, Crest 3D strips should be on your radar. It all boils down to your sensitivity tolerance, how often you want to apply whitening strips, price range, formula and strength.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Whitening Strips Really Work?
After trying whitening strips for a week, we believe they actually work and the dentists we interviewed agree. “Whitening strips are a popular over-the-counter dental product designed to help whiten teeth. When used as directed, they can effectively lighten the color of teeth by removing surface stains,” says Dr. Kevin Sands, a board-certified cosmetic dentist based in Beverly Hills, California.
He continues, “Whitening strips typically contain a bleaching agent, most commonly hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These agents work to break down and remove stains on the surface of the teeth. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of whitening strips can vary based on individual factors such as the original shade of the teeth, the cause of the discoloration and adherence to the instructions. For more stubborn or deeper stains, professional dental treatments like in-office whitening or custom-fitted trays with a higher concentration of bleaching agent might be more effective.”
What Are the Benefits of Whitening Strips?
According to both dentists, there are four main benefits of using whitening strips:
- Ease of Use: They are easy to use and can be applied in the comfort of your home. Dr. Sands says, “Whitening strips are convenient. They come pre-packaged with a pre-measured amount of whitening gel and are designed for at-home application, allowing users to whiten their teeth without needing professional assistance.”
- Cost Effective: “Whitening strips are much less expensive than other professional whitening treatments,” says Dr. Mike Wei, a cosmetic dentist at Manhattan Cosmetic Dentistry. And they’re easily accessible, as you can find them in most drugstores and online retailers like Amazon and Walmart.
- Quick Results: Some whitening strips can provide noticeable results in just a few days, as they target stains almost immediately. “Whitening strips come in different strengths and can be customized for individual needs,” adds Dr. Wei.
- Comfortable: Some whitening strips (like the Lumineux) are painless and don’t require any special dental procedures.
What Are the Downsides of Whitening Strips?
According to both dentists, some whitening strips can cause sensitivity and pain in the teeth, gums and jaw. They can also cause irritation, inflammation and discoloration, as there’s a chance of uneven whitening due to the strips not conforming properly to the shape of your teeth. The dentists also mention that some whitening strips can leave a sticky residue (ahem Lumineux) or can be pretty expensive (looking at you, Crest 3D). One more thing: The results are temporary. As Dr. Sands notes, “The results from whitening strips are not permanent. Over time, the teeth may gradually return to their original shade due to diet, lifestyle and natural aging processes.” This applies to in-office treatments as well though.
Which Crest Whitening Strips Are the Strongest?
The Crest 3D Whitestrips Radiant Express with LED Accelerator Light is the strongest of the bunch. If you compare it to the Crest 3D Whitestrips Professional Effect, the Radiant Express offers 34 levels of whiter teeth in 20 days. Whereas the one we’ve tested delivers 20 levels of whiter teeth in 22 days. According to the brand, it also has the highest level of hydrogen peroxide among their other products.
How to Use Whitening Strips
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions that are usually located on the box or each individual pack of whitening strips. A few helpful tips include:
- Apply whitening strips on clean, dry teeth. Dr. Sands recommends using a tissue or dry cloth to pat the surface of the teeth as “moisture can hinder the adhesion of the strips and effectiveness of the whitening gel.”
- Gently fit and press whitening strips. Take your time applying each strip and gently press down to conform them to your teeth.
- Once removed, continue your dental routine. “After using the strips, it’s important to brush, floss and rinse thoroughly to remove any residue from the strips. It’s also important to follow the recommended usage schedule as over-whitening can damage teeth and gums,” explains Dr. Wei.
How Often Should You Whiten Your Teeth?
According to Dr. Wei, you should whiten your teeth every six months, unless the instructions say otherwise. And if you need a few more guidelines, Dr. Sands recommends the following:
- Regular Strength Whitening Strips (Lower Concentration):
- Use these strips daily or every other day for about 30 minutes per session.
- A full treatment ranges from 7 to 14 days.
- Wait at least a few months before starting another treatment if needed.
- Professional Grade Whitening Strips (Higher Concentration):
- Use these strips less frequently—every few days or once a week.
- The treatment duration might be shorter, spanning over 5 to 7 days.
- Wait a few months before considering another treatment.
How Can You Avoid Over-Whitening Your Teeth?
As Dr. Wei explains, “Whitening your teeth too much can lead to tooth sensitivity and gum irritation. Additionally, over-whitening can cause the teeth to become translucent, making them more vulnerable to staining and discoloration.”
You know what they say about having too much of a good thing? This applies to teeth whitening as well.