I tried DIY teeth whitening and it actually worked

Because who can afford to get them done professionally?

Everyone wants to have white teeth, it’s just a fact.

It’s almost impossible to find a toothpaste does not promote a having whiter teeth.   People with white teeth appear healthy, hygienic and ultimately, intimidatingly attractive. I am not healthy, carry out only the basic hygienic procedures and I’m certainly not intimidatingly attractive.

Even our news feeds have become become full of celebrities promoting teeth whitening at home products, but all one’s that are way out of a student price range. I’d rather be able to eat every day, thanks.


So I decided to do what anyone in my boat full of dreams would do, fled to the interweb and asked Google about my future life choices. After a few hours of research, my hopes were raised as it appeared that there were three ways to whiten your teeth at home that I could afford and that might actually work.

I gave myself three months to try out three different home whitening remedies and documented my life changing journey along the way. I took a picture at midday in front of my window, every day for three months to see if any of these methods actually worked (some of them actually did). Taking a selfie every day, cheesing as hard as you can with no filter whilst trying to find the exact same natural sunlight and pose is one of the most awkward/embarrassing/unflattering things I’ve ever done, but I did it and here are the results.

Here’s what happened when I tried them:

As a fashion blogger, I'm always in front of the camera. More often than not, I am smiling...it's just a thing :). Of course, if you are smiling quite a bit, you want a bright, white and powerful smile...so when SmileBrilliant reached out to me to try their product, I was intrigued.

First of all, if you haven't heard of SmileBrilliant, let me get you up to speed! They are a great professional teeth whitening company based out of St. Louis. They back their product with science and let me tell you, they have figured it out! From a consumer perspective, this brand just understands LIFE, I mean, they use vegan and cruelty free ingredients in their gels! I also didn't have a gazillion dollars to pour into whitening, nor did I have the time to schedule yet another visit to the dentist. So to get serious about going through with this, I went to the website and did a little research on home teeth whitening.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. As a avid coffee and tea drinker with sensitive teeth, I needed to whiten, but was nervous it wouldn't be the most pleasant experience. Here are some tips on what to consider when whitening sensitive teeth. Boy was I wrong! I can't tell you how pleased I am with the ease of the process. They provided me with this great kit to begin my whitening journey. First up: creating custom molds!


If you’re a coffee or tea drinker like me, I’m sure you get annoyed by how badly caffeine can stain your teeth. I’ve only been drinking coffee on a daily basis for about a year now (before then I just sort of drank it sporadically), but my teeth have definitely been effected by it. It caught me off-guard the other day when I was looking in the mirror and it made me wonder what they could look like in a few years if my coffee consuming habits continue.

Since I have no intention of cutting caffeine completely out of my diet, I decided I would try out a teeth whitener. I’ve been using one of those whitening toothpastes for years now, but it hasn’t been tremendously effective. So I wanted to purchase something that’s sole purpose is to whiten teeth, thinking I would get better results. While yellowing teeth obviously don’t signify the end of the world, I’ve really wanted to get mine back to looking stain-free. I’ve been annoyed with the stains on them for quite some time, especially when wearing bright and pigmented lipsticks. I did a bit of research into several different at-home whitening treatments and, as luck would have it, I learned that Tarte released the “Pearly Girl” teeth whitening pen earlier this year.

I recently got a gift card to Sephora, so last week I went out and picked up this teeth whitening pen. I’ve been using it between two and four times each day ever since I bought it and so far I’ve had a pretty good experience. I think I’m going to do an updated before and after post in a few weeks, once I’ve used the product for a while. But for now I wanted to share my general impressions of the teeth whitener.

While I know it isn’t particularly important, I first wanted to talk about this packaging. (Please ignore my horribly painted thumbnail…lol. I don’t know why I didn’t repaint it before shooting). Tiffany blue happens to be my favorite color, so when I spotted this pen, it pretty much sealed the deal for me. Unimportant, I know, but who can resist good packaging?

Looking at qualities other than attractiveness, one way this whitener differs from ones I’ve tried way in the past (such as Crest white strips) is that it’s applied with a pen tip rather than on individual strips. I’d never tried a pen whitener before, but I was really impressed by how simple it made application. It doesn’t have to be handled as precisely as white strips, nor does it create a mess. When I’ve used white strips in the past, I’ve been irritated by how careful you have to be picking up the strips. If you mess up with white strips, even just a little bit, you’ve basically wasted the entire thing. Considering how expensive most white strips are, any mistakes you make are costly.

It’s different with the pen applicator and it’s certainly a lot more user-friendly. “Pearly Girl” is like a lipgloss or liquid lipstick for your teeth. You roll the bottom of the tube until product appears on the bristles, and then you apply it to the desired areas. It’s mess-free and very simple to work. While I’m not a big fan of this style of applicator when it comes to lip products, I think it works well for a teeth whitener. Compared to white strips, it’s the easiest thing to use. Plus, it’s good for travel or on the go.

Using the bristle applicator, you then proceed to apply the product to your front teeth. The instructions say you can use “Pearly Girl” up to four times per day. If you’re busy, you’re probably best doing it twice. Once in the morning and once at night. After you’ve applied the product, you’re supposed to wait 30 seconds before closing your mouth. Also, you can’t eat or drink anything for the following fifteen minutes. These directions really aren’t too convenient. As long as you’re not in the middle of a meal, you can pretty much continue about whatever you’re doing without having any problems. I like to use my pen while I’m taking blog photos or writing posts. It makes the time seem to go by faster and enables me to knock two things off my to-do list at once.

The whitening paste itself has a semi-clear color that becomes whiter once it’s on your teeth. It has a taste that’s both minty and medicinal. I imagine if there was a mint-flavored cough medicine, this is what it would taste like. It isn’t a particularly good taste, but it isn’t a bad one either. One thing that’s nice is that the mint leaves your mouth feeling refreshed.

As for the actual effects of the product, my teeth clearly appear less stained. My teeth were only slightly yellow to begin with, so I don’t know how well it would work for severely stained teeth, but I can definitely see the difference in my own. In the coming weeks, I think I’ll do an update either on here or on one of my social media accounts to give you a better idea of how effective “Pearly Girl” has been. But I can conclude that I’m much happier with the appearance of my teeth since I started using this product.

Overall, if you’re in search of a new teeth whitener, I would recommend giving this one a try. At $22, it’s roughly half the cost of most teeth whiteners. The pen applicator makes it both mess and hassle free. You don’t have to worry about accidental tears or smudges like you do with whitening strips. The product goes on smoothly and causes you no trouble later on. Plus, it leaves your mouth feeling fresh and minty. My teeth have improved a lot in the last week and I’m curious to see how they will look a month from now.


One of the first things that people notice about you is your smile. In today’s youth-obsessed culture, a twenty-something with dingy teeth can appear older than a forty-something with a bright, white, sparkling smile. Here are five things to keep in mind as you embark on your tooth whitening journey to the gleaming smile you’ve always dreamed of:

1. Not all Whiteners are Created Equal. There are different strengths and even different whitening agents used depending on the way they are delivered. An at-home strip from the drugstore will have a lower concentration of active ingredients because it’s an over-the-counter product versus the dentist-made custom trays you use at home with their prescription-strength whitener. Even that whitener isn’t as concentrated as the chairside in-office treatments available on the market today.

Woman using whitening strips2. Those Strips Aren’t for Everyone. Speaking of at-home strips, they may not be the most effective choice to whiten your teeth. They work best for people with straight teeth because they are designed to lay flat across your tooth surface. If you have misaligned or crooked teeth, the strip sometimes can’t get to all the nooks and crannies of the tooth, leaving some areas lighter than others giving you an uneven look.

3. Sensitivity Issues. A common side effect of whitening is tooth sensitivity. This happens because the gel contains an agent that opens the tubules, or pores, of the teeth allowing the whitening agent to do its thing. It usually subsides after a few hours but can last longer or feel more severe if you’ve left the whitening gel on too long. Desensitizing toothpaste can help relieve the sensitivity and avoiding hot or ice-cold food and drinks until the sensitivity subsides can help.

4. It’s Not Permanent. Generally speaking, you’ll need the occasional touch-up to keep that dazzling smile bright. Some methods last longer than others, and there are ways to keep your smile whiter, longer. Limit or avoid staining food and drinks like wine, juices, coffee, tea, smoking and chewing tobacco, especially for several hours after whitening. This will help increase the time between touch-ups. Of course, if that latte is calling your name, why fight it?

Different shades of teeth5. Natural tooth shades vary. It’s important to remember that there are several contributing factors to a person’s tooth color including age, the thickness of the enamel and shade of the dentin which lies under the enamel. The dentin makes up the bulk of a tooth’s structure, and can range in shade from brown, tan, yellow, and gray, and may not lighten to that ultra-white Hollywood smile even with the most potent in-office treatments. Other factors that might prevent a tooth from lightening are fluorosis spots, the gray cast of a silver filling or a nerve that has died. These generally require a deep, internal bleaching on a tooth-by-tooth basis or a more general, permanent restoration like veneers or crowns.

Our team can answer any questions you may have, and together, armed with this knowledge, we can help you find the method of whitening that fits not only your lifestyle but also your budget. Give us a call today!