There's one universal rule of beauty (and life): Never take anything for granted. After years of eschewing teeth whitening and giving away my press samples of Crest White strips, I finally had to come to terms with the fact that my twice daily coffee habit was turning my "naturally white" teeth into various shades of discoloration. This new realization was met with an immediate and frantic search for the latest and greatest product that could revert my teeth to its formerly pearly shade.
So the timing could not have been better when a box of Apa Beauty White Duo came across my desk. The whitening system is the hero product in a line crafted by celebrity dentist Dr. Michael Apa, (who counts Uma Thurman and the Olsen twins as his clients) and is crafted to give you professional whitening results in just five days at home.
All it takes is one look to realize that Dr. Apa’s not messing around with this system. The products, which contain a bleaching pen and 10 film strips, are packaged in a pristine, heavy white box that’s luxurious, if not a tad extravagant. It actually broke my heart a little to empty the box to port the products home, but we all know it’s what's inside that matters.
The first night, I leaned into my bathroom mirror and meticulously applied the White pen to the surface of my upper teeth, being careful to avoid the gum area. Then (before the whitening solution could move around too much), I applied a film strip over my teeth, folding the excess material under to get the back. Pro tip 1: Open the strip packaging before you start applying the gel, as I found the seal to be a bit hard to break and it was difficult keeping my lips pulled back the entire time while trying to get the packet open. Once the film was in place, it molds to your teeth almost instantly and does not budge. Then, I repeated the steps with my lower teeth. Pro tip 2: Because the strips really do stick on, it’s very important to make sure you get the strips on the right part of your teeth within seconds of your first try. Going back a few minutes later to reposition is not an option. The strips are to be left on for 90 minutes, but since they mold tightly to your teeth, they wear very comfortably.
The White pen contains 18 percent carbide peroxide, an ingredient that breaks down into hydrogen peroxide (the active bleaching agent). The strips contain an additional 20 percent of the ingredient. In addition, the products contain potassium nitrite, which reduces pain by shielding the sensory nerves under the gum line and peppermint oil to help reduce sensitivity and freshen breath.
Even though I usually do experience sensitivity (especially long the gum lines) with most teeth-whitening products, I felt absolutely none with this one. After each application, I could see my teeth visibly getting whiter—and true to their claims, after five days, my teeth had whitened significantly. I am a little sad that I still have a pen full of whitening gel but no more strips left (I really did get attached to this things!) but I'm so happy with the results that I don't think I have worry about bleaching them again for quite a while.