Dentists have a saying: If it can stain a t-shirt, it can stain your teeth. Now, think about the food and drinks you consume every day that would discolor your favorite tee.
Yes, your enamel is far more resistant than fabric, but over time, it will stain. And since your teeth are porous, those stains can penetrate deep. This is where at-home whitening kits like Cali White come in. They open the pores and combine LED lights with carbamide peroxide to pull out stains and brighten your smile. But is Cali White as good as it claims? Here’s everything you need to know before you buy.
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Cali White at a Glance
Certain home whitening kits aren’t an option for everyone. Maybe it’s because of allergies or sensitivities. Perhaps it’s that the customer maintains a vegan or organic diet. At-home teeth whitening has been mainstream for decades now, until recently, there was a vacuum when it came to more accommodating kits.
Cali White was created to fill that gap. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and organic. It uses ingredients that are free of parabens, fluoride, triclosan, and sulfates. Even the LED light is BPA-free and designed for adequate airflow. Basically, Cali White ticks off a LOT of boxes. And when you learn about its origin story, it makes a lot of sense.
Cali White was founded when the owner, Casey Coleman, realized that his wife could not use any teeth whitening kits on the market due to her autoimmune disorder. After all, she deserved a bright smile as much as anyone else. So he put his ten years of experience in the teeth whitening industry to work and developed Cali White, a kit that is just about as close to all-natural as you can get without sacrificing results.
The Cali White kit combines a carbamide peroxide formula with an LED light to offer fast and effective whitening that is still safe and gentle on the teeth. You use it for 10-30 minutes a day for 7-10 days to achieve maximum results.
On top of all of this, Cali White is one of the more affordable kits on the market, coming in at around $30. You can purchase it through their website, on Amazon, and through other online retailers.
Pros & Cons of Cali White
Cali White is an excellent product — one that’s landed on our list of the 5 Best LED Teeth Whitening Systems. However, it isn’t perfect. Here are the most notable pros and cons to keep in mind.
Pros of Cali White
- They stand by their product, offering a 100-day refund policy — among the best in the industry.
- The light has a built-in timer, so you know exactly when to stop treatment, protecting your teeth from sensitivity.
- It was designed with the diversity of clients in mind, so it’s safe for the vast majority of people, including those with many autoimmune disorders.
- It takes as little as ten minutes per day, though 30 will achieve the best results.
Cons of Cali White
- The kit includes standard and customizable trays, but the light doesn’t attach to the customizable ones.
- Based on our research, the whitening results aren’t as predictable as with other kits.
There are a lot of features you want out of a whitening kit, but more than anything else, it needs to, you know, whiten. While all teeth whitening products have the same end goal, some work better than others.
According to the company, Cali White can lighten your teeth up to eight shades in just seven days. However, users tend to report less significant changes, and online customer reviews reveal a wide range of experiences. This leads us to believe that while the formula is gentler and suited to a wide range of people, its results might not be as predictable as more traditional formulas.
With that said, their whitening agent is quite powerful — 35% carbamide peroxide, roughly the equivalent of 11.5% hydrogen peroxide. To put this into perspective, most at-home kits hover around 6.5% concentration of hydrogen peroxide or its equivalent. While they don’t offer in-office levels of whitening power, Cali White still packs a punch.
Most people start to notice a change in their teeth within one or two days of starting treatment. The kit delivers full results in as little as seven days, though it is safe to continue whitening your teeth for up to ten if desired. And it’s fine to stop at any time if you reach your desired brightness sooner than expected.
According to Cali White, their results should last about six months, assuming you keep your teeth-staining habits in check. They do suggest completing a course of treatment every 3-6 months to keep your smile at its best. However, if you start to notice discoloration sooner, you can shorten this timespan to fit your needs.
At-home whitening kits quickly and easily brighten your smile, but not quite as drastically as in-office treatments. So, why go DIY over dentist-directed treatment? For most, it’s the price.
Professional whitening typically costs at least $500, and can run you more than $1,000. Now, compare this to Cali White, which has a price tag of just $55 (though it’s usually listed on their website and Amazon for $29.99). That represents some massive savings.
Of course, a low price tag doesn’t always mean high value. That depends on what all you get for your money. Fortunately, Cali White offers quite a lot.
The kit includes:
- One LED light mouthpiece with 5 LED lights inside it.
- One universal comfort fit tray designed to attach to the LED light.
- Two thermoform custom trays that you heat and then bite to get a tighter fit than the universal tray offers.
- A case for sanitary tray storage.
- Two syringes of whitening gel with 5ml of solution inside each.
That’s more than most LED whitening kits include. However, you also need to consider the cost you’re paying per treatment.
Each whitening session requires 1ml of whitening solution — 0.5ml for the top and 0.5ml for the bottom. This means that you get ten treatments from the original kit, making the cost of each session just $3 if you purchased at their standard $29.99 sale price.
Once you use up your initial gel, you can buy more. A pack of three syringes costs around $20, depending on where you order them, so future whitening will cost just $1.30 per treatment.
Let’s compare this to the most well-known LED whitening option on the market: Crest 3D White Whitestrips With Light, whose $70 price tag is more than double for it than you’d pay for Cali White. It includes 28 strips — 14 for the top teeth and 14 for the bottom — bringing the cost per whitening session to about $5. Plus, the light stops working after 14 sessions. So, if you want to use that kit again, you have to buy a new one, not just more strips.
Ultimately, Cali White is one of the best values on the at-home whitening market, making it a great buy for anyone on a budget.
Quality of Ingredients
A whitening product is only as good as its ingredients, and Cali White’s are both powerful and gentle. Most whitening products contain some type of peroxide — hydrogen or carbamide — which serves as the primary whitening agent, supported by other ingredients that help make it more effective.
So, what all goes into Cali White? Their gel contains the following ingredients:
- 35% carbamide peroxide
- Propylene glycol
- Organic peppermint oil
This ingredient list is shorter than those from most of their competitors — at least among those that actually disclose all their ingredients in their product descriptions. It is also missing some of the most common components, such as potassium nitrate, edetate disodium, sodium saccharin, sodium fluoride, and sodium hydroxide.
However, excluding those ingredients is what makes Cali White so accommodating for customers who have health concerns and other special requirements. Cali White is vegan, gluten-free, organic, and skips harsh ingredients like fluoride, triclosan, and sulfates. This makes it gentler on the gums and teeth but doesn’t sacrifice effectiveness — though leaving out these ingredients is why the results aren’t as predictable as with other formulas.
Then there are the materials in the mouth trays. While this doesn’t influence the kit’s effectiveness, it does make a difference in terms of how safe you might feel using it. All three trays are BPA-free and made of medical-grade silicone. They also contain holes that allow for proper airflow while wearing the tray, making it safer for you than most options on the market. Overall, if you are looking for a health-conscious whitening kit, Cali White fits the bill.
Whitening your teeth is something that should enhance your life, not complicate it. Any whitening kit is going to add another item to your to-do list for a few days. However, some are easier to use than others.
Cali White is pretty great when it comes to convenience. Using the system is intuitive and gets easier the more you use it. The first time you use the LED light, you’ll need to open it and remove the tab below the batteries; with subsequent uses, you can just turn it on. Before each use, rinse the mouth tray or trays with warm water, and in the case of the universal comfort tray, attach it to the light.
Next, brush your teeth with water or a fluoride-free toothpaste, then floss and rinse. Use a washrag or paper towel to dry your teeth completely. Keep your mouth slightly open after completing this step to stop the teeth from getting wet again.
Then, apply the gel to the tray or trays, not directly to the teeth like you would with some other kits. This method is often easier, since it can be tough to hit all the teeth when applying directly. Once the gel is in place, insert the tray or trays so they firmly cover the teeth and press the power button.
The LED light automatically turns off and beeps after ten minutes, as this is the minimum length of a whitening session. It is safe to turn it on two more times for a total of 30 minutes. Once done, rinse your mouth with water, or brush your teeth using water. However, you should wait about 20 minutes before using toothpaste or mouthwash.
You can eat and drink about 40-60 minutes after your treatment. Just avoid deep, dark-colored foods and drinks since the pores of your teeth will still be open, making it easier to stain them.
However, not everything about Cali White is convenient. The custom trays do not attach to the light, so you will be stuck holding it if you go that route. And thirty minutes of holding a light to your teeth can be annoying. Also, while the kit is portable, it doesn’t have a convenient carrying case for all the components. Then there is the fact that if you want to opt for 30-minute whitening sessions, you need to turn the light back on twice. It’s a simple thing to do, but it would be nice to have 10, 20, and 30-minute settings instead.
We’ll be upfront here: whitening your teeth with any kit can be an uncomfortable process. The whitening agents don’t exactly taste like dessert and they leave a gooey film on your teeth. Plus, the trays can feel awkward in your mouth. And Cali White runs into these same issues.
Let’s start with the trays. Despite its name, many customers complain that the universal comfort fit is not comfortable, often noting that it’s too large. However, it does have ventilation holes, which improves breathability and even taste.
The custom-fit trays ensure that bulkiness is not an issue, but they introduce a new problem: the light doesn’t attach to them. So, while you’ll get a more snug fit on your teeth, your arms might get tired from holding the light in place for 10-30 minutes.
Cali White’s gel is specifically designed to prevent tooth sensitivity. However, quite a few customers noted that when the gel gets warm, even just from the ambient temperature in the room, it liquifies. Then, when applied to the teeth, it spreads throughout the mouth, leading to irritation and chemical burns.
The risk of chemical burns is always present with teeth whitening gel, but we did notice that this came up in Cali White customer reviews more than it did with other companies. So, be sure you store your gel somewhere cool to eliminate this risk.
What Are Cali White Customers Saying?
Overall, Cali White customers are thrilled with the product and the results it delivers. Most people report seeing clear results within just three days and that their smile meets or exceeds their expectations by the end of the full ten-day course.
Many customers are thrilled that Cali White doesn’t cause tooth or gum sensitivity when the gel is still in gel form. Reviewers have noted that they had to stop using other at-home whitening systems within just a couple of days because of irritation and sensitivity, but were able to go the full 10 days with Cali White.
Customers also raved about Cali White’s line of complementary products, such as whitening toothpaste, that boost their treatment results. These products are also vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free, just like the whitening system.
Easily, the top complaint about the system is the fact that the trays both have comfort issues. Coming in second is the fact that the gel liquefies when it gets too warm. However, proper storage prevents this. Just keep this in mind if you choose to purchase Cali White.
Cali White is an effective teeth whitening kit that works for the vast majority of people — even if you have health concerns that prevent you from using other kits. And it’s incredibly affordable, both to get started and to maintain your smile. While it isn’t perfect, it very well might be ideal for you.
To know for sure, compare Cali White to other top options in our review of the 5 best at-home teeth whitening products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does the LED light really help?
Light does enhance the tooth whitening process, although LED light doesn’t make as much of a difference as other types, such as the UV bulbs most dentists use. It can, however, speed up the whitening process in a manner that is safe for at-home use. The bulbs dentists use would likely cause burns if used at home.
Do LED lights produce heat?
No. The only at-home teeth whitening kit that uses both light and heat, as far as we are aware, is GLO Brilliant. This helps to deepen the whitening process. However, LED lights do not produce any notable amount of heat.
Is it really safe to whiten your teeth at home?
Yes! These kits aren’t new, and decades of customer reviews show that they can deliver stunning results. However, there are steps you need to take to make sure your use of these products is safe.
- You should only purchase reputable products. Look at customer reviews before you buy.
- Follow the directions included with the product. Do not attempt to whiten more frequently or change anything else about the directed use.
- Do not use products you are contraindicated to use. Check the ingredients and ensure you are not allergic to anything. Avoid whitening if you have active tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities.
Do I need to get a professional cleaning before whitening my teeth?
It isn’t a requirement, but it is best practice. If you whiten teeth that have plaque or tartar, they will appear patchy after your next cleaning.
My teeth used to be bright white. Now they are yellow despite not drinking coffee or wine. What happened?
Discoloration is a natural part of aging, and tooth-staining habits go far beyond just coffee and wine. For example, smoking and taking certain medications can also discolor your teeth. However, just aging alone results in duller teeth, since your enamel thins with age, allowing dentin to show through — and dentin is naturally yellow.
Can I use whitening products if I have a fixed appliance on my teeth, such as braces or a retainer?
With braces, whitening your teeth is a bad idea. The brackets are glued to the teeth, so the whitening solution cannot get underneath them. Once they come off, you’ll have a shadow on your teeth. Fixed retainers are almost always on the backs of the teeth, so it comes down to whether you’re okay with the shadow there or not.
Can I whiten my smile while using aligners?
Yes! In fact, many at-home aligner companies offer whitening as an add-on or even include it for free.
Can I whiten my teeth if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
The research on this is limited, but it’s generally assumed to be safe. We still caution you not to use any product on your teeth that isn’t explicitly approved for pregnant or breastfeeding women without first consulting with your doctor or your child’s pediatrician.
Will Cali White whiten caps, crowns, fillings, and veneers?
Like all whitening products, Cali White can remove surface stains from dental work. However, they cannot change the original color of restorative dentistry.
Can I use Cali White multiple times in one day to speed up my results?
No, doing this is dangerous. Whitening more often than advised, especially multiple times in a single day, puts you at risk of permanent enamel damage.