Beauty brands are now moving into a category that has long been deemed dull and boring. Yes, that’s oral care. And these brands are restructuring the definition of oral care with their cool-savvy products, capitalizing on the wellness and self-care culture.

Since the last year, our days have been quite strange. Our priorities for products dealing with healthcare and personal hygiene has been enjoying a tremendous boost. And this is when oral care products became the new beauty trends. The pandemic gave beauty products a new hope to drive sales into a completely innovative section – “non-boring” oral care products.

The shift in consumer behaviour during the pandemic has led to a greater focus on “at-home” personal care products. From toothpaste to toothbrushes, these traditional products are now part of the beauty aisle. From a distance, it looks like not much has changed in the category, but a closer examination reveals a different story. Well, oral care is a strange beast. 

Oral Care Is Now A New Beauty Category

Oral care always played an integral part in self-care. The new vibe created by these oral care products positions themselves as fun, energetic, playful products rather than the standard mundane, sad toothpaste tubes. With limited access to dentists during the pandemic, beauty brands are trying to bring holistic beauty into the picture.

Indian beauty brand, Bare Body Essentials recently forayed into dental hygiene with their teeth-whitening product, “With the expansion of the dental industry and a renewed interest in oral beauty, products that have an aesthetic function are also available in the market. Beauty brands are trying to revamp their product offerings by introducing oral beauty products, which have been neglected so far. Thus, it is safe to say that oral care has become the new beauty category and that it is here to stay.”

Beauty brands are now expanding into oral care - Bare Body essentials

In India, the pandemic probably re-iterated the age-old and ancient practices such as oil-pulling in dental hygiene and had it coming to the forefront. The practise involves swishing high quality, organic coconut oil around in your mouth and brands like The Tribe Concepts, Onelife Nutriscience has been keen on communicating to the audience about their virgin coconut oil products for this ancient Ayurvedic oral ritual.

“I would say the pandemic gave rise to a lot of things where people started realising the need to go natural and sustainable both for health and for the environment. And yes, oral care is thus finding its way to beauty categories as a need in the current scenario,” says Amritha Gaddam, Founder of The Tribe Concepts.

The most important part of consumerism is in the hands of millennials and Gen-Z peeps. Have you seen how Kendall Jenner makes the art of brushing your teeth look like the perfect hobby that you would want to take up next? The supermodel is the face of the oral-care brand, Moon which is reeling in millennials with the promise to elevate the everyday oral care routine into an oral beauty experience.

Beauty brands are now expanding into oral care - the Tribe concepts

Packaging And Aesthetics

Packaging is an integrated marketing strategy to glamourize a product. Many of these beauty oral care products are taking their lead in terms of packaging, formulations, merchandising strategies and strong communications.

The team at Bare Body Essentials share, “The oral care industry has been perceived as bland for a very long time which has led to a dull shopping experience. Today, beauty brands are exploring the oral care space thus incorporating engaging and sophisticated packaging to motivate people to use them.” Brands are working harder to appeal to Gen Z demographics, with branding that features youthful aesthetics similar to those of the skincare and beauty space.

Product packaging in this industry should be eye-catching and represent the brand well, but it is also incredibly important that products meet expectations of quality. They should be more functional, user friendly and adaptive more than sophisticated. “We believe in transparent packaging. This style of packaging for our coconut oil and organic products, allows consumers a realistic view of the contents and promotes easy identification,” states Gaurav Aggarwal, Founder of Onelife Nutriscience Pvt Ltd.

Beauty brands are now expanding into oral care - One Life

But, it also shouldn’t be just another pretty cover aimed to make brushing fun or attract customers. Instead, it should set the rise of sustainable oral care. “I think the most important thing in packaging should be the impact it has on the environment. Plastic tubes are next to impossible to recycle, which means they’ll be hanging around our landfills for 100 years. Now you can imagine how many you’ve thrown away in your lifetime and multiply that by 8 billion people to understand the impact.” says Pragya Kapoor, Brand Ambassador of Denttabs India, a dental brand that ensures sustainable delivery with its packaging material based on cornstarch laminated with paper, designed for industrial compost.

Even Amritha shares the same view, “I think consumers have been more accepting towards natural products and practices. Organic and natural are what people started loving and seeing results. With the pandemic and various rising health issues around people are more conscious about their health and lifestyle.” They use reusable steel Indian tins for their products to do their bit for the environment. 

Formulations And Ingredients

If the new oral-care products are the same as the old, traditional ones, what would set them apart? 

One of the difficulties in product differen­tiation in oral care comes from the delivery of flavour. Clean and refreshing flavours connect consumers to positive oral care – giving them emotional connection and enjoyment. Fitting the gap, Denttabs launches its strawberry-flavoured toothpaste tablets enriched with distinctive fluoride properties and natural strawberry. “All you need to do is pop a tablet, brush, rinse and you’re done. You can brush ecologically with these toothpaste tablets,” explains Pragya. You’ll also be happy to know that the fluoride in these tablets is BCIH certified, sustainable, and ecological.

Beauty brands are now expanding into oral care - Denttabs

By providing unique formulations like toothpaste tablets, modern oral care brands like Denttabs are fast, result-driven and savvy. Toothpaste in the form of tablets has no water in its composition, easier to transport meaning the overall carbon footprint is lower. The market for toothpaste tablets is valued at about $20m, but it’s expected to almost double by 2026. 

“Denttabs is a modern and eco-friendly solution. These are sustainable, travel-friendly, water-saving, and super easy to use. All you need to do is bite-chew, brush-polish, and rinse-done!” she adds. This is the big selling point for toothpaste tablets – they’re much more sustainable and cleans your teeth.

Traditional toothpaste contains harmful chemicals and microplastics that are not only harmful to us but also to marine life. For instance, non-harmful ingredients such as charcoal and botanicals in teeth whitening products are gaining more popularity. Whitening products have always been the answer to bridging the gap of beauty. We have seen brands explore how they can deliver whitening benefits without adding ingredients that could be perceived as “harsh” by the consumer. 

“In fact, Star Dust Teeth Whitening Powder is one of the best-selling products at Bare Body Essentials. It has ingredients such as kaolin clay and diatomaceous earth that help whiten teeth naturally. It also contains a  non-harmful glitter element that makes the product more appealing for the customers and makes their experience more enjoyable.” the team adds. 

Most beauty brands that have diversified into oral care products make sure that they are rebranded from the traditional ones with alternative product formulations and one that takes care of the environment. “Modern oral care brands are quite mindful of what’s going inside. But let me tell you this is not easy. It’s easy to formulate products with preservatives and loaded artificial chemicals. But coming up with natural formulas with fewer or no chemicals or preservatives is difficult and I appreciate many modern brands choosing this route over the easy one to do good to their consumer and to the planet.” states Amritha. 

Communicate! Communicate!

Traditional oral care doesn’t enjoy brand love and it’s very pharmaceutical. Beauty brands in India have the potential to expand oral care into a whole regimen just like skincare and marketing it as such to drive consumer loyalty. “Oral care has been a huge part of one’s overall health that is growing interest in oral beauty products from consumers who are viewing beauty in a holistic sense and want to look and feel their best, from the inside out,” says Bare Body Essentials team.

The brand advises, “Brands can use data-driven marketing to reach their target audience. Big data will help them identify their customers better and make predictions according to their preferences. Partnering with dental clinics can also be a part of their market strategy.”

In order to be a disruptive force amongst traditional oral care brands, beauty brands need to offer something unique and that can be possible through true and authentic communication of their USP to the audience in order to understand the special offerings and drive sales. “Communication is the key. Brands should communicate honest and real benefits and how that particular product impacts the consumers and the planet. Customers should also be educated that the shift is easy to adapt to and not much cumbersome, this is a major drive for consumers to switch to healthy sustainable oral care” advises Amritha.

Beauty brands are now expanding into oral care

If these new oral products are good for the planet, the change would eventually arrive “It will not happen overnight, to change the narrative will take time because this is something we have been taught was good for us since we were babies. So it will take time to reprogram that. But we have to start somewhere.” says Pragya.

New oral hygiene product developments by these beauty and modern brands have made oral care “makeup for the breath” for the good.

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