The beauty industry boom has gone bust.

The people have spoken: we don’t need any more highlighter shades or eyeshadow palettes. We’re tired of contouring and color-correcting, and we have enough lipsticks to last a lifetime. The same goes for skincare. Our shelves are full, our routines are long, and our skin is tired of us telling it what it needs. It wants to be left alone.

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The beauty industry has struggled to remain relevant at a time when few of us are wearing makeup, much less leaving our house. The maximalism that gave us 10-step routines and overcrowded shelfies has led to beauty consumers experiencing a collective state of exhaustion where we simply can’t take another “limited edition” launch.

So where do we go from here? As consumers pull back from beauty—some out of financial necessity, others out of fatigue—studies show they’re moving into the broader personal care space. According to Spate, the next frontier for beauty isn’t on your face, it’s in your mouth.

From October to September, searches for toothbrush alternatives were up over 50 percent, with searches for teeth cleaning products up almost 20%. Toothbrush and toothpaste searches were up 16 and 12 percent, respectively. Oral care isn’t exclusive to just your teeth, either.

From Spate’s trend alert: “Tongue scrapers have seen steady growth in searches since 2019. While interest in tongue scrapers tends to spike in December, consumer searches have spiked in May and August this year likely because of mask breath.”

Oral care is the new skincare. Just as healthy, happy skin is synonymous with overall health and wellbeing, oral hygiene is an indicator of a properly functioning immune system and whole-body health. The realities of COVID and mask-wearing have forced consumers to face this problem nose-first.

Due to this rising trend, longstanding leaders in oral care like Crest and Oral-B are starting to feel the heat from new brands popping that are bringing an aspirational element to this emerging space. There will always be dentist-recommended brands, just as there will always be dermatologist-recommended brands in skincare. But for consumers who want chic, sustainable, ritual-based products that work as well or better than the mainstream medical brands, we’re starting to see new players enter this space after taking a page from beauty and skincare marketing.

OJOOK launched earlier this year in an effort to bring clean, eco-friendly oral care to consumers who seek out conscious beauty. Helmed by former Glossier exec Youn Chang, OJOOK is powered by a non-toxic fluoride alternative called nano-hydroxyapatite (nHA) and Korean bamboo salt. The combination reduces plaque build-up and bacteria while neutralizing harmful acids to create the ideal oral microbiome.

Very Good Light spoke to Youn about the rise of oral care and its connection to wellness.

“People 5-10 years ago cared so greatly about makeup but only start spending time and resources in skincare after they saw signs of aging,” says Youn. “But now everyone is so educated that even people in their early 20s know the importance of daily SPF and skincare benefits. That’s exactly what oral care is going to be in a few years and OJOOK is at the front and center of the movement – how to take good care of one of the most important organs with minimal yet scientifically proven/high-quality ingredients.”

Just as skincare and makeup used to be purely aesthetic, having straight, white teeth is not the only goal anymore. Oral health means whole mouth health, and that includes your gums and tongue. Most people only start thinking about gum and mouth health after a problem occurs – a problem that could result in multiple costly visits to the dentist and specialists.

“So many oral care products out there are filled with chemicals and sensory tricking ingredients that are extremely harsh on teeth, gum and oral microbiome!” says Youn.

“[The] mouth is truly the window [to] our overall health and it’s astonishing to me that people who spend several hundred dollars on a skincare item would spend less than $4 for their toothpaste, let alone [without] knowing the brand/ingredients they are using.”

Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite oral care products that will give you a conscious clean and leave your breath feeling fresh under that mask.

OJOOK Toothpaste with nHA and Bamboo Salt ($18)

OJOOK toothpaste

Spotlight Oral Care Ultimate Teeth Whitening Kit ($60)

spolight oral care ultimate teeth whitening kit

OLAS Marine Bio-Active Mouthrinse ($16)

OLAS Marine Bio-Active Mouthrinse

CocoFloss ($35)


BOKA Rasana Tongue Cleaner ($9)

BOKA Rasana Tongue Cleaner

(Photo by Gemma Chua-Tran on Unsplash)

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