Colgate is Combating Smile Shame to Address Concerns of 96 per cent of Indians Who Wish they Could Smile Freely

By NewsVoir

This World Smile Day, global personal and home care brand Colgate-Palmolive (“Colgate”) is taking a stand against Smile Shaming, underscoring the beauty and importance of all smiles through its #FreeYourSmile campaign. This is especially significant given the proven benefits smiles bring to society’s health, mental wellbeing and social bonding. The region-wide campaign kickstarts Colgate’s efforts to tackle this complex topic for society and drive real positive change.

#FreeYourSmile Campaign

Colgate first commissioned an independent study across Asia-Pacific to gain insights and inform initiatives to propel this movement to eradicate Smile Shame for society to fully gain the benefits of smiling.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 found that a whopping 96 per cent of people in India would like the ability to smile more freely. This is higher than the regional average of 94 per cent.

In fact, India is the only market surveyed which pointed to cultural norms as being the main reason why they do not feel that they have the freedom to smile whenever they like. Indians indicate that cultural norms discourage smiling at strangers, so many hold back their smiles to avoid making others uncomfortable. In contrast, the primarily reason people across Asia-Pacific worry about is what others think about their smile.

Colgate Smile Study 2023

The inaugural study, conducted by research company Pureprofile in August – September 2023, surveyed more than 4,000 individuals aged 16 to 55 years old across eight Asia-Pacific markets namely India, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Philippines, Australia and Thailand. More than 500 individuals were surveyed in India.

This World Smile Day, Colgate is celebrating all smiles by adapting its iconic logo to represent the many different and beautiful smiles that surround us daily. Colgate is also collaborating with influencers across the region to further champion this cause. This includes Ethan Kuan from Taiwan, and Xixi Lim from Singapore who have personally experienced Smile Shame but are now embracing their own unique smiles.

Additionally, as part of #FreeYourSmile, Colgate is introducing a Smile Generator AI tool at, encouraging everyone to create their personalised Colgate smile on TikTok and Instagram, and spread the message to celebrate all smiles.

Yves Briantais, Executive Vice President, Marketing Asia-Pacific, Colgate-Palmolive said, “Smile Shame is especially prevalent in Asia-Pacific and this must change. At Colgate, we are on a mission to free people from the constraints of Smile Shame to truly embrace their own unique smiles. We believe brands have the power to challenge unrealistic beauty standards and promote authenticity. This World Smile Day, Colgate is leading the charge by celebrating all smiles.”

A significant 70 per cent of Indians believe that brands should have a role to play in tackling the issue of Smile Shame, according to the Colgate Smile Study 2023.

Advocating for the Benefits of Smiling

Indians indicate that they generally feel relaxed, confident and comfortable when they smile freely. In fact, scientific research supports the idea that smiling positively impacts mental health, acting as natural anti-depressants and pain relievers(1). Smiling is also good for the heart, aiding in lowering blood pressure and expediting recovery after stressful events(2).

A key health benefit of smiling includes strengthening the immune system by increasing white blood cell counts, providing protection against infections(3). Socially, smiling is a powerful tool to foster bonds and building trust by making a lasting positive impression on others(4).

Standing against Smile Shame

Smile Shame may not be a familiar term to many. It encapsulates the feelings of embarrassment, self-consciousness, or insecurity regarding ones smile.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 revealed that more than 61 per cent of Indians have personally experienced Smile Shame, the highest percentage across the region. 43 per cent of Indians have been made to feel bad about their smile because they’ve witnessed family and friends commenting about others’ teeth and also that social media makes them feel like they should have perfect teeth to smile.

Celebrating the Diversity of Smiles

Smile Shame is associated with different attributes across markets, reflecting diverse perceptions of what makes a beautiful smile. In India, Smile Shame is typically attributed to whether their smile makes their face look good, or whether they are smiling too widely.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 also revealed that the key factor that makes Indians worry about their smile is concerns about comments from others including family, friends, and even strangers. This is the concern of approximately one in two people in India.

#FreeYourSmile is the first step in Colgate’s mission to celebrate all smiles and combat Smile Shame, with more initiatives planned. This movement represents Colgate’s goal to inspire individuals to express themselves freely and proudly, regardless of perceived imperfections.

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About Colgate-Palmolive Company

About Colgate-Palmolive Company Colgate-Palmolive Company is a caring, innovative growth company reimagining a healthier future for all people, their pets and our planet. Focused on Oral Care, Personal Care, Home Care and Pet Nutrition, they sell their products in more than 200 countries and territories under brands such as Colgate, Palmolive, elmex, hello, meridol, Sorriso, Toms of Maine, EltaMD, Filorga, Irish Spring, PCA SKIN, Protex, Sanex, Softsoap, Speed Stick, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hills Science Diet and Hills Prescription Diet. We are recognized for our leadership and innovation in promoting sustainability and community well-being, including our achievements in decreasing plastic waste and promoting recyclability, saving water, conserving natural resources and improving childrens oral health through the Colgate Bright Smiles, Bright Futures program, which has reached more than 1.4 billion children since 1991. Our range of products are for everyone to find a way to get the smile they want.

For more information about Colgates global business and how we are building a future to smile about, visit

(1) ‘Good reasons to Smile’ (2023) John Hopkins Medicine. John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. Available at:

(2)Smile! It’s Good for Your Heart’ (Sep 2012) Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Available at:

(3) ’11 Benefits of Smlling’ (Oct 2021) Delaware Psychological Services. Available at: ’11 Benefits of Smlling’ (Oct 2021) Delaware Psychological Services. Available at:

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Anusha Aggarwal

My name is Anusha Aggarwal. With a deep fascination for the science behind health, hair care, skin care, and body care, I'm a dedicated writer committed to helping readers achieve optimal wellness. Through years of research and personal experience, I provide expert insights into the latest trends and techniques in the beauty and wellness.