From the brains behind Bulldog Skincare, Waken is a new, premium mouthcare brand launching four vegan-friendly mouthwashes and a "chic" sipping cup. Presented in eco-friendly aluminium bottles and using natural mints and other botanical extracts, Waken’s recipes have been crafted with your wellbeing at their heart to give you fresh breath while being kind to your teeth and gums. The four flavours are PepperMint, SpearMint, LemonMint and Aniseed Mint.
I sent Simon Duffy, Founder of Waken Mouthcare, a few questions:
CG: When did you leave Bulldog and why?
SD: I’m actually still involved with Bulldog and it’s going really well.
Waken is a new and completely separate brand. We thought that the existing mouthwash brands were tired and wanted to try something new!
CG: Why the focus on mouth care?
SD: We think that the mouthwash industry has been focused on the wrong things for too long. It’s time we moved past the harsh ingredients like alcohol, synthetic mint and plastic bottles. We have a more progressive vision of mouthcare that aims to be kind and gentle while also delivering on performance.
CG: Where did the idea come from?
SD: Our vision is to promote wellness by championing mouthcare. A healthy mouth is essential to your general health and wellbeing as we believe it acts as a gateway to the rest of your body.
Many mouthwashes use harsh chemicals that can leave your mouth dry and irritated. Waken mouthcare is alcohol free and uses gentle, progressive ingredients that help protect, moisturise and condition.
We use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts such as Sicilian lemon and Eucalyptus to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth.
CG: What’s different about Waken?
SD: We think there are two main areas:
Firstly, our formulas are very different from those used in conventional mouthwashes. We don’t use any artificial flavours or artificial colours to start with, and each mouthwash is completely alcohol-free. This means you won’t feel a ‘burn’ or experience a dry mouth feeling that you can sometimes get from formulas that are high in alcohol.
Instead, we use natural mint and other fantastic botanical extracts to work with what’s already beautiful about your mouth. It was amazing to us that although the dental category relies so heavily on mint as a flavour, much of the mint we taste in dental products is unfortunately artificial. This was something we wanted to change.
Secondly, we’re using aluminium bottles and caps, rather than using plastic bottles and caps. Switching to Aluminium is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. Aluminium has a brilliant track record in recycling and is highly likely to be recycled. The great thing about recycling aluminium is that unlike plastic it doesn’t degrade. That means that you can recycle it endlessly. The good news is that nearly 75% of all the aluminium ever made is still in use (Source: The Aluminium Association website, accessed November 2019, ‘Facts at a glance’). If we compare this with plastic, a UC Santa Barbara study estimates that of the 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste humans have produced, only 9% was recycled (Source: Geyer et al. 2017, ‘Production, use, and fate of all plastics ever made’ in Science Advances).
Overall we want to take you from a chemical world of cleaning to a fresh new world of caring. We’re focusing on beauty, wellbeing and sustainability. We often summarise this as ‘Don’t Just Clean. Care.’
CG: What’s the future for mouth care?
SD: With more of us increasingly aware of our environmental footprint we hope to see more eco-friendly options available in mass retailers. We also think there will be growing awareness about the role that the mouth plays as a gateway to your overall health. Recently we have been seeing more and more scientific studies looking at the potential negative side-effects of using alcoholic and anti-bacterial mouthwashes. I think we will see more research into the idea of good and bad bacteria in your mouth. If you look at “The Dental Diet” by Dr Steven Lin, he says “if you see a mouthwash that claims to kill 99.9% of germs, you should run far, far away.”
TheChicGeek says, “This has been nicely thought about and branded. Waken recommend a 20ml dose - which I found a little bit too much - which would mean your bottle of 500ml would last approximately 25 days. That’s £8 for less than a month’s worth of mouthwash. It’s going to be a tough task to get people to pay this, especially when mouthwash is often seen as a pound shop type product.
The aluminium bottles are really nice and it says not to swig straight from the bottle, so you do need another receptacle, because, unlike other brands, the cap is too small to double up for this. Waken offer a metal cup for a additional £4.
Of the four flavours, my favourites were the two standard mints; PepperMint, SpearMint. The lemon and the aniseed flavours just weren’t quite as enjoyable as the other two and had a stronger after taste.
I do think this needs to sell more teeth/health benefits because natural ingredients and recyclable packaging are probably further down the list of purchase motivators than say gum and teeth health or fresh breath."
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Following on from Regenerate’s toothpaste and monthly treatment serum - read TheChicGeek’s review here, we have the ‘Advanaced Foaming Mouthwash’. Developed to restore enamel mineral and reverse enamel erosion caused by daily acid attacks, the new ‘FOAM’ technology releases micro-bubbles that reach between the teeth and around the whole mouth.
TheChicGeek says, “This is the first time I’ve heard of a ‘foaming mouthwash’. The small - 50ml - pump gently foams the product into your mouth. It recommends 3 pumps to then be swilled around the mouth for 30 seconds and says there’s enough in this bottle for 50 rinses. It also says you can use it up to 3 times a day.
It’s a weird sensation. It’s very soft and, being room temperature, it feels like you want to instantly spit it out. You have to move it around your mouth and it has a minty taste with an after-taste which is almost soapy once you’ve spat it out.
The foaming effect means you need much less than standard mouthwash and thus makes a smaller bottle last longer and, therefore is a believable travel product. You can imagine people using this after meals and carrying it around in their bags. You could use this instead of mouth freshener or mints.
It is expensive compared to regular mouthwashes and the long term benefits, such as the enamel reversal, will have to be believed rather than seen, but, this has novelty and is in line with the other products in their range.”
Left - Regenerate - Advanced Foaming Mouthwash - £10