Colgate is combating Smile Shame to address concerns of 98 per cent of Filipinos who wish they could smile freely

On World Smile Day®, Colgate launches its #FreeYourSmile campaign by adapting its logo to celebrate all smiles

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Media OutReach - 6 October 2023 - 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.


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 resounding 94 per cent of respondents across Asia would like the ability to smile more freely. Philippines jointly tops the list alongside Taiwan and Thailand where an overwhelming 98 per cent indicated their desire to smile without reservations.

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The study also revealed that 95 per cent of Filipinos feel like they have the freedom to smile whenever they like – on par with the Asian Pacific average – but nearly one in five (18 per cent) shared that they do not smile as often as they can, citing self-consciousness about how their smile looks.

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 Philippines, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and India. More than 500 individuals were surveyed in the Philippines.

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 including Filipino TikTokers Jillian Raine (@raineioop) and Anne Lopez (@anneglopezz), who have both experienced Smile Shame but are now embracing the smiles that perfectly reflect their respectively unique individualities.

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."

Three in four Filipinos (74 per cent) 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

When able to smile freely, Filipinos report feeling more confident in themselves. 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 one's smile.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 revealed that seven in ten Filipinos can relate to the concept of Smile Shame – the highest proportion across the whole of Asia Pacific. One in two Filipinos have personally experienced Smile Shame themselves.

That said, 84 per cent of Filipinos felt safe talking openly about the issue, with the belief that society is becoming more accepting to open dialogues on how personal insecurities affect us.

Celebrating the Diversity of Smiles

Smile Shame is associated with different attributes across markets, reflecting diverse perceptions of what makes a beautiful smile. In the Philippines, Smile Shame is typically associated with the structure of one's teeth, which ranked notably higher than other possible associations.

The Colgate Smile Study 2023 also revealed that the key factor that makes Filipinos worry about their smile is concerns about comments from others, including family, friends, and even strangers. Amongst those who confirmed personally experiencing insecurities about their smiles, comments from others and social media influence play an equally big role, with the latter creating a false impression that one needs perfect teeth to be able to smile beautifully.

#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.

For more information, please 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:

4 'What's the science behind a smile' (2014) British Council. Available at:,blood%20pressure%20and%20heart%20rate.

Hashtag: #Colgate

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, Tom's of Maine, EltaMD, Filorga, Irish Spring, PCA SKIN, Protex, Sanex, Softsoap, Speed Stick, Ajax, Axion, Fabuloso, Soupline and Suavitel, as well as Hill's Science Diet and Hill's 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 children's 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 Colgate's global business and how we are building a future to smile about, visit .

Colgate-Palmolive Company




06 Oct 2023



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