TikTok Toothpaste Stripes Innovation Explained
TikTok Toothpaste Stripes Innovation Explained

Colgate explains the science behind its toothpaste stripes

January 2022

Have you ever wondered how the stripes in your Colgate toothpaste come out perfectly every time? TikToker Ryan Battistella sure has. And to get to the bottom of it, he devised his own at-home experiment. No matter how much mashing, squeezing, or mixing he did, the Colgate Optic White tube dispensed the same striped results every time. He came up with his own theories, just to disprove each one. 

Ryan’s mind-blowing TikTok video series went viral, amassing more than 20 million views, and the Internet was captivated – and stumped. But once Colgate scientist Sergio Leite got involved, the mystery unraveled. The vice president of global oral care research and development at Colgate dispelled the myths and shed light on the science behind Colgate’s signature stripe. 

Leite’s team uses science-based research to develop oral care products that are functional, visually pleasing, and highly effective. As Leite explained, the thickness and viscosity of toothpaste are key to keeping the stripes in tact: it’s thicker than one may think, and does not easily mix. When you mash a full tube of toothpaste, Leite says, "it may look like you’re mixing, but you’re not really mixing.” The viscosity of toothpaste also causes the product on the edges of the tube to be pushed down and out first, so that the stripes dispense evenly.. Plus, when developing a product, Leite’s team uses a technique known as rheology to ensure each part of the toothpaste has the same physical properties, which prevents any of the toothpaste from squeezing out at a faster rate.  Stripes mystery solved!

Check out Colgate’s explanation on TikTok, and learn more about the toothpaste stripes phenomenon in Inside Science.

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