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Teeth Sparkle
Courtesy of Chai Beauty

These bedazzled tooth gems are autumn’s hottest Y2K accessory

London-based Chai Beauty’s tooth bling will make your smile sparkle, literally

If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok recently, chances are you’ve come across the latest Y2K comeback that is tooth gems. The bedazzling beauty trend, which is synonymous with 90s and early 00s pop culture, has almost 60 million views on the app, while recent research from PolicyBee analysed nostalgic beauty trends on TikTok and found that alongside scrunchies (946.2m views), temporary tattoos (544m views), and blue eyeshadow (58.2m views), tooth gems are one of the frontrunners for a 2021 resurgence.

“I remember when I was growing up in Sweden, I would see the rich white girls have a little dolphin on their teeth but it was quite expensive so I never got one,” says Chai Beauty. The London-based beautician, who started her business at the beginning of the pandemic, is known for her intricate tooth bling artistry, which spans multi-colored rhinestone flowers to jade butterflies and gold lettering. With 24.5k followers, Chai Beauty is at the forefront of the latest boom. “But tooth adornments have been around for thousands of years,” she maintains.

Before celebs like Adwoa Aboah, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus sported the trend, teeth accessories adorned smiles dating back to ancient times. In 300 AD to 900 AD, Mayan royals would drill holes into their teeth and fill them with gold and semiprecious jewels, like jade and turquoise, while in the early Philippines and China, gold grills were a symbol of ancient mythology and divinity. Not to mention the cultural significance of golden tooth caps and grills in modern Black history, originating in 1970s West Indian communities in New York City.

Below, we speak to Chai Beauty on the trend, starting her business, and what’s coming next.

How long have you had your business? 

Chai Beauty: It's been just over two years. It's going quite well. I was working in an office previously, but started doing this part-time on the side. I started getting so busy that I decided to quit my day job. 

What made you get into tooth gems?

Chai Beauty: I was doing lashes before and I wanted to do something more creative. I was looking at things I could do in London that nobody's really doing, because I could do nails and hair, but that doesn't really stand out. I looked up the tooth gems at a time when there wasn‘t really anyone doing it here. So I took my shot. 

Why do you think people want tooth gems?

Chai Beauty: I just think it's like something different. But it‘s also quite easy to maintain because you don’t really have to do anything while it’s on. Also, everybody has teeth, it suits everyone.

How would you describe your client base?

Chai Beauty: Most of my clients range from teenagers to maybe around 35, but I‘ve also had the occasional parent come in. Mostly it‘s a younger audience though, especially now that Y2K is very popular.

Usually the client has an idea of what they want when they come in. A lot of times like people don‘t want to do too much crazy stuff. 

What aftercare do you recommend? 

Chai Beauty: You can do things like drink water and smoke directly after the treatment. But you shouldn’t eat anything that’s too hard to chew, like apples or steaks. Alcohol and soft drinks are quite acidic too, so I’d avoid those for the first few days. You can brush your teeth like normal, but I’d recommend using a soft bristle brush. 

What’s next for you and your business?

Chai Beauty:  I want to start training people up, but that’s a lot of responsibility because you have to cater a lot of time to trainees. I want to go into making jewellery. I also do custom projects. A lot of shoes actually.

Find out more about Chai Beauty on her website