OLAS is a luxury oral care brand based in New York City. Created by Dr. Chris Perez – dentist & surfer – and inspired his love of the ocean.
Dr. Perez created OLAS, oral care products out of a need to provide a better mouthwash catered to the tastes of his upscale patients – patients that include celebrities, supermodels and New York socialites.
First he had to get the taste right. Dr. Perez recruited the efforts of celebrity Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. “If you do only one thing right with mouthwash, you need to get the taste perfect. Because no one else has.”
Says Dr. Chris, “Most mouthwashes taste pretty bad, and we’re conditioned to think that’s okay. It’s not.”
Dr. Perez spent years developing and refining the taste profile, treating the many iterations like a fine spirit to be enjoyed by his customers. He even bottled the OLAS mouthwash in glass whiskey flasks.
When asked about the flavor profile, Chef Jean-Georges noted, “I was intrigued by the idea that a mouthwash could have a wonderful taste…it has a cool sweet mint flavor with a hint of licorice. It’s refreshing. It makes you go ‘wow.’”
Even though OLAS toys with alcohol in its aesthetic, it actually contains none in its ingredients. “My biggest issue with the brands you buy at the pharmacy is alcohol. Alcohol nukes the good bacteria in your mouth. It can cause excessive dryness and a host of other clinical issues,” doctor Chris says with a hint of anger.
He was frustrated at not being able to recommend a good mouthwash when his own patients asked him. This was what drove the creation of OLAS. To have a natural mouthwash that he could offer in his own Manhattan dentistry practice.
Where great taste is the first leg of the OLAS brand ethos, the second is efficacy. The mouthwash MUST work.
Inspired by many years of surfing the coasts of Puerto Rico and Montauk, Dr. Chris wanted to capture the essence of the ocean in his bottle. Not only was the name drawn from it – OLAS means waves in Spanish – the ingredients were as well.
“Our grandmas are wise women. One grandma trick is the belief that saltwater heals. When I was young and had a sore throat, a saltwater gargle was close behind.”
Starting with a base of saltwater – he created his patented Marine Bioactive Complex: enhanced with minerals like magnesium, and healing natural ingredients like Echinacea, Blue Green Algae and CoQ10. Organic essential oils are included to preserve and enhance the flavor, with baking soda to balance. Each addition is thoughtful and inspired by nature: the Myrrh is extracted from tree sap, and the Xylitol is fermented from plant matter.
“Xylitol is the most controversial ingredient in the mix. Most oral care products use fluoride, but there’s a growing body of evidence that it may be toxic. I’ve always avoided it in my practice.” Dr. Chris finishes saying, “Xylitol has been shown to provide many of the same protective benefits to the teeth, with way less downside.”
Rebel with a cause
When you meet Dr. Chris, you immediately see why he’s successful. Six foot tall, lean, dark and devilishly handsome. When he steps into his Midtown office, he and his chiseled jaw look like they just came from a magazine photoshoot. He’s not what you think of when you hear ‘dentist.’
He’s charmed his way to a network of high profile patients (that can’t be named due to confidentiality) and an equally impressive list of celebrity OLAS fans, including Gwyneth Paltrow, Cara Delevingne, Marina Testino and of course Chef Jean-Georges.
His style can be described as refined casual; inspired by his surfer nature as much as it is by his sophisticated Dental practice. Part socialite, part beach bum, Dr. Perez has built a unique personal brand that he tries to capture with OLAS.
Much like Dr. Chris’s dual nature, the edgy OLAS aesthetic is balanced against the brand mission. The third pillar of the OLAS vision is sustainability: “The ocean is this awesome force that gave birth to life on earth. But now humans are threatening it.”
For that reason everything about OLAS has a sustainable and environmental flavor. The flasks that house the mouthwash are glass and reusable, a reminder that excess plastics used by the mass brands are a terrible polluter. The toothbrushes are biodegradable and made from bamboo. He’s even worked with the OLAS warehouse team to swap plastic bubble wrap for recycled paper, and shipper boxes.
OLAS also donates 1% of all revenue to environmental causes.
Dr. Chris broke all of the rules in building the OLAS brand.
Where the big brands are unsustainable and heavily plastic-dependent, OLAS is environmentally friendly and mission-driven. Where the mass players nuke the mouth with alcohol, the OLAS flasks contain none. Where the other oral care products use toxins like fluoride, SLS and artificial colors, the clean ingredients in OLAS, mouthwash seek to heal and fortify naturally.