Sparkling Star Shape Colgate Junior!

After bringing up Aquafresh in the recent Happy Thoughts post, at least one commenter waxed nostalgic about Colgate’s ancient star-shaped toothpaste.

That’s all the excuse I needed to write this tribute, because sisters and brothers, not only do I remember Colgate’s star-shaped toothpaste… I actually still have a tube of it.

It’s a trial-sized tube, but still.

I *think* the stuff came out in the very late ‘80s. It’s officially titled “Colgate Junior Sparkling Star Shape Toothpaste,” but when toothpaste weighs in at ten syllables, it’s time for a goddamned nickname. From this point forth, we shall refer to it as “Colgate Triple S.”

Aside from a gentler flavor and more sparkly appearance, Colgate Triple S also appealed to kids because of its… ehhhhh hold on a sec.

Sorry, I’m not digging that “Triple S” nickname. Let’s call it “Colgate Starpaste” instead.

Colgate Starpaste’s shape was where the true glory lied. In theory, it was supposed to dispense in the shape of a cosmic star, which should not be confused with a non-cosmic star, like, say, the actress who played Jet Girl.

Holy shit, that was Naomi Watts?

In practice, the toothpaste wasn’t exactly star-shaped. More like piped icing-shaped. More on that in a minute.


The commercial was outrageous, turning the tube into both an anthropomorphic toothpaste ballplayer and an anthropomorphic toothpaste rock star. Given that I can’t go two posts without writing “anthropomorphic,” I guess I should come clean. I really, really like that word.

If your eyes suck, note that the first photo in the above spread isn’t actually a photo. Make sure you watch the video, because you NEED to hear the Colgate Starpaste song. “SU SU SU SUPERSTAR! SU SU SU SUPERSTAR!” It’s going to stay stuck in my head until I become certifiably insane, and I don’t want to be alone in that.

Also of note is the random “AVOID SWEET SNACKS” message. It seems unbelievably out of place. The cynic in me believes that Colgate only included it so they’d be able to label this as a PSA. Maybe there was a tax break at stake. I’ll look into it once I’m done marveling at how quickly the “brushing girl” morphed into Fido Dido. Check that shit out, too.

Either I’m the best photographer ever, or this is some seriously attractive toothpaste. What do you call this shade of green? Don’t say “sea green,” because that has a certain “swampy” connotation that can never befit something this pristine.

I think I’ll go with “emerald.” It’s nowhere near emerald, but that’s the only green that sounds fancy enough.

As you can see, calling this “star-shaped” is not completely accurate. The only way to make true stars from this toothpaste is by chilling it down and cutting it with a straight razor. I realized this as I was taking the photos, but by then it was too late. To make myself feel better, I drew Dinosaur Dracula out of Colgate.

Etsy, here I come. This is nothing if not OOAK.

I won’t pretend that the toothpaste was something we used to freak out about, because only complete psychopaths freaked out about toothpaste. Still, I come from a time when you had to find your pleasures wherever you could. Toothpaste that looked like a less-gross version of deviled eggs didn’t rule our world, but it sure made it a little bit brighter.

Our story should end here, but it won’t, because I’m 100% certain that if it did, someone would smarmily point out that that old sparkly Crest toothpaste was even cooler. So I’m going to beat that dick to the punch.


Hey look, it’s the only toothpaste in history that inspired me to wave big happy flags while singing Wreckx-n-Effect songs. Perhaps the subjects of this post are in the wrong order of priority. With all due respect to Colgate Starpaste, Sparkle Crest was the bómb de la bómb.

Everything about this toothpaste excited me. It was bluer than the bluest blue thing you could think of, arriving not in a tube, but in a hard dispenser that felt like it was shipped here from 2079.

Even better were the cute little “toothpaste guys” from the commercial. In terms of product mascots I desperately wanted special relationships with, they were right up there with Snuggle Bear. I wanted to pocket one of these guys like that kid did with the hairless one-legged monkey in Flight of the Navigator.

It’s only now hitting me. I grew up in during toothpaste’s best-ever era. When the time comes for my obituary, I hope my family remembers how proud that made me.

58 Responses to Sparkling Star Shape Colgate Junior!

  1. “So I’m going to beat that dick to the pass.”Matt

    I’LL BET.

  2. Articles like these are why this is the best website ever.

  3. did they stop caring about the taste of toothpaste or is it just adult toothpaste? i dont remember hearing a toothpaste bragging about its taste lately. maybe they dont want to kids to eat it.

  4. Thank you Beth! (Or, Beth!)

    @Juge, Better still, I just changed “pass” to “punch,” so now I’m punching dicks or something.

  5. I remember the blue version more. The singing blue things look like somethin the GHostbusters would chase.

    Wasn’t there a red version, also?

  6. @Shawn: As a card carrying sick freak, I always look at the kiddy toothpaste brands. I’d say that the flavors have improved, but the theming has diminished. Bubble gum and watermelon seem to be the most common flavors, but rarely will you find the kind of electric craziness seen with the toothpastes featured here.

  7. Wow, that actually was a part of my childhood. Maybe because I now buy the standard “adult” toothpaste, I was wondering do they even still make this? NOT that I would buy it. . .

  8. @JLAJRC: If the Crest came in red, I don’t remember it. (I could see that being true though, cinnamon red works with the theme.) I was all about the blue version, though. I’m sure there were others, but that’s the only toothpaste I can very distinctly remember being wild about.

  9. Its odd, I can remember how it tasted as a kid but I can’t recall what it was supposed to taste like.

  10. I can’t let this go by, either:
    “… the actress who played Jet Girl. Holy shit, that was Naomi Watts?”

    Damn, I haven’t thought about that movie in a loooong time. I haven’t seen it in ages, as I’m doubtful about how well a lot of it would hold up, but I have zero guilt in saying that I used to love it. That was some seriously ’90s as all fuck cinema. Somewhere in a box, I probably still have a VHS gaudily labeled in paint-marker from when I recorded it off HBO, or whatever premium channel it was that was playing it during their periodic promotional week of free programming.

  11. I totally remember this now! Hadn’t thought about it for years until I saw your facebook post.

  12. Oh thank you for writing about the sparkly star toothpaste! All the times I tried to squeeze it so perfectly onto the toothbrush….

  13. Tank Girl is such great trashy cinema. Lori Petty just brings so much energy to the part. It was Malcolm McDowell chewing scenery like a fat man at a buffet. And Naomi Watts was Freddy’s Daughter too.

  14. I am kind of glad I never had this toothpaste growing up because I have always been very anal. And not being able to put it into a perfect star would of bugged the crap out of me. I remember though getting bubble gum toothpaste at the Dentist’s office in high school and being completely ecstatic about it. My sister rolled her eyes at my immaturity but it was worth it.

    They have more flavors nowadays then they used to. They have orange, cinnamon, and different kinds of peppermint. I know they even have a novelty bacon and dill pickle toothpaste. I saw a toddler training toothpaste and toothbrush a month or two ago. It doesn’t have fluoride in it because they are most likely to swallow a lot of it.

    Also the firefly toothbrushes are cool. I know I probably have always brushed my teeth too quickly.

  15. While we’re on this oral hygiene kick, what about that bubblegum flavored kids mouth wash: ACT for kids?

    That shit made me look forward to swishing my mouth out with antiseptic liquid.

  16. Well Matt, you need to get your toothpaste on because you totally didn’t talk about ORANGE and HAWAIIAN PUNCH FLAVORED crest!

  17. I too own a tube of Starpaste! It’s literally been sitting in a cabinet at my parents’ lake house since I used it as a kid, and I have forbidden them to throw it out.

    I really need to get that to a safer place. It belongs in a museum!

  18. If Tom’s of Maine had an anthropomorphic mascot for their toothpaste, what would it be?

  19. Sparkle Crest was my toothpaste of choice when I was a kid. I still kinda remember what it tasted like.

  20. @Whalley Range: A sullen piece of chalk that has broccoli farts.

  21. I remember this one fondly, but the best ads were still the “Cavity Creeps.”

    “We drill holes in teeth!” they said.

  22. I remember there was a contest to name the rock band from the ad. They did the name game song I think. Or a contest for the flavor…I amd fuzz headed…just had morphine few hours ago…long story…all better.

  23. @Gr8bison: yes the ones that looked like the Super Friends and lived in Toothopolis. The 80s made the best kids toothpaste commercials.

  24. Tooth…paste? Don’t you just swill tea around in your mouth like civilised people?

    @Matt is it Paste Week on DD at the moment? Cookie paste, Tooth paste. Can we have a taste test review of the best old school PVA glues?

  25. I seriously had the Colgate Junior song stuck in my head last week. I’m not sure how to handle this gift.

  26. In a strange sort of way, the Sparkle Crest still exists! It’s called Kid’s Crest now, and it isn’t star-shaped anymore, but it still has that same awesome flavor and color.

  27. That Colgate Jr. commercial was always my favourite from X-E *sniff*!

  28. For some reason, I feel like I remember these sample tubes were handed out at school along with dental hygeine brochures and toothbrushes.

    In fact, I’m not sure I ever saw the Colgate Superpaste in anything but the trial size around here.

  29. Oh that Colgate commercial brings back some memories. Every Saturday morning on ABC! *le sigh*

    That shade of green makes me want to go swimming. Weird.

  30. I used that toothpaste when I was a kid too. We first samples of it from the dentist and bought regular sized tubes as well.

  31. It’s probably sad, but I was REALLY HOPING you’d write about these toothpastes at some point. My god they were amazing.

    I also remember having Muppet toothpaste. It tasted DISGUSTING, especially Miss Piggy bubble gum, but…dude, Muppets. Did not care how shitty it tasted when the tube had Kermit on it.

  32. In 3rd grade, my teacher was such an awesome lady…every year, she made a class movie. The year I had her, we did a dental safety movie. OMG it was a blast…I was in the ensemble cast as “friends of teeth” only because I was sick the day of auditions.

  33. Happy SNT everyone! Lets all have a good brush tonight

  34. A SNT is just what the doctor ordered.

    Who is out there?

  35. I’m here Manimal.Just finished watching Car Wash on Netflix. Still recovering from surgery. I’m getting better.

  36. Man, pretty quiet right now. I’m also hoping for another epic SNT like we used to have in the old days. We should try to organize something, maybe a movie night soon?

  37. Something is in order

    I dont post like I used to but I still read/check in

    Shame because I really would have wanted to SNT tonight

  38. Sorry guys, been a busy week or two. I’m actually stuck watching movies for work for the next couple of hours. We’ll do a more traditional SNT in the future, and yeah, I think a theme night is in order.

  39. @Matt Well I was hoping you would review these toothpastes. I remember the Colgate one so clearly.

    The Crest one I remember vaguely but I remember the commercial that @Max posted really really well.

    @Juge Too cute, I would pay good money to see one of your cute old VHS boxes all decorated up. Mine were never cute except for this random tape my aunt made me a millennia ago of random Disney Channel clips back in the day. I’ll see if I can dig it up and post a photo.

  40. Ugh. I’ve spent almost 40 hours of my life standing for customers this week. My legs are killing me. I’m not going anywhere but bed (I’m typing this on my laptop).

    I fondly remember both of these toothpastes. We preferred Crest, but it’s likely we had whatever was on sale that Mom could find. I’m still more of a Crest fan to this day (that’s what I have now), but I kind of like the Colgate Junior commercial better. Boy, is that 80s all over.

  41. You know you just don’t see toothpaste commercials anymore. At least I don’t.

  42. I’m having a scary feeling regarding celebrity deaths…I have a creepy sad feeling we may lose Elton John…only because I read he was sick and had to cancel a show…and he rarely cancels…and Dolly Parton…possibly Valerie Harper…but I hope not

  43. “I would pay good money to see one of your cute old VHS boxes all decorated up.” Pluto_Child

    You’re in luck, then. I can’t find the one in question, but here’s a double-feature from back when I was a moron that thought recording a bunch of stuff on one tape at SLP speed was a good idea.

  44. I used to fill tapes using SLP too. Mostly it was because I was a kid and had no money and my parents were too cheap to buy me more blank tapes.

    Did anyone ever run into that problem where you could only watch recorded tapes on the VCR you used to record them? It was like this weird incompatibility problem. In high school, I had a VCR in my room that I used to record stuff, but if I tried to play it in my dad’s VCR (or any other VCR), it was unwatchable. That was annoying as hell.

  45. Dinosaur Dracula…the only website on the Internet endorsed by the American Dental Association. 9 out of 10 dentists agree!

    In terms of product mascots I desperately wanted special relationships with, they were right up there with Snuggle Bear. -Matt

    So you’re the one thatwrote this Robot Chicken bit:

    Finally, am I the only one who saw this video in the sidebar of the commercial Max talked about? How weird is this?

  46. That toothpaste, good grief I remeber it.

    When I was in 2nd grade, we had a school assembly about keeping our teeth clean, and Colgate was there to milk the whole starpaste propaganda. They had a still movie (not claymation, more like narrators talking the characters lines and a new slide comes out. Like reading a comic book, but with a big screen.) about the Starpaste guy fighting some alien gingivits villains. Each student was given a “teeth kit”, which included the starpaste, and they had this big star one would walk out from after receiving this kit. Man the memories.

    Also, good call on the Fligh of the Navigator reference, another random memory almost long forgotten.

  47. Annette I had that problem too!! The video works fine, but the audio is completely gone. I have a tape with stuff recorded off of tv on it. And thank goodness the home video I made on it the sound works. It’s some kind of miracle. But the rest of the stuff on it the sound doesn’t work. I have a couple other tapes like that. I have a tape with just the Simpsons Recorded off tv, and Rosie’s old show. None of them are watchable.

  48. my little brother had some kid’s crest i think it was. tasted kind of like bubble gum.

  49. I used the Colgate stuff quite a bit as a kid. However, I did prefer the flavor of Sparkle Crest over it.
    I first tried Sparkle Crest after a dentist came to our fourth grade class to lecture about dental hygeine. He gave us all trial-sized tubes of Sparkle Crest and toothbrushes that had a big, toothy alligator on the handle. I kept that toothbrush much, much longer than I should have just because I liked the alligator.

  50. This stuff was standard issue in the bathroom for me back in the day. The stuff worked. It got me to brush which I really slacked off on when I was a kid.

  51. I tried both back in the day, but Sparkle Crest would be my favorite of the 2. I remember it tasted better, and the container was pretty awesome.

    Anthropomorphic is a great word! It looks good, and sounds better. If anything is anthropomorphic, it gets my vote, because anthropomorphic things don’t really exist…or do they?!

  52. Matt,

    Given how much you love the word “anthropomorphic”, have you ever heard of the arcade game “Anthropomorphic Force”? It was the spiritual sequel to the “X-Men” arcade game; check it out!

  53. beat that dick? oh matt

  54. Sparkle crest was awesome we always had it growing up. I had forgotten how over the top these commercials were haha – In a good way

  55. I loved that star shaped opening, the color of it, the sparklyness….the smell, the taste. That was kick ass toothpaste!!! Great article, something I had almost forgotten about from my childhood!

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