Lenny Kravitz Embarks on an Unexpected Venture: Oral Wellness

The rock and roll legend discusses his food-focused approach to wellness and how dental hygiene affects the entire body.

Portrait of Lenny Kravitz by Mia Ross for W Magazine.
Lenny Kravitz photographed by Mia Ross exclusively for W magazine.

With his distinct stage presence and unmistakable edge, it’s easy to forget that Lenny Kravitz is not some newfangled musical sensation—he’s been an industry staple for over three decades. The “Are You Gonna Go My Way” vocalist has successfully carved out his own unique niche as a rock icon, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge Kravitz’s creative contributions outside of music; the man is not a one-trick pony. A New York native, the four-time Grammy winner has channeled his creative passions beyond lyricism and songwriting—he’s also a stylist and renowned interior designer. (That’s right—Kravitz Design is a highly respected firm that makes gorgeous wallpaper and furniture.) So it comes as little surprise that Kravitz has yet again branched out into another unexpected business venture: creating a natural oral wellness brand.

This month, Kravitz has partnered with Twice, an oral wellness company, alongside Dr. Jonathan Levine and co-founders Julian and Cody Levine. His line is part of a massive relaunch for Twice, a brand that aims to change how people think about oral wellness. There’s certainly been undeniable interest in making oral care companies into coveted brands (Kendall Jenner also partnered with Moon Oral Care on a teeth whitener earlier this year). But Twice’s line is much more than a star-studded gimmick. Its holistic product line promotes the health of your mouth, (the second largest microbiome in your body after the gut), which, in turn, affects the rest of the body.

Over the weekend, I spoke with Kravitz about the guiding passion for this new venture; suffice to say, just like everything else he’s truly passionate about, he’s put his sincere heart and soul into Twice. Below, he discusses his own relationship with health and wellness, and the mission of this new oral line: passion, purpose, and service to others.

Your mom was television icon and actress Roxie Roker, whom so many of us loved to watch on TV in the ’70s and ’80s. Did she instill in you proper grooming habits when you were growing up? Because as a mom, I can see it’s quite common that boys only start caring about oral care and proper hygiene when they become teenagers and girls enter the picture.

Yeah. I mean, when you’re a kid, you don’t want to take a bath, you don’t want to wash your face, and you don’t want to comb your hair. I was definitely that kid, but she was adamant about me taking care of myself. She was on me for that—and she herself was impeccable, from head to toe: her style, how she presented herself, even up to the way we kept our apartment, and our house later on, was all pristine.

She was a Virgo!

Yes, exactly. And my father, before he was in the entertainment business in journalism, he was in the Marines. He was a Green Beret, so it was heavy discipline. There was a lot about keeping your room straight and your bed as well. It was pretty hardcore in my house.

Why is your new oral wellness brand called Twice?

Well, for thinking twice about your oral health, twice a day.

What made you decide to create Twice with the cofounders? What were the guiding principles behind this venture?

To make an incredible product that has the right ingredients, and also to do something different. Also, to make it really accessible. It’s different, it stands out. There are clean ingredients, the products are made without compromise. They’re vegan, cruelty-free, sulfate-free, gluten-free, recycle-ready, no preservatives, no artificial sweeteners, or flavors, either. All the right science behind the brand created to give you a healthy mouth, healthy PH balance. There is no compromise whatsoever. It’s clean and it’s scientific.

Did you grow up with a sense of giving back to the community as a kid?

My mother always taught me—and I didn’t understand it when I was a small child—but she always said that charity begins at home. You don’t need to cross the water to make a difference. There’s always something, even right in your backyard. This is how the brand started. I suppose a lot of companies start off with a product and then they try to find a mission. With Twice, it was the opposite: we started with a mission and then turned it into a product.

Is the mission to make communities around you more aware about oral health? Do you give out product or do you educate about oral health?

It’s actually about all three. You have to provide the service, number one; then you have to take care of the people and their issues, and then you have to educate them on how to maintain once they have been fixed, remedied. And then also, you must give them product. This is what we have been doing for the past six, seven years—since this is the massive relaunch, now—completely repackaged, redone, rethought-about.

I like the yellow packaging; it gets your attention.

You know, we spent a lot of time in the toothpaste aisles to get a sense of what exists. The bold yellow was all about letting the sunshine in, letting the light out of you. Yellow just invites the perfect color, and it also stands out in the aisle.

As an artist, I’m sure you feel all things deeply. How do you not get negative, down, or bitter about the state of the world—the pandemic, the wars going on, even climate change?

Being within the tranquility of nature has been the most inspiring to me. It enables me to reflect, live in the moment, and project into the future all at once. It’s a beautiful form of meditation that opens me up to a place where I can receive what it is that I am meant to create.

You are a longtime vegan, so it’s safe to say health and wellness are in your blood. What is your wellness routine like? How do you start your day?

It starts first with waking up in the morning and being grateful. Gratitude is such a big part of it. It really sets my spirit—when I sit in gratitude, and I thank god for all the blessings—the simple things: just waking up and having a new day and having new possibilities. I also take care of my body from the inside and out. I eat very clean. I am very aware of the things I put in my body. I also do a lot of exercise. I do a lot of bike riding for cardio and jump roping, weights, and so forth. Then as far as beauty routines, it’s all very natural. I don’t use a lot of products. I was in the Bahamas for the last two years—I am not there now, I finally got out, but I was there for the better part of the pandemic—and I really survived on clean, fresh water; coconut water, and aloe vera that I have in my yard.

All natural and no harsh soaps for your face?

So many natural things—even scrubbing my skin with the sand in the ocean that was in front of me. We have very soft, powdery sand in the Bahamas, so it makes for a very good scrub. I also do infrared sauna and cold plunge.

It seems like you really have your finger on the pulse of health.

I like to do things that are healing. You’re either feeding the disease or fighting it with what you are eating. Ninety-nine percent [of the time] I like to heal it, and for that 1%, you have something you really love—a cheat day with food, you know.

Do you drink warm water and lemon every morning, too?

A lot of water and lemon in the morning. This morning it was water with chia seeds soaked overnight, lemon, and aloe vera. That’s the morning juice.

Aloe vera juice?

Noooooo! The actual meat of aloe. I cut the leaf from the plant, take the meat out, and blend it and then add that to the water, lemon, and chia seeds.

The mouth is super important for overall health. Before you do a show or go on tour what prep do you take to ensure that your voice has to be at its best?

I do vocal exercises. I also do like to brush my teeth before I go on—and of late, since the product exists, I use Twice Oral Wellness Immunity, which is amazing. I pump three or four squirts into my mouth, rinse, and then I feel really fresh and ready to go.

What steps do you take to ensure your breath is pristine before a date? Do you make it a point to brush and floss beforehand?

We have the amazing Twice Oral Wellness Floss, Oral Wellness toothpaste, and Oral Wellness Immunity Rinse—those are the three things I use every day. Since you bring up floss, it’s always interesting to me [to find out] how many people do not do it. That is something I do twice a day, along with the rinse. That said, it’s also not for other people—it’s for yourself.

What do you do if you’re on a date with a girl and she’s really intelligent and interesting, but her oral health could use some guidance? Would you just—in the kindest, most polite way—say, “Here, try my new line…?”

I suppose I would, since I have it. But, you know, you gotta do that kind of thing in a respectful manner, because sometimes people aren’t aware of what is going on.

I want to be told if my breath was less than stellar—wouldn’t you?