Noxell Corporation was a Maryland-based company that made the famous Noxzema skin cream. Procter & Gamble acquired the Noxzema brand in 1989 and Alberto-Culver purchased it from Procter & Gamble in October 2008. Alberto-Culver was subsequently bought by the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company Unilever on September 27, 2010 for $US3.7 billion.
Noxzema and CoverGirl were the most famous products made by Noxell. Since 1914, Noxzema has been sold in a small blue jar. Noxzema contains stearic acid, camphor, menthol, and eucalyptus, among other ingredients. Originally developed as a sunburn remedy, it is popular among women as a facial cleanser and cosmetics remover. It can also be used for cleaning chapped, sunburned, or otherwise irritated skin. Since the introduction of Noxzema, the brand name has appeared on shaving cream, razors, and skin-cleansing cloths.
Noxzema was invented by Francis J. Townsend, a doctor who lived in Ocean City, Maryland. The formula was called "Townsend R22" and referred to commonly as "no-eczema". Townsend prescribed it as a remedy to early resort vacationers burned by the sun. In order to help people outside of the resort town Townsend later gave the formula to Dr. George Bunting who for many years denied the transaction (graduate of Washington College in Maryland). Bunting introduced "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy" as the first real alternative to the greasy, tallow-based medicating creams common during the period. For the first three years, Bunting and Elizabeth Buck did all the mixing, heating, and pouring of the product themselves.
The inspiration for the name Noxzema supposedly came from a satisfied customer who exclaimed, "You knocked my eczema."
Demand for the product grew as the years progressed. An early slogan was “the miracle cream of Baltimore”. During 1920 the first Noxzema Chemical Company factory was opened in a tiny house in Baltimore. The product achieved national popularity by the 1940s through the use of radio and print advertising.
During the 1950s, Noxzema diversified into other personal care products such as shaving cream, suntan lotion and cold cream. In the late 1950s it originated the CoverGirl line of cosmetics, notable for using Noxzema's medicated ingredients. The company diversified again when it bought the Lestoil heavy-duty multipurpose cleanser product in 1960. The company changed its name to Noxell Corporation in 1966.
Its television commercials for Noxzema Shave Cream by the William Esty Advertising Agency caused a sensation when model Gunilla Knutson asked men to "take it off, take it all off" (referring to facial hair). Its headquarters were housed eventually in the Baltimore suburb of Hunt Valley, Maryland; the facility is still in use to this day as the cosmetics division of Procter & Gamble. This plant produces products for the CoverGirl, Max Factor and Olay brands, but Noxzema branded products are no longer produced there.
Until the ($1.4 billion) merger with Procter & Gamble, Noxell remained owned by the Bunting family; Bunting's son, G. Lloyd Bunting, Sr., assumed the management of the company, followed during 1973 by George L. Bunting, Jr., Dr. Bunting's grandson. The Bunting family remains active in philanthropic interests in the Baltimore area.
- "Lestoil — Made in Holyoke". Made in the Valley. Pioneer Valley History Network. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
- "Noxell sells Lestoil to Clorox Co.Proctor & Gamble Co.'s...". The Baltimore Sun. June 22, 1996. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
Noxell Corporation Archives, Hunt Valley, Maryland