Beauty Brand History is a new regular series here on Afrobella. We all have the brands we’ve grown up using, the brands we’ve known our whole lives. Here are memories and the true stories behind the beauty brands we love. 

Noxema ad from the 1970's

Noxema ad from the 1970’s

When I think back to my earliest awareness of face wash and the fact that there were specific products used to wash your face independently of your body, I think of brands like Noxzema. In our household we interchanged between a few face washes and scrubs, but Noxzema always seemed like the gold standard. It was the brand I’d see advertised in magazines, that seemed to be the brand that stood the test of time.

If it seems like Noxzema has been around FOREVER, you’d be practically correct — in 2014 the brand celebrated 100 YEARS of NOXZEMA. WOW. So the year that Charlie Chaplin made his film debut, Noxzema was created. When Woodrow Wilson was president, Noxzema was just coming into the world. In 1914 — the year that  Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated, leading to the beginning of World War I — a pharmacist invented Noxzema, then a skin cleanser that he marketed as a “sunburn cream.” Fun fact — the Noxzema name came about after customers claimed the cream had “knocked out their Eczema.”  No Eczema = NOXZEMA. Get it? 

Gif via Jezebel.

According to Wikipedia, the product was formulated and rose to prominence in Maryland, and an early slogan called it “the miracle cream of Baltimore.”

“In the 1950’s, Noxzema started marketing the product as a skin cleanser and cold cream after a company secretary realized how beautiful it made her complexion look, and by the 80’s, Noxzema had become a household name in the U.S.  Today, Noxzema remains a simple yet effective skincare line, with an average of 17 products sold every minute. The iconic small blue jar has evolved since the 1900’s, but the Original Deep Cleansing Cream still contains the brand’s signature eucalyptus-menthol fragrance –a scent that makes it easy for women and men to recall that first time they twisted the top lid off and experienced the one-of-a-kind, Noxzema deep tingly clean.”

Historical Images

I first remember using Noxzema when I was a teenager in the 90’s. I loved the fresh, tingly feeling and thick consistency then. I still use Noxzema to this very day, and I love that the brand has stayed true to what it’s always been about. Deep clean skincare that leaves your face feeling fresh and tingly, never stripped. They’ve done some great multicultural advertising in their brand history — that ad from the 70’s is EVERYTHING, no?

Here’s to 100 more years! Click here to visit them at, and click here to shop Noxzema at


pets says:
May 12, 2014, 5:33 pm
I still use Noxema. Liked the back story.
Spinster says:
May 13, 2014, 1:53 pm
Oh my goodness. Haven't used Noxzema in years. Almost out of my current facial wash, so this is the perfect time to get reacquainted. Thanks. :-)
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