* Editor’s note from 2021; the product is only available in limited quantities, and is no longer available as a new product in the U.S.
BALTIMORE – There were no big parades in Baltimore in 2014, when Unilever’s brand Noxzema celebrated its centennial. It was hardly noticed there, though there were ads for Noxzema cream in magazines and supplements across the nation.
Three years later, the brand is still around, and the spin-off shave cream is still selling at many grocery stores and drugstores, though the presence of the shave brand is much smaller and there is no advertising to speak of. The main Noxzema brand went from Procter & Gamble to Alberto Culver to now Unilever. Sadly, there is no use for the shave cream at the main Noxzema website; when you put the term “shave” into the search, nothing comes up.
That is a missed opportunity.
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, Noxzema shave was considered a premium brand, so much so that a college friend at William and Mary thought me a bit posh for using it. It was made famous by the nordic model Gunilla Knutson, in that “take it all off” ad that was a sensation across the U.S. By the late 1980s, there were multiple versions including a blue colored medicated version and a green version that contains aloe. Currently, the white can is the hardest to find.
Anyone over 50 remembers that you should Let Noxzema Cream Your Face, so the razors won’t. Who could forget Farrah Fawcett and Joe Namath?
Today, is unclear exactly what you get when you purchase Noxzema Shave Cream. At many grocery and pharmacy shelves, Noxzema is usually at the bottom of the shelf; it sells well by itself and requires little promotion. Unfortunately, the red “medicated” version is the one for sale, though the original white was medicated and so the message is confused. However, when you try to buy it online on Amazon, the product is sold at a high price. An Amazon review states the issue fairly well:
The order of the ingredients has been revised so that sorbitol, which was seventh in Noxell’s list of inactive ingredients, is now the fourth ingredient, after water, stearic acid, and isobutane. Some ingredients have been moved further down the list, and thus are present in lesser quantity, likely for the purpose of reducing production costs. The net result is a product with nowhere near its previous quality. Spreading it evenly on one’s skin takes an undue amount of time and effort, and the results are less than satisfying. The label still claims, “Thick Rich Lather,” but the product lacks the consistency of its former incarnation. The claim, “Dermatologist Tested,” is irrelevant without the test results, which could have been positive or negative.
In 2000, I interviewed George L. Bunting, grandson of the founder, for the Richmond paper Inside Business. Bunting, who lives in Baltimore and worked for the company beginning in 1966, had a long knowledge of Noxzema as a product. The original Bunting, the founder, was Baltimore pharmacist named George Avery Bunting, and his “knocks eczema” cream Noxzema was a hit, as it was a tingly cream with its main ingredient eucalyptus. The popularity of the product grew, and the company became the giant Noxell, which not only made Noxzema but Cover Girl, the great cosmetics brand now owned by Proctor & Gamble, and Lestoil. Currently, Cover Girl is still made at the Hunt Valley plant, and we hope that practice continues for the people of Baltimore.
The grandson, who is a civic leader in Baltimore after the sale of Noxell to Procter & Gamble, worked at the company beginning in 1966, and understood the appeal of the shave cream, which had a “halo” that came from the original Noxzema, which somehow magically deposited grease onto your face, yet washed away clean.
P&G sold to Alberto-Culver, which eventually sold to Unilever. Unilever sold the rights to the brand in Greece for a modest amount to the company Sarantis Group, which notes it was founded in Constantinople in 1930. One should admire any company that was founded in Constantinople. They have a clear, consistent version for the brand, and the U.S. version would do well to look at their packaging and marketing design to see how the shave brand might look here in the U.S.
Below, a bit more of advertising. Genius! Breeze fresh Noxzema skin cream. Cools as it cleanses.
I think I found it. Genove Laboratorio – Spain. Genove.com Shaving male shaving – Sensitve (red can), regular (white can), cocoa butter (yellow can). Not sure if it is the real thing but I have been out for months now – used since I began to shave over 35 years ago. Found a distributor online Carethy.net which if I not mistaken it is selling for $9.62 a can with $9.99 shipping and $1 more shipping for each additional can. Not sure about the place never heard of them before but if they check out, I just might have to order.
I’ve been using it for 50 years. Miss it.
try carethy.net – looks like a Spanish company bought the brand and is still offering.
Hello my name is Roger and I was wanting to know why Noxzema stopped making Noxzema in the brown can I think it was called forestry out doors or something like that. I live in southern Illinois a small town called Buckner Illinois and we have a hard time getting the red can that’s the one I like to use ever since you stopped the shave cream in the brown can well that’s all I have to say so thanks for your time and listen to my question, Roger Murray Buckner Illinois 62819, address is (602 East 6th. Street Buckner Illinois,62819
That Carethy.net site has the brown can too – argan oil ingredient. Not sure who bought the brand but it seems to be there.
Noxzema cream and the original (white can) Noxzema shave cream included “carbolic acid” as an antiseptic. This disappeared from the formulation sometime after the brand was sold to Procter & Gamble. Apparently, these days it is considered too toxic to be used as an antiseptic. FWIW, after the carbolic acid was removed from the shave cream, I felt that a certain “zing” had been lost. Fortunately, I bought a bunch of cans from Walgreens (online) after they removed it from their store shelves … I gave me another year+ … but now I’m on my last (red) can. Looks like it’s no longer worth the effort to find the current product (and the prices of the “old stuff” simply is more than it’s worth to me. Sad, after using a product for 50+ years, that it’s no longer available in the quality I’d become accustomed to…
My husband is a longtime user of Noxzema. He likes it but the can he has right now – a red can – won’t stay in the can. Foam leaks out of the spout AND out from the push button top. And who knows where it is made. I called Unilever and they deny they make it. I want to know if the leaky can will explode.
I found this article, searching for a reason why the Noxema with aloe, in the green can, that I have used for years, has turned to garbage. The last can had a leaky valve that oozed foam all over the sink. That one and the current one produce a thin watery, terrible lather. It also leves a gummy residue in the sink that requires another soap or detergent to rinse the clippings down the drain. Thanks for the info. So it was not my imagination. I will look for another brand.
Bought my last can of Noxzema (white can) Shaving Cream about 2 weeks ago. I am 73 and have been using it pretty much on a regular basis since the ’60’s. It used to be great, rich and thick. However over the last few years the quality of the shaving cream has gone done. It hit rock bottom with this last can. Has the consistency of water. I tried using it for about a week and finially threw the can out. Noxzema has been with me for half a century and now is complete crap. I am more hurt than disappointed. Terrible way to end a once fantastic product.
I am with you on how this product has been ruined. I have had to switch to L’Occitane, much more expensive!
You bought it on my 66th birthday! I have 2 cans. I hope it’s not the last.
I’m up set because it’s being Discontinue Is there any place where I can get a can?
We have heard it is discontinued, and disappearing from shelves. will be following up.
I just was told that, too.
I was afraid of that…
Wish I could get the Menthol version. It was my favorite. I still use the white can and find it pleasing to use. Maybe I am living in the past: I still shave with two blades – and that’s all I really need.
Hi, maybe you can help me. Could you tell me what is the color of the push button on the Menthol version ? I’m trying to find one which look like this one : https://thumbs.dreamstime.com/z/can-shaving-cream-copy-space-isolated-white-136328475.jpg
It’s Procter & Gamble, not Proctor.