The Carmex History

It all started with a great idea and a greater work ethic. The Carmex® history is one we’re proud of, and a tradition each of us strives to carry on.


Alfred Woelbing started making Carmex® by hand, pouring the medicated lip balm into the now-classic jars in his kitchen in an attempt to remedy his cold sores. He sold it the old fashioned way, visiting pharmacies one by one.


The operation grows, as Alfred sold Carmex® Classic Lip Balm from the trunk of his car. Only World War II can slow the sales, with the Army buying up lanolin — a key ingredient in Carmex® — to grease equipment and prevent rust.


Production grows with positive word of mouth, and Carmex® becomes too big for Alfred’s kitchen. In 1957, Carmex moves to Wauwatosa, WI, a suburb of West Milwaukee.


Carmex® creates their first advertisement. A vanity license plate that says “CARMEX” on the back of the family car.


With production ever increasing, Carma Laboratories, Inc. outgrows the Wauwatosa, WI facility and moves to Franklin, another Milwaukee suburb where the factory is still located today.


Carmex® expands. This time, into a squeezable tube, marking the company’s first significant packaging change.


A banner decade for Carmex®. Since 1999 pharmacists have ranked Carmex® the No. 1 recommended over-the-counter lip balm brand year after year, according to a survey done by Pharmacy Times magazine. Our Click Stick applicator with SPF 15 was introduced to the public.


Business is booming. Carmex® is available in all 50 states, Cherry and Strawberry lip balm flavors are introduced and a 2008 appearance on Oprah spreads the news that Carmex® has sold more than one billion jars.


Carmex® comes full circle, introducing Carmex® Cold Sore Treatment in 2014 to revisit the original condition that Alfred created the company to address. But the innovation didn’t stop there. The new Carmex Comfort Care Lip Balm won the 2017 Product of the Year award,  while Carmex Daily Care™ Lip Balm continues to win thousands of fan’s hearts.

Winner Lip Care Category in a survey of 40,000 people by TNS.