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.ScrollTap to explore

1937 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

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.

Alfred continues to drive from pharmacy to pharmacy leaving product samples and pre-paid postcards.

This is the last decade of hand pouring Carmex. With production steadily increasing, Carma Labs outgrows its Wauwatosa facility and moves to its present factory location in Franklin, another Milwaukee suburb, where mechanical pouring is introduced.

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 a product that revisited the original problem Alfred created the company to solve – cold sores. In addition to Carmex Cold Sore Treatment, two new lip balm product lines were also introduced: Carmex Comfort Care and Carmex Daily Care.

1937
1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010