Turkish Neutrogena

Neutrogena hand cream (for dry or chapped hands), specifically. Which I’ve used as a moisturizer for dry skin and a healing cream for abraded skin, on various parts of my body (especially as an adjunct to the coconut oil I use daily on my feet, legs, hands, and arms); it comes in almond-scented and unscented versions. Unremarkable until recently. But yesterday it excited the interest of four linguists, in exchanges on Facebook.

Set off by Monica Macaulay:

— MM: This is a new one on me. I ordered some Neutrogena lotion and the picture looked like what I’m used to, but look what came!!! Is that Turkish? Something went awry with the space-time-language continuum? I’m very puzzled.

(#1) EL KREMİ in its tube

— Geoffrey Nathan: Definitely Turkish — i’s without dots, c-cedillas, s-cedillas. No idea what it means, however. Just remembered — eller means ‘hands’. From a morphology problem.

— AZ [who, once a teacher of introductory morphology, also recognized eller]: Had the same experience a little while back. The lotion seems to be unchanged, but the packaging was a surprise.

— MM > AZ: Really?!? So this is a known unknown? Very, very strange.

— AZ > MM: Well, known to me. You’re only the second person in my experience to have gotten Neutrogena in Turkish.

— MM: The almost empty English tube I have says “Norwegian Formula hand cream, fragrance free, just a dab heals dry skin”.

(#2) In English (for the scented product); information from the website: “Just a dab of this glycerin-enriched formula instantly relieves and protects seriously dry or chapped hands”

— GN: Google translate [for #1] says ‘Instant relief and 24-hour hydration for dry and cracked hands. A single drop is enough’ … This is fun!

— Bill Poser: I’d say its a good thing. You’re probably bored reading the English label. Now you can entertain yourself practicing your Turkish.

— AZ: My initial image was that the stuff was now provided by EL KREMİ, the (obviously Turkish — note dot on the cap İ, which is a different letter from the dotless cap I) [hirsute and hunky] GOD OF LUBE, so that Neutrogena had suddenly gotten down and dirty.


The company is echt American, despite the bow to Norway, the Norwegian flag, and the dry and cracked hands of the sturdy Norwegian people; and now despite the packaging in Turkish, which no doubt reflects the modern complexities of supply chains (certainly not the customer base). From Wikipedia:

Neutrogena Corporation … is an American company that produces cosmetics, skin care and hair care … owned by parent company Kenvue and … headquartered in Los Angeles, California. According to product advertising at their website, Neutrogena products are distributed in more than 70 countries.

Neutrogena was founded in 1930 by Emanuel Stolaroff, and was originally a cosmetics company named Natone. Johnson & Johnson acquired the independent company in 1994.

The company originally supplied to department stores and salons that catered for the Hollywood film industry.


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