this thing's incredible

B.J. Novak Has Been Using the Same $5 Cleanser for 30 Years

Photo-Illustration: Strategist; Photos: Getty, Noxzema

DeuxMoi has alerted us to lots of things, like whom Frank Ocean may or may not be dating and where to eat if you want to run into a celebrity. Blind items abound on the gossip page, ranging from the scandalous to the banal to the truly illuminating — like that B.J. Novak, 43, has “flawless” skin in real life. One user asked about his skin-care routine, and, being the sleuths that we are, we reached out to B.J. to find out.

An Instagram Story post from @deuxmoi.

B.J. does, in fact, have very nice skin. Though not a skin-care spokesperson, you can see B.J.’s porcelain mug on lots of random skin-adjacent products, like Calvin Klein cologne, hair clippers, and face paint in Uruguay, thanks to a public-domain image that has circulated around the globe. Its glasslike quality looks like the result of lasers and facials, but as it turns out, B.J.’s skin is attributable to a single drugstore product: Noxzema.

He was first introduced to the classic cleanser by his mom at 12 years old when he struggled with acne. “I tried Oxy and Stridex and Clearasil and everything they advertised on TV at the time for me to use. None of it worked,” said Novak, whose poreless skin will soon be all over his new film, Vengeance. His mom instructed him to wash his face with Noxzema twice a day, and, according to B.J., the acne did in fact go away. It’s a habit he’s kept up for 30 years. “I’m probably their most loyal customer,” he says. “I buy two jars a year; you don’t need a lot and the jars are big.” The drugstore cleanser is also easy to find, which B.J. says is a plus. “You can get it anywhere — I’ve learned that with alcohol too, to try to have a favorite brand you can get anywhere.”

The method, says B.J., is as important as the product. He starts off with hot water to “open up his pores.” Then he applies the Noxzema, which he “rubs in like soap,” and then washes it off with hot water. Then he rinses his skin with cold water to “close his pores.” And then … that’s it. He doesn’t even use moisturizer on a regular basis — only if he remembers, which is rare. When he does apply, it’s Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream, which he got from a makeup artist while working on The Office.

Noxzema has worked so well he’s also got his younger brother using it, and he says it’s transformed his skin too. But more than anything, B.J. is surprised to learn that people are fascinated by his skin: “This is probably one of the sillier things I’ve come across, but I’ll take it.”

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B.J. Novak Has Been Using the Same $5 Cleanser for 30 Years