While the cosmetic use of talc has been noted for well over a hundred years, it didn’t start to take off wildly until the Johnson & Johnson company began using it in their baby powder around the turn of the century. Marketed to women and young mothers, it started to make a name for itself as a miracle product for diaper rash in babies, to the point where it has become a staple gift at baby showers and has become ubiquitous in nurseries. In the early 1970s, Johnson & Johnson started advertising and promoting family usage of their baby powder, telling adults it could keep them fresh and dry when applied to the body between showers. By 1985, well over half of Johnson’s Baby Powder usage was by adults.
While other cosmetics and products have long contained talcum powder, its inclusion in popular baby powder products is what put talc in the homes of most Americans.