For years we’ve all heard the rumors, the famed Creme de la Mer is nothing but Nivea Creme. For a fraction of the price, you can buy the exact same cream at the grocery store. When I first mentioned that I would be reviewing Creme de la Mer I was inundated with e-mails from readers asking me to please review and compare it to Nivea. How could I refuse?
First, I’ll discuss my experience with Nivea. The cream is very thick, a bit stickier than La Mer. They also have very similar scents- floral with a touch of citrus. If La Mer is applied without liquifying it first, the two apply very similarly. They are very thick, so much so that it can be hard to spread around your face. A thick film of lotion is formed on the skin, and it very slowly sinks in to the skin. The speed depends upon how much creme is applied. Nivea does not really liquify like La Mer does with melting it between your hands. Nivea will become a bit less sticky and will be a bit thinner, but won’t change color. When applied like this it still takes a while to sink in to the skin.
My major issue with Nivea Creme is the major grease factor l get after application. I just turn into a giant, shiny greasy person, no matter how much creme I’ve applied. This happens with application and pretty much never goes away. No amount of powder or anti-shine product takes it away, only washing my face fixes the issue. In addition, I believe that the 2 days of testing I did with this product was responsible for the big blemish now on my face!
One thing that I will say about Nivea Creme is that it is definitely very hydrating. When I use the creme on my body, the issues of greasiness are much less important. It is definitely strong enough to overcome my dry skin, especially right after a shower!
Let’s compare the ingredients in the two cremes. Remember to refer to the moisturizer post, and that ingredients are listed in order of their proportion- highest to lowest. Please check out the Creme de la Mer review for all of the ingredients in the creme. I’m going to pull out the vitamins and seaweed and such from the La Mer so that the basic ingredients are listed alone.
Nivea • Water • Mineral Oil: emollient • Petrolatum: occlusive • Glycerin: humectant • Microcrystalline Wax: commonly used thickening agent • Lanolin Alcohol: emollient, very closely resembles your skin’s natural oils • Paraffin: occlusive • Panthenol: humectant • Magnesium Sulfate • Decyl Oleate: emollient • Octyldodecanol: emulsifier with emollient properties • Aluminum Stearates: emulsifier • Fragrance • Citric Acid: used to adjust the pH • Magnesium Stearate: thickening agent • Methylchloroisothiazolinone: preservative • Methylisothiazolinone: preservative
Creme de la Mer • Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum): emollient • Petrolatum: occlusive • Glycerin: humectant • Isohexadecane: thickening agent and emulsifier • Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina): commonly used thickening agent • Lanolin Alcohol: emollient, very closely resembles your skin’s natural oils • Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil: emolllient, can be irritating to those with very sensitive skin • Magnesium Sulfate • Paraffin: occlusive • Decyl Oleate: emollient • Aluminum Distearate: emulsifier • Octyldodecanol: emulsifier with emollient properties • Citric Acid: used to adjust the pH • Magnesium Stearate: thickening agent • Panthenol: humectant • 6 Fragrances are listed individually here • Methylchloroisothiazolinone: preservative • Methylisothiazolinone: preservative • Alcohol Denat: Denaturized alcohol • Fragrance
Notice something? If you take about half of the Creme de la Mer ingredients out, they really are the same base. The ingredients are the same right down to the preservatives, the main exception that I can see is that the Panthenol has moved a few spaces up the list on the Nivea ingredient list.
So, why are my experiences with the cremes so different? I took a lot of ingredients out of the La Mer list, including the number one ingredient, the seaweed extract. We don’t know the exact proportion of everything in each creme, and it is very possible that the seaweed dramatically changes the proportions in the La Mer.
In addition, there are apparently two versions of the Nivea, the German (and petrolatum free version) is much more difficult to find and is apparently fantastic. I personally have never found it, but I’ll be sure to review it if I do!
So, my verdict is that even though the ingredients do appear to be the same when you look at the list, my experience is that they are most definitely not the same creme. The Creme de la Mer really does just greatly surpass my experience with the Nivea. The Nivea doesn’t have the added “active” ingredients seen in the la Mer (that algae stuff) and while many of the ingredients are in the same order the proportions are likely a bit different.