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Nivea Creme: The Review and Comparison to La Mer

nivea and la mer comparision

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!

The Ingredients

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.

• 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.

Also check out my original Creme de la Mer Review and Ingredients Overview

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About Me

I’m a doctor, a mommy and a bit of a beauty addict. If you let me, I can take 2 hours to get ready in the morning. Really. I'm on a quest for faster beauty that works!

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  1. 3.11.08
    Anonymous said:

    I have to say that until I read your review of La Mer creme,
    I had a sample jar sitting in my makeup drawer that I was hesitant to use. I tried it after reading your review and was really happy with the results. Now I just need to figure out a way to not make the hubby mad when I buy this!
    Great postings!

  2. 4.9.08
    Anonymous said:

    You may be able to find the German version of Nivea through access to military shops, such as the PX or commisary. These stores carry original foreign versions of products we are newly becoming familiar with here in the US. My grandmother has used Nivea forever and swears by the original recipe, so to speak. She also happens to look wonderful for her age (78).

    • 2.6.18
      AF Mechanic said:

      I bought some Nivea Creme from the BX at Nellis AFB at it’s the version imported from Mexico. I’m disappointed with it… very thick, dry and doesn’t spread easily. It’s that bad, I’m thinking it hasn’t been made right? I much prefer Nivea Soft, which comes in a white container and it’s the polar opposite… more of a liquid consistency , much more easily spreadable and a pleasure to use.

      • 2.6.18
        15mins said:

        I think that’s just the way the Mexican made version is. It helps a bit if you put it in your hands and rub it around to kind of warm it up, but it’s still very thick.

  3. 4.23.08
    Karuna said:

    I found a site that purports to sell “authentic German Nivea creme” – can you buy it and test it and tell us about it?


    Thanks, just discovered your site tonight and thoroughly enjoyed your Creme de la Mer and La Mer vs. Nivea posts.

  4. 2.9.09
    Anonymous said:

    Quite frankly, if you like to get the original German Beierdorf Nivea creme, why don’t you just order it in Germany?
    There are a lot of German web shops that deliver to any country in the world.
    I was told that the Germans are the world champions in exporting. 🙂

    • 9.26.18
      Diana said:

      The German version with CoQ10 is available from Amazon and it is fantastic. While the US version (from Mexico in drugstores) is a standby, the one from Amazon is absolutely great.

  5. 2.28.09

    Let me say, first of all this is my beauty BIBLE.

    I recently just did a post on the wonders of Nivea at my own blog http://www.missdestructo.com

    Been using Nivea creme for a year now, and it does more than just moisturize.. it heals cuts and gets rid of wrinkles in just a few weeks.

    I have my dad and boyfriend using this constantly for chapped skin and hands.

    Also addicted to the German nivea, I just love the smell!

  6. 7.8.09
    Anonymous said:

    I was looking all over La Mer's site for a list of ingredients and thought it was suspicious I couldn't find them. I see why now, I wonder how they can justify their prices for such cheap ingredients!

  7. 12.23.09
    Anonymous said:

    German Nivea products are far better than the ones in my country! When I travel to Germany I stuff my suitcase with all things Nivea. I started using La Mer in July this year, although I could tell the difference in my blemish prone skin tone, a co-worker mentioned that she noticed that my blemishes has faded and that she dreams of having an even skintone like mine. I am more religious about using the range. Must say the warming up between the hands is something that I prefer at night rather than morning. You have to pat all things La Mer onto your face and I'm LAZY. It is pricey but my hubby buys it for me. I never even considered that La Mer was the same as Nivea, and I love Nivea for my body!

  8. 11.11.10
    Anonymous said:

    Well, I have some good news, I'm from Peru now living in GA, USA , and I remember using nivea in a can when I was living there, so went to Walmart. And yeah I only found the american version , so I went to a Mexican store and I found the says : Manufactured by Beiersdorf (Thailand) . Register Trademark of Beiersdorf AG Hamburg, Germany. For export only. I paid $6.00 for a can that contains 250 ml, is big can ! And I also checked at the ingredients and are the ones that the German version has. I have been to 2 Mexican stores in a little town in Ga name Athens and I found it in both stores 🙂 so maybe you can go to any Mexican store and find it, and save some money that way 😉

    • 9.5.18
      Maite said:

      Thank you for the tip!! Will go to Mercado Burrito tomorrow to look for it!!

  9. 11.23.11
    Suna said:

    I live in Norway, and what we have here is the German version, and it is indeed fantastic. It also leaves a sticky film on the face after applying, but if you use a cotton pad moistened with rose water and gently wipe your face with it after applying, it removes the stickiness. Nivea has never broken me out (and I have acne prone skin), and it makes my skin silky smooth. I have practically no lines on my face, my skin looks plump and very young, and I am 39 years years old.

  10. 2.12.12
    Anonymous said:

    I just discovered Nivia Cream…now I'm dying to use the German version.

  11. 1.22.18
    Linda Norwood said:

    I just love Nivea products, I have had excellent result. But I can’t wait to try the Germany version.

  12. 2.23.18
    Elena said:

    I live in Germany and have actually tried both cremes. I have to admit that the Nivea one isn’t even comparable to the La Mer Creme. The Nivea creme is OK as a moisturizer but does not do much for your skin apart from that. However, my opinion is just based on my personal experience.

    • 2.23.18
      15mins said:

      That’s great to know! There’s always this rumor here in the US that they’re the same. There are quite a few ingredients the same, but they’re probably not even in the same proportions…

  13. 3.22.18
    Rebecca said:

    If you use the German version of the Nivea and also The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics as a combo it is a complete dupe for La Mer.

  14. 12.13.18
    dmcg said:

    In Canada, the German Nivea formula is available in most, if not all, pharmacies.

  15. 1.24.19
    Newbie said:

    It is my experience with using the German Nivea that is not greasy I have oily skin, and I can use it both day and night. A friend of mine give me some Le Mer to try, it was a REALLY nice product but way too expensive. If you can find the German one without Petroleum ,it is definitely worth the $5.00 and worth the try

  16. 6.5.19
    Susan Wright said:

    I ordered the German version off of Amazon a couple of years ago.