When I was growing up, there were a few skincare products that could always be found in my mother’s vanity, including Aquaphor Healing Ointment, Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, and last, but certainly not least, Nivea Creme.
I knew if I reached into the navy blue jar I’d feel the rich, buttery cream and smell the classic floral scent, and back in the day this made me feel luxurious.
It’s been years since I’ve used Nivea Creme, but after reading about a case study that demonstrated how Nivea Creme performed better than Crème de la Mer (a $345 cream, if you aren’t familiar), I had to find out more about the formula.
And that’s exactly what I’m going to cover in this Nivea Creme review. I’ll give you all the details on the key ingredients in this formula, as well as the research that supports (or doesn’t support) their use in skin care.
I’ll also highlight some Nivea Creme reviews from real customers so that you can get a better idea of how this cream performs.
Is Nivea Creme Right For You?
Before I get into the details, here’s the TL;DR if you just want to know whether or not Nivea Creme is right for you.
- Key ingredients? Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Glycerin, Lanolin Alcohol, Paraffin
- Skin type? Recommend for all skin types; ideal for dry skin
- Texture? Thick cream
- Fragrance? Yes
- Cruelty free? No
- Cost? Depends on where you purchase ($6.49 USD for 6.8 oz on Ulta.com)
- EWG Rating? 4
What Are The Key Ingredients in Nivea Creme?
In order to determine how well Nivea Creme performs, I’ll have to evaluate the key ingredients in this formula. Let’s get started.
Occlusives Create a Physical Barrier to Lock in Moisture
The majority of the Nivea Creme formula consists of occlusives like mineral oil, petrolatum, lanolin alcohol, and paraffin.
These ingredients create a physical barrier on top of the skin. They feel thick and heavy after application since they are not absorbed into the skin.
According to a publication in the journal Clinical Medicine & Research, the barrier created by the occlusive agents prevents evaporation of the skin’s natural moisture and increases skin hydration by causing buildup of water in the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin). Ultimately, this results in soft, moisturized skin.
While many people worry about these thick occlusives clogging pores, they are actually non-comedogenic.
But here’s the catch: If you aren’t cleaning your skin properly or if you’re using products with comedogenic ingredients underneath, then it’s possible that the occlusives in Nivea Creme will trap them into the skin and lead to breakouts.
That’s why it’s vital to follow a proper skincare routine and avoid comedogenic ingredients, especially if you have acne-prone skin.
Of note, since Nivea Creme includes lanolin alcohol, it is not suitable for those with a lanolin allergy.
Humectants Draw Much-Needed Moisture Into The Skin
Nivea Creme also contains two humectants: glycerin and panthenol (provitamin B5).
A humectant has a molecular structure with several hydrophilic (water loving) groups, such as hydroxyl groups (OH) and/or amine groups (NH2). These groups hydrogen bond with water, essentially “grabbing” it and holding it on the skin.
Humectants pull water from the dermis to the epidermis and stratum corneum in order to hydrate the upper layers of skin. In addition, humectants can draw water vapor from the air to help moisturize the skin if the humidity is over 50 percent.
Synthetic Fragrance Blend: A Major Red Flag!
In my opinion, fragrance in skincare is a major red flag, especially synthetic fragrance ingredients.
This is because all fragrance ingredients (whether natural or synthetic) impart scent through a volatile reaction, and this natural reaction almost always causes a sensitizing reaction on skin.
Furthermore, the use of synthetic fragrance ingredients can be a problem because the brand can use a proprietary blend of chemicals to create the fragrance. On average, this consists of 30 to 50 chemicals (but it can have as much as 200 components).
Want to know the worst part? The brand does not have to disclose which chemicals they use on the label. They are allowed to list this blend as “Fragrance (Parfum)” on the ingredient list.
Furthermore, a 2018 study by Women’s Voices for the Earth discovered that in over 3,000 chemicals reportedly used for fragrances, 1,242 were chemicals of concern – and that included at least 7 possible carcinogenic (cancer-causing) agents.
How to Use Nivea Creme?
Smooth Nivea Creme over face, hands, and body as needed to hydrate and protect skin.
Where to Buy Nivea Creme?
Nivea Creme is not sold on the brand’s website. You must buy Nivea Creme on third party online retailers, such as Ulta, Walmart, Target, Amazon, and more. It’s also available in drugstores throughout the United States.
How Much is Nivea Creme?
The cost of Nivea Creme will depend on where you purchase the product. For instance, Nivea Creme costs $6.49 USD for 6.8 oz on Ulta.com, while a 13.5 ounce jar costs $7.49 USD on Amazon.com
What is The Nivea Return Policy?
Nivea does not have a return policy on their website since they do not sell products on their website and, therefore, don’t accept returns.
Is Nivea Cruelty Free?
Nivea is not cruelty free because Nivea skin care products are sold in mainland China where animal testing is required by law.
Is Nivea Creme Vegan?
Nivea Creme is not vegan because the formula contains lanolin alcohol (derived from sheep’s wool).
Nivea Creme Reviews
There aren’t many Nivea Creme reviews on the brand’s website, so I went to Amazon.com to evaluate the customer reviews. After nearly 10,000 Nivea Creme reviews, this product has earned an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.
There are many 5-star reviews for Nivea Creme from long time customers who love how well it moisturizes, even better than more expensive creams.
For example, one review says, “My mother always used this and she would have been 101 this year. I’ve used it for almost 60 years. I always get compliments on my skin. I’ve
tried other expensive creams but always come back to Nivea. It just doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of money on the latest fads when this is so reliable.”
And another 5-star review says, “As a lady of a certain age, I am very particular about what products I put on my face. I’ve purchased expensive moisturizers and drug store items, and this one is the best so far. I recently read a review comparing the ingredients of this product to those in La Mer. The ingredients are similar, but the price is not. I’ve been using this twice a day for nearly a week. I love the creamy way it goes on. It is easily absorbed and doesn’t leave a film. My skin feels baby butt soft. I also use it on my hands and feet at bedtime. The price is minimal for the enormous container of product you get. This is a must buy!”
However, there are a handful of negative reviews for the Nivea Creme from customers who found this cream to be way too thick and heavy.
For example, one review says, “This is extremely heavy on the skin. It also feels like it would block up my pores. I used it on my body, but still wasn’t a fan. I don’t know if I got a bad product, but it seemed old. Maybe that is just how it is.
And a similar Nivea Creme review says, “It’s like you’re trying to spread butter on your skin. It doesn’t absorb for hours. Pass.”
Other negative reviews comment on the fragrance in this product, as one reviewer shares, “Seems very moisturizing but can’t tell for how long. The scent was so heavy I couldn’t stand it.”
While I’d like to recommend Nivea Creme as a basic moisturizer for those with dry skin, I cannot recommend this product due to the inclusion of fragrance.
- Petrolatum, humectants, and occlusives are beneficial ingredients
- Many positive Nivea Creme reviews
- Formula contains a synthetic fragrance blend
- Very basic formula that won’t do anything else besides moisturize
- Not suitable for those with lanolin allergy
- Some people find it to be too thick and/or greasy
What Are Some Alternatives to Nivea Creme?
If you’re looking for skin care products to address the signs of aging, one brand I recommend is Formulyst. Formulyst maximizes the use of powerful ingredients and minimizes the use of superficial ones, resulting in clinically advanced skin care solutions that help promote healthy, more youthful-looking skin.
For example, Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Concentrate can help to address multiple signs of aging at once. This serum contains natural ingredients like squalane, green tea, vitamin C, and vitamin E, which provide powerful antioxidant activity to protect the skin against environmental free radicals that are known to degrade collagen. In addition, this serum contains Matrixyl 3000, a peptide complex that works to restore and maintain the skin’s youthful appearance by signaling to cells to produce more collagen.
Another brand that balances the power of plants with cutting edge science is Carrot & Stick. Not only is Carrot & Stick good for your skin, it is also good for the environment as the formulas skip harmful chemicals commonly found in skincare products.
Fans of simple skincare should try Deep Science. Deep Science products are formulated with a few key ingredients that are the heavy lifters of skincare formulations.