Dear Nivea, could you update your formulas, please?

by Gio

Dear Nivea,

you and I go back a long way. When I was a teenager on a very tight budget just starting to wander through the realms of beauty, it was to you that I turned to for all my skincare needs. I was happy to be able to get all the products I needed at such inexpensive prices and, at the time, I thought your products weren’t that bad at all.

How naive I was.

You see, back then, I didn’t know anything about cosmetic ingredients and I believed that none of the substances used in beauty products could possibly harm skin. After all, they’re there to provide benefits, right?

It was only in my early twenties that I started doing my research and found out that some of the ingredients used in products do more harm than good. While they provide some benefits, the cons surpass them and so I don’t want those anywhere near my skin.

And no, I’m not talking about mineral oil, silicones or parabens, all ingredients that can be found in your products anyway. I don’t believe these ingredients are bad for the skin. No, I’m talking about ingredients like Alcohol Denat, Isopropyl Palmitate and Myristyl Myristate. Most of your products contain these ingredients in high concentrations.

What’s so wrong with them? Well Alcohol Denat is an astringent and I used to think it would be good to keep my oily t-zone under control, but little did I know that it is also very drying, irritating, can worsen acne and cause free radical damage, which is one of the main causes of wrinkles.

So, all the while I was applying my moisturizer thinking it would hydrate my skin and keep wrinkles at bay, the sneaky little cream was actually contributing to create them! Needless to say, I stopped using products that list this ingredient at the top of the list straight away.

And what about Isopropyl Palmitate (emollient) and Myristyl Myristate (it slows down water loss)? Well, they are very comedogenic and every time I use a product that contains them in high doses, my skin breaks out horribly! Most of your cleansers and moisturizers are full of them and in fact, when I used them in high school, I would often get pimples and breakouts.

Of course, at the time I didn’t realise it was your fault. I thought it was just hormonal. After all, teenagers have hormones all over the place and it’s normal for them to have pimples, breakouts and even acne. But no, it wasn’t hormones, it was those two nasty pair of ingredients!

When I stopped using products with them, my skin cleared out and stayed in good condition, but if I start using them again, they create havoc on my skin and those sneaky pimples raise their ugly heads again!

And the harmful ingredients aren’t the only problem with the formulas of your products. Most of your sunscreens, doesn’t matter what the labels say, don’t offer sufficient UVA protection and leave skin exposed to sun damage.

In addition, all your products have very basic and simple formulas. The main ingredients in your famous Nivea creme for example, are mineral oil, vaseline, glycerin and wax. No antioxidants, no peptides, no retinoids or ingredients effective to treat breakouts or provide anti-aging benefits.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with being basic if the product works, but from such an old and established skincare brand I expected more. I expect you to keep up with current research and include new ingredients which have been proven to be beneficial in scientific studies in your products.

I expect you to constantly improve your formulas instead of being stuck with those that were already old 10 years ago. And if that means that your prices will be slightly raised so be it. I’d gladly pay a couple (or four or five) more bucks for better formulated products. Well, actually I’m already doing that since I’ve abandoned your products for those of other brands, which may be more expensive but provide greater benefits than yours.

Of course, not all your products are bad, or average. If one cares to look, they will find some real gems among your range (but then what brand doesn’t have at least a couple of amazing products?). I’d still use your lip balms (I adore them) and maybe some body lotions but that’s it.

So, Nivea, bye bye. We used to be best friends in high school, but like it often happens in life, people move on. And just like old school friends, even if we lose touch with each other, every now and then we’ll meet up again and have a great time together.

Arrivederci, my old friend,


Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Screenshot from 2017 04 30 11 51 35

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

Powered by ConvertKit



Dao February 25, 2010 - 7:40 pm

The Nivea creme has a very old formula because I remember my grandma using it. The irony is I don’t get as much break outs when I use Nivea creme compared to when I used La Mer. It is effective but I am very cautious of the mineral oil and petroleum in there.
.-= Dao´s last blog ..How to Apply False Lashes =-.

sweetgirl February 25, 2010 - 8:23 pm

I have also bad experiences with nivea products in general, the acqua sensation cream and some make up products, like I describe in my blog (portuguese). I said bye bye to nivea but the classic nivea creams helps me a lot when it comes to dry feet or hands. I even tried L’occitane and I prefer nivea in this case. Nice post anyway!

Rebecca February 25, 2010 - 8:36 pm

Okay, note to self: don’t buy Nivea face creams!
I have a Nivea lotion that I use on my legs which I don’t like much (it feels kind of sticky and isn’t very moisturizing), but I’ve never tried a face lotion of theirs. They sound awful! I have sensitive skin too, so I will be avoiding Nivea and the ingredients you listed at all costs!
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..My Beauty Staples: Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2010 - 9:13 pm

Dao, I don’t think the Nivea cream is bad, it’s just that is a very basic formula that moisturizes skin but that’s it. I’d recommended it to those with normal skin, but if you have any problems with your skin, that cream won’t do much for you. My problem is that Nivea has been around for decades and in all this time scientists have discovered new ingredients that are very beneficial for the skin, so why doesn’t this brand include them in their products?

The La Mer Cream pretty much includes the same ingredients as the Nivea one. I heard people say it works better than Nivea but I’m not sure if they say that because it’s true or they think it’s true cos of the money they spent on La Mer. I’m glad Nivea works better for you though as it’s much cheaper. I don’t think mineral oil is a bad ingredient in general and I don’t have any problem with it, but those with acne-prone skin should avoid it as it could worsen their condition.

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2010 - 9:38 pm

Sweetgirl, I only tried their skincare products as their makeup line isn’t available here and apart from their lip balms, I wasn’t impressed. At all. Their products are average and contain ingredients that irritate skin, which is never a good thing. I’m glad the classic Nivea cream works well for you. The formula is very basic, but moisturizing.

beautifulwithbrains February 25, 2010 - 9:55 pm

Rebecca, I think that’s a good idea. Most of Nivea face products like thier moisturizers, cleansers and toners contain ingredients that irritate the skin, which is never good, esp if yours is sensitive. I tried a body lotion and I think it’s average. It moisturizes my skin but only for a few hours.

All Women Stalker February 25, 2010 - 10:37 pm

I only ever use their lip balms. Nothing else.

Ahleessa February 26, 2010 - 6:15 am

I guess the saying goes when it works, why change it. I think that’s what Nivea is doing… hehe~ I don’t know! :X
.-= Ahleessa´s last blog ..Maybelline Stylish Smokes in Charcoal Smokes Tutorial =-.

Tavia February 26, 2010 - 9:43 am

Gio congrats for another amazing post. You are the only blogger that I know that pays so much attention to those ingredients and I’m happy to be able to learn something from your articles. I must admit I’m not that good in separating good from bad ingredients but thanks to you I’m getting there. I can’t say I have used Nivea so much, maybe their famous cream but just for my hands and never for my face. I also have some of their lipbalms but that’s it. About the body lotions I can’t say anything because I don’t use them, actually I’m pretty lazy when it comes to applying body lotion on my skin. I can’t wait your next letter. 🙂
.-= Tavia´s last blog ..Get an attractive summer look with ARTDECO Safari Bronzing Collection =-.

HaNNa February 26, 2010 - 9:44 am

Despite my super-oily face, my skin is super-dry all over! I’ve tossed NIVEA body creams off my beauty desk (and my beauty list) as none of the body lotions were moisturizing. I ended up having dried, cracked heels instead, ouch!

Thanks a lot for the informative post, Gio! (as always) No wonder their products are so cheap, it almost left me suspicious. I’m glad I didn’t buy any of their newer product range. Perhaps I should read out the ingredients first, before truly make up my mind.
.-= HaNNa´s last blog ..Discovering Yokoso! Shiyuki =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 26, 2010 - 12:04 pm

All Women Stalker, me too. Their lip balms have never let me down but everything else seems to be either “meh” or just irritating. 🙁

beautifulwithbrains February 26, 2010 - 12:19 pm

Ahleessa, maybe you’re right and that’s why they aren’t updating their formulas. I don’t mind if they wanna keep a few of the old products if they work, but when they release new ones it’d be nice to see them include new and beneficial ingredients instead than using those old, drying and comedogenic one that aren’t good for the skin. One may use them and think they work well, but in the long run, they cause more harm than good to the skin.

beautifulwithbrains February 26, 2010 - 7:36 pm

Tavia, thanks. I’ve only started paying attention to ingredients in the past few years cos I was tired of wasting money on products that didn’t work, dried my skin or caused breakouts and reading the ingredient list is the best way to have an idea how the product will work before purchasing. I’m still learning about ingredients and sharing what I dicover with you guys and I’m glad you find it helpful.

I love Nivea lip balms but I wouldn’t bother with their body lotions. I tried a couple but they are only average. They hydrated my skin, but only for a few hours and then my skin was dry again. I’d rather spend more and get something like The Body Shop Body Butters, which work amazingly well without irritating nor drying skin.

beautifulwithbrains February 26, 2010 - 7:55 pm

Hanna, that doesn’t surprise. Most of Nivea lotions and creams, even those targeted to dry skin, contain Alcohol Denat which dries skin out. And I’m sorry that’s happened to you. 🙁 I’ve only found a couple so far without it but they weren’t very moistuizing either. After 4 or 5 hours, my skin was dry again, like I hadn’t applied anything.

Yes, their products are cheap cos their ingredients are cheap and nothing special really. Unless you have normal skin, which doesn’t have any special needs, they won’t do much for you.

Mylanqolia February 28, 2010 - 5:21 am

*lol* I love the ironic undertone. 🙂 I don’t miss Nivea stuff as my skin reacts allergic to it. The best thing is baby cream (tip from my dear granny).
.-= Mylanqolia´s last blog ..Gewinnspiel-Wahn =-.

beautifulwithbrains February 28, 2010 - 1:14 pm

Mylanqolia, I’m sorry to hear that but unfortunately I can’t say I’m surprised. Their products are full of nasty ingredients that are bound to dry or irritate skin or cause allergic reactions 🙁

That’s a great tip, I agree with your granny 😉

V. March 2, 2010 - 8:59 am

Funny, I’m from Germany and I didn’t even once think the classic Nivea products are for the face, but for the body. And on the body they work super well. Of course, they’ve come up with a few specifically for the face now, but I wonder why so many use that cream in the white pot for the face?
.-= V.´s last blog =-.

beautifulwithbrains March 2, 2010 - 1:15 pm

V, I’m not sure what product you are talking about, but the classic creme in the blue pot and the Soft cream are marketed as creams for the entire body (hands and face included) here. I’m not saying that Nivea creams don’t work at all. My point is that the ingredients they use aren’t beneficial for the skin. Even if your skin looks soft and moisturized, underneath some ingredients can cause damage you don’t see, but it’s there and it’s not good. Alcohol Denat, for example, is very drying and can cause free radical formation (which is something you don’t notice straight away but it’s happening) and I don’t want that anywhere near my face or the rest of my body for that matter.

HaNNa March 3, 2010 - 7:47 am

Okay wait, so Alcohol Denat is that harmful to the skin? Oh my no wonder my skin’s behaving so confusing these days. Could one of the reason be coz my Clinique Clarifying Lotion Type3 contains the ingredient??

When i first started the skincare range, my face was cleared out from acne. But 8 months later, my face is not only combination/oily, acne are all over the face, again! =(

May I have your suggestion, dear? Do u think I should just go on with the same products, or move on? Thanks.
.-= HaNNa´s last blog ..Blue-eyed BADgal anyone? =-.

beautifulwithbrains March 3, 2010 - 5:37 pm

Hanna, yes Alcohol Denat is not good for the skin and is actually one of the very few substances I avoid at all costs. It dries out skin and can generate free radical damage, which is what causes wrinkles!

I’m sorry your skin is behaving so badly. The products you’re currently using don’t seem to be working very well so if I were you I’d go back to use what I was using before. I’d also avoid any products that contain Alcohol Denat. If this ingredient is listed at the end of the ingredient list then the concentration is probably too small to cause any problems for the skin. But if, like in most Nivea products, is one of the first ingredients listed on the label, throw it away. Your skin will thank you.

I’m actually surprised that some Clinique products contain Alchol Denat. Their products are usually so well formulated. I guess not this one and I’ll stay away from it.

HaNNa March 4, 2010 - 1:46 am

I’m surprised too. I mean, this is Clinique, how could they? But then again, it was partially my fault too for being so ignorant with product ingredients, urgh! >_<

In my case, Alcohol Denat in Clinique Clarifying Lotion Type3 (for comb/oily skin) listed right on top of the ingredient list, gasp! Indeed you're right; who wants to have pre-mature wrinkles? Especially when u still have acne (like me) in your twenties.

Perhaps I should switch to the acne-free targeted skincare range. Thanks Gio for the replies. You've really help my skin out here. ; )
.-= HaNNa´s last blog ..Blue-eyed BADgal anyone? =-.

beautifulwithbrains March 4, 2010 - 8:47 pm

Hanna, that’s not your fault. Ingredients usually have long and difficult names and there are so many of them, consumers can’t be expected to know all about them. It’s Clinique that should know better! They’re famous for their skincare and I have to say their products usually work very well, so they know how to make good formulas.

If it’s at the top, it’s not good! I guess they used the ingredient because of its astringent properties, but really there are other ingredients that do the same things but aren’t harmful to the skin they could’ve used instead.

You’re welcome, I’m glad I could help 🙂

Lerma November 19, 2010 - 8:39 am

i have use the nivea whitening lotion too and my hands and legs becomes red and very itchy.

beautifulwithbrains November 19, 2010 - 3:32 pm

Lerma, I’m sorry to hear that. It’s a shame that a lot of Nivea product seem to contain cheap ingredients that cause negative reactions in so many people.

Ana November 21, 2010 - 10:44 pm

I actually have (to be exact: had) the most problems with their lip-balms – they just sit atop of my lips and, after a while, dry them out, while costing more than some really nice ones from smaller brands.

I liked their tinted moisturizer, though.

beautifulwithbrains November 22, 2010 - 2:38 pm

Ana, I’m sorry their lip balms didn’t work for you. I know of many girls that have the same problem with their lip balms. They used to be my faves until I stumbled on I Provenzali (Italian brand) lip balms, which are natural and moisturizing.

Instead, it’s their tinted moisturizer that doesn’t work for me. It’s not a bad product but the color’s too dark for me and makes me look orange lol.

Ana November 23, 2010 - 12:41 pm

Aaand that’s the reason I’ve stopped using it 😀 – it matches me for a period of time, but for the most part of the winter – it doesn’t.

I do love, love, love their waterproof eye-makeup remover.
I tried other ones, both drugstore and higher-priced and none were good enough – they didn’t take the makeup off, they stung my eyes, they left residue… Nivea’s doesn’t do any of that, yet removes makeup easily (for me/on me, at least).

Side note: I like the whole ‘letter’ format, what a nifty idea 🙂 !th

beautifulwithbrains November 23, 2010 - 3:15 pm

Ana, they should release it in more shades so that everyone will be able to use it all year round.

I’m glad to hear their waterproof makeup works well. I bought it but haven’t used it yet as I haven’t finished my Collistar remover bottle yet. I remember trying the gentle one for eyes and lips, but it didn’t remove all makeup (of course I wear a lot of bright eye makeup, for natural looks it works great) but it was very gentle and not irritating at all. I’m glad to hear the waterproof one is not irritating either but still gets the job done well.

Thanks. I’m glad you like it 😉

Prettykitty August 25, 2011 - 11:19 pm

I have to disagree. I love Nivea, It works great!! But everyone has diffrent skin so yah.

beautifulwithbrains August 26, 2011 - 6:08 am

Prettykitty, I agree that everyone has different skin and the comedogenic ingredients that broke me out may not have the same side effects on other people. But looking at the ingredient lists of their products, they are all so basic! I would love to see some new skincare ingredients in their products.

Janessa June 6, 2012 - 2:24 am

I bought a giant jar of Nivea cream because it was 50 cents more for the 13.5 oz instead of the 6 oz. Sounds like American fast food! It’s so nonpolar it’s hard to blend in to my skin if it’s damp, which is when I like to apply my moisturizer. In order for it to work, I have to apply a lot of oil (I used jojoba) and blend it together in my hands before applying. Bah. No point in using it if I have to add stuff to it. I also got their honey and milk lipbalm which I quite liked but it fell out onto the driveway the next day and a car crushed it. Boo. :[

beautifulwithbrains June 6, 2012 - 6:17 am

Janessa, Nivea products seem such great deals but I find they very often disappoint. I’m sorry you ended up with that cream, it sounds awful! I do like their lip balms though. They’re the only Nivea products that I use from time to time. Too bad yours got crashed though, that sucks. 🙁

Janessa June 6, 2012 - 10:58 pm

I don’t mind spending on skincare and quality makeup (makeup splurges only for really unique colors or something I’ll use ‘every day’ lol… I often end up buying ‘every day’ colors and only use them once in a while). So I’m sticking with my body butters from The Body Shop. :] Of course I occasionally try out the natural products from my organic/whole foods store.
I plan to buy myself that lipbalm again sometime in the future. 😀 Do you have a favorite flavor lipbalm from Nivea?
I LOVE reading your replies and replying further. 😀

beautifulwithbrains June 7, 2012 - 3:50 pm

I agree with you that it’s worth it splurging on good skincare products. There are good products at the drugstore too, but not from Nivea. Their formulas are so old and basic that I would only recommend them to broke teenagers with good skin.

I love the cherry one, but I’m not sure if it is still available? I haven’t seen it around here for a while, but maybe they still have it in the US? I hope it’s still available cos it’s so yummy!

I love reading your comments too. 🙂

Janessa June 7, 2012 - 11:03 pm

Haha. I will look for that one. I haven’t seen it here either but I will just use the internet. Amazon or someplace like that and I prefer to online shop quite often. It usually costs less too.
<3 :]

beautifulwithbrains June 8, 2012 - 12:15 pm

I’ve just checked the Nivea USA website and they have it, although the packaging is different. I hope you’ll able to get it. And I love online shopping too. You can find some great deals online. 🙂

Janessa June 8, 2012 - 12:43 pm

Yay! Thank you so much, Giorgia! :] You’re the best. I’ll be sure to tell you how I like it when I get my own cherry balm!

beautifulwithbrains June 8, 2012 - 4:03 pm

You’re welcome, hun. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about it!

ana perae December 2, 2012 - 4:35 pm

you shouldn’t ask them to change,.. ill tell you why .. for example the sun filters can use nano technology and this particles are so small that they can accumulate inside the body… so for example if Nivea would change in that way you could feel consequences of it in your health … and the classic nivea is great .. I love it .. I look like 10 years younger and it’s because I use nivea twice a day .. I belive it , really 😉

beautifulwithbrains December 3, 2012 - 7:20 am

Ana, thank you for your comment and I’m glad the classic Nivea cream works well for you. But I don’t agree with you about not asking them to change. There actually isn’t a definite answer about nanoparticles being bad for you. I keep reading studies that say they penetrate inside the skin, and others that rebuke this claim, but I understand people who want to avoid them until we know more. But even if they were bad for you, that doesn’t mean that we have to stop the research on new ingredients. There are lots of both beneficial and safe ingredients that have been discovered in the past decades, so why shouldn’t Nivea add those to their products?

Jennifer January 13, 2013 - 4:27 pm

While I like Nivea products sold here in the US, nothing compares to Nivea in europe– German Nivea, specifically. The mexican formulas sold here in the US seem to cause problems for most people because, frankly, the US has lower standards as to what ingredients can go into products. I truly believe that German Nivea is less irritating than the stuff here in the US.

beautifulwithbrains January 14, 2013 - 10:03 pm

Jennifer, what a shame! I wish they came up with a good formula and released that everywhere. Would be better and, also less confusing, for everyone.

Olivia November 18, 2013 - 6:35 am

Hi, I was looking into the differences between nivea made in Germany versus in México. The níveas made in Germany don’t containe petroletum. I am now scared of the Free radicals dental in both products though!

Can you recommend good face cream products PLEASE? I Would appreciate it and Thank you very much for your post.

beautifulwithbrains November 29, 2013 - 9:06 pm

Olivia, I love the Olay (or Oil of Olaz as the brand is called in some parts of the world) Total Effects and Regenerist lines. They contain niacinamide and antioxidants that moisturize skin while helping to prevent premature aging. Paula’s Choice products are pretty good and full of beneficial ingredients too.

Anonymous May 24, 2015 - 2:11 pm

Hi is there any chance you could tell me some good moisturiser that have no harsh chemicals and are very beneficial for skin also not to expensive 🙂

Gio May 24, 2015 - 4:08 pm

Anoymous, have you tried Mad Hippie Face Cream? It is $25.99 and fits all your requirements. 🙂


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.