nivea creme dupe for creme de la mer

When I reviewed Creme De La Mer, I compared it to Nivea Creme. The two have more in common than the fancy seaweed cream dares to admit.

But just how similar are they? To find out, let’s take a look at the ingredients of all three creams. No, that’s not a typo.

There are two versions of Nivea Creme. The German version (sold in Europe and almost impossible to find in the US), and the US version (sold, well.. in the US). Let’s get started:

What Key Ingredients Do Creme De La Mer And Nivea Creme Have In Common?


Mineral oil gets a bad rep because it’s derived from oil. But half of the ingredients used in cosmetics are, and most of them don’t attract the same vicious criticism…

And nope, they’re not dangerous. Not even mineral oil. That’s because all the nasty and toxic stuff has been removed through a rigorous purifying process.

Cosmetic grade mineral oil is safe, and one of the most moisturizing ingredients available today. It works by creating a barrier on the skin that slows down water loss.

But that’s not the only reason why it is so widely used. Mineral oil is also non-irritating and noncomedogenic (but if you use products with comedogenic ingredients, they will get trapped under the barrier mineral oil creates, and that could lead to breakouts).

Related: 5 Myths You Need To Stop Believing About Mineral Oil


Like mineral oil, petrolatum is derived from oil, purified and safe. It doesn’t penetrate skin, but remains on its surface, where it forms a water-repellent film that keeps skin moisturized.

It also helps reduce inflammation and heal skin. But only Creme De La Mer and the US version of Nivea Creme use this ingredient. It’s why they are greasier and stickier than the German version.


It seems like every skincare product contains glycerin, doesn’t it?

That’s because glycerin is a good humectant that can attract water from the environment into the skin, hydrating it.

Together with mineral oil and petrolatum, it makes these thick creams godsends for dry skin.

Related: Why Is Glycerin In All My Skincare Products?

What Else Is In Creme De La Mer And Nivea Creme?

Those mentioned above aren’t the only ingredients all three creams have in common. They also use the same emollients and thickening agents, including mycrocrystalline wax and lanolin alcohol.

This means the base of Creme De La Mer and Nivea Creme (US version) is pretty much identical. They’re both very similar to the German version,  the main difference being the lack of petrolatum in the latter.

Although super similar, Nivea and La Mer aren’t 100% identical. Creme De La Mer contains a bunch of antioxidants, which, at first sight, makes it a much better option than the cheaper Nivea Creme.

Unfortunately, it’s packaged in a jar that makes the antioxidants go bad quickly. Antioxidants are very delicate ingredients and they lose a bit of their effectiveness every time they are exposed to light and air (every time you open the jar, basically).

The other reason that makes Creme De La Mer stand out more? It has seaweed extract that underwent a fermentation process to make it produce lactic acid.

Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that has exfoliant properties: it can make skin look brighter, smoother, and more even-toned. But there really is no need to spend so much for it.

Related: My Full Review Of Creme De La Mer

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What’s The Texture Like?

All three creams have a rich texture best suitable for dry skin. The German version of Nivea Creme is the smoothest and less greasy of the lot.

That’s what happens when you take Petrolatum out of the equation.

Review: My Full Review Of Nivea Creme

What’s The Packaging Like?

All three creams come in a jar. For Nivea Creme, that’s not a problem. There’s nothing here that can go bad quickly.

Creme De La Mer is a different matter. It has antioxidants that get spoiled when exposed to light and air. It may have some antiaging properties when you first open the jar, but they may not last too long.

Related: Why You Should Avoid Jar Packaging

How To Use Them

In the morning, before sunscreen. At night, they’re the last step of your skincare routine.

Which Of The Two Should You Go For?

I’m not a huge fan of either cream. Nivea Creme is too basic: it only moisturises dry skin. Creme De La Mer is a fancier version that’s not worth the high price tag, in my opinion.

If you really need a basic moisturizing cream, go with Nivea. Why pay more when you don’t have to?


Creme De La Mer ($160.00/£125.00): available at Nordstrom and Harrods

Nivea Creme (US version) ($6.68): available at Walmart

Nivea Creme (German version) ($1.69): available at Boots

Is Nivea Creme A Dupe For Creme De La Mer?

Creme De La Mer and Nivea Creme are very similar but not exact dupes. They’re both basic moisturizers that make even the driest of skin feel soft and smooth for hours. Creme De La Mer is slightly better because it contains seaweeds that produce lactic acid, but that’s not enough to justify the high price tag imo.

Personally, I’d go with Nivea and use the money so saved to buy a AHAs exfoliant or antioxidant rich serum. And, that way, I’d still have plenty of money left to splurge on makeup. 😉

Creme De La Mer Ingredients

Seaweed (Algae) Extract , Mineral Oil\Paraffinum Liquidum\Huile Minerale , Petrolatum , Glycerin , Isohexadecane , Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Extract , Microcrystalline Wax \Cera Microcristallina\Cire Microcristalline , Lanolin Alcohol , Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil , Eucalyptus Globulus (Ecalyptus) Leaf Oil , Magnesium Sulfate , Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed , Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Seed Powder , Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake , Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Meal , Sodium Gluconate , Potassium Gluconate , Copper Gluconate , Calcium Gluconate , Magnesium Gluconate , Zinc Gluconate , Paraffin , Tocopheryl Succinate , Niacin , Beta-Carotene , Decyl Oleate , Aluminum Distearate , Octyldodecanol , Citric Acid , Cyanocobalamin , Magnesium Stearate , Panthenol , Limonene , Geraniol , Linalool , Hydroxycitronellal , Citronellol , Benzyl Salicylate , Citral , Alcohol Denat. , Fragrance (Parfum)

Nivea Creme (German Version) Ingredients

Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Glycerin, Lanolin Alcohol (Eucerit), Paraffin, Panthenol, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearates, Citric Acid, Magnesium Sulfate, Magnesium Stearate, Parfum, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, Benzyl Benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol.

Nivea Creme (US Version Ingredients)

Water, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Petrolatum, Glycerin, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Beeswax (Apis Mellifera), Panthenol, Alcohol, Magnesium Sulfate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearate, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Have you tried Creme De La Mer or Nivea Creme? Let me know your fave in the comments below.