review nivea creme

If Nivea Creme were a tech gadget, it’d be the first mobile phone. Remember that? It was so bulky, weighted a little more than a kilo and could only make calls. Yet, it was revolutionary. For the first time ever, you could make and receive calls from everywhere.

No more struggling to find enough coins to make a call at a public booth. Or panicking when your car broke down in the middle of nowhere. Or begging your parents to set up a line in your bedroom so you could talk to your boyfriend without them eagerly overhearing every word.

And yet… Fast forward a few years and it was already history. These days, mobile phones are lighter, make calls, take photos and, while they can’t make you coffee yet, they can order it for you. Would you ever go back to that first mobile phone? Thought so.

That’s how I feel about Nivea Creme. Groundbreaking for its time. Terribly outdated now.

A Short History Of Nivea Creme

Nivea Creme is probably the oldest beauty product on the market now – the first batch was made in 1911. Back then, lanolin was the only cure for dry skin. If you didn’t like that, hard luck. So when Nivea Creme came along, it was a huge deal.

Nivea Creme was the first water in oil emulsion you could buy in a shop. This type of formula is super moisturising: it creates a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in and germs out. It was just a simple blend of glycerin, paraffin and mineral oil but it was just what the doctor ordered for dry skin. Women went crazy for it.

Fast forward a century and Nivea’s Creme’s as popular as ever. It now wears a new dress – the jar packaging is blue instead of yellow – but the cream inside’s just the same. And that’s my problem.

There’s no doubt Nivea Creme works – that’s the secret of its century long success. But what was revolutionary back then doesn’t cut it anymore. We now have better moisturising ingredients, plenty of antioxidants and an army of peptides that can moisturise skin, fight wrinkles and firm skin – why not use them?

Key Ingredients In Nivea Creme: What Makes It Work?


Paraffinum liquid (a.k.a. mineral oil) and paraffin are both derived from petroleum. But they’re NOT petroleum. Before they’re put into the cream, they undergo a strict purifying process to remove all toxins. So, no, they won’t give you cancer.

They won’t clog your pores either. At least not when used alone. These ingredients work by creating a protective barrier on the skin that slows down water loss.

If you use any products with comedogenic ingredients underneath, then yes, Nivea Cream will trap them into the skin, increasing your chances of getting pimples. Avoid those and your skin will be fine.

The real “problem” with mineral oil and paraffin is that they only moisturise skin. They don’t do anything else.

Related: Is Mineral Oil Bad For Skin?


It’s all well and good to trap moisture into the skin. But you need to have that moisture in the first place, don’t you? Enter glycerin. It’s a humectant (i.e. moisture magnet) that attracts moisture from the air into the skin. Now that this extra moisture gets trapped into the skin, your skin is plumper, softer and brighter.

Related: Why The Heck Is Glycerin In All My Skincare Products?

The Rest Of The Formula & Ingredients

NOTE: The colours indicate the effectiveness of an ingredient. It is ILLEGAL to put toxic and harmful ingredients in skincare products.

  • Green: It’s effective, proven to work, and helps the product do the best possible job for your skin.
  • Yellow: There’s not much proof it works (at least, yet).
  • Red: What is this doing here?!
  • Aqua: The main solvent in the product, it helps to dissolve other ingredients.
  • Cera Microcristallina: A thickener that gives skincare products a semi-solid texture.
  • Lanolin Alcohol (Eucerit®): A rich moisturiser derived from sheep glands that makes skin softer and smoother.
  • Panthenol: A humectant that draws moisture from the air into the skin, thus increases its hydration levels. It also soothes irritations.
  • Decyl Oleate: A skin conditioning agent that deeply hydrates skin.
  • Octyldodecanol: An emollient and emulsifier. It makes skin smoother and enhances the texture of skincare products.
  • Aluminum Stearates: A thickening agent.
  • Citric Acid: It adjusts the pH of skincare products.
  • Magnesium Sulfate: It stabilises water-in-oil emulsions and improves the texture of skincare products.
  • Magnesium Stearate: It gives slip and adhesion to skincare products.
  • Parfum: It makes the product smell good, but it’s a common allergen and irritant.
  • Limonene: A fragrant component found in citrus fruits. It smells amazing, but it must be listed separately because it’s a common allergen.
  • Geraniol: It smells like rose, but it’s a common allergen.
  • Hydroxycitronellal: A fragrant ingredient with a floral scent. It’s a common allergen.
  • Linalool: It gives products a floral scent, but it’s a common allergen.
  • Citronellol: It has a grassy, citrus-like smell. You’ve guessed it, it’s a common allergen.
  • Benzyl Benzoate: A preservative that keeps your skincare products safe from bacteria.
  • Cinnamyl Alcohol: It has a sweet and spicy scent. And yep, it’s a common allergen.
nivea creme 01


I use the German version. It’s thick but dries quickly to a satiny, non-greasy finish. The American version is thicker and feels greasy on the skin.


It’s clean and not too strong. If a product must contain fragrance, this isn’t too bad. Keep in mind, though, that fragrance can easily irritate sensitive skin. Hence why it should not be here. Sensitive skin needs basic creams like this, but not with added fragrance! It kinda defeats the purpose.

How To Use It

You can use it all over your body after a shower or on your face as the last step of your skincare routine at night. It’s quite rich, so I don’t recommend using it in the morning.


Nivea Creme comes in a big blue and white jar. It’s practical, especially for a rich cream like this. Is it hygienic? The preservative system is not the best, so wash your hands before dipping your fingers in it. But you don’t have to worry about the packaging spoiling the formula. There are no antioxidants or other ingredients in here that’ll go if exposed to light and air. Told you, it’s a very basic formula.

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Performance & Personal Opinion

I totally get it why so many of you love Nivea Cream. Whenever I slather this thick cream on my Sahara-like body skin after a shower, everything feels immediately softer and smoother.

There aren’t many creams that keep my skin moisturised for the entire day. This does the trick.  But, I still prefer to use rich body butters from House Of Gloi and The Body Shop. They use natural oils and butters, like pumpkin and shea, that are just as moisturising and have antioxidant properties to boot.

Plus, they’re easy to apply. The German version I use isn’t as thick as the American version, but still, I struggle to spread it evenly all over my skin. You can use Nivea Creme on your face too. I don’t because my skin isn’t as dry there. On the contrary, my t-zone is a little oiler than the rest of my face and the cream takes way longer to absorb there.

If you want to use it on the face as well, don’t forget to apply an antioxidant serum first. The cream will make your wrinkles LOOK smaller, but it won’t make them smaller or prevent new ones from forming.

nivea creme 02

How Does idea Creme Compare to Nivea Soft?

Nivea Soft is similar to Nivea Creme. They’re both basic moisturisers that strengthen the skin’s protective barrier and make even the driest of skin types softer and smoother. Nivea Soft has, thanks to the addition of thinning alcohol, a thinner texture. And instead of paraffin, it contains synthetic emollients, like Myristyl Myristate, that make skin softer and smoother, but clog pores. This is definitely something I wouldn’t be using on my face – and it’s not acne-friendly, either.

What I Like About Nivea Creme

  • Rich texture that does NOT feel greasy
  • Very moisturising, makes even the driest of skin softer and smoother
  • Can be used on face, body, and hands

What I DON’T Like About Nivea Creme

  • Very basic, only moisturises skin and nothing else
  • Contains fragrance, which may irritate sensitive skin
  • The US version is greasier and takes longer to absorb

Who Should Use This?

Women (and men) with very dry skin looking for a basic, moisturising formula they can use all over.

Does Nivea Creme Live Up To Its Claims?

Intensive protective care. Kinda vague, isn’t it? But it can strengthen the skin’s barrier, protecting skin from environmental aggressors.
Moisturising creme for soft and supple skin. True.
Skin compatibility dermatologically approved. Another claim that means nothing. Dermatologically approved means it’s been tested on skin, but it won’t tell you on whose skin, in what amounts, or even what the results were.

Price & Availability

£5.99 at Boots

The Verdict: Should You Buy It?

Can’t say I’m a fan. There are better moisturisers around. But if you’re looking for something very basic at the cheapest possible price, Nivea Creme will do the deed.

Dupes & Alternatives

  • Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Cream ($28.00): A rich, basic moisturiser for dry skin. It has a sprinkle of cucumber extract to soothe skin. Available at Boots, Nordstrom, and Ulta
  • Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream (£28.00): An old classic that deeply moisturises skin. It smells good, but that can irritate sensitive skin. Available at Boots, Look Fantastic, and Sephora.
  • Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost Hydrating Treatment Cream ($29.00): A deeply nourishing cream enriched with hyaluronic acid to hydrate and antioxidants to fight premature aging. Available at Paula’s Choice.


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