NIVEA Creme: Iconic Skincare for $1

Obviously, I spend a lot of time sifting through websites, staring at products, memorizing inventory and making mental lists in order to write this blog with any kind of credibility or helpfulness, whatsoever, so I end up seeing the rate of attrition amongst trends and products. Even quicker than trends, beauty products seem to come and go faster than anything.

On the downside, this means I fall in love and get my heart ripped out on a near-daily basis. Did you love that Bourjois Paris lip stain pen in Praline, Lindsay? Did you love it? Well it’s gone forever. Discontinued. It doesn’t even remember you.

On the upside, I get to see which products stand the test of time. I love a good decades-old cult classic, and oddly enough, they don’t really rise to the top like other successful products in tech, fashion, or other trend-clinging industries. Beauty products that last through the years tend to simplify their design, streamline their packaging, and fall lightly to the wayside – “gone” but still generating millions of sales.

NIVEA ad from 1950

“There’s a lovely skin…” A NIVEA ad from 1950.

These products accumulate a huge following, fast, at their peak and then plateau out over the years, slowly gaining new and loyal patrons through phrases like “this is the stuff that grandma used” and “we’ve been in business for over 100 years.”

Or how about Marilyn Monroe was a big fan of this moisturizer. Would that get you to try something new?

A 100 Year Old Non-Secret Beauty Secret

NIVEA Creme package design

The NIVEA Creme tin styles from its release in 1911 to today’s design. (Source)

NIVEA released their famous blue tin of cold creme over 100 years ago. It’s been used by celebrities and grandmothers worldwide, and dozens of uses for this wonder creme have been discovered.

The NIVEA team asked me if I’d like to take their “Get More for A Dollar” challenge utilizing their 1 oz. tins of cold creme, and I initially was skeptical because I, in my naiveté, managed to miss the fact that this product that I see all the time… only costs $1?

NIVEA Creme Tin

It’s because I’m only ever exposed to the um, tub of NIVEA Creme – not the adorable, pocket-sized tin that is available in just about every drug store or pharmacy around the world. These little things are full to the brim with the NIVEA creme that has been solving beauty problems for over a century.

What is NIVEA Creme and why are people obsessed with it?

It started as an invention by the owner of the NIVEA, Poland-born pharmacist Oskar Troplowitz. He developed the very first oil-in-water emulsion. The first! This revolutionized skincare as we know it. The secret ingredient: Eucerit, made from lanolin. (Sound familiar? It’s also a key ingredient in popular Eucerin, which actually pre-dates NIVEA Creme!)

NIVEA Creme was launched in 1911 as a skin moisturizer, having proven its hydration abilities. A large part of the draw to NIVEA Creme was its scent, which it’s now famous for. It soaks into the skin, actually improving the skin’s protective barrier and keeping skin soft for an impressively long time.

But during all of this development and invention, NIVEA was literally surviving WWII. Its primary factory in Hamburg, Germany, had been bombed to pieces, they lost nearly all of their international trademarks, and all of the Jewish members of the company’s board had stepped down due to obvious pressures. NIVEA hired a marketing firm to deliberately distance themselves from Nazi ideologies.

And they made it through.

So, in short, NIVEA Creme is a hyper-moisturizing, skin-strengthening body cream that survived two World Wars and still manages to be one of the most loved skincare products out there.

“Wonder cream” would start to describe the legacy of NIVEA Creme.

Get More for A Dollar Challenge

This is where NIVEA Creme proves why this brand has been around since 1882.

So the Get More For $1 Challenge – it’s not much of a challenge. The idea is that I use this tin for one week to see exactly how far my little 1 oz. tin of NIVEA Creme will take me. One week, one tin – let’s see how many ways we can use this! 

NIVEA Creme Tin

Bear in mind, NIVEA Creme isn’t a light as air type of cream, it is the thick, rich layer type of cream. It has the consistency of very room temperature butter, and goes on about as luxuriously. (As butter on skin. Just to be clear.) When you put it on, it takes a little while to absorb into your skin, but don’t worry, once it’s in – it’s in for hours. Through multiple hand washings!

As I mentioned, NIVEA Creme started as a moisturizer, but has since become a multi-purpose cosmetic that covers at least 4 different jobs of products in your medicine cabinet.

Makeup Remover

Hundreds of thousands of women around the world swear by the makeup removing properties of NIVEA Creme. I’ve used basic lotion to successfully remove eye makeup before, so I’m interested to see how much better NIVEA Creme is than the lotion I’ve used in the past. I’ll also be comparing it to my actual makeup remover.

Result: I wear liquid eyeliner just about every day, as well as tinted moisturizer and mascara. The day I tried this as a makeup remover was a sparse day, and I only had on tinted moisturizer and liquid eyeliner. I first added a thin layer to my eye area and my cheeks and forehead, then used a recommended warm, damp washcloth to gently remove it. I’m not one to scrub my face, because the skin around my eyes and lips, especially, is way too delicate. The washcloth got a lot of my tinted moisturizer, and the more visible bits of eyeliner, but left quite a bit at the lash line. It also took two rounds – the next time with thick layers – to remove as much of my eyeliner as I could.

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I wouldn’t use NIVEA Creme as an eye makeup remover. Sadly, that’s pretty much the only place I wear makeup. You can’t get it too close to your eyes because the famous perfume in NIVEA Creme could potentially cause irritation, so it’s best to keep it on the planes of the face. Or stick to a small bottle of eye makeup remover for the tough spots!

Hair Styling Cream/Conditioning Mask

Putting moisturizing cream… in my hair? This sounds to me like a recipe for oily, greasy disaster. For my super-waves, hydration can be a serious game changer. On the flip side, grease and oil show instantly once it builds up. Needless to say, this application has me very skeptical.

One of the ways you can use it is on wet, post-shower hair. The idea is to skip the blow dry when you get out of the shower, and instead, towel dry and rub some NIVEA Creme between your palms and apply for light, piecy texture that adds a sheen. Rachel Roy (gorgeous hair owner) allegedly swears by this!

Others use it as a styling cream, allowing you to dab small amounts into dry hair to shape and style.

Result: I have insane flyaways. I feel like each of my flyaways is its own cowlick, so it kind of juts off into all directions of curly (as anyone on my Snapchat can attest to).  I grabbed a tiny amount, rubbed it between my fingers and combed it through my flyaways. They vanished! And without any greasy residue or sheen! I also pinched some of my more defined curls to accentuate them – I love this trick!

Facial Moisturizer

I am housesitting this week, and decided that instead of bringing my gigantic bag of eye cream, day lotion, and night cream, I’d just bring my 1 oz. tin of NIVEA Creme. Allegedly, it’s supposed to be just as good as expensive moisturizers!

Result: After dabbing a little on my forehead, cheeks, and chin, and spending a few seconds rubbing it in, it felt… surprisingly light! For such a thick cream, I expected a heavier feeling. It absorbed somewhat slowly, to the surprise of no one, but once it did, my skin felt very velvety. I have very sensitive skin, and I had a little bit of tingling – I assume due to the perfume in the cream.

Night Cream

I have just entered the wide world of night creams, and I am definitely overwhelmed. I just want something that’s thick, nourishing, and will make my skin feel happy and hydrated in the morning. Ladies and gentlemen everywhere say that a thick slather of NIVEA Creme will achieve this. Let’s see if it does a better job than my $15 fancy crap!

Result: I threw a thick layer on my face and let it soak in for about 10 minutes after washing with my regular cleanser before getting into bed. The next morning, I woke up feeling a little like I needed to wash my face, but not at all like I needed to moisturize! It’s a pretty nice feeling to wake up already looking like you’re awake.

Eye Cream

Another new horizon for me – eye cream. I’m 30 in 5 months, and I’ve decided that the skin around my eyes, as extremely delicate as it is, deserves some more attention. I have two eye creams – one expensive hand-me-down and one average, drugstore brand – and I’m not sure if I can see results after a few months of use… Will NIVEA Creme put them to shame?

Result: As with the night cream, I “paved” a thin layer under my eyes and on my lids when I woke up, let it soak in, and applied makeup as usual. Later in the evening, before bed, I repeated the process with pretty good results! Time will tell if this plumping cream can change the way I feel about my eye bags.

NIVEA Creme has also been successfully used as an after shave, face mask, cuticle oil, and countless other applications.


For a dollar. A dollar, you guys.

NIVEA Creme Tin

I wasn’t sure that 1 oz. could take me as far as it did, but truly, when you swipe your finger across the top of a freshly cracked NIVEA Creme tin, it barely makes an imprint. A tiny fraction of that ounce could easily remove all of your makeup, condition the crap out of your hair for weeks, and moisturize your entire body.

As soon as my challenge was over, I emailed the rep that initially contacted me to ask where I could get these in bulk (I want, like, bins of these little things) and the best they could do me was some multi-packs on Amazon…

It’s cheaper just to run to the pharmacy and grab a couple of handfuls. Seriously.

See more excellent budget-friendly Stocking Stuffer ideas here!

Lindsay Ginn

Livin' in your basement, eatin' your canned foods.