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The composition analysis: What's inside the Nivea cream

What does the branded blue jar hide?

In the heading "The composition analysis", I analyze the compositions of popular products. The Nivea cream from a blue tin jar is in the new issue.

Nivea Cream


Ingredients: Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Glycerin, Lanolin Alcohol(Eucerit®), Paraffin, Panthenol, Magnesium Sulphate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearates, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, BENZYL benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Parfum

On the official American Nivea website you can find a loud statement: "More than a hundred years ago, we invented modern skin care by creating Nivea Creme." The cream based on the discovery of lanolin alcohol, emulsifier, called Eucerit. And in fact, having appeared on the market, a snow-white cream in a blue "puck" for a long time became synonymous with a moisturizer. You can hardly name a more popular cosmetic product, and while mentioning it, most of us can immediately imagine a characteristic fragrance. But does Nivea cream have its value today (other than nostalgic)? We are dealing with a cosmetic chemist.


Aqua, Paraffinum Liquidum, Cera Microcristallina, Glycerin, Lanolin Alcohol(Eucerit®), Paraffin, Magnesium Sulfate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearates,Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Benzyl Benzoate

The standard base for a moisturizer — there are no surprises here. On the first place is water, on the second is mineral oil. Mineral oil is a working occlusive, which, however, is surrounded by many myths: it is allegedly "untreated", "harmful", and"carcinogenic". In one of the previous analyses, I have already said that mineral oil goes through several stages of purification, during which the content of harmful impurities in it is excluded. In addition, cosmetic mineral oil is considered one of the safest, most effective and hypoallergenic moisturizing components.

Next on the list is Cera Microcristallina, microcrystalline wax. It serves as a structure-forming agent and an emulsion stabilizer. Safe and approved for use in cosmetics.

Another quite standard moisturizer, glycerine, is followed by a kind of composition star, lanolin alcohol. It was Nivea cream where it was used for the first time. This component is still considered a distinctive feature of the composition, although today it is used in many other cosmetic products. Despite the word "alcohol" in the name, this component does not dry or irritate the skin, and even vice versa, since it is greasy. Fatty alcohols help to retain moisture in the skin and soften it.

Then another wax, paraffin follows (it differs from the fine-crystal one by larger crystals in the structure). And then there are a number of emollients and stabilizers — among them Magnesium Sulphate, Decyl Oleate and others. As a pH stabilizer, citric acid is added to the composition, and the function of a preservative is performed by Benzyl Benzoate — a proven and safe preservative.

Active components


Nivea cream is not rich in active ingredients. In fact, it is the only one here —  panthenol (vitamin B5). Panthenol serves as a good humectant, it can draw and retain moisture in the skin. In addition, it is known for its restorative properties. Applying a cream with panthenol to cracked skin, wounds and abrasions will speed up healing.

But further in the Nivea cream composition we see the reason why the use of this product on irritated skin may be undesirable. And this reason is a fragrance.


Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Linalool, Citronellol, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Parfum.

Although many people associate the smell of Nivea cream with "normal" cream without extra additives since very childhood, in fact, this pleasant powdery aroma the whole aromatic composition is responsible. There are both fairly standard limonene and geraniol, and the rarer Cinnamyl Alcohol, containing extracts of Peruvian balsam and cinnamon. This ingredient, like Hydroxycitronellal, can cause an allergic reaction to people who are sensitive to the fragrance components.

The technologist opinion 

Nivea cream is a good example of a reverse emulsion. The direct emulsion is oil in water, and the reverse is water in oil. This emulsion contains more oil, and this means that it has more occlusive functions. They "lock" moisture in the skin, creating a barrier on its surface. Creams with occlusive components are usually thick and quite greasy. Vaseline is the best way to lock up moisture. It reduces transepidermal moisture loss by 99 %. Other common ingredients are oils (grape seed, Shea, jojoba, sesame, etc.), lanolin, silicones, waxes. Actually, Nivea is a classic cream with occlusive properties. A time-tested basic recipe. In principle, it is suitable for dry and combination skin during the winter period.
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