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I don’t know about you but I’ve always been sceptical of “luxurious” skincare products that cost from three to four digits for one tub. It really gets us thinking…what’s so great or exquisite about them?

Is it just a result of capitalism? Do we actually have “rich” and “poor” skincare ingredients? If it’s expensive, does it mean it’ll work better?

Pretty sure it’s a question we’ve all asked and pondered in our heads (but never out loud…) while we’re standing in front of the shelves and debating on whether our credit cards can take the costs of pricey skincare products.

Now, thanks to @anniemacmanus and Regimen Lab (@regimenlab) on TikTok, we get to see just how similar or different the Nivea Creme and Crème de la Mer Moisturizer are!

The Nivea Creme Cult

nivea creme, creme de la mer dupe

Credits: @cat.ko/TikTok, @rocio.roses/TikTok

The Nivea Creme may seem cheap, “old-fashioned”, and not as pretty-looking as La Mer‘s, being encased in a plain yet iconic blue tin.

But don’t underestimate this mighty skincare product that has become a staple for many Asian mums and aunties since 1911!

Its luxurious, hydrating formula is a godsend for those with dry or damaged skin barriers. All you need to do is warm up the thick, buttery cream with your hands before application and you’ll get soft, dewy skin!

I remember sitting at the Chinese New Year reunion dinner table with my aunts and they were singing praises to the Nivea Creme, asserting that they’ve been using it since their teenage years and that we ought to follow suit.

A legacy or tradition we should all have? Maybe.


Somebody please tell me if it’s comparable to the la mer 👌🏻🥲 IB: @🌱밤부마마 #lamercream #koreanskincare #niveacreme #koreanfacemask

♬ original sound – Cat Ko

The Nivea fame has even reached Korea, one of the top beauty markets in the world. The Nivea Creme went viral in Korea last year, and many Koreans were using it as a face mask.

According to Jenny Wu’s comprehensive and in-depth review on Geeky Posh, she thought the Nivea Creme was a fluke and that she would break out in a few days of using it.

However, she shared that she had used it day and night for two to three weeks, and the only thing it’s given her is juicy skin!

Nivea Creme vs. Crème de la Mer Moisturizer


Is Nivea actually Creme de la Mer in a different box?! 😱 We tested it and… the results are very interesting! #regimenlab #nivea #lamer #skincaretest #skincaredupe #skintok #skincareobsessed

♬ That Couch Potato Again – Prod. By Rose

Here’s how the story goes: @anniemacmanus took to TikTok to express how she thinks the “Nivea Creme is actually Crème de la Mer Moisturizer but in a different box”.

Regimen Lab (@regimenlab) took up the challenge and tested both products in their lab.

The Formula

nivea creme, creme de la mer moisturizer dupe

Credit: @regimenlab/TikTok

Looking at both products’ formulas side by side, they discovered that the Crème de la Mer Moisturizer has the same base as Nivea Creme.

The main difference is in La Mer’s fermented algae broth, plus some additional vitamins, seed powders, and botanical oils.

Geeky Posh’s Jenny noted that the lactobacillus or kelp ferment filtrate ingredient isn’t rare and contains more antioxidants. This could be why the Crème de la Mer Moisturizer has a superior formula.

However, if you’re not up to spending a few hundred on a moisturiser, you can pair the Nivea Creme with a skincare product with algae extracts to replicate the effects of La Mer.

Hydration and Occlusion Capabilities

nivea creme, creme de la mer moisturizer dupe

Credit: @regimenlab/TikTok

Next, Regimen Lab compared equal amounts of each cream and tested them with a Corneometer (the gold standard hydration measurement device) to reveal each cream’s hydration capabilities.

They also used a Tewameter to test the TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss) reduction abilities. The results for both products were mind-blowing and almost identical!

nivea creme, creme de la mer moisturizer dupe

Credit: @regimenlab/TikTok

The average change in hydration was 11% for La Mer and 12% for Nivea, while the average change in TEWL was -16% for both.

Meaning to say, if you were to use the Nivea Creme on one side of your face and the Crème de la Mer Moisturizer on the other side, you’d barely notice any difference in your skin’s hydration levels.

The Price Point

With extremely similar hydration capabilities, it really begs the question: Is the Nivea Creme actually a S$6 dupe of the Crème de la Mer Moisturizer?

In case you didn’t know, you can easily procure a 250ml Nivea Creme for only S$6 at Watsons or Guardian. There’s also a 60ml travel-friendly version for only S$2.35 at Guardian!

Jenny, who tried both creams, shared that the Crème de la Mer Moisturizer did perform slightly better than the Nivea Creme for her “but not nearly enough to justify the difference”.

She compared the top 10 ingredients in both products and concluded that similar occlusives were used in the Nivea and La Mer creams but with “an outrageous price difference”.

According to Jenny, La Mer plays music for their ingredients — maybe most of the pricing accounts for labour and production costs.

What Are People Saying Online?

nivea cream review

Credit: @cat.ko/TikTok

A TikTok user, Andrea, claimed that she slathers German Nivea on her face twice a day and doesn’t have any fine lines or wrinkles at the age of 45.

Another TikTok user, @ixucunan, commented that her “eczema hasn’t been seen” since they started using the Nivea cream from Germany.

Meanwhile, Cosmetic Chemist and Cofounder of Educated Mess Alex said that both the Nivea Creme and Crème de la Mer Moisturizer are structurally similar but La Mer’s has some extracts that could be beneficial.

The verdict? It really depends on what concerns you’re targeting and what skincare effects you’re looking to achieve!

nivea creme, creme de la mer moisturizer dupe

Credit: @carlymusleh/TikTok

If you’re thinking of trying the Nivea Creme for yourself for the “almost La Mer effect”, make sure you check that it has a “Made in Germany” tag or description on the bottom of the tub!

Are Expensive Skincare Products Actually Better?

In a realm of opulence, high-end, and affordable skincare choices (not to mention a bevvy of dupes available), distinguishing the genuine article from diluted alternatives can prove to be quite challenging.

Expensive skincare products don’t always guarantee superior results, compared to more affordable options.


Dupe for Creme De La Mer :Do what makes you & your skin happy. Honestly the Nivea cream is a perfect dupe. Get a delish centella serum and you have Creme De La Mer. Except more money in your pocket. #lamer #cremedelamer #lamerdupe #expensiveskincare #whyislamersoexpensive #microbiomeskincare #luxuryskincare #luxuryskincaredupe #skincaredupes

♬ Posh Music – Background Music Masters

According to Dr Charlotte Birnbaum of Spring Street Dermatology on Byrdie, a product’s effectiveness depends more on ingredients and formulation than on the price tag.

While some pricey brands may tout rare ingredients and elegant packaging, their efficacy isn’t always scientifically proven.

Marketing and packaging often contribute to high prices rather than ingredient quality. Texture and concentration are also taken into account when fixing a skincare product’s price.


Finally settling this debate between @LA MER & @NIVEA USA 😤 #nivea #lamer #dupes #cosmeticchemist

♬ original sound – janethechemist

So what do you think? The way I see it, try the more affordable one first and if it doesn’t give you the results you want, consider the more pricey option!

Alternatively, you can put the numbers aside and focus on what suits your skin and usage habits best since regular use and consistency are more important when it comes to your skincare regimen.

Also, it definitely doesn’t hurt to do your research and check the ingredients list!

Featured image credit: @regimenlab/TikTok, @janethechemist/TikTok, @cat.ko/TikTok