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Nothing causes a stir quite like a jar of La Mer moisturiser. Especially when you’re talking rumoured dupes of the cult moisturising cream. It turns out we’re not the only ones debating the investment - there’s actually an entire reddit thread dedicated to moisturisers that rival La Mer.
The famous cream has glowing reviews, yet to regularly buy a pot of the ‘Miracle Broth’ you might need an actual miracle (hello tax rebate or lottery win), as a 100ml jar will set you back £340 (or for 500ml, you’ll need to fork out £1,520). We set out to find a more purse-friendly option, for those months when you really ought not to be splashing the cash.
Nivea Crème (you know the one, in the blue tin) is rumoured to be a pretty good knock off to the original La Mer’s…
The ingredients: Given the price tag, the ingredients in this are surprisingly simple. Mineral Oil, Petroleum Jelly and Glycerin feature as the top ingredients. These are no-frill ingredients that are emollient and skin-replenishing. What makes La Mer standout is the ‘miracle broth’. But what is it? It’s a concoction of bio-fermented sea kelp, including vitamins C and E, along with various minerals like magnesium and iron.
On the skin: This is luxuriously thick and buttery. So much so, you have to warm it up in your palms first – apply it straight to your skin and it’ll just sit there. It’s a very indulgent experience, that’s for sure. The original cream is way too heavy for use in the daytime unless you have very mature or dry skin, as it might make your base slip if you battle with oily skin, but left on overnight it’s oh so cocooning and silky on the skin.
The effects: As you can expect with the rich formula, it’s incredibly nourishing and moisturising – especially lovely for winter. It’s very comforting on tight, flaking skin, but other than being a dream on the skin, I didn’t notice much else after a few weeks of use.
The ingredients: Again, Mineral Oil, Petroleum Jelly and Glycerin feature right at the top of the list and serve the same purpose as they do in La Mer’s. However, Nivea’s doesn’t boast any wild claims for any anti-ageing effects or miracles. It doesn’t include any vitamins or fancy pants ingredients, it’s purely functional and only promises to smooth and soften the surface of the skin.
On the skin: It has a very similar consistency to La Mer’s, but it’s slightly lighter so is easily worked into the skin. Skin is left feeling very moisturised and soothed. As it is a rich consistency, this is also better suited to nighttime use, or on very dry or mature skin, as it might be too much on younger or oily skin types.
The effects: They are very similar to what I experienced with La Mer’s. My skin felt nourished, hydrated and very soft. Nothing revolutionary or overnight miracles, but nice on the skin nonetheless.
La Mer is so luxurious (in both texture and branding) that it’s easy to be lured in by the chicness and backstory. However, as divine as it felt on the skin, it didn’t do anymore than what Nivea’s did. Both products intensely moisturised, softened and hydrated dry patches, but it stopped there.
For that reason, I’d go for Nivea. It’s the bread and butter of skincare (their best-selling product no less) and does exactly what it says it will – it doesn’t promise anything revolutionary, but it sure does the job.
Long term, you may get a few more benefits from the vitamins and fermented ingredients in La Mer’s, but these are better received via a serum, where they can penetrate the skin deeper. Besides, active ingredients like these don’t survive well in a jar that’s often exposed to air and light.
So for the price, you’re better off investing in good serum, then topping it off with Nivea’s Creme to lock it in or for when you’re skin is feeling in need of some TLC. And you can’t beat the smell of the Nivea either, right?
Fancy finding out exactly what moisturiser your skin needs? Our personalised quiz matches it to you in 30 seconds flat…