An ode to German Nivea Creme

Friday, December 31, 2010

What it is: German Nivea Creme (made in Hamburg)

The scent and texture: As most skincare junkies will be able to tell you, classic Nivea features a distinctive scent and thick texture. I find the scent to be comforting (rather than overwhelming), though, and it does fade — unlike with some skincare culprits, you don’t have to worry about it hanging around all day! The heavy feel of German Nivea “fades” as well; that is, it sinks in quickly and doesn’t sit on the skin the way the American version does.

The results: I’m not totally sure how the scientists at Nivea managed it those many years ago, but they somehow formulated an awesome, super-hydrating creme that doesn’t feel like condensed grossness. (That’s a technical term, for the record.) It’s the most moisturizing cream that I’ve ever tried, leaving my skin feeling comfortable and hydrated, and yet it still manages to sink into the skin to leave a satiny finish (rather than an oily one).

So… I suppose the big question is, “how is this different from the American Nivea that I can pick up at almost any drugstore?” In my opinion, the slight reformulation makes the two VERY different. So much so that I’ve decided to compile a list of the ways that they’re different! Because I love lists and will make them at the slightest provocation will do anything for my readers. Of course.

The ingredients

  • American Nivea ingredients: Water, Mineral Oil, Petrolatum, Glycerine, Microcrystalline Wax, Lanolin Alcohol, Paraffin, Panthenol, Magnesium Sulfate, Decyl Oleate, Octyldodecanol, Aluminum Stearates, Fragrance, Citric Acid, Magnesium Stearate, Methylchloroisothiazoline, Methylisothiazolinone.
  • German Nivea ingredients: Aqua, paraffinum liquidum, cera microcristalline, glycerin, lanolin alcohol, paraffin, panthenol, decyl oleate, octyldodecanol, aluminum stearates, citric acid, magnesium sulfate, magnesium stearate, parfum, limonene, geraniol, hydroxycitronellol, linalool, citronellol, benzyl benzoate, cinnamyl alcohol.
  • Note that the German formula is not actually a supercomplex in comparison, but that chemicals like citronellol and linalool are categorized under “fragrance” in the US version due to different FDA requirements.

The subtle differences

  • The scent of American Nivea is slightly sharper
  • After a few months, American Nivea will start to “clump up” (it gets harder, and has a more slick feel to it) but German Nivea stays creamy
  • American Nivea “sweats” more in hot conditions, whereas German Nivea “liquefies” (the product maintains an even consistency throughout, and that consistency is a softer one)

The major differences

  • American Nivea is harder to spread onto the skin, and many find it needs to be warmed up in your hands and then patted on; German Nivea liquefies slightly upon contact (in other words, it spreads on easily 100% of the time, despite its thick texture)
  • American Nivea leaves my skin shiny, and it stays that way; German Nivea leaves a bit of a sheen at first but sinks in to a more satiny finish within a few minutes
  • American Nivea is fairly hydrating, but I find German Nivea to be even moreso!

The verdict? If you’re a dry skin sufferer like me, I’d definitely recommend finding some German Nivea. Yes, it can be a bit of a pain to track down, but it’s one of the best cremes (if not the very best one) that I’ve tried for dry skin. Plus, it’s silicone- and paraben-free, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg – expect to pay just a few dollars extra for the German stuff, whether that’s from an import shop around your place or an online importer.

Online availability: Smallflower (250ml/400ml), Amazon.com (400ml), Au Marché (75ml/150ml)

(Please note that I have not verified any of these sellers; I was lucky enough to have a few family members bring me Nivea after trips to Europe!)

New year, new poll

Thursday, December 30, 2010

That’s right; a new poll! It’ll be open for about a week, so please check it out and add your two cents :) I can’t wait to see the results!

Check it out {here}

A New Year’s FOTD

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Over at the Marcelle blog! Click {here} to view the post and tutorial. The whole look is only five super-easy steps, so it’s perfect for lazy gals like myself :P

I’ve completely fallen for the blue eyeliner recently, and I love it even more with the gold glitter — they really make each other pop!

New 29/12/10

I almost feel like I should be tagging this as “Steals and Deals” as well, with that sale NARS lip gloss (All Night Long)! Ah, well.

P.S. How craaazy is that DiorShow 360 wand?! Has anyone tried it out yet?

Good customer service isn’t dead: an Opulent Alchemy review

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

About the seller

Nicholette, the blending brains behind this whole op (har har, Opulent… sorry. I’ll stop.) is such a wonderful seller — the customer service is great, she’s really accommodating, and the samples all look divine! You can really tell that everything’s been filled, labelled, and packed with care; my samples came super-full and carefully labelled. Plus, they arrived bundled safety in four or five perfectly-wrapped pieces of tissue and a bubble mailer. No cracks, leaks, or other packaging mishaps here!

Unlike a lot of sellers who promise “carefully chosen” extra samples “if available,” Nicholette actually pays attention to her customers. I had asked her to switch out L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two for a sample of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie at the last moment, and was disappointed when I opened up the package to find Tea For Two… until I saw that she had included both! My other surprise sample was a dupe of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, and I’m guessing it’s because (even I had to sort through old emails to figure this one out,) I had mentioned my budding vanilla addiction when I first asked about samples.

Now that, my dears, is dedication.

About the dupes

This section is long. I know, and I’m sorry. The really important stuff’s bolded, though, so you could always just read those bits!

Coco (Chanel) smells absolutely nothing like Coco, if you ask me! This was the first dupe I tried on, and I was horrified — it’s not sophisticated, and it’s not spicy. Which is not to say that some people wouldn’t like it, but on my skin, at least, it just smelled like a mess of soapy essential oils! It was far enough off the mark that I almost burst into tears. What can I say: I had my hopes up, and I was having a really awful day!

Chinatown (Bond No. 9). Everyone describes Chinatown as one of the most entrancing things they’ve ever tried; something that never gets boring. Now, I haven’t smelled the Bond No. 9, but this was pretty much what I was expecting. It opens as a very sweet, very bold “big white flor(ient)al,” and while it is definitely not a scent for the timid, it’s quite well-blended. The first few minutes are a bit overwhelming for me, but would be heaven for a lover of white florals and warm, sweet scents! As the top notes evaporate, Chinatown’s peach blossom accords, smooth, woody notes, and light spiciness are revealed. However, as to the claim that it is one of the most complex, fascinating scents around? For this dupe, at least: it isn’t, in my opinion.

(Also, it makes me think of an Anthropologie shop. I think it might be the bergamot-sandalwood blend, which is common in a lot of the candles and body lotions throughout the store. *shrugs* I don’t know. It kinda smells like a really pretty room spray or something, rather than a perfume.)

Un Bois Vanille (Serge Lutens) was a sample I didn’t end up ordering, because I thought I’d hate it! (Hint:  I did not.) I’ve sampled the actual Serge UBV before, and it has a very specific note that I don’t care for — “animalic” would be the proper term to use, but honestly, it’s just icky and body-odour-ish. (Most people don’t find a lot of b.o. in UBV, but even the smallest amounts of it drive my sensitive nose nuts.) Opulent Alchemy’s dupe, however, has much less of an animalic note, delivering instead a very smooth, carmelized vanilla — incredibly sweet, yes, but if you’re a lover of sweet vanillas (and especially if you love Serge’s Un Bois Vanille,) this is a great one!

(more…)

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