Who Needs A Spatula? This $7 Face Cream Moisturizes As Well As Creme De La Mer

Spoiler alert: It's Nivea Creme. But there's a catch.
Publish date:
September 26, 2014
shoppables, skincare, bargains, NIVEA, la mer, moisturizers

My skin is of the dastardly reptilian variety; like the dry, flaky flesh equivalent of Voldemort. It’s undetectable upon first glance, but that’s only because I trick everyone by coating this mug in an impenetrable membrane of salve -- "salve" being the dramatic moniker I've chosen for a low-profile yet life-saving facial cream.

Though I dwarf the planet in daily water consumption, the hydration never quite reaches my face. Omega-3 supplements, antioxidants, facials -- I’ve tried the whole shebang. I’ve even diligently slathered on the SPF since I was eight years old, but alas, my fine lines are still equal to that of my tanning-obsessed friends. (Dad, if you’re reading this, I don’t know how I didn’t get any of your 100% Italian-ness/lush Mediterranean skin properties. Mom, if you’re reading this, was it the mailman?)

This sounds like a real sob story so far, but read on for a most-satisfying happy ending!

Run-of-the-mill daily moisturizers are useless to me. They evaporate from my face on impact, leaving me right where I started in one never-ending cycle: dry, peeling, and uncomfortable. After years of optimistically trying every new product on the market and wasting wads of money, I’ve finally found my way into the big leagues. Found my way to viscosity! Every princess must kiss a buttload of frogs before she finds her prince.

One day about a year ago, my skin was feeling awful and my nose was peeling all over the place (despite the mild weather of a Southern Californian springtime). I was in my mom’s bathroom and stumbled upon her Crème de La Mer. Aware that I probably shouldn’t be meddling with her trillion-dollar face cream, I did what any skin-challenged sleuth would do: washed my face and applied. I scooped the cream with my fingers instead of using the haughty little spatula and slowly massaged it into my face, bracing myself for a letdown.

Wouldn’t you know it, this was the elixir I’d been waiting for (after all, this stuff was supposedly developed by a NASA scientist to heal burns) and because the cream was so thick, it actually took me a while to rub in -- a most fortuitous sign!

I walked around all day blissfully moisturized. Dewy, even! Since I was staying at my parents’ house for a long weekend, I proceeded to sneak the cream for the next few days, marveling at the powers of this $150 per ounce wonder potion.

And then, like a junkie, I began to brainstorm about what I was going to have to sell on eBay in order to fund my new discovery when I got back home. It was clear to me that I could never go back, but as a grad-school student and comedian, I’m not exactly rollin’ in it. So I made a date with Google and searched for a more budget-appropriate product resembling La Mer.

I then unearthed critical data about the similarities between La Mer and the old-school German formula of Nivea Crème. The two creams basically have the exact same roster of ingredients with the exception of La Mer’s star darling, fermented sea kelp, and apparently there’s a big difference between the German Nivea and the American made Nivea (it’s more watery). Excitement grew in my loins, and I made the purchase online.

When my bounty arrived, I noticed that the Nivea did, indeed, have the same thickness and texture as its luxury counterpart, and it also had a similar marine-like fragrance. Victory was mine! Thanks, rando people on the internet!

I’ve been using German Nivea ever since, and I finally feel like my skin is completely hydrated and taken care of. Who cares if I don’t get that stupid sea kelp or pompous spatula applicator? I’m doing just fine over here.

Have you swapped any of your more expensive products for some modest stuff that works just as well? I’d love to know -- it’s the most satisfying thing ever.