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Scientist's Test Confirms $7 Skincare Buy Rivals $380 Crème de la Mer

You might be able to get the same skincare results with Nivea, at a much lower cost.

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Many of us put in ample work to get perfect-looking skin: We follow multi-step skincare routines every day, sometimes opting to use the most high-end cleansers and moisturizers on our faces. But while we might believe a more expensive price tag automatically means better results, one expert is working to debunk that assumption. Carly Musleh, a cosmetic chemist and licensed esthetician, regularly shares beauty advice through her TikTok account, @carlymusleh. In a Feb. 6 TikTok, Musleh decided to put two rival skincare options with extremely different price points to the test. Read on to learn how she confirmed that $7 Nivea moisturizer rivals $380 Crème de la Mer.

RELATED: 104-Year-Old Woman Reveals Her Anti-Aging Skincare Routine.

A shopper claimed that Crème de la Mer and Nivea are selling the same moisturizer.


My holy grail when it comes to skincare 🙌 Have you tried this? #Skincare #HolyGrail #Beauty #Nivea #Moisturiser

♬ original sound – Annie Mac

screenshot from Annie Mac's TikTok video where she is holding up Nivea Soft Moisturizing Cream

Irish radio DJ Annie Mac started quite the conversation on social media when she posted a video about her "holy grail" skincare product last month. In her Jan. 17 TikTok, Mac admits that she had never been all that concerned with skincare or which products to use until recently.

"I just wash my face, go to bed. Whatever moisturizer is near, I use," she says in the video.

But now that she's reached 45, the radio host has started experimenting with different products—even though she says she "can never really tell if anything works."

That is, until she picked up Nivea Soft Moisturizing Cream, which costs around $7 at major retailers such as Walmart and Target.

"It is gorgeous. It smells divine. It goes on like a dream," Mac tells viewers. "It keeps your skin really supple and moisturized all day … It's literally all I need."

Mac even went as far as to claim that the budget-friendly skincare product is an exact replica of a much more expensive product. "I think Nivea is actually Crème de la Mer but in a different box," Mac says in her video.

The Crème de La Mer product retails for around $380. "It's funny how a box and marketing can kind of change your mind about something," she notes.

RELATED: Sandra Bullock Swears by This $7 Drugstore Product for Youthful Skin at 57.

A scientist decided to test both amid the speculation.

Screenshot from Carly Musleh TikTok video testing two moisturizers in a lab

As a stitch with Mac's original video, Musleh posted her Feb. 6 TikTok to settle what she identifies as one of the biggest skincare debates happening right now. In her video, the scientist shows herself comparing the Crème de La Mer and Nivea moisturizing creams in a lab.

"I weighed both the creams and applied them to the squares [on my arm], and after 45 minutes, each were tested," Musleh shares. "So the question is, which cream worked best?"

When tested for hydration, the chemist says that Crème de La Mer had an increase of 23 percent, while Nivea had a staffering 95 percent increase.

"Note: This high moisture reading could have been a result of the high water content in Nivea," Musleh wrote in a disclaimer on her TikTok.

She also conducted a trans epidermal water loss (TEWL) test on both moisturizers. As Musleh explains, a higher TEWL equals a higher risk for dry or damaged skin. When tested, she found that Crème de La Mer reduced TEWL by 8 percent while Nivea reduced it by 15 percent.

"So these were quite close," she says.

RELATED: 8 Essential Skincare Ingredients if You're Over 50, According to Experts.

The ingredients in the two moisturizers are "quite similar."

Screenshot from Carly Musleh TikTok video testing two moisturizers in a lab

While Nivea technically beat Crème de La Mer in both the hydration and TEWL test, Musleh also wanted to compare the two moisturizers under a microscope. The scientist discovered that Crème de La Mer's product has a "tight matrix and closely packed globules," which she notes "can be an indication of good stability." Nivea's makeup was the exact opposite.

Still, the overall ingredients for both products are "quite similar," Musleh says. The only major difference the chemist noticed was Crème de La Mer's use of algae extract, which "helps promote collagen that is responsible for maintaining skin elasticity and firmness, thus creating a tighter and smoother appearance," according to SkinCeuticals.

Many people are praising Nivea's moisturizer.

container of Nivea moisturizing cream for face, body, hands

In light of Musleh's findings and Crème de La Mer's much higher price tag, it seems that Nivea is the clear winner. The scientist's TikTok has earned over 4.4 million views, with many users chiming in on the debate in the comment section.

"I'm buying Nivea soft," one person wrote after watching Musleh's video.

Another commented, "I am 63, all I ever used is Nivea—my skin is excellent."

Some even indicated that other professionals have praised Nivea's product. "My mom told me she went on a date with a plastic surgeon once and asked him what was the best anti-aging cream. He said Nivea," one user replied.

Others also claimed the Crème de La Mer's moisturizing cream isn't worth it, especially considering how much more it costs. "La mer is not worth the hype," one person responded.

Another commented, "I used Crème de la Mer and it did literally nothing for me."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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