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110 years of Nivea! Exciting facts about the brand anniversary

It all began in 1911 with a snow-white cream, and today the Nivea range includes over 500 products. But does the well-known brand with the white lettering on a blue background still strike a chord with the times? Tikbow took a closer look at its history and development and collected the most important facts on the anniversary.

The classic cream is available in more than 200 countries. It is produced by Beiersdorf – a group that also owns brands such as Eucerin, Labello, 8×4 and Hidrofugal. According to the company website, one ingredient was crucial to the birth of Nivea: In 1911, chemist Dr. Isaac Lifschütz invented "Eucerit" – an emulsifier that mixes water and öoil to form a stable mixture. With the help of Eucerit, dermatologist Prof. Paul Gerson Unna and Beiersdorf co-founder Dr. Oscar Troplowitz then produced the Nivea cream that is still known today. The name is derived from the Latin word "nix, nivis" for "snow". Nivea therefore roughly translates as "the white of snow".

Tramway with Nivea lettering
A Berlin streetcar in 1965 – with Nivea advertising! Photo: dpa Picture Alliance

Is the Nivea brand faltering?

2020 was not a good year for Nivea. In the first six months, sales slumped by 8.8 percent compared to the previous year. This was announced by Beiersdorf in its official business report. 2021 may be cautiously optimistic again: Nivea achieved sales growth again in the first quarter – albeit of only 0.5 percent. Overall, Beiersdorf generated sales of 1.9 billion euros in the first three months of this year.

Competition in the skin care sector is fierce. More and more young brands are booming thanks to influencers and excessive advertising via social media. How can a traditional product like Nivea keep up with the many new labels? "With innovative products aimed specifically at the young target group that values sustainability", the company says in response to a Tikbow inquiry. These include, for example, the MagicBar (5.99 euros), a new facial cleansing product in a solid, soap-like form that does not require any plastic at all. While competitors only offer one or two products, we have daily cleansers for different skin types and also peelings,” the company adds.

Nivea advertising poster
The Nivea advertising posters – here one from the late 1930s – have long since achieved cult status.Photo: dpa Picture Alliance

Study on the effectiveness of coenzyme Q10

Over the years, Nivea has already launched various iconic products: In the 1950s, the inflatable ball in the Nivea colors blue and white; was a popular vacation accessory (üover 20 million of them were produced), in the 60s Nivea launched a special care series for delicate baby skin. In 1998, the brand developed a new cream for mature skin with the skin’s own ingredient, CoEnzyme Q10. It is considered a powerful antioxidant against free radicals and is said to soften wrinkles. As recently as April 2021, Beiersdorf published the results of a study that looked at the effect of Q10 in skin care.

Some Nivea products failed the test

But where there is light, there is also shadow – like many other big brands, Nivea does not pass every öko test. In 2019, for example, the "Nivea Essentials Day Care 24h Moisture + Freshness" was rated "poor" because it contained problematic mineralöoil ingredients and plastic compounds. Also in 2019, the "Nivea Rich Body Milk 48h" failed the öko test: The cream was classified as "unsuitable" because it could not be ruled out that some ingredients could cause cancer. In addition, the fragrance Lilial had been detected, which had proven to be reproductive in animal studies. Beiersdorf is said to have revised its formulation following the "Öko test"result.