Several months ago, I was contacted on behalf of Nivea USA asking if I had ever tested their skin care products for men. While they are fairly new to the U.S. market, Nivea lotion has been available in Germany for over 100 years. While the company humbly began with just one product – Nivea Creme – they now offers more than 1600 products in 11 different categories. Nivea’s iconic product has been used and valued by generations in my native country; my grandmother would use nothing but Nivea Creme in the blue tin, and even my mother would use it for me as well. Of course, the personal grooming landscape has changed and expanded dramatically since Nivea’s inception. The label is now owned by Beiersdorf AG, which is based in Hamburg, Germany, where I went to law school, and so I even had the chance to visit the factory myself! Suffice to say, I had quite a bit of exposure to Nivea products, yet in the US they don’t offer the same products and I was eager to learn more about them. Today, I’d like to start with one of two sponsored posts with a review of various after shave products Nivea is offering in the U.S. market.
Nivea Post Shave Balm Sensitive
This product comes in a white milk glass bottle with a white cap, and while they change the logo every once in a while, the ingredients remain unchanged. A balm is designed to use it if a regular aftershave is too harsh on your skin. Unlike traditional aftershaves, there is no burning sensation once applied. Instead, your skin feels slightly cooled and soothed. I started using this after shave when I grew a beard and started to shave – back then with Gillette, and now with a DE Razor and Electric.
Although scented ever so slightly, it will likely not interfere with your cologne unless you have a sensitive nose. Regardless, after 20 minutes most men won’t be able to smell it anymore. Nivea advertises it as soothing and helping to prevent shaving irritation, and the product delivers now as it did back then. Right after you apply it, my skin felt a little sticky. However, after 2 minutes it is absorbed completely. Most importantly, it doesn’t leave a greasy film on your skin as so many other after shave balsams do. My facial skin appears to be softer than before – my wife certainly likes it. The bottle is designed in a way that it is easy to get just the right amount of balm in your hand.
Overall, I have been using this after shave on and off for years, and I always liked it very much. All my friends who used it were pleased with it too, and for drugstore after shaves, it is definitely my favorite. While its scent and ingredients are not revolutionary new, its formula and quality easily rival considerably more expensive after shaves than Nivea Sensitive.
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Isopropyl Palmitate, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Maltodextrin, Tapioca Starch, Triceteareth-4 Phosphate, Sodium Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone, Piroctone Olamine, Parfum
Price: Retails for around $6 for 3.3 oz / 100 ml in the U.S. but it is available across the globe.
Rating: 4.5 /5 for the price, it is fantastic. On a grand scale, I’d give it 4.5 stars because it is scented slightly in an underwhelming way. Either it should be not scented at all or have a distinctive scent, but it doesn’t make much sense to add only a bit of a scent.
Nivea Original Replenishing Post Shave Balm
Although this is called the original after shave, I believe the sensitive version is way more popular than this version. While it is a balm and looks just like the Sensitive version, it contains more alcohol and give you a mild burning sensation. Of course, it is not as pronounced as with a traditional after shave, nevertheless it is clearly stronger than its milder brother. After a few minutes, my skin felt equally as pleasant as with the Sensitive Balm. I applied one half of my face with either of them so it was easy to compare. The huge difference with the original balm is its strong scent. Personally, I don’t like it at all – it has that stereo-typically “masculine” drug store smell that you expect from a male grooming product. However, if you find this kind of a scent pleasing and you have normal skin, this is a great choice for you.
Ingredients: Aqua, Alcohol Denat., Glycerin, Distarch Phosphate, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Parfum, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dimethicone, Triceteareth-4 Phosphate, Sodium Carbomer, Limonene, Linalool.
Rating: 2.5 / 5 In terms of performance, this balm is just as good as the sensitive, just geared towards men who have a regular skin. However, I dislike the scent so much that I can only rate it 2.5 / 5
After Shave Gel Cool Kick
Nivea’s Cool Kick product it supposed to give you just that without burning. Now, it certainly does feel cool for about 10 – 15 minutes, and afterwards it feels very similar to the other two balms, though maybe a tiny bit more sticky. The scent is artificially fresh, and while it is not as strong as the Original balm but again, I find it neither desirable nor pleasant. So, if you like a cooling sensation on your skin after you shave, this product is right for you.
Ingredients: Alcohol Denat, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Parfum, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Menthol, Magnesium Chloride, Triceteareth-4 Phosphate, Sodium Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Trisodium EDTA, Linalool.
Rating: 3 / 5 Delivers on its promise to cool your skin but compared to the sensitive balm, it just smells too artificial.
Nivea for Men Energy Double Action Balm Q10
Last but not least, let’s focus on the Nivea Q10 balm, apparently designed as a 24h moisturizer because it contains the Coenzyme Q10, which is apparently natural to human skin. Just like the Cool Kick balm, it comes in a squeeze bottle and is slightly thicker than the stuff in the glass bottles, though it did not make a difference to me when I applied it to my face. Over the course of a month, in an unscientific self-test, where I would used one of the balms on just one half of my face, I was unable to discern any lasting moisturizing effect to my skin. At the end of the day, my face on the right felt like the one on the left, however, I don’t suffer from particularly dry facial skin. Maybe the results would be different on your skin, and the upcoming winter season will probably impact those results as well.
What I do know is, that it contains Methylparaben among other things, which is a rather contested substance. I am not a chemist, and it is used in an array of cosmetics around the globe because it is classified as safe in cosmetic and food products. At the same time studies imply it may have negative health impacts. In any case, it is still considered to be safe, so there should be no reason for concern.
Ingredients: Aqua, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Tapioca Starch, Stearyl Alcohol, Ubiquinone, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Tocopherol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil, Hydrogenated Sweet Almond Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Limonene, Parfum.
Rating: 3.5 / 5 No moisturizing impact for me but overall good. If there was no sensitive balm, this would be my choice.
Personally, the Nivea Sensitive Balm is my #1 drug store after shave choice. It feels great, soothes my skin and does everything I expect from an aftershave for just $6 a bottle. It’s a great product that I have been using for years, and I hope they won’t change the ingredients and keep offering it – it is hugely popular with all kinds of men from around the world! Because it is so good, I have no need for anything else. However, if you like a cooling or burning sensation then you have good alternative, and if moisturized skin is your priority, you might want to give the Q10 a try. In any case, test the Sensitive Balm for yourself and tell me what you think.