Timeless Beauty Cream: At 100, Germany's Nivea Is Looking Better Than Ever
Cosmetics that have become iconic have three things in common: a strong character, useable on face, hands and body, and they never leave celebrities' make-up bags. Here are the secret of creams passed down from mother to daughter.
Nivea's circular blue tin can sits in many bathrooms around the world. Nivea cream is indeed a global best-seller: 100 million units are sold each year. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, it has engraved a long-lasting success. The original composition of the cream remains the same a century later, with the only visible change is the container. It used to be a yellow, with an ornament inspired by Art Nouveau. Still, already by 1925, it acquired its present colors and basic design.
"It is the first modern cream," affirms without hesitation Sébastien Blaise, France's marketing manager for Beiersdorf, the holding company that owns Nivea. When the cream was created, it was sold in pharmacies, and people were first surprised because it could be preserved for longer periods of time than the other cosmetics thanks to an emulsifier called Eurecit, and without the need for artificial preservatives.
Today, the 100-year-old product styles itself as one of the oldest cosmetic offerings, while the cosmetic branch launches new products one after the other praising the latest technical innovations. But Nivea Cream is far from being the only cosmetic product that still exists without aging. Nutrix, a nourishing and conditioning cream created by Lancôme in 1926, is another.
Long-lasting successes are often due to a great storyline, with Eight Hour Cream by Elizabeth Arden, launched in 1930, a perfect example. The woman who invented this product first used it as an ointment for her racehorses' legs. And the legend says that a regular customer applied it on her child's scratched knee and she noticed that 8 hours later, the sore was healed. That story earned Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream, made out of salicylic acid, vitamin E and petrolatum, the nickname "miracle balm." Since then, the cream is part of a whole range and its small pink-colored container was replaced by an portable tube.
A great classic must also know how to stand out. Dior's Apricot Cream, which encourages nail growth and improves nail strength since 1963, has a nourishing texture as well as a unique color and fruity scent.
These leading products of today and yesterday have one thing in common: an ability to cut across generational divides. "People have always bought these creams, especially families. These products have a touch of secrecy, as well as a motherly and tender side", argues Martine Leherpeur, a top manager for luxury and beauty group Hélène Capgras.
"Nivea Cream is a product that is very often passed down from mother to daughter", confirms Beiersdorf France and Belgium's chairwoman Helen Willems. And that explains why 2 out of 3 households in France buy it. Moreover, this year's limited series is illustrated with close-ups of groups that feature parents, children, men and women. "That blue can does not age because it reminds us of the episodes of our lives, it evokes a ritual and it shows some complicity," says Dragon Rouge agency's sociologist Sophie Grenier. "Everyone has known it forever and it symbolizes our link with the past."
Read the original article in French.
Photo - Brian