When 66-year-old actress Alison Steadman recently revealed she has no time for expensive face creams and moisturises with Nivea Crème to keep her skin looking youthful, I rejoiced.
I have been using budget face creams for 33 years, ever since my mother bought me my first pot of Ponds Dry Skin cream, aged 13, and told me it was all I'd need for a great complexion.
She'd also started using it when she was a teenager and, while she's never set foot in a beauty salon, her skin still looks incredible at 71.
Cheap moisturiser devotees include Kate Winslet, 37, and the perennially youthful Joan Collins, 80 - who have both admitted using Nivea Crème. But can a potion that costs just over £1 really compete with such a luxury brand?
I decided to put them both to the test. For 30 days I would moisturise the left side of my face with Nivea Crème - £1.15 for 30ml. On the other side I would use Crème de la Mer - £105 for 30ml.
While Nivea Crème, which comes in distinctive blue pots, was first launched in Germany in 1911 and contains everyday ingredients such as glycerin, Crème de la Mer has a more exciting heritage and formula. It was invented half a century ago by aerospace physicist Dr Max Huber to heal his skin after a routine lab experiment exploded in his face, leaving him with chemical burns.
Its secret weapon is a 'miracle broth', made from a blend of fermented seaweed, vitamins and minerals that’s been treated with sound waves.
According to the company website: 'Crème de la Mer has the power to transform the look of skin. In a short time, skin appears firmer, lines, wrinkles and pores appear less visible, skin looks virtually ageless.' It's quite a claim.
Before I started, I had my skin tested by Nicolas Miedzianowski-Sinclair, of The Cosmetic Imaging Studio - which provides 3D images for people considering cosmetic procedures, using a Visia machine to scan my face. He would then re-test at the end of my experiment.
Developed by Nasa to monitor the effects of radiation and zero gravity on astronauts' skin, the Visia uses different types of light exposure to measure wrinkles, sun damage, redness and pore size.
According to Nicolas, while my wrinkles and fine lines are better than average for my age - I turn 47 soon - my skin is quite dehydrated. He also highlights the mild rosacea I inherited from my mum which often leaves my complexion, especially my cheeks, looking red.
I return to Nicolas for the final results and he's unequivocal. According to the dermatologist's scans, Nivea has performed best. He says the left-hand side of my face - where I used Nivea - has retained better hydration than its rival. Not only this, but my redness has reduced and some of the fine lines around my eyes have disappeared.
On the Nivea side, he thinks I have the skin of someone five years younger than I am.
While I felt that both creams made my skin look great, if you can get better results for a fraction of the price of Crème de la Mer and a lot less hassle in the morning, the winner is obvious.
So when a friend rings me from Lidl to tell me Nivea Crème is on special offer - a 200ml pot is just £1.99 - I ask her to buy me two.
When I read that article I was the happiest person. I just switched my face creams to NIVEA creams. I mean I love AVENE and I still think they are really good, but the price is a bit too high to me. I even changed my shampoos to the cheaper ones. They are called Argan Oil and they cost €1,99. Love the conditioner and the oil too. I mean who would think that we spend a fortune on creams that actually are no better than the simple NIVEA cream. Wow, I have to say this is amazing news girl. Here is the full article
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