Register for our free newsletter

Latest News

Nivea vs Himalaya

Both the companies enjoy good sales of skin care and hair care products in the region. But how do they match up against each other?

According to a recent press release, the beauty sector in the Middle East is growing at 12 percent every year and is set to be worth over $10 billion per annum soon. The average purchase-estimates of beauty products in the region reach $350 per head.

Toiletry brands such as Nivea and Himalaya are hoping to cash in on those numbers. While Nivea, part of the Beiersdorf group, is based in Germany, the Himalaya Drug Company is based in India. Both are available across the world, and have established themselves in the Middle East market.


The first Nivea product was made in 1911 by Oscar Troplowitz of the Beiersdorf company. He used ‘Eucerit’, a water-in-oil emulsifier made for the medical field, as the base for a new kind of cosmetic cream. Troplowitz called his cream ‘Nivea’, derived from the Latin words niveus /nivea /niveum, meaning snow white.

The company has since expanded its product range to include hair care, powders, soap, shaving products and deodorants among others.

Himalaya, however, did not start out as a cosmetic company. The Himalaya Drug Company was founded in 1930 by Mohammad Manal in Dehradun, India, to offer new Ayurvedic drugs and therapies.

The family-owned pharmaceutical company has expanded since then, and went on to introduce Himalaya Herbals, a range of natural herbal personal care products including creams, shampoos, hair-gels and dental creams in 1999.

The company’s products are now sold in 76 countries.

Middle East

While Nivea entered the Middle East market more than 40 years ago, Himalaya set up shop in the region in 2000. Both have grown exponentially.

In 2007, Beiersdorf Middle East posted a 47 percent net sales growth compared to 2006. This, according to the company, is its best result since it started operations in the region. Qatar posted the highest individual country result with more than 69 percent sales growth.

Himalaya has also grown by 65-70 percent since it started operations in the Middle East. And the company now distributes its products in every country of the region through local distributors.

“We do face stiff competition in the region because you get products here from across the world,” says Prashant Agarwal, Himalaya’s marketing manager in the region. “But we are an herbal personal care company and we have been able to build our credibility in the sector.”

The company says its face washes and facemasks are the market leaders in the UAE, and its face-scrub are within the top three brands in the market. Nivea meanwhile claims to have the top position in the mid-priced color cosmetics sector, with Nivea Beaute having a market share of 46 percent in the region (as of 2007).



  1. aslam on January 21, 2009 8:09 am

    With herbal contents in all of their products, Himalaya has the best choice of products available on the supermarkets shelves today.

  2. Rabih on January 21, 2009 10:09 am

    Nivea is beauty…who can beat that

  3. lara on January 21, 2009 10:12 am

    my family has been using NIVEA for generations, great quality products and the best part? they deliver!

  4. Sara on January 21, 2009 10:16 am

    I thought Himalaya were some mountains…never heard of them.

  5. Petek Brignola on January 21, 2009 10:18 am

    I have been using Nivea for many years and now I start to use for my baby,as well. It has very good quality with affordable price!!! I wouldn’t consider to make a switch…

  6. Lisa on January 21, 2009 10:18 am

    I’ve been using Nivea for the past 2 years with positive results on my face. My skin is highly sensitive, so i’m always wary of the products I use and since I started with nivea i have not had any problems. As it’s a Germany company I trust it more than other brands and feel it’s safer.

  7. Nicole on January 21, 2009 10:23 am

    I do not even know Himalaya – never seen, never heared! With NIVEA I know that they have more than 100 years of skin care experience and I get save, high quality products for a fair price.

  8. Sofeen on January 21, 2009 10:24 am

    I have been using most of Nivea products for a long time now. Never found products that suit my skin more.
    I LOVE the Nivea advertisments as they deliver a clear message in a very stylish way!

  9. Reshma on January 21, 2009 10:25 am

    I always use Nivea products and am delighted with the quality of the products. It is ecomomical and effective…..the best in class!!

  10. Ayah on January 21, 2009 10:25 am


  11. Anthony on January 21, 2009 10:25 am

    NIVEA is a brand I use since a few years now. It’s a great value for money and it’s formulas are very gentle yet efficient.
    As Rabih said…Beauty is NIVEA….Agree

  12. Jack S on January 21, 2009 10:28 am

    I beleive it is not really comparable.
    We have been braught up seeing Nivea everywhere. A brand that is really in our minds and hearts. The confidence of consumers in Nivea products is obviously based on the fact that the brand has never failed its consumers in term of premium quality, variety of products that suits everyone’s needs and care for Skin and Beauty!

    I don’t think a brand like Himalaya should be compared to Nivea, it is like comparing Vinegar to Honey…

  13. Ingrid on January 21, 2009 10:29 am

    I am using Nivea Visage daily and I love it!
    Their face care range is very comprehensive and the new packaging is stunning.
    As Anthony said….Beauty is Nivea….since and for a long time…

    I actually tried Himalaya last year but my skin became red on the T Zone. The formula even with natural ingredients didn’t suit me at all. I won’t recommend it.

  14. Reema on January 21, 2009 10:30 am

    Nivea has outstanding quality on skin care and beauty segment.

  15. Svetlana on January 21, 2009 10:30 am

    I used Nivea products for many years now and many of my friends do the same. I like the range and always find a product that suits a particlular personal care need. And I just love make up by Nivea, it’s great!

  16. Nail on January 21, 2009 10:52 am

    I have been using Nivea products for a long time and have never been disappointed by it’s quality. In the end it boils down to personal preference, and you can’t go wrong with neither of the products; however, i do prefer the wider product portfolio of Nivea.

  17. john on January 21, 2009 11:01 am

    I agree with JACK….

    NIVEA in an OLD….Multi-national Brand….

    While HIMALAYA is an Indian brand trying to become a Multi-national Brand…

    NIVEA must be compared with L’oreal and the likes,,,

  18. Nada on January 21, 2009 11:08 am

    Nivea has been a trusted part of my family for generations

  19. Jordan on January 21, 2009 11:25 am

    NIVEA is great for Men skin… NIVEA FOR MEN I will never changed: it is quality, trust & confidence. GREAT

  20. Philip on January 21, 2009 11:36 am

    Nivea is by far, the best to use..It is so good in quality that I sometimes eat it..
    I think all other products are just replicas or imitation..

  21. Jabra kadabra on January 21, 2009 11:43 am

    MR. JACK S you r 100% RIGHT brand like Himalaya shouldnt be compared to Nivea, it is like comparing LION to CAT…

  22. Housam on January 21, 2009 12:06 pm

    Not a fair comparison; Nivea of course!
    And why the heck did they name a beauty product after mountains?! Weird stuff!

  23. Cleo on January 21, 2009 12:27 pm

    Seems like most of the responses above have been written by Nivea’s PR, comms, advertising and other agencies. Maybe the client got everyone to go and post brand and key messages (or used different names themselves) on the product so they can build a case. Nivea is beauty… Nivea Men -.. blah, blah…too positive and spot on with brand messages to be genuine.

    Don’t get me wrong – the brand is great; but c’mon!

    And John – India invented Ayurveda and the use of it for skin care. The western world added zillion chemicals to the basics and bottled it. So pleaswe go ahead and enjoy chemical infested creams.

  24. Robin Smith on January 21, 2009 1:25 pm

    If nivea can react so quickly to Cleos suggestions, then hats off too them. I read somewhere its the worlds largest beauty brand. I would assume then they have a lot of loyal followers …himalaya who?

  25. da_linuxguru on January 21, 2009 3:02 pm

    Hi all,

    Personally, I would buy Nivea products because I have been used to them for really long and I don’t like to switch brands when it comes to skin & body.

    On the otherside, If you haven’t heard of a brand doesn’t mean it’s not good. I am sure there are hundreds of brands out there that are amazing and that you still haven’t heard of.

    Himalaya products are based on “Ayuerveda” which is an ancient art of medicine just like “Yoga” is for mind. I hope you know about “Yoga” and if you don’t then it really proves how ignorant you are.

    Have an open mind in this age atleast and don’t judge a product by it’s country!

  26. Black Swan on January 21, 2009 3:30 pm

    I totally agree with Cleo!!!I Nivea PR stands out so clearly from every comment… You’ve got Svetlana (alias for Mona or Salwa or Fadi probably..) who is definitly an employee of Nivea using key words like ” a product that suits a particlular personal care need”… and Jacks saying: “a brand has never failed its consumers in term of premium quality, variety of products that suits everyone’s needs and care for Skin and Beauty!”… and all the other FMCG jargon…really guys, cut this BS.. If your brand is so competitive, i would like to know how are you fairing against L’Oreal..

  27. kulasa on January 21, 2009 3:46 pm

    i’ve been using NIVEA since childhood and it never let me down so far, so why try other brand?
    NIVEA is…. ME

  28. Jack S on January 21, 2009 3:58 pm

    Previous comparaisons were quite cool:
    Haifa Vs Nancy
    Nokia Vs Ericsson
    Al Mara’i Vs Al Rawabi
    HSBC Vs Lyods
    McDonalds Vs Burger King etc…
    BUT! Having Nivea compared to Himalaya! c’mon…it is quite disturbing!
    Really…doesn’t it look a bit…strange?

  29. Deep on January 22, 2009 7:38 am

    Has anyone tried the Himalaya face wash with neem? 2 washes and the difference shows

  30. Timothy on January 22, 2009 9:41 am

    i’ve been using nivea deodorant & shaving gels for quite some time now & never had an issue. i don’t think i’ll go for another brand as nivea is a well trusted brand across the world.

  31. Anand Bharathan on January 22, 2009 9:45 am

    I agree that Nivea based on chemicals should not be compared to Himalaya based mainly on naturals and herbs. For me the confidence I get using a natural based product is at least I will not suffer from harmful side effects in the long run.

  32. Marjolein on January 22, 2009 10:21 am

    Definitely Nivea, trustworthy brand as it is something you know from childhood, I always use their face products and body lotions, good products for reasonable prices

  33. Iempie on January 22, 2009 3:01 pm

    I have othing to do with the Nivea Company but have seen Himalaya in the shops and it did not occur to me to try it. Having grown up in Europe with Nivea as a trusted product I would not switch brands f asked to do so. A lot of this brand loyalty is conditioning and so it really is not fair to put both brands on an equal pedestal unless one grew up in India and was accustomed to seeing it on the shelves there and maybe had a chance to use it. Does this make sense?

    A housewife from Holland…..

  34. Subs on January 23, 2009 9:43 am

    This is an unfair comparison. Nivea is a great brand and I am a loyal customer. But Himalaya is much more than a cosmetic brand. It is based on the ancient and trusted Ayurveda. Of course we have grown on their brands such as Liv 52. While I would prefer Nivea for cosmetic results, I would rather go for Himalaya for anything that I would take in. For those who have not tried Himalaya yet, go ahead and check out. But try to get some idea on Ayurveda before doing same.

  35. marie on January 23, 2009 1:10 pm

    I only use Nivea products,good brand well known and value for money, used to use clarens but why pay all this extra money for the same stuff .never heard of Himaliy.
    my friends also use nivea and that spa is the best.

    work for emirates and very happy there!!!!!!!!!!!!

    dont need a job with nivea,but keep up the good work guys.

  36. Punda Mfupi on January 24, 2009 10:20 am

    Himalayas Rocks !!!

  37. Samantha on January 25, 2009 9:42 am

    Nivea definatly is much better than himalays…one i think its more oriented to pampering and caring for the skin…and i feel its more reliable…

  38. Nadeeka on January 25, 2009 10:49 am

    I have been using Nevea for a long time and it is good for my skin.
    Once I used Himalaya face wash and I was allergic to it. If you’re allergic to some products, apply somewhere else but not the face.

  39. Raj on January 27, 2009 9:30 am

    i guess this article had huge benefit for himalayas, they were pitted against a huge brand, and himalayas was hardly know to anyone, reading the review of so many people in which they hardly heard anything like himalayas, but now they know even if there wer many negative comments for them

  40. Gerard B on January 27, 2009 7:02 pm

    Ayurvedic? Herbal? Come on, everything has preservatives and a long list of chemicals, nothing is 100% organic, nothing is 100% herbal, nothing is 100% ayuvedic, so please do not insult our intelligence. Indeed, l’Oreal and Nivea rock whether you admit or not…

  41. Jayan Nair on January 28, 2009 4:25 pm

    Himalaya “projects” that it is Ayurvedic and herbal. But it is different from Body Shop products, which are more natural.

    Even Body shop’s “naturality” is questionnable. The actual Ayurvedic products can be bought from small Ayurvedic shops inside India. Since those pop and mom shops havent been touched by MBA’s the products dont cost the earth, and there is no gimmic involved! The shopkeeper will not greet you with meaningless non-sense and finally rob you. He will give a honest product at a honest price. Those products have a low shelf, except certain dried variety. If a “natural product” lasts months in a store it isnt natural. That way, I will rate Nivea better for being honest about what they are and give a lower marks for Himalaya for slightly dubious campaign about being natural.

    Having said that, I dont believe that anyone who has tried selecting cosmetics in important stores would have missed Himalaya. It is well visible, got a brand identity and obviously brand loyalty. As for me, I neither lover nor hate either brands. I love Creme 21, though. Been with me for nearly 20 years, from my teens. The right fluidity (not too hard, not too flowing), the right smell (not too sweet, not yukky either). So easy to find, the same quality the same orange colour pack, all these years.

  42. Glen Dale on February 1, 2009 8:30 am

    Not a fair comparision, at all!

    This article looks like its comparing the products for the sake of doing so.

    Its like comparing chalk and cheese.

    Editorial team, please, you could put in some more effort, and not blindly depend on the PR guys.

  43. Joyce on February 4, 2009 7:57 am

    I strongly support Cleo’s stand, Although Nivea PR seems to have done some act here, but not wise enough, they failed to hood wink people like Cleo who noticed common elements in the comments posted in favor of Nivea. Guys, corporates today actively monitor CGM (consumer generated media) and have dedicated writes to post comments best suited to them.
    Yes, somebody up there is right when mentioning Nivea cannot be compared to Himalaya but to L’Oreal or Este Lauder. Since Nivea/ L’Oreal/ Este lauder etc = Ayurveda + chemicals, while Himalaya = Ayurveda. How can you compare ‘Contamination’ to ‘Purity’.

  44. Al Yazeia on February 18, 2009 11:51 am

    cleo it seems you’ve concuted some serious conspriracy in your head. Nivea is better by far. Do I need to bring to your attn how Himalaya’s shampoos have been taken off the shelves?? SO much for all “natural” ingredients!

  45. Piefke on June 7, 2009 10:53 am

    I grew up with Nivea, and still use lots of their products. Maybe Himalaya is good as well, but I prefer products from a country with advanced consumer protection, giving me a feeling of product safety. Nivea has to give accurat information about ingredients, and this is under controll of on of the strictest consumer protection laws in the world. Do I really know what ingredients are in Himalaya products?

  46. dia on April 6, 2010 9:37 pm

    I would be making an ignorrant remark, if I was to say nothing compares to Nivea. I’ve never compared or even used Himalaya products… Yet, I know this: I’ve been using Nivea creme for over 20 years! With that, People think I am 15 years younger than I really am… I have tried other cremes and Nivea comes back to me everytime!!!


Leave a Comment