Microplastics, as defined by the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), are solid plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters, insoluble in water, and non-biodegradable. Due to their properties, they are a source of both soil and marine pollution around the world.

Microplastics are usually categorized into primary and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are designed to be tiny and added to products deliberately, whereas secondary microplastics result from large pieces of plastic being broken down into smaller pieces through weather exposure and erosion. No matter how microplastics end up in the environment – once they are there, they become a problem.

That is why NIVEA stopped using microplastics by the end of 2021.


NIVEA’s commitment to 100% microplastic-free skincare and products without microbeads

NIVEA took action early on to eliminate the use of microplastics in all our products. Back in 2013, we asked ourselves: How to avoid microplastics in our products? We decided to phase out exfoliating particles made of polyethylene, often referred to as microbeads in cosmetics and toiletries. Since the end of 2015, all NIVEA peelings have been free of microbeads. Instead, we use environmentally friendly alternatives, for example for our exfoliating face wash without microbeads.

But we went far beyond just microplastics that you can see and feel. The next milestone was phasing out opacifiers in our rinse-off products, which we accomplished at the end of 2019. These ingredients contributed to the color and appearance of our formulations. Having completed this phase-out, all our rinse-off products, such as face and body washes or men’s face wash, are now without microbeads and 100 percent microplastic-free.

As a next step, the remaining microplastic fillers, which were used in leave-on formulations to alter viscosity and improve the feeling on the skin, were eliminated from all our products. Since the end of 2021, all NIVEA and Beiersdorf products are free of microplastics..

nivea products

Microplastic-free skincare products by NIVEA

Many of our products, such as our entire face wash and body cleansing assortments, are already 100 percent free of microplastics. On many of them, you will find this symbol, enabling you to make a sustainable decision. In addition, our entire Naturally Good product range is 100% free of microplastics, so you can shop without concern. 


Led by science:

Our focus on biodegradable polymers

The discussion about microplastics has also expanded, to some extent, to include substances that have fundamentally different properties. The ingredients in question are polymers, which are either dissolved in water or gel-like. They are sometimes referred to as “liquid microplastics”, a term that is not only misleading but also not scientifically sound. Used in small quantities as thickeners, stabilizers, or film formers, they provide a variety of product benefits, such as improved water resistance in sunscreens or better hair smoothening results in shampoos. But according to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), these polymers are not microplastics.

Whatever they are called and regardless of their purpose, all polymers used by NIVEA must meet the highest safety requirements. Therefore, they are very well tolerated by the skin and are non-allergenic. NIVEA promises that, by the end of 2025, all polymers used in our European formulations will be biodegradable. For us, biodegradability is crucial in order to exclude possible negative impacts on ecosystems.  

We know that many people are concerned about the impact their favorite skincare products have on water systems. That is why we are committed to using biodegradable polymers. We have already started changing the formulas for our body cleansing and sun protection products.

sustainable shower gel

Our body cleansing products: microplastic-free with only biodegradable polymers

We have finalized the reformulation of our body cleansing core assortment. You can find all the relevant information on the product detail pages, so you can shop consciously.

Our sun protection: microplastic-free with only biodegradable polymers

We are still in the process of reformulating our sun protection formulas. Our first relaunches will include our new products for kids with 100 percent mineral UV filters.

One Skin. One Planet. One Care.

We want to be 100 percent transparent and answer all your questions about sustainability at NIVEA. If you could not find the answers you were looking for on this website, or are looking for more detailed information, please visit the sustainability website of NIVEA’s parent company, Beiersdorf.