Isn’t it amazing that Nivea is 100 years old this year? It was the first beauty product I used, and I remember feeling tremendously sophisticated when I unscrewed the cap on the cleansing milk. And then feeling terribly disappointed as I poured it into my palm and half the bottle went down the sink. I just hadn’t realised cleansing MILK meant it was as liquid as, well, milk. Ah well. I know better now, and I still use NIVEA even today. I was quite tickled when Child Two got a little trial pack of Nivea products as a gift from a friend and I realised she was treating them with the same reverence I did. It must be something about that deep blue colour, or the lovely, slightly Art Deco lettering on the bottles.
Anyway, to celebrate 100 years of soft skins and peachy complexions, Nivea is launching a new competition, called a million moments of closeness. It’s looking for your photos of a touching moment, whether it’s a hug with friends, a snuggle with your other half, a tender cuddle with your little ones, anything at all that brings you closer to another person. The competition, on Facebook, will be judged by psychology professor Geoff Beattie, who’s studied closeness for Nivea. Every day there will be a winner, who will receive one of 100 prizes of £100.
Touch has proven benefits for humans. We all know that sometimes, when we’re feeling down, a hug can make the difference between despair and hope. Children know the value of hugs, and rightly demand them when they need them. As we grow up, we need to remember their value and incorporate them in our lives. According to Nivea, studies have shown that women who are frequently touched by their partners in a non-sexual way – for example, hugging – produce higher levels of oxytocin, a feelgood hormone associated with feelings of intimacy. And elderly patients who are touched by nursing staff, even with a light tap on the shoulder, are more likely to eat well, while a light touch on the hand can reduce heart rate and blood pressure in patients prior to surgery.
I also remember reading that stroking a cat or dog can lower your blood pressure, though I don’t suppose that Nivea would recommend rubbing a moisturiser into your cat’s fur. Mind you, Mme Bovary might well enjoy it.
I’m off to have a look at the competition. You never know, I might even enter. Well, it’s a good excuse to get a nice big hug.