You’ve probably heard of vitamin C, turmeric and perhaps hyaluronic acid in skincare products but how about nerium oleander?
You may be familiar with it if you’re a keen gardener. Oleander is a common evergreen shrub that is sold as a houseplant a nd can also be found growing wild in California, Texas and Florida. It’s a fast growing plant that is part of the dogbane family. Oleander’s flowers are abundant and lush, and the plant give off a light, pleasant fragrance. Despite its beauty and hardiness, all parts of the plant (dried or alive) are considered highly toxic and can cause death. But Nerium oleander is the key ingredient in Nerium skincare products.
What is Nerium?
Like Beautycounter, Rodan + Fields and Arbonne, Nerium is a direct sales company. Nerium sells a mix of anti-aging skincare products as well as supplements that focus on sleep, boosting energy and improving the appearance of the skin. The company describes itself as having a holistic approach to anti-aging.
Nerium was founded in 2011 and generated over $500 million in sales in 2015. In 2016, Nerium landed on the Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Consumer Products and Services category.
What does Nerium Sell?
When Nerium debuted in 2011, it had a corporate staff of 13 people and launched with just one product- Nerium Age-Defying Night Cream. It contains the brand’s signature ingredient, NAE-8 extract. The company says this is a patented proprietary extract and powerful antioxidant derived from nerium oleander and aloe vera that helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
As the brand grew, new products were added such as Nerium Age-Defying Day Cream, Nerium Firming Body Contour Cream. Wellness products were added in 2017.
If Oleander Is Poisonous, What’s It Doing in A Skincare Product?
Although the oleander plant is poisonous, it has been used in traditional medicine to tackle everything from heart conditions to asthma and leprosy. Ancient Greeks, Babylonians and Arabs used it for a variety of health concerns. It is also thought to have antimicrobial properties. For skincare, oleander extract is believed to be an antioxidant and help reduce the signs of aging. As with any botanical extract, how it is prepared is critical and it’s important to remember that this plant can be deadly when taken or prepared incorrectly.
What Are Some Key Nerium Products?
Nerium skincare line is designed to tackle the signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Nerium sells a combination of skincare sets as well as individual products. The products include night and day creams, serums, cleansers, patches and body creams.
Here’s a closer look.
The Advanced Skincare Set contains Age IQ Night Cream, Age IQ Day Cream, Eye Serum, IllumaBoost, and Double-Cleansing Face Wash. A one-time purchase of the set is $420 but if customers sign up for monthly auto delivery the price is reduced to $240.
The Total Body Set is a combination of skincare and wellness products, and includes geIQ Night Cream, AgeIQ Day Cream, Firming Body Cream, Youth Factor Tablet and Youth Factor Powder. The set is $460 for a one time purchase or $300 with monthly auto delivery.
One of Nerium’s most buzzed about products is its Age Defying Eye Serum, which has been written up in several magazines. The company says its delivers an immediate reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and also firms and brightens the eye area. The concept is that the serum adheres to skin and fills in lines to give the eye area a smoother appearance. The serum sells for $80 (or $60 with monthly auto delivery).
Another eye product is the Eye-V Moisture Boost Hydrogel Patches which are designed to deliver targeted hydration around the eye area. The patches should be applied for 20 minutes and Nerium recommends using them once a week.
The Double Cleansing Face Wash is formulated to combine the properties of an oil cleanse with the light feel of a foaming face wash. The formula contains coconut derived surfactants, rosemary leaf oil and clary sage.
Nerium also sells a small line of wellness products, which includes wellness “chews” and powders. There are two types of chews offered; one for energy and one for sleeping. The energy chews are meant to give an immediate boost as well as long term benefits. The sleep formula is aimed at people who need help falling asleep as well those who want to balance their circadian rhythm over time. Rounding out the wellness range is Prolistic Pre & Probiotic Plus Vitamins, which are powdered probiotic and vitamin supplements.
What Ingredients Does Nerium Use?
Nerium products include a range of antioxidants, peptides (amino acids that are believed to help diminish the signs of aging), plant extracts and vitamins in their products. Nerium was built around NAE-8, which is derived from the nerium oleander and aloe vera plants. It’s found in the brand’s Age-Defying Day and Night Creams. These products also contains vitamin E, rice bran oil, aloe vera juice and hydrolyzed quinoa.
The Age Defying Eye Serum contains a patent-pending ingredient (SIG-119) as well as jojoba, aloe vera juice, green tea and hyaluronic acid.
But the nerium oleander isn’t the brand’s only hero ingredient. Nerium’s other powerhouse ingredient is SIG-1273 in the Optimera Formula, which was developed by Princeton University Professor Dr. Jeffry Stock. According to Nerium, this is a patented, age-fighting ingredient that includes an organic phytol compound that acts as a super antioxidant and skin protectant, mimicking and boosting the skin’s natural age-fighting mechanism.
Nerium’s other key ingredients are blends such as Sea3C, a mix of sea whip extract (derived from a creature that lives on coral reefs), betula water (from birch) and raffinose (it can be found in beans and adds moisture) to hydrate and condition the skin.
Some of the wellness products include Circadiplex Blend, a combination of ashwagandha root (a medicinal herb) and leaf extract, gotu kola powder (extracted from a plant) and reishi mushroom powder. The formula is designed to balance your circadian rhythm.
Probiotics also feature in both Nerium’s skincare and wellness products. Prolistic Skin-Balancing Lotion contains a blend of hydrating ingredients as well as probiotics to “help support a healthy skin biome.” Probiotics are also at the heart of Prolistic Pre & Probiotic Plus Vitamins.
Where Can I Buy Nerium?
Nerium products are sold on the company website and through its network of consultants. The products are also sold on Amazon.
Do Nerium Products Work?
It is difficult for any one product line to receive an overwhelmingly positive response. While some individual products do achieve cult favorite status (such as Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair or Elizabeth Arden’s Eight Hour Cream), most products are not beloved by everyone. As with any product, what works for one person may not do anything for someone else – or may even cause an adverse reaction.
On the product description page for the Age Defying Day Cream, Nerium lists results from “independently conducted clinical trials” but does not give details on who conducted the clinical trial or how many participants were used. It does say that 93% of participants had a significant increase in moisture; 86% of participants showed improvement in uneven skin texture; and 86% of participants noted a reduction in pore size.
The Age Defying Eye Serum lists a similar independent clinical trial, with 89% of participants showed a decrease in the appearance of fine lines around the crow’s feet area; 80% of participants showed brighter skin in the eye area; and 67% of participants showed an improvement of the appearance of dark circles.
Beyond the clinical data, before and after photos are a big part of Nerium’s selling strategy. The company says the images are provided from customers and consultants. “Real people, real results” says Nerium.
But it’s hard to find data about the company beyond what Nerium says about itself. Amazon sells Nerium items but the vast majority of products have less than 10 reviews so it’s difficult to get a sense of how customers genuinely rate the products.
One exception is the Nerium Age Defying Eye Serum, which has 205 reviews and a 3.5 star rating. Forty-four percent of customers give it a 5 star rating, while 28% give it one star. Those who love it say, “2 words Tha Bomb! This stuff gets every puff out without burning your eyes like a lot of products” and I’ve tried a lot of different products of this type, and this one works the best!”
The one and two star reviews either say the product doesn’t work or caused a negative reaction. “Not happy with it..leaves a tacky film on the skin. Definitely a waste of money,” wrote one customer while another said, “It didn’t work at all.”
What Are Some Alternatives To Nerium?
Nerium products are expensive and may not be for everyone. There are other options when it comes to anti-aging products. Consider Formulyst. The brand’s philosophy is long-term and effective skincare.
The comprehensive line of products tackles everything from wrinkles to dark spots and dry skin. Formulyst Retexturing and Perfecting Serum ($39) is powered by gentle but effective alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which works to dissolve skin cells. Packed with plant based acids, this serum sloughs off dead skin cells, leaving behind fresher, smoother looking skin.
The gold standard ingredient for tackling fine lines, dark spots and other signs of aging is retinol, a vitamin A derivative. This is the star ingredient in Formulyst’s Anti-Aging Night Cream ($59). What makes this formula different is that it contains a high dose of retinol but it’s also packed with ultra-soothing and hydrating safflower seed oil and jojoba to lock moisture in and minimize any potential irritation.