Real, Unbiased Neora/Nerium Review from an Ex-MLMer
Table of Contents
- Fightin’ Against Time
- Neora/Nerium Company Overview
- Who Owns Neora/Nerium?
- Are Neora/Nerium Products Safe in 2023?
- Is Neora Cruelty-Free?
- Pros: Why Neora/Nerium Works
- Cons: Why Neora/Nerium is Bad
- Compensation Plan: How The Neora/Nerium Business Works
- Neora/Nerium: Quick Summary
- Bottom Line: So Is Neora a Scam Or What?
- Shameless Plug: Realistic Passive Income Without MLM?
Fightin’ Against Time
In case you didn’t know:
Neora — formerly known as Nerium — is one of the most popular MLM skin care companies in recent history.
What’s their secret?
They’ve capitalized on one of the great truths of the world:
Time marches on.
And we all get uglier.
But all that marching of time tends to leave a lotta footprints all over our poor faces.
And the rest of our body doesn’t end up lookin’ like a fresh mushroom, either:
So in our oh-so-human ways, most of us try to desperately fight against the inevitable signs of aging.
The very idea of getting older is a bitter pill to swallow, which explains why “anti-aging” products take up an entire market segment.
Enter the MLM company Neora.
(Update: they officially changed their name from Nerium to Neora in February 2019.)
You may have heard of ‘em on shows like Good Morning America and The View, or in magazines like Cosmo and Glamour.
The company has made quite a splash in what was already a super competitive anti-aging industry.
While the supply of skin care products never seems to end, neither does the demand.
So how has Neora found its way into an impossibly overcrowded market?
Two words: Celebrity bribery.
In addition to their aggressive public relations campaign, they also run a serious MLM business.
But before you sign on as a “Brand Partner”, let’s take a few minutes to look closely at Neora and see if it’s worth getting into.
What’s Neora/Nerium and Where Are They Located?
Neora (formerly Nerium International) offers anti-aging skin care, personal care and wellness products, and is based just north of Dallas in Addison, Texas.
They describe themselves as a “global relationship marketing company” which is a fancy way of saying they’re an MLM.
Kinda like when I used to pump gas as a kid and called myself a “petroleum transfer engineer” lol.
But I digress.
At least “global” is the right word for this company:
Neora has general managers in more than half a dozen countries including the United States, Australia, Columbia, Hong Kong, Mexico, and South Korea.
They also sell their products in Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, and Singapore.
By the time you read this, prob’ly Mars too:
In short, Neora has gone forth and prospered.
(And yes, I have no life.)
But this global MLM is certainly raking it in — by 2018 they had generated over $1.5 billion in cumulative sales revenue over their lifespan.
So even if Neora hasn’t discovered the fountain of youth just yet…
They’ve definitely created a fountain of cash!
And a big key to their success is the company’s rapid growth:
In 2015, they placed 12th on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America.
Neora’s MLM wing has also experienced exponential growth — sometimes doubling in size every month in certain countries.
To put things in perspective, if that rate of growth continues (which it won’t), literally every person on earth would be working for Neora within 3 years.
Suffice to say, they’re growing faster than Fluffy flyin’ outta the bathtub:
So what’s fueling all this rapid expansion?
Well, Neora sells two main categories of products:
The primary one is anti-aging skin care products designed to reduce fine lines, balance uneven skin discoloration, and improve overall skin texture.
Neora has their own proprietary blends of powerful antioxidants, natural moisturizers (e.g. aloe extracts), and SPF sunscreen gel.
According to Neora.com, they also have a number of wellness products (e.g. nutritional supplements) for the parts of you beneath your skin.
What’s really interesting though, is the fact that people are also buying into something called the Neora happiness movement.
Being pro-happiness is a no-brainer, but apparently it’s a lot more than just their hashtag: #LiveHappy.
I mean, is anyone really anti-happy?
(Okay, besides Grumpy Cat?)
Neora also has a happiness magazine, hosts a podcast on living happy, and the subject seems to be the main underlying philosophy of the company.
The only problem with being this intense about happiness is that after a while, it does start to sound a lil’… cultish.
Kinda like when George Carlin used to talk about being “more than happy”:
Their pro-happiness agenda has led them to start a charitable wing called Neora Ripple.
Along with their partner Big Brothers Big Sisters, Neora Ripple has successfully raised over $5 million for charities around the world.
They’ve also partnered up with other charities like World Vision to help provide education for children and lift families out of poverty.
So if a company is doing this much for charity, they gotta be legit… right?
Well, it depends on who you talk to.
Some folks absolutely love Neora products, the whole happiness movement, and their MLM business opportunity.
Other folks, not so much.
But I don’t wanna be a Negative Nancy here.
So let’s start at the beginning and take a look at the origins of this popular MLM…
Who Owns Neora/Nerium?
First, a lil’ history:
Neora (formerly Nerium International) was originally launched in August 2011 by founder and CEO Jeff Olson, with a corporate staff of 13 people.
Their mission statement was three simple words: Make People Better.
Olson admits that he always thought of network marketing as having the ideal business model, especially since:
“You work when you want, where you want, for the number of hours you want.”
Which is also why he thinks MLM is the perfect business for people looking for part-time or flexible work.
While I respectfully disagree, one thing’s for sure:
Neora was definitely the perfect business model for Jeff Olson’s bank account and quite frankly, it was well-deserved.
See, when he founded Neora back in 2011, there was only one product: Age-Defying Night Cream.
Now get this:
By the end of 2012, Neora had already achieved $100 million in revenue, mostly thanks to their ever-growing sales force aka “Brand Partners”.
Gotta give the guy credit for building a $100 million dollar company in less than 2 years — no small feat by any stretch.
In 2013, Jeff Olson co-founded and launched the Live Happy magazine, along with Neora co-CEO Deborah K. Heisz.
They also released their second product: Neora Age-Defying Day Cream.
Look at it this way:
No, they weren’t exactly creative when it came to naming their new products.
But who cares when you’re sellin’ 8-figures worth of skin cream!
Neora then expanded across North America, bringing their operations to both Canada and Mexico.
They also launched yet another new cream, and raised their first $1,000,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
By 2015, Neora was adding multiple products a year and by 2016, the company was expanding into multiple countries per year.
Unfortunately, all that growth didn’t come without its share of growing pains — by 2017, they were also adding multiple lawsuits per year.
In addition to the typical MLM pyramid scheme accusations, Neora has also faced lawsuits from:
Their low earners, top earners, co-founder, and even Ray Liotta from the movie “Goodfellas”.
So much for the happiness movement.
With that amount of lawsuits piling up as times goes on, it’s no wonder they wanna slow down the aging process.
Fast-forward to 2019:
Perhaps it was the combination of bad publicity along with being associated with a poisonous plant (more about that later)…
In any case, they officially changed their company name from Nerium to Neora on February 1st, 2019.
But here’s the million-dollar question:
Are Neora/Nerium Products Safe in 2023?
Back when Neora was known as Nerium (prior to 2019), there was a lotta controversy about certain ingredients they were using in their main skin care line.
Nerium’s most popular products included a firming lotion for cellulite and a face cream called Nerium Age Defying Night Cream.
The ingredient that caused the most negative attention was “NAE-8” — an extract of the Nerium oleander plant (see image below) from which the company originally got its name.
So back then:
Both of their night and day creams had formulas based on natural plants instead of synthesized chemicals.
Seems like a good idea.
But what if the plant is poisonous to both humans and animals?
Google it and you’ll see that Nerium oleander technically IS a poisonous plant, to the point it can cause allergic reactions or even kill a child or pet.
So why the hell would anyone wanna put Nerium oleander in a skin cream?
According to the company, Nerium oleander had been used for more than 1500 years to treat various skin conditions ranging from dermatitis to eczema.
Neora had also poured money into researching NAE-8 — the “patent-pending age-defying active ingredient” of their now-discontinued miracle cream called NeriumAD formula.
Long story short:
Convincing the world that Nerium oleander was a “safe” ingredient to use in their products was an uphill battle Neora would never win.
And partly due to the sheer amount of negative reviews and controversy, the company decided to go in a completely new direction with products containing zero Nerium oleander starting in 2019.
Another major factor contributing to the new company direction, was a lengthly lawsuit from a former product supplier for Nerium Skincare.
Besides the new brand name, Neora also partnered up with a biotech company called Signum Biosciences.
This has made them a serious up-and-coming player in the skin care industry, since they can actually provide lab results and formulate their own products using real science.
They can also sell a ton of ‘em to consumers, thanks to their large network of passionate distributors and slick marketing videos like the one below:
On the other hand:
Whenever a company funds their own laboratory research on the products they’re selling, it does raise some red flags.
Neora did exactly that with its previous research and development wing called Nerium Biotechnology, Inc.
And now it looks like the same deal with Signum Biosciences:
If you visit Signum’s resources page and open some of their studies, you can search for the words “Signum”, “supported”, or “conflict of interest” and you’ll discover Signum Biosciences funded almost all of them.
Is Neora Cruelty-Free?
It took some digging, but I finally found this on Neora’s company blog:
It’s important to know that Neora is committed to evidence-based product development, which makes preclinical and clinical testing essential before any product is released to the public.
Refusing to ever test our products on animals, our company relies on cell culture and human clinical studies, taking every precaution to ensure the safety of the test subjects.
I also got this response from Neora Support:
Thank you for contacting Neora Product Integrity Team. None of the Neora Skincare products have been tested on animals.
No animal testing has been conducted on any of our dietary supplements (final products). However, in the case of the EHT ingredient, animal testing was conducted and is accepted in the industry to support the ingredient safety for the final product.
EHT is an ingredient in Neora’s popular nootropic supplement called EHT Brain Formula (more on that later).
But here’s the deal:
Although they claim to be cruelty-free, I couldn’t find anything about Neora’s official animal testing policies on their corporate website.
Which is weird.
I also couldn’t find Neora being listed as a cruelty-free company by PETA, Cruelty Free Kitty, or Ethical Elephant.
While I do believe Neora doesn’t test on animals — I don’t think they’ve gone to any great lengths to be officially recognized as a cruelty-free company either.
Which hopefully changes soon.
One thing’s for sure, though:
Many folks are definitely pro-Neora and have excitement about both their products and business model.
You also have those who are less than impressed with the company, to say the least.
Like many anti-aging MLMs (e.g. Jeunesse), it all comes down to personal preference and what side of the debate you fall on.
Personally, I haven’t used Neora products so I can’t say if they work as advertised.
And I have to admit that I’m not a fan of the MLM business model.
If you respectfully disagree (i.e. hate my guts right now) and Neora works well for you — awesome.
I tell you what though:
Their products seem to have a quality look and feel about them, including their two biggest sellers: Age IQ Day and Night Cream.
Other Neora age-fighting products include Prolistic™ skin-balancing lotion, age-defying eye serum, complexion clearing acne treatment pads, and Invisi-Bloc™ sunscreen gel.
Also can’t forget about Neora’s dermatologist-recommended Firm Body Contour Cream and Age IQ Face Wash.
On the Health and Wellness side, they offer:
- Wellness Energy Chews to give you a caffeinated energy kick…
- Prolistic™ Probiotic Vitamins to balance and restore a healthy digestive system…
- And Youth Factor supplements to aid with digestion, speed up cellular recovery, and boost your immune system.
Neora has also developed something called EHT Brain Formula:
Containing an extract from coffee with some other vitamins, it allegedly: “helps enhance memory and cognitive functions in adults while also metabolizing carbohydrates, fats and proteins.”
Maybe it’s just me, but…
I always get a lil’ skeptical when it comes to supplements with lofty claims.
Especially ones that claim to “boost your wellness, memory, and focus” and cost over $2 a tablet.
I’m all about supplementation for maximum health.
But why not just take a quality multivitamin and wash it down with a cuppa coffee to get the same effect?
I call it my “SmartAss Formula” and it only costs about ten cents a day:
That should also boost your brain power enough to realize that each of these supplements come with the same FDA disclaimer at the bottom of the page:
“These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.”
It’s another way of saying that none of these products have been proven to do what they claim they can do.
So buyer beware.
Pros: Why Neora/Nerium Works
✓ As a company, Neora has an admirable mission statement.
It’s easy to be cynical about a company with a motto like that.
But you could do a lot worse than emphasizing happiness, making a difference in the world, and backing it up with philanthropy.
✓ Neora has partnered with a biotechnology company that does REAL research and development.
One of the problems with many MLMs is they sell a product that’s complete BS and they know it.
Which is why they don’t even bother funding studies to verify their products actually work and achieve real results.
(Cuz they don’t.)
The fact that Neora dumps a lot of money into research at their biotechnology wing gives them a lot more credibility in my eyes.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean all their product claims are true, either.
✓ Their training materials are fairly comprehensive.
When it comes Neora’s Success Packs, they do give you some useful stuff to get started on your business.
Your training pack includes a success planner, some personal development materials from Neora’s CEO Jeff Olson, and a ton of sales training help.
You also get product brochures, magazines to show potential customers, and a helpful virtual resource center with online instructional courses, and communication tools.
Just a side note: I understand if you wanna roll your eyes a bit when you hear the words “personal development”.
I used to think it was complete and utter BS myself.
Until I got to know some super-successful entrepreneurs and noticed that they ALL think differently than most people.
That’s when I realized that like it or not, mindset is everything.
So cheer up, cranky pants.
Cons: Why Neora/Nerium is Bad
✗ The company has a controversial history.
Formerly known as Nerium International, Neora switched their brand name in 2019 to reflect a new company direction.
One of the biggest changes was eliminating the use of the toxic plant Nerium oleander from their flagship product NeriumAD.
And while it was only in a skin cream and unlikely to kill you (unless you drank a gallon of it), it still caused problems for some people.
There was even a lawsuit from a woman who claimed that she received “chemical burns and permanent skin damage” from NeriumAD.
(It was eventually settled out of court.)
Fast-forward to today:
Neora has brand new products (Nerium-free) and are understandably looking to move the company in a positive — and lucrative — new direction.
✗ The real money is made by recruiting more independent Brand Partners, not just selling the products.
This is true of most MLMs — it ain’t called “multi-level marketing” for nothin’.
MLMs are defined by the fact that its participants not only get paid for their own product sales, but also are compensated for their team’s product sales who have been recruited below them.
It’s this “sponsoring” or recruiting aspect (getting paid off other people’s efforts) that makes network marketing a truly unique business model.
Unfortunately, it also turns a lotta folks off since it often involves having to pester your friends and family to join your business.
Easier said than done.
✗ The advanced online resources are only accessible through a $30 monthly subscription fee.
For a company that encourages you to “Go For The Dream”, the least they could do is give you free access to all of the resources that can turn that dream into reality.
After all, it would only help you grow your Neora business and make them more money, right?
But in addition to charging you hundreds of dollars for your Starter Pack, they’re also gonna charge your credit card $30 for the “Neora Edge” subscription.
Seems like a great resource but they don’t mention you gotta pay for it.
I know it’s only thirty bucks but still think it’s a pretty lame money grab since you’re the one doing all the work and selling the company’s products for them.
That’s like asking you to mow my lawn for free, and then when you actually do it, I charge you a “usage fee” for my lawnmower.
It’s a slight kick in the grass.
Compensation Plan: How The Neora/Nerium Business Works
First off, let’s hear the simplest explanation I could find of how to earn with Neora:
Clear as mud?
Check out the official compensation scoop here.
Simply put: The more customers you have buying Neora products and the more Brand Partners you recruit underneath you, the more money you make.
And you can earn commissions and bonuses from your recruited Brand Partner’s product sales as well.
The exact percentage depends on your total monthly volume of product sales and if your customer base signs up for auto-delivery or not.
But there’s a catch to all of this:
The only way to earn ANY income from the company whatsoever, is by maintaining an “Active” status every single month.
Which basically means that you must do one of the following:
- Maintaining 120-400 in PQV (varies depending on rank) in product sales to personal customers
- Maintaining 80-150 PQV (varies depending on rank) in personal product ADV
Personal Qualifying Volume (PQV) includes sales to Preferred Customers and Retail Customers and purchases made for your personal use and sales inventory needs.
Auto-Delivery Volume (ADV) is volume generated by the sale of product through the Auto-Delivery Order (ADO) program.
But the simple truth is:
There’s really only one way to make a TON of money in an MLM like Neora: By selling other folks on the “life-changing” business opportunity.
For example, you can earn the following rewards for building a team of Neora Brand Partners:
- Fast Start Bonuses
- First Order Bonuses
- Directors Bonuses
- Power-5 Bonuses
- Team Commissions
- Momentum Bonuses
- Lifestyle Bonuses
Neora also offers their 3UR Free program — If you sponsor and maintain three Preferred Customers, you’ll get up to $200 worth of free Neora products in your next auto-delivery order.
Starting at the level of Senior Director, you can also qualify for the “Luxury Car Bonus” which is basically one month’s payment of a leased Lexus.
However, any month in which you fail to make sales benchmarks, you’ll be responsible for your own car payments.
Like any sales-based company, it always comes down to the age-old question:
What have you done for me lately?
And let’s face it, we all have tough months.
For that reason, if you’re gonna have to pony up the payments during a dry spell…
You might wanna lease a Chevy instead.
Neora/Nerium: Quick Summary
|Neora has been featured as one of the fastest-growing direct selling companies, with tremendously fast Brand Partner growth internationally.||Their rapid growth and popularity has also come with a number of high-profile lawsuits and accusations of fraud and operating as a pyramid scheme.|
|Neora's #LiveHappy program is backed by charitable and philanthropic contributions, resulting in a very positive company culture.||Mega-positive company cultures focused on “happiness” tend to feel slightly cultish and can turn some people off, especially if you're not a fan of giving high-fives.|
|Actual scientists do research in Neora's biotechnology wing, giving a lot more credibility to the company's impressive line of products.||The company changed their name to Neora after a lot of controversy about the Nerium oleander extract found in their previous products.|
|Success Packs include personal development material, product brochures, and an online resource center.||Their online resource center "Neora Edge" and mobile app come with a $30 monthly fee to access.|
|Neora's comp plan offers incentives like luxury car bonuses, to higher sales percentages and performance bonuses if you build a large team.||Direct sales bonuses are fairly weak, requiring you to recruit many other Brand Partners for you to make any serious money.|
Bottom Line: So Is Neora a Scam Or What?
I wouldn’t use their products myself, but that’s only because I’m pretty enough already.
But I wouldn’t say they’re a scam.
Obviously, some people love Neora and some people hate ‘em.
But there’s no doubt that the earning potential from a high-producing downline is awesome.
And in theory, it actually makes a ton of sense.
Why NOT build a team of like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about a particular company and everyone gets a piece of the action?
Well, that’s just it — not “everyone” ends up making money because few have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the first place.
(Especially most of your friends and family members.)
In fact, Neora’s own documents will even tell you that — take a quick look at their Income Declaration report from a few years back.
It basically says that out of 75,000 reps, almost 40 percent of them made no commissions whatsoever.
Zip. Nothing. Nada.
The average overall commission for a Brand Partner was around $1200 per year or $100 a month.
That’s three bucks a day.
Ain’t exactly 6-figures but enough to buy a Grande dark roast:
Again, this isn’t out of the ordinary for most MLMs but it illustrates why recruiting is so important to these companies.
Since they all know their numbers, they also know that you need to recruit a LOT of people to find the small percentage of winners.
Now to be fair, studies show that 50% of small businesses fail within their first 5 years.
So no matter how you look at it, entrepreneurship is HARD and the odds are stacked against you.
But it’s still the best job in the world.
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Melody Fitzpatrick says
Thanks so much! I found this extremely helpful. I am having a meeting with a director this evening and wanted to educate myself first. I’m so glad I found your blog!
Hey Melody, thanks for your comment and glad to help! Best of luck with your meeting 🙂
Cara L Hawkins says
Being a brand partner with Neora has benefited my life tremendously.
I have discovered personal development, met the most amazing people and have earned free product for almost 4 years and made some really good income. Our motto is really “making people better”.
I have no quotas to meet and only make money with my team if I help them to be successful. It’s honest work seeking bio medical grade products that truly work which can be seen in the thousands of untouched before and after pictures our customers take with their cell phones.
The cost to get involved is so low for what you get in products and marketing materials which could cost 10’s of thousands for any other small business. It may not be for everyone but it is soooo right for this woman! I’m a full time teacher looking to retire sooner than later because of this amazing opportunity.
Thanks for your input Cara 🙂 MLM isn’t for everyone but it sounds like Neora is a great fit for you.
Barbara Faulkner says
A self funding lab certainly contains red flags when you are evaluating safety, efficacy and products results. There seems to be much more emphasis on building this business as opposed to educating the consumer regarding ingredients, safety, testing and approvals from dermatological associations.
Thanks for your comment, Barbara 🙂 And I agree with you: While I do like the fact that Neora even HAS a lab, it’s still a conflict of interest when they’re evaluating their own products.
Melissa Latchaw says
Ive been a brand partner for a year with Neora. This is the best online review I’ve seen.
Some clarifications: I can go up to 6 months without purchasing anything myself and zero business without loosing bp status.. and as long as I keep working my business and I’m good and dont have to reinvest in my business…..something I love.
I dont think you mentioned the free product part which is pretty cool. But awesome job! Thanks!
….oh and Im pretty sure the clinical trials are not conducted by SB (Signum Biosciences).
Thanks for your comment, Melissa! I’ll be sure to add Neora’s free product program in my article 🙂
I couldn’t find anything online about going 6 months without buying anything and still maintaining BP status. But just to clarify, I was referring to maintaining “Active” status as a Brand Partner.
According to Neora’s official compensation guide: To be eligible to earn income, you need to maintain the required personal volume from fully paid product orders during a calendar month (as explained in my article).
And if you visit this page and check out their papers, you can search for the words “Signum”, “supported”, or “conflict of interest” and you’ll see they funded virtually every single one of their own studies.
Carolina Van Stone says
Thanks for the humor in covering Neora. A relative is “trying” the product to consider becoming part of the MLM. I originally was looking for the company’s stand on animal testing and found your blog which I thoroughly enjoyed. As to animals… 🙂
Thanks for your feedback, Carolina! I updated my article to include what I could find about Neora’s animal testing policies. Long story short, it appears they do NOT test on animals but see my Is Neora Cruelty-Free? chapter for more info 🙂
Victoria Thomas says
A woman I know has been selling first Nerium, then Neora, for 6 years. She has high-paying government job and Neora is her side-hustle. I no longer accept free samples from her bc she expects a rave review.
I sampled the first three products, including the body-firming lotion which smelled like, and I quote my husband, “dried-out bonita bait on the San Pedro pier.” He actually asked me to shower again and wash off the Nerium smell when I got into bed that night. Not the desired effect.
When I described this to the sales person, she got super-defensive.
The other day, she posted a Neora item about what it means to be “coachable”, which Olsen et al define as following the direction given without pausing to ask how, why, or examining the larger implications. Really? There is definitely a brain-deadening undertone, and also a Christian Right undertone.
And about those Before and Afters. Really?
Thanks for sharing, Victoria. I think it’s safe to say that Neora isn’t a good fit for you lol. But I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment 🙂
Kim Edwards says
You are hilarious. I was doing research on this company but literally kept reading because I was laughing out loud. And, I appreciate the thorough research on your articles. Well done!!!
Thanks for the kind words, Kim! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Thank you! That was not only useful – it was fun to read as well!
Thanks Sue 🙂 Glad you think so!
I am a former director of Nerium and I attended the annual convention. It was complete brain washing for 3 days!
The “Stars” pranced on stage to brag about their high living lifestyle. The majority of them were actually recruited by Jeff Olsen from other MLM businesses.
They also brought along their “teams”. In other words, they did not grow their teams organically, the teams were already in.
I’m not suggesting you couldn’t grow a team organically, however not often. I really wanted the Lexus, so I persevered for awhile.
Some higher ups eventually left after filing lawsuits. They started or joined other MLMs bringing their teams.
That was when I decided the cards are stacked against you unless you commit 100% to recruiting. I never did get the Lexus.
After I added up my “income” versus my expenses, it was clear they won and I was the loser.
Beware of MLM.
Thanks for sharing, Debra!
TENA WASBERS says
I appreciate the honesty and fairness that you critiqued this company with. I literally LOL at many sections of your article. Very nicely written!
Simon L. Smith says
Thanks Tena 🙂