by Susan

I was really excited to try the Mama Mio Nexercise Neck & Jawline Concentrate ($45), which promises to sculpt, moisturize and firm. I'm in my late 50s and my slack, crepe-y neck is a big aging bugaboo. Mama Mio's products were created by four women whose goal is to "help women feel more confident in their skin" by creating products using the very best and latest ingredients at the highest potency, while keeping away from nasties (no parabens, petroleums, phthalates, colorants, synthetic fragrances, estrogen mimickers, or lauryl/laureth sulphates). And in a "girlfriends united" kind of way, they target beauty issues they find themselves personally plagued with. Additionally, the Nexercise Neck & Jawline Concentrate comes with instructions for a one minute face-fitness session. Yep, an instructional workout for your face muscles. But as much as I liked this “diet plus exercise” treatment in some ways and think it has potential for younger women, it didn’t result in the benefits I was hoping for.

While Marta is skeptical about the benefits of facial exercises, the Mama Mio theory makes sense in theory:

"... you have 57 muscles in your face and many of these facial muscles are directly attached to your skin. This means when your face muscles are weak, they are not holding your skin as firm and tight as they should. Why is it we believe in the power of exercise to change our bodies, yet we don't apply that same thinking to our faces? This is the key to controlling the aging process without surgery ..."

Anyway, I was game. There's a very cute, chatty-yet-informative, inspirational booklet that details the exercises with instructional photos. Each product in the skincare range has it's own exercises, so if you were using the full line you'd be doing a pretty extensive workout. The two Nexercise's are called the Chin Up and The Audrey. As far as I can tell, the exercises and application of the cream only need be done once a day and I did mine at night.

The Chin Up starts with your tongue sticking way out and then swiping back and forth above your upper lip like you're a kid licking ice cream off, but without actually touching. The girl in the photos looks cute as a button doing this. Me? Not so much. But after the 30 seconds I definitely felt it in the muscles. When I got to The Audrey, let's just say no one would accuse me of even remotely eliciting thoughts of Hepburn. I closed my eyes so I wouldn't go to bed with an ugly-looking image of myself!

Next, after some enjoyable, gentle neck stretches, the lightweight, organic and aloe-based cream is applied. Nexercise is part of Mama Mio's new, high protein face care line which claims to target the keratin proteins on the surface, the collagen and elastin underneath, and then the muscles themselves with the exercises, as well as offering protection from future damage, using a formula with key actives Hexapeptide 11 for collagen boosting, two firming soy and one wheat protein, Vitamin C, an amino acid complex and and humectants.

I have a very sensitive nose and I'm not sure if it's all the proteins and amino acids, and the first whiff I get is rather animal-earthy, but then their aromatheraputic blend of lavender, mandarin and chamomile quickly kicks in and, likewise, dissipates in a flash. To finish off, you're given an easy facial lymphatic drainage massage technique.

After all the effort I put into this exercise-and-cream regimen over the eight weeks I did it, I just wish I had seen more benefits. I really like this company and the cream is moisturizing and pleasant, but the Mama Mio Nexercise Neck & Jawline Concentrate just didn't deliver the results I had hoped for. Perhaps it would be better serve as a neck and jaw-aging preventative treatment for women in their 30s and 40s.

Ingredients in Mama Mio Nexercise Neck & Jawline Concentrate: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (organic natural moisturizer), Polysorbate 60 (emulsifier/thickener), Cetearyl Alcohol (Ecocert emulsifier for texture - coconut oil),  Dicaprylyl Carbonate (Ecocert Vegetable derived emollinet), Isoamyl Laurate (Ecocert Vegetable derived emollinet) , Capric Caprylic Trygliceride (Ecocert Vegetable derived emollinet) , Glycerin (powerful plant derived humectant), Sodium Levulinate (Ecocert humectant - helps preserve), Glyceryl Stearate Citrate (Ecocert emulsifier for texture), Cetearyl Alcohol (Ecocert emulsifier for texture - from coconut oil), Glyceryl Caprylate (Emollient - helps preserve), Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil Collageneer (sunflower seed oil), Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid - natural humectant moisturiser), Acacia Senegal Gum (thickener, plant derived - part of Fision Soylift), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (Plant - part of Fision Soylift and Phylderm Vegetal C2), Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein (skin conditioning agent - from Tristosol), Xantham Gum (beets plant derived - part of Fision Soylift), Hexapeptide-11™ (skin conditioning agent Peptide-Peptamide 6), Sodium Pca (natural moisturiser), Lupinus Albus Seed Extract (collageneer - lupin seed extract), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (stable vitamin C technology), Betaine (from Prodew - amino acids), Sorbitol (from Prodew - amino acids), Glycine (from Prodew - amino acids), Alanine (from Prodew - amino acids), Proline (from Prodew - amino acids), Serine (from Prodew - amino acids), Threonine (from Prodew - amino acids), Lonicera Caprifolium Flower Extract (helps preserve naturally), Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil (natural essential oil), Manderin Oil (natural essential oil), Lavandula Angustifolia Oil (natural essential oil), Lavandula Hybrida Oil (natural essential oil), Limonene Fragrance (from Lavender oil, allergens from natural essential oils), Linalool Fragrance (from Lavender oil, allergens from natural essential oils)