Fact: as with hands, your neck can give your age away faster than a glance at your passport. Even smooth-skinned British beauties tend to ignore what happens below the chin-line – in fact, for many women, a cursory swipe with a flannel constitutes neck care. The result? Sagginess. Wrinkles. Tell-tale crêpiness. In short, a neck that looks older than the rest of you.
Yet on the Continent, it’s a different story. There, the neck is an erogenous zone, on which TLC is regularly lavished. The result? Necks that stay firmer, smoother and more swan-like for longer. As Paris-based facialist Jickie Leray explains, ‘French women regard their neck and décolletage as an extension of their faces. So everything they do for their face – cleansing, protecting, ritually moisturising – is extended right down to the bust-line.’ And if your new beauty resolution is to take more care of your neck, that’s a pretty good blueprint. (Starting with tonight…)
With fewer oil glands than elsewhere on the body, necks get dry and crêpe-y sooner than our faces. At the same time, because we move our heads constantly, the collagen and elastin fibres get loosened – leading to sagging. But the biggest reason that women complain of tired and baggy necks, though, is downright neglect. You don’t have to look far for some terrific products: on VH, our favourites include Sarah Chapman Skinesis Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex, with its rich serum-like texture, and the fah-bu-lously luxurious Temple Spa Exalt Firming Neck Gel. Beauty Bible testers have also highly rated Time Bomb Troubleshooter Neck, Jaw & Chest Firming Cream, from the range created by Lulu. One of the key factors with all of these is that they are really and truly pleasurable to use. And what we know is that when you love using something, you do it diligently. With necks, that pays dividends, big-time.
Meanwhile, here’s more wisdom on how to keep your neck as unlined and elegant as possible – while keeping extra chins at bay.
- Cleanse as thoroughly at night as you do your face, and sweep with a hot, wet washcloth in the morning. A clean neck is ‘prepped’ for whatever you apply to it next.
- Give necks the ‘double-whammy’ treatment. Every time you apply a moisturiser or protective sun cream to your face, sweep it downwards to your décolletage. And every time you slather on a body moisturiser, sweep it upwards to the jaw-line. That way, neck skin will never go thirsty.
- Protect the neck, whenever you’re in strong sunlight (and throughout the summer months) with an SPF15 moisturiser, minimum.
- Beware of wearing fragrance in the sun; psoralens (ingredients particularly found in citrussy fragrances) can cause permanent staining of the skin. In summer, spritz your clothing, instead. (Having first established that your fragrance won’t stain that.)
- To help avoid a double chin, keep your reading matter at eye level – which means not reading in bed, unless you lie back and hold the book above you. Do not prop it on your chest and peer down at it.
- Take up yoga. We know seventy-something yoga devotees with sharp jawlines and smooth, unlined necks, who put it down to the stretching.
- If all else fails, resort to the polo neck. (The most flattering results and neatest neckline, meanwhile, come from reversing the ‘tube’, so that the neck material is tucked inside, rather than folded outside.) And scarves – where would we all be, without those…?
- Last but not least, tap into your inner rabbit. Facialist Bharti Vyas once advised us: ‘Eat one raw carrot after every meal – good for the skin, and chewing gives facial muscles a workout, keeping saggy jowls at bay.’