I am not sure when exactly I started feeling sad about my neck, but it has been a while now. Indeed, most fifty and sixty-somethings will find that this delicate skin really shows up the ravages of time as oestrogen levels fall and the corresponding decline in collagen heightens the loss of firmness in the skin.
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, apparently we are all looking down much more these days as mobiles and laptops have taken over our lives, giving rise to a whole new set of wrinkles known as “tech neck”. Combat this by starting on a neck care regime that will nip it in the bud, and always have your screen raised to eye level so you can look straight at it.
In the fight against anno domini you have to choose your battles, and, for me, this one is worth it. The neck care market is full of products making spectacular claims and using truly exotic ingredients, and in fact there are some great creams and serums right across the price spectrum that are well worth a try. In our round-up we have concentrated on the products that members of our test panel – who have selflessly contributed an impressive total of years and wrinkles – found to be in any way beneficial.
The panel , aged between 55 and 65 all used one cream for two weeks, a few for longer. Our final selection in this burgeoning market are the products right across the price spectrum that made us feel better about our necks – and made us feel as if we looked better. Especially if you have not been looking after your neck before, at whatever price point you decide to enter the neck cream market, a couple of weeks of dedicated application will leave you feeling some benefits, and may well make a visible difference. And anything that makes us feel better about the flight of time has got to be worth it.
1. Boots No7 Restore & Renew Face & Neck Multi Action Serum: £28 for 30ml, £36 for 50ml, Boots
The new addition to the Boots No7 award-winning range is a star performer. Surprisingly, the claim that you will see younger-looking skin after two weeks was pretty much borne out by the testing. A true multi-tasker, this is designed to use on face and neck, night and day, in conjunction with moisturisers from the range. I found that it worked pretty well on its own, as I don’t really like to pile too many products on my skin, and I felt that the improvements that I could see were over and above the result of taking care of an area that I had somewhat neglected.
2. Sisley Paris Neck Cream Enriched Formula, 50ml : £105, Space NK
This family-run French beauty brand was one of the first to use botanical essences in skincare products and pioneered a neck cream as long ago as 1981. The latest version aims to firm and refine your neck, and recover more defined contours. These are certainly noble intentions and our tester found that after just a couple of weeks using the rich but meltingly light-textured cream, her neck was actually starting to feel both softer and a little bit tighter. Two weeks of testing only dented the contents of the pot, which is clearly going to last for ages, making it a rather better buy than it might seem at first.
3. iS Clinical NeckPerfect Complex, 50ml : £85, Good Skin Days
This LA-based company boasts a team of top international pharmacologists and physicians who have their sights firmly set on advances in anti-ageing skincare. As you would expect of such a hi-tech brand, this has an efficient pump dispenser and is a cooling gel that absorbs well and has a pleasant, very lightly floral smell. It contains fruit acids and white willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid. Our tester found it slightly astringent, but quickly absorbing and with a good moisturising texture and feel. She used it night and day and found it very user-friendly and easy to apply. After two weeks she reported that her neck felt a bit firmer and that it looked less dry, possibly as a result of the gentle exfoliating in the formula.
4. Dr Hauschka Regenerating Neck and Décolleté Cream, 40ml : £50, John Lewis
Our tester found this is very easy to apply and highly absorbent, with a really lovely moisturising feel, not at all sticky or astringent. She felt that the texture was a bit like that of a mud mask, but much better than that sounds. It is recommended that you should use it only in the morning, but she used it night and morning and found that was fine, and left no visible residue. The one problem was that she didn’t like the smell, and couldn’t quite work out what it was, as it didn’t remind her of any of the ingredients of marshmallow, birch leaves, red clover, macadamia nut oil and argan oil. After testing for a fortnight, her conclusion was that her neck, hitherto somewhat neglected and challenged by an Antipodean upbringing, did feel and look better.
5. Sarah Chapman Skinesis Neck and Chest Rejuvenating Complex: £56 for 40ml, £18.50 for 10 ml, Look Fantastic
Formulated to repair signs of ageing in the exposed neck and chest area, this is part of a well-thought-out range from a top facialist Sarah Chapman, who uses a combination of scientific ideas and botanical ingredients to keep things straightforward and efficient. Whether it is the sea holly stem cell or essential oils of jasmine and neroli that make it so inviting, it is a pleasure to smooth this lightweight velvety lotion on day and night, and it feels beneficial from the outset, even though there is no dramatic immediate effect. I would continue with this product for longer with every hope of an improvement. The emphasis on repairing damage is, alas, only too apposite for an older age group, and a timely reminder to keep going with the sun protection as well as anything else you apply.
6. Natura Bissé Tensolift Neck Cream, 50ml: £167, Net-a-Porter
This family-run Spanish skincare brand has been pioneering science-led anti-ageing products since 1979. The neck cream is a really rich product that feels luxurious to apply and absorbs in an instant without leaving residue. It smells delicious, but unobtrusive and feels soothing on the skin. Although pricey, if its long-term effect is to help alleviate the droopy jowls, under-chin fat and visible bands along the neck courageously mentioned in its mission statement, then a lot of us will feel it is worth every penny. In my two-week test I certainly felt that my skin was tighter and softer.
7. Chantecaille Biodynamic Lifting Neck Cream, 50ml: £152, Beauty Expert
This French brand fuses technological innovation with botanics to produce luxe skincare products that are very kind to older skin. The smooth, light cream is easy to apply and absorbs very well. It is not at all sticky, and feels as if it is replenishing and moisturising your skin as it goes on. It just sinks into the skin and you can use it morning and evening. It has no smell to speak of, which our tester found was a distinct advantage and left her neck and décolletage looking and feeling healthy, hydrated and smooth with a visible improvement in the slight crepiness she had been experiencing.
8. Gatineau Defi Lift 3D Throat & Décolleté Lift Cream, 50ml : £58, Look Fantastic
Applied to a “seriously crepey old neck” (owner’s description) this rich, soft, creamy-textured product absorbed easily, and left no residue. It should be used morning and night for best effect, and after two weeks of diligent application our tester felt that the dreaded crepiness had actually reduced a bit, and her previously neglected neck really did feel softer, probably helped by the soothing camellia oil, which adds a delicate fragrance to the blend.
9. Clinique CX Neck & Chest De-aging Cream, 50ml: £84, Clinique
Fragrance free and allergy tested, this is a good brand for sensitive skins. The rich and comforting cream absorbs instantly, and claims to lift, firm and tighten age prone areas of skin within a four-week, twice-daily regime of use. It concentrates on helping to rebuild natural collagen, which, over time, is weakened and thinned by UV exposure and dehydration, amongst other irritations. The ingredients here are designed to counter all this and help sustain and boost natural collagen and soothe environmental irritants. It feels lovely, and has a soothing and softening effect almost straight away. This feeling of softer , happier skin increased over the two weeks of testing, so there was definitely an improvement to report in that time.
10. Origins Plantscription Powerful Lifting Neck and Décolleté Treatment, 50ml: £52, Origins
This is a serum-like emulsion in a pump-action container and has a creamy texture that is not at all sticky and absorbs well, leaving no residue when it is applied. Formulated to be fast penetrating, it features goji berry and sweet almond oil, aiming to address thin skin that is beginning to lose elasticity and thereby reduce crepiness and sag, and minimise the appearance of age spots. Our testing time wasn't long enough for all these dreams to come true, but our tester found it pleasant to use and very moisturising, which, in itself, made her neck feel, and look, a little better.
11. La Prairie Anti-Aging Neck Cream, 50ml: £154, House of Fraser
This is a luxurious, rich cream from the Swiss anti-ageing specialists. It comes in a glamorous, heavy silver pot that looks a treat on the dressing table. Its promise to help re-contour the chin and neck area for a firmer look is pretty irresistible. The only drawback our tester found with this product was the rather strong floral fragrance, otherwise it scores highly in every way, being very easily absorbed, with a good texture, that feels moisturising and soft day and night and leaves no residues on the skin. In her own words: “After only a week my skin felt smoother and fuller, and it took the slight dryness away. It lived up to its promises, and, despite my reservations about the fragrance, I would recommend it.”
12. M&S Beauty Formula Restore Neck and Décolleté Cream, 50ml: £13.50, Marks and Spencer
This is a very well-priced light lotion, which punches well above its price point. It has a pump dispenser and no-frills packaging and is designed to be used night and day. It is cool and comfortable on the skin and absorbs instantly. My skin felt better almost straight away, smoother and more moisturised, with no shine. This is part of the no-nonsense Formula Restore range from M&S, which specialises in skincare designed for the mature skin. Ingredients include Omega 3,6 and 9 oils for smoothing and firming. This feels every bit as nice as some of the costlier versions.
The Verdict: Neck Creams
For value-for-money, effectiveness and multi-tasking skills, Boots’ serum is a great performer. It quickly feels as if it is getting to work. M&S’s cream ran a very close second in terms of performance. In the mid-range bracket, Sarah Chapman’s offering is a very efficient-feeling product that has perceptible benefits in terms of calming and tightening the skin. If you have money to spend, you really feel you are in good hands with Natura Bisse's luxurious cream, which comes in at an investment price, but feels worth it.
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