For many of us, taking care of our necks probably just means drawing down whatever product we’re already using on our face.
However, similar to the skin around our eyes, the skin on our necks is thinner and can benefit from targeted products which encourage cell turnover and deliver increased hydration to keep skin supple.
Dr Sophie Shotter, aesthetic doctor at Illuminate Skin Clinic explains: “The neck is very vulnerable to ageing. It has less sebaceous glands than facial skin, making it more prone to wrinkling. This, combined with the effects of sun exposure, gravity and muscle movement, can make the neck a real problem area for some people.”
Then there is the phenomenon of “tech neck”. So much time is now spent with heads bent down to our devices that deeper and more pronounced lines and wrinkles are the result.
When it comes to ingredients to look out for Dr Uma Jeyanathan, aesthetic doctor at GetHarley recommends we “look for lightweight formulations, antioxidants and pro-collagen stimulators. Additional SPF is always advised. The latest medical grade neck creams are using advanced science in the form of peptides to nourish collagen in the neck skin.”
Is there a right way to apply product to the neck? Dr Jeyanathan believes that: “The most important part of neck cream application is even application over all the surface. Fundamentally the products will absorb into the skin and work effectively.”
In testing these creams we used them morning and night (unless specified otherwise) for at least three weeks looking for an improvement in the appearance of the neck in terms of hydration, suppleness, plumped up lines and evenness of tone.
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These are the best neck creams for 2021:
- Best overall – Emma Hardie lift & sculpt firming neck treatment: £65, Emmahardie.com
- Best for sensitive skin – Avène physiolift smoothing regenerating night balm: £21.00, Lookfantastic.com
- Best value for money – Prai ageless throat and decolletage creme: £25, Marksandspencer.com
- Best for dry skin – IT Cosmetics confidence in a neck cream: £39.60, Boots.com
- Best for mature skin – Perricone MD cold plasma plus+ sub-D/neck: £82.95, Allbeauty.com
- Best for your twenties and thirties – This Works perfect cleavage lotion: £28.50, Thisworks.com
- Best for the peri/menopause – Vichy Neovadiol Phytosculpt Neck & Face Contours: £30, Lookfantastic.com
- Best for reactive skin – Meder Beauty arma-neck firming rejuvenating neck cream: £73, Mederbeauty.com
- Best for anti-ageing – BareMinerals Ageless Phyto-Retinol Neck Cream: £36.00, Lookfantastic.com
- Best for targeting loss of definition – StriVectin TL advanced tightening face & neck cream plus: £79.00, StriVectin.co.uk
- Best for smoothing – Clarins extra-firming neck & décolleté: £50, Johnlewis.com
- Best for tightening – ARK Skin perfector firming serum: £45.00, Arkskincare.com
Emma Hardie lift and sculpt firming neck treatment, 40ml
This one is worth noting for its clever packaging which combines the neck cream with a facial massager alone. Turning the collar of the tube to squeeze out the product onto the roller you then click it back to “off” and use the roller to distribute the treatment over the neck. The product itself is a serum with a patented liftonin-xpert collagen booster along with Neodermyl, a “needle free collagen and elastin filler", omega complex and hyaluronic acid to protect and moisturise.
This serum-plus-massage-tool boosts blood flow to the neck, causing it to immediately look perkier and reducing puffiness. We loved the way the serum cools, lifts and firms as it absorbs, and we felt it made a noticeable difference to neck tone.
Vichy neovadiol phytosculpt neck and face contours, 50ml
Best: For the peri/menopause
Vichy mineralising thermal water, rich in antioxidants, forms the basis of this gentle, hypoallergenic formulation suited to sensitive skin and created specifically for those of menopausal age. It also contains an active firming complex which mimics DHEA, a hormone in the skin which depletes during the menopause.
A smooth balm with an attractive, subtle fragrance that is absorbed easily into the skin without feeling greasy. The balm melts on contact with the skin forming a tightening film as it cools. After a week of application, skin felt smoother, definitely more moisturised and a little firmer.
This Works perfect cleavage lotion, 60ml
Best: For your twenties and thirties
The equivalent of naming your first-born “Nobel Prize winner”, this lotion is nothing if not aspirational. It blends essential oils and plant extracts, including larch extract, algae and rose, plus vitamin C to protect, soothe and tighten the neck and chest area. Does it deliver on its name? We felt it made a noticeable difference. Skin that was looking less than perfect, wrinkly and dry in fact, has started to look smoother and slightly firmer. We also loved the fresh, summery fragrance.
Prai ageless throat and décolletage creme, 50ml
Best: Value for money
This is the best-selling skincare product in Marks & Spencer’s highly regarded beauty department. At one point it became the second best-selling product in the whole of M&S (excluding food). Beaten only by chinos in case you were wondering.
With hyaluronic acid and squalane to lift, tighten and smooth the “neck and dec” area, it claims to show results in seven days. We found it light, not at all oily and it absorbed quickly. Initially sceptical, by day four we were converts. The skin from cleavage to chin was somehow plumper, brighter and the dreaded crepey look diminished.
IT Cosmetics confidence in a neck cream, 60ml
Best: For dry skin
This brand, developed with plastic surgeons, is something of a beauty insider favourite. With a tri-structural complex comprised of elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid this rich, orange-hued cream certainly delivers a moisture hit to quench the driest of necks. Pleasurable to use, it feels cool and soothing and sinks in quickly. It also has a perky orange fragrance. Packing in ceramides, shea butter and seaweed extract, this is so moisturising that it made our neck smoother and more supple from day one.
Perricone MD cold plasma plus+ sub-d/neck, 59ml
Best: For mature skin
Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist whose cosmeceutical brand holds over 116 US and international patents. The formulation has been updated from its original inception to give a more luxurious texture and increased hydration. Ingredients including peptides and encapsulated caffeine are delivered via a liquid crystal delivery system for deeper penetration. It certainly feels luxurious with a velvety consistency which absorbs quickly and thoroughly leaving the neck well-nourished and subtly smoother after ten days of use. Our tester described the scent as “luxurious medicinal” – in a good way.
Meder Beauty arma-neck firming rejuvenating neck cream, 50ml
Best: For reactive skin
Originally a professional skincare line for use in clinics, science based Meder is all about respecting the microbiome (the skin’s protective barrier). This gentle, nourishing cream is one for those who prefer their rejuvenation without any tingling or tightening sensations. That said, it is still a powerful option.
The formula includes a peptide to calm inflammation and to stimulate elastin which helps to strengthen the structure of the neck. Sweet almond oil and antioxidant vitamin E hydrate and protect against damaging free radicals. The light emulsion is easily absorbed and feels so moisturising that our neck felt perkier in no time.
BareMinerals ageless phyto-retinol neck cream, 50ml
Best: For anti-ageing
Retinol has been shown to have a visible effect on lines, but many people are nervous of its potency especially on the neck where skin is thinner. This vegan cream contains a plant-based retinol alternative that is kinder to skin and less likely to cause irritation but promises the same skin-plumping, line-reducing effects. This one was a firm favourite.
A pleasure to use, it is quite a rich cream without being greasy and we loved its fresh, clean, slightly citrusy scent. With moisturising, smoothing hyaluronic acid and protein peptides this is one we are permanently adding to the basket.
StriVectin TL advanced tightening face and neck cream plus, 50ml
Best: For targeting loss of definition
From the first application it feels like it’s doing something as we experienced a (not unpleasant) slight tingling sensation. The formula boasts patented ingredient NIA-114, a scientifically optimised version of vitamin B3 (niacin), to strengthen the skin’s barrier and prevent dryness. As well as working on firming and tightening, it also contains a botanical complex to brighten and even out skin tone. Used morning and night, we were thrilled to find that, after just a couple of weeks, our neck felt firmer and looked smoother.
Clarins extra-firming neck and décolleté, 75ml
Best: For smoothing
Flower stems inspired the newest addition to Clarins’ neck range which uses ingredients from the seed and stem of the sunflower to improve skin’s elasticity. The plant-based formula also includes organic oat sugars and kangaroo flower to smooth, nourish and balance skin tone while Clarins’ anti-pollution complex protects against free radicals. We love its beautifully subtle fragrance, the “melting” texture and the nozzle which keeps the cream inside in optimum condition (it feels more hygienic than sticking your fingers into a pot). We felt it really helped to make our neck look smoother.
ARK Skin perfector firming serum, 30ml
Best: For tightening
While not strictly a neck cream, we felt this deserved inclusion because it does what it says on the bottle – and we really felt it made a noticeable difference to our neck. Rich in super-hydrating hyaluronic acid, this serum gives a powerful moisture boost to nourish the skin and plump out fine lines. Microalgae delivers a tightening action; vitamin C brightens and a lipopeptide stimulates collagen and elastin production.
Powerful enough to give a reassuring tightening feeling on application we were nevertheless able to use it twice a day without irritation. When used as a neck treatment, a regular application of this no-nonsense serum made our neck look loved and cared for and quite simply better.
Avène physiolift smoothing regenerating night balm
Best: For sensitive skin
Quite a few of the neck creams on the market have powerful formulations which can irritate those of us with more sensitive skin. Not so with this regenerating night balm from French brand Avène which combines its active ingredients with thermal spring water making it suitable for all skin types.
The light balm is packed with brightening antioxidants; collagen boosters; hyaluronic acid to plump out lines; and vitamin A derivative retinaldehyde to stimulate cell turnover. We started off using it every other night but soon found our sensitive skin could tolerate nightly usage. A winner for the way it brightens and tightens while you sleep, we love waking up to super-soft skin that looks smoother and more radiant.
The verdict: Neck creams
Emma Hardie lift and sculpt firming neck treatment came out on top as it impressed us with both immediate and longer lasting improvements. Although the price is quite steep, a little product goes a long way.
BareMinerals ageless phyto-retinol night cream scored highly for its effective plant-based take on retinol and we love Meder beauty arma-neck for its gentle strength even on skin prone to redness and irritation.
For the latest discounts on beauty and make-up buys, try the links below:
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IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
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