You may already be following the golden rules of anti-aging: Apply SPF protection every day (and not just during summer), keep skin hydrated to retain its elasticity, and change up your foundation and makeup as your birthday cake collects more candles. But there are some lesser-known skincare steps like caring for your neck that are also essential when you're trying to turn back the clock. The skin on your neck is almost always visible, and it warrants the same amount of attention as your face. Follow these simple-to-do expert recommendations to tighten neck skin and make it look younger.
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Your neck is exposed to the same stressors (UV rays, pollution, and gravity, to name three) as your face, so that skin needs the same level of care. “One of my commandments is: Do unto your neck and chest as you do unto your face,” says dermatologist Mona Gohara, M.D., in Hamden, Connecticut. Anything you smooth onto your face, including antiaging serum and sunscreen, should be smoothed on all the way down to your bra line. The SPF number, in particular, is crucial. Gohara recommends a broad-spectrum SPF 30 or higher. Try CeraVe Hydrating Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF 30 ($14.79, Target). As with your face, you should be reapplying sun protection every couple of hours. Powder sunscreen makes that easier, in part because you can dust it over makeup. Try Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF 30 ($47.25, Walmart).
When it comes to moisturizing, it turns out neck creams aren’t marketing hype. “There are fewer sebaceous glands on the neck,” says Jeanine Downie, M.D., a dermatologist in Montclair, New Jersey. “Therefore, the neck tends to be drier, and your regular face cream might not be hydrating enough.” Moisture-rich hyaluronic acid and shea butter pack Prai Ageless Throat & Decolletage Creme ($30, Prai Beauty). Pair it with your usual routine, which ideally includes a daytime antioxidant serum and evening retinol. Try L’Oréal Paris Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum for day ($23.99, Target) and Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Oil ($24.97, Walmart) at night.
Blend Your Makeup
Your neck and décolletage deserve special attention when you apply makeup, especially if you wear foundation or tinted moisturizer. Otherwise, you risk the dreaded two-tone effect where your face and neck color don’t match. Los Angeles makeup artist Jillian Dempsey always does what she calls a brush-down: “You take 50 percent of what you’ve put on your face and gently buff it down onto your neck.” This gets rid of any harsh lines.
Alternatively, she suggests tapping a matte, non-shimmery bronzing powder on your neck to warm it. Try Laura Geller Soft Matte Baked Bronzer ($34, Nordstrom). “Use a fluffy, loose-hair brush,” she says. “It’s more forgiving, and you won’t get those weird streaks that a stiff-bristle brush can sometimes leave."
To emphasize collarbones, Dempsey dabs on Milk Makeup Highlighter in Lit ($28, Milk Makeup). “It’s a golden shimmer stick that brightens the skin and balances any kind of discoloration,” she says. “It gives you that smoothing effect people go for—without having to use a lot of makeup.”