Although it ages right alongside the face, the skin below the chin has long been an afterthought in the skin care industry. But neck and décolleté treatments are finally getting the attention of cosmetic formulators, and over the past year alone, I have been able to expand the Truth In Aging selection with new options that really make a difference. Living in a turtleneck, a la Nora Ephron, is no longer the only option for disguising sagging skin and stubborn creases.
Nonetheless, I felt it was time to discover more for our shop — and maybe even find the Holy Grail of neck creams along the way. To limit our test, I analyzed the ingredient lists and claims of countless products to determine which are worthy of our time. Here’s a roundup of the creams, serums, and exfoliators I have selected for testing, plus a few that were rejected.
Selected for testing
H2O+ Beauty Infinity Chin and Neck Firmer ($56)
H20+ is one of those brands that has been around for a while and endured a few reinventions. Although this formula has some fillers and department store staples, I want to give it the benefit of the doubt and will be testing it over the coming weeks. One of the more promising ingredients is gluconolactone, an antioxidant-rich polyhydroxy acid (PHA) with evidence showing it supports elasticity.
ClarityRx Keep Your Chin Up ($60.50)
So far our gradual introduction of the ClarityRX line has been a huge hit. (The Get Fit Face Serum is my hero product of the year.) Expectations are, therefore, high for this neck serum. As is typical with ClarityRX, the formula is focused on a few powerful ingredients: three peptides, sodium hyaluronate, and resveratrol. One of the standout peptides is known as Relistase, which inhibits elastase activity and boosts collagen 1 synthesis; it has also been designed to treat sagginess and restore firmness to the skin.
Lifeline Neck Firming Complex ($180)
This product recently went out for testing with a member of the community. As I'm seeing some good preliminary results from testing Lifeline’s growth factor face cream, I am waiting for the neck cream verdict with baited breath. The big guns here are peptides from human stem cells. A few other cool ingredients include pumpkin enzymes for gentle exfoliation and an antioxidant plant extract from boerhavia diffusa.
Retseliney Face and Neck Firming Cream ($21.99)
You can’t quibble about that price. While the organic and natural ingredients can’t be dismissed, I worry that the ingredient list is as long as my arm and fear that the concentrations of each (which includes not just plant extracts, but also peptides and antioxidants) will be very low. Having said that, I should note that Retseliney claims the vitamin C comes in at 4 percent and the glycolic acid at 5 percent. It’s worth a shot!
Derm Institute Cellular Rejuvenating Cream ($210)
At the other end of the price spectrum is Derm Institute. Although not specifically for neck, I have a sample and this rich cream may multitask. There are some peptides, but I am most interested in an extract from crocus that is said to promote communication between cells and repair the skin matrix. There is also a form of algae that can regulate the kind of inflammation that causes skin to redden, as well as one of my favorite antioxidants, astaxanthin.
Revision Nectifirm ($53)
A few years ago, members of the Truth In Aging community tested Nectifirm and reported fairly good results. Given that it has some powerful peptides and antioxidants, such as pea and glucosamine, plus bamboo and ceramides, it could be worth revisiting to see how it stands up to more recent finds.
Science Serum TightNeck ($70)
TightNeck’s website mentions a few ingredients, including “bio-peptides” (whatever that means), green caviar (which is actually a seaweed), sodium hyaluronate and argireline. It then goes on to say that there are no other ingredients save water and some kind of proprietary base called SmartGel. I’d like to know what exactly SmartGel is before using it on my skin, so I’ll pass.
Mario Badescu Vitamin A-D-E Neck Cream ($20)
You would need to be a big believer in rice bran oil to subject your neck to this cream. While rice bran is a good source of vitamin E and ferulic acid, and Badescu has also added vitamins A and D, this cream seems lacking — not to mention that these days it is quaintly careless to formulate with parabens, since new research has shown this family of preservatives to be reproductive toxins.
PCA Perfecting Neck & Décolleté ($78)
There are some good things in this neck cream by PCA, such as a peptide and silibum extract, but unfortunately they appear way down the ingredients list. Niacinamide is one of the few ingredients that appears prominently — sadly, amongst silicones and preservatives.