With some gentle prodding from Stephanie I note that it is high time that give you an update on my neck and décolleté anti-wrinkle regimen.  Stephanie really wants to know what I think of Nectifirm by Revision Skincare. I’ll come to that in a moment, but first I need to give you some context. As you can imagine, I test a lot of anti-wrinkle creams – or ones that purport to be. So when I run out of face space or when I am not sure if a cream is going to perform all that well, I test on my neck and décolleté.

Unfortunately, my anti-wrinkle cream arsenal has fired off a few duds in recent months and the skin on my neck started to look more rough, scaly and wrinkled than, say, 6 months ago. This, as you can imagine, was a little distressing and I have vowed that, no matter how up to my neck I am in samples of anti-wrinkle potions and lotions, I am going to be more discerning. In the meantime, my neck and décolleté required some serious attention. For the last month, I have honed down a regimen that I am very pleased with. OK, Stephanie, let’s cut to the car chase.

For a week, I tried Revision Skincare’s Nectifirm ($50) on its own. This was something of a risk, but, frankly, things couldn’t get much worse. Thankfully, I started to see an immediate improvement. The skin of my neck was looking a little less red and scaly and it was certainly getting a lot more hydrated.  Although I’ve only be testing Nectifirm for about 3 weeks, it is making a great impression. I do want to give it a few more weeks though before I give it a full review.

What I will say is that for a mid-priced product, Nectifirm appears to have a lot going for it. There are a few fillers, but they are far outnumbered by well-chosen actives. There is Matrixyl 3000 and even has a dash of SYN-COLL, which is palmitoyl tripeptide-3 and is supposed to outperform Matrixyl at boosting collagen production. Ceramide 2 is a useful inclusion, as is bamboo, a source of natural silica. One of the botanicals worthy of a shout out is he cork tree, phellodendron, an anti-inflammatory and important antioxidant. The extract is fairly high on Nectifirm’s ingredient list and it is preceded by sandalwood and yeast extracts.

Good as Nectifirm is – and I think I am going to enjoy using it until the pot is used up – I was in a bad way and needed some heavy guns. The first that I called on was Prep Microdermabrasion by Your Best Face ($80 in the TIA shop). This is a multitasking exfolliator and mask. I am using it about three times a week, leaving it on for at least half an hour before rinsing off.  It’s ultra fine crystals help to smooth, polish and refresh the skin, helping my neck absorb its actives . These include some great antioxidants – Lipochroman-6, spin trap and white tea – vitamins and peptides in the form of more Matrixyl 3000 and SYN-COLL.

I was so intrigued by Copley’s review of Lumixyl that I bought some a while ago and have been using it on a couple of sun spots. The results encouraged me to add it into my neck regimen to see if it could help in combating the sun damage there. An excellent idea, if I say so myself , Developed by dermatological researchers at Stanford University, Lumixyl relies on a synthetic peptide, comprising a sequence of amino acids, as its primary defense against hyperpigmentation, but it also incorporates time-honored ingredients – such as licorice - believed to aid in treating discoloration. Pricey at $120, but like Copley I think it is worth it.

From time to time, I go shopping in my bathroom cabinet and come across some forgotten gem (amongst, it has to be admitted, plenty of things that deserve to remain forgotten). A recent rediscovery was Pevonia’s Ligne Esthebuste Restore Neck and Bust Concentrate ($50). The secret sauce is, of all things, the sausage tree. Its proper name is kigelia africana and, appropriately, African folklore has it that the extract will firm breast tissue. There is absolutely no clinical evidence that I could find that supports these claims. However,  it actually does seem to firm the skin and it makes a great bust and décolleté treatment. Plus I love the whole idea kigelia africana (with its gorgeous bat-pollinated flowers and bizarre monster sausage-like fruit) is an antibacterial, a “significant” (in the words of one study) anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The leaves and flowers are rich in hexadecanoic acid, a fatty acid, and the other important component is verminoside.

This palette of potions needs a few more months to really do their stuff. But for now, I can safely say that I am back on the right track.

Ingredients in Nectifirm:

Purified Water, Santalam Album (sandalwood) Extract, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (yeast) Extract, Prunum Amygdalus Dulcis (sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Tricaprylin, Glycerin, Cetyl Esters, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Lauryl Lactate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Dimethicone, PEG-100 Stearate, Dihydromyricetin, Glyceryl Stearate, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-3, Squalane, Hordeum Distichon (barley) Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ceramide 2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Algae Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris (bamboo) Extract, Steareth-20, Idebenone, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/sodium Acryloyldimethyltaurate Copolymer, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Pisum Sativum (pea) Extract, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Polysorbate 60, Glucoseamine HCI, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (vitamin C), Ceteareth-20, PEG-10 Rapeseed Sterol, Triethanolamine, Caprylyl Glycol, Tribehenin, Diazolidiny Urea, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Fragrance

Ingredients in Prep

White tea (reverse osmosis water, white tea), aluminum oxide crystals, olivem (cetearyl olivate, sorbitan olivate), Pentavitin (saccharide isomerate), niacin, edelweiss extract, triglyceride, alpha arbutin, allantoin, Syn-Tacks (glycerin, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminobutyroyl hydroxytheonine, palmitoyl dipeptide-5 diaminohydroxybutyrate), vitamin e, vitamin B5, Matrixyl 3000 (glycerin, butylene glycol, water, carbomer, polysorbate-20, palmitoyl oligopeptide, palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3), Syn-Coll (glycerin, palmitoyl tripeptide-5), olive leaf extract, Lipochroman-6 (dimethylmethoxy chromanol), idebenone, sodium hyaluronate, spin trap (phenyl butyl nitrone), orange oil, bergamot oil, paraben du

Ingredients in Lumixyl:

Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pentylene Glycol, Glycerin, Bis-Ethoxydiglycol Cyclohexane 1,4-Dicarboxylate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Decapeptide-12, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium PCA, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Dicetyl Phosphate, Ceteth-10 Phosphate, Sclerotium Gum, Aminomethyl Propanol, Butylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Chlorphenesin, Caprylyl Glycol, Phenoxyethanol.

Ingredients in Pevonia

Water, kigelia africana fruit extract, gycerin, carbomer, polysorbate-20, sodium chloride, pectin, chamomile, phenoxyethnol, sodium citrate, methysilsothiazolinone