Our face may be our fortune, but we often forget the foundation that supports it. Your beauty game will be more convincing if you show your neck and décolleté the same TLC as your visage By Parizaad Khan Sethi
The most forgotten part of our bodies is not our feet or hands (are we all on board the monthly mani-pedi express?) but an area that’s often as much front and centre as our face: the neck and chest. Just like hands, they’re very accurate markers of age and poor lifestyle choices like extreme sun exposure. So when you’re treating your face, remember to extend those same courtesies to the next door neighbours.
Clean: Start by cleansing in the same way you do for your face: twice a day, to unburden the skin from the pollution and dirt it encounters. Use circular, upward motions and be gentle, as the skin of the neck and chest is thin and fragile.
Exfoliate: The neck sometimes takes on a muddy appearance and develops tiny brown dots on the surface of the skin. This is nothing but dead skin that has not been shed. A face wash rich in glycolic, lactic or salicylic acids will help: lather up and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing off. Exfoliating toners with AHAs will also be helpful.
Another effective way to exfoliate is to (very!) gently massage an oil-based cleanser into the neck and chest with a damp wash cloth or towel, with slow, circular motions. The cleansing oil (try one like L’Occitane Immortelle Cleansing Oil) will soften the dead skin while the fibres of the towel will loosen and whisk it away. (Don’t confuse dull skin with Acanthosis nigricans, a skin pigmentation disorder in which dark brown patches and velvety skin form around the neck; it signals serious health problems and should be shown to a medical professional.)
Treat and hydrate: Whatever your face gets, your neck and chest should get too, and that includes serums and moisturizers (unless you have dramatically different skin concerns on your face and neck, in which case, use products targeted to those concerns). During the day, use your lightweight serums and moisturizers on the neck as well, and at night, extend your retinol serums to your neck and chest, and top that with an anti-ageing-ingredient-rich moisturizer, such as Forest Essentials Night Treatment Cream Sandalwood and Saffron. As for technique, apply everything in upward, outward strokes. Start at the centre of your chest moving up and out to the shoulders, and then go up from your neck to the jawline.
Pamper: Your weekly mask ritual should migrate southward also. Oil-control masks can be drying for this delicate area, so add a few drops of almond oil like Kama Ayurveda Organic Sweet Almond Oil to a clay-based mask like Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque. Follow that with a rich, creamy mask to replenish and plump the skin, or one with hydrating ingredients like Forest Essentials Facial Ubtan Tejasvi Milk (mix in some yogurt to make it more nourishing).
Protect: All your efforts will be in vain if you’re not shielding against wrinkle and pigmentation-causing rays, so generously slather on an SPF on your neck and any exposed parts of your chest.
is a beauty and wellness editor based in New York. She was the former beauty editor at Vogue India and now serves as a contributing editor for the magazine. At age 5, Parizaad fell in love with an old cream blush she found in the back of her mother’s drawer, and has been in awe of the transformative power of beauty ever since. When she’s not writing about beauty, she researches advances in skincare as a hobby, and is constantly guinea-pigging herself in the name of beauty.
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