You realise you have a neck, right? Who remembers this when all you care about is the skin on your face, arms and legs?
In fact, even though a lot of skin products you buy will tell you to use on the face and neck, you probably skim right past that and stick to the face.
Yet when you buy an anti-ageing or moisturising serum they need you to pay attention to the space in between strong shoulders and smart head.
Professional facials and aestheticians always treat the decolletage when you go in for a session, working not just on your face, but your chest and neck with the very same products.
We know what ideal facial skin looks like. There is this visual a woman aspires to.
Frankly, there is no point describing it. We know it when we see it and want to have it. But the neck. It is rare to look at a woman and marvel at the smooth, even tint of her neck.
Not unless she is built like a baby giraffe with a neck like Iman and whatever historians presume Cleopatra’s neck must have looked like.
Who looks at their grandma and thinks, “Oh grandma, what lovely loose skin you have on your wattle!’ This is a wonderful thing because it means we see aging holistically instead of in parts.
Until skin care experts remind us the first part of a woman’s body to show ageing is her neck - or is it her hands — or were they her knees…? So much to fret about in this era of perfection. Which explains why few women are as obsessive about the neck as they are with, well, everything else.
Retin A, benzoyl peroxide and sulphur, used to treat breakouts or acne, can be rather abrasive to the skin, peeling wherever it makes contact with the neck or causing an itch or allergic reaction. Random chains bought on the street, oxidising against your skin in the daily sun can cause hyperpigmentation. The alcohol in perfume could irritate an unmoisturised neck.
Now for the good news. There are neck creams. Creams designed for your neck. The best part, you really don’t need to buy them. For now. Simply extend skin care to the neck. Cleanse, tone, moisturise, apply an anti ageing or moisturising serum, night or day cream and most importantly, sunscreen, without overlooking the neck.
Sure some products will not apply such as acne treatments. And stop looking to Instagram and YouTube so literally. So that bubble mask is only on her face. Put extra moisturising masks on your neck. It does not produce as much sebum as the face. It needs all the extra help it can get. Add vitamins E and C; antioxidants, something to hydrate and to brighten. Massage gently upward towards your chin.
Don’t just exfoliate your face. Start right above the nipples and in the dip between the breasts all the way to your forehead. Notice how face steaming inside a bowl and under a towel ensures these are the places catch some heat. Exfoliate and mask. Makeup highlights these areas. Bronzers contour not just the face, but the chest and neck too.
A lot of your neck’s business can be learnt through watching your mum and older female relatives from both sides of the family. Take a slower look at those old albums. It’s like white hair. Genes kick in as early as age 25.
Of course anyone alive makes their neck worse with tech-hunch. Leaning into screens and phones, scrunching the spine and squashing the neck. Over time wrinkles form. Find a new way to look at that dastardly phone screen, likely at eye level. As for tree-rings/neck rings, my grandmother has a nice, healthy collection.
My mother explained Luo culture has long considered it a mark of beauty. You should hear her praising singer/songwriter/naturalista/Diva Hair co-founder Amani’s neck. She finds it quite beautiful. Shingo ya Upanga she calls it.
Sadly my neck lacks any distinguishing characteristics. Then again I do not need to plot for liposuction to extract neck fat, use Retin A or AHA every third day to treat discolouration, sign up for laser resurfacing or hold my head up with Botox. Now that I am done making myself feel better, at my age my neck is just a neck. I remember to not forget as merely a receptacle for my venerated head.