First things first: Skincare topicals—aka serums, creams, and the like—simply won't be able to deliver the same caliber of results as an in-office treatment when it comes to tightening and firming the neck area. That said, there are (literally) thousands of skincare formulas on the market touting miraculous Benjamin Button–esque perks for our necks, and after questioning a slew of skin specialists about the efficacy of said formulas, I discovered everyone from plastic surgeons and dermatologists to facialists and makeup artists agree these types of products can be an effective way to tone, lift, and tighten to a certain degree.
As Beverly Hills–based plastic surgeon Anita Patel, MD, FACS, explains to me, the best treatments to rejuvenate the neck in-office are Botox or Dysport injections, which can help prevent or minimize movement that creates wrinkles; filler, which smooths lines; absorbable threads, which stimulate collagen; laser or radiofrequency resurfacing treatments, which help smooth skin texture and erase lines; and radiofrequency treatments performed as a series, which tighten the skin. However, since these types of procedures are expensive, neck-firming creams can be a great alternative.
How to Choose a Neck Cream
"Neck creams geared toward firming should provide moisturization (via ingredients like peptides, ceramides, and hyaluronic acid), antioxidants to prevent and treat fine lines and discoloration, and collagen-stimulating ingredients to provide lift and volume," Beverly Hills–based plastic surgeon Millicent Rovelo, MD, tells me. "They should be applied to the neck and décolletage area twice a day. In the morning, I would apply a separate layer of sunscreen on top of the moisturizer for added SPF protection."
Board-certified dermatologist and co-founder of Facile Dermatology + Boutique Nancy Samolitis, MD, FAAD also weighs in. "I personally don't think you necessarily have to buy a cream labeled 'neck cream' to get the best results on the neck," she says. "I recommend using the same anti-aging ingredients that you normally would use on the face, but in a more cautious manner since the neck skin is delicate and can get irritated easily. I recommend a vitamin C/antioxidant serum like Facile's in the morning followed by sunblock with at least 30 SPF containing zinc oxide."
It also goes without saying that certain neck-firming creams will be far superior to others in terms of their ingredients and formulations, so I decided to ask an all-star grouping of experts to share the best formulas they actually deem effective and worth the investment. Keep scrolling for all of their picks and an explanation as to why they love and recommend them.
Best Overall: Senté Neck Firming Cream
Pros: Contains caffeine, vitamin C, and a patented hydrating called Heparan Sulfate Analog and revives the skin's natural renewal process.
"This neck cream has a patented main ingredient called Heparan Sulfate Analog, which helps provide both deep- and surface-level hydration to the skin," says Patel. "It also revives the skin's natural renewal process and has additional ingredients like sandalwood extract and caffeine. Together, these ingredients provide hydrating, firming, and smoothing effects to the neck."
Customer Review: "Love this product! It really makes a difference!!"
Best Drugstore: No7 Lift & Luminate Triple Action Night Cream
Pros: Brightens the skin, formulated with a collagen complex, and firms and hydrates with hyaluronic acid and hibiscus.
Cons: Not fragrance-free.
This drugstore formula from No7 contains a collagen complex to help firm the skin, vitamin C to brighten and fade dark spots, and hyaluronic acid for extra moisture.
Customer Review: "I have used this brand for a couple of years and have always been happy with it. The night cream is wonderful."
The Plastic Surgeons' Picks
Pros: Contains peptides, hydrating emollients, and vitamin E to hydrate and neutralize free radicals.
According to Patel, this spot treatment for lines and wrinkles from PCA Skin is a great topical option if you're looking to firm or tighten the neck.
"This serum has a peptide called Argireline that remains active for 12 hours and prevents fine lines and wrinkles from repeated muscle movements," Patel explains. "It also has hydrating and moisturizing ingredients, which together help keep the skin soft and smooth. It can also prolong the effects of Botox or Dysport injections to the wrinkles."
Customer Review: "I love a good peptide serum. This is a new staple in my routine."
Pros: Enhanced with eight firming peptides and contains smart antioxidant technology that minimizes damage, fine lines, and wrinkles.
"This cream uses multiple antioxidants, including red algae, to combat fine lines while also improving the tone and texture of the neck," shares Rovelo. "The peptides in the cream plump, moisturize, and improve crêpey skin and fine lines."
Customer Review: "I have been using Necktifirm neck cream for the last seven years. I recommend 100%. It tightens and smooths the neck."
Pros: Proprietary NIA-114 complex strengthens the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss, improves skin elasticity, and helps even skin tone.
Cons: Not fragrance-free.
"This cream is consistently in the top three of neck creams for many reasons," Rovelo explains. "It is designed to lift, even the skin tone, and improve fine lines and texture. Its proprietary NIA-114 complex strengthens the skin barrier to prevent moisture loss. It hits all of the highlights of neckcare."
Customer Review: "It's a bit on the pricey side, but this neck cream has a really nice consistency to it and is easy to apply. It does have a bit of a scent to it, and I am usually pretty sensitive to scents but this one didn't bother me. It will take time to see any visible results of course, but I do feel like it's helping a bit."
Pros: Targets the skin's volumizing matrix to improve firmness and skin sagging, evens out your skin tone, and is oil-free.
Cons: May take a while to see results for deeper lines.
According to Rovelo, this is another award-winning product. "It contains Neoglucosamine, which is important in generating skin's natural hyaluronic acid, as well as ingredients designed to improve firmness and a more even skin tone," she shares.
Customer Review: "This is a favorite after trying many neck creams. It is thick enough to stay in place and feels very moisturizing without being greasy. I will use it forever."
The Facialist's Picks
Pros: Peptide-based formula, absorbs rapidly into the skin, stimulates collagen, improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulates collagen production.
"The neck is one of the trickiest areas of the skin that is often neglected," notes celebrity facialist Candace Marino. "I'm an advocate of treating the neck just as you would your face. All of your serums and creams should be used from the breasts to the hairline."
"This is a heavy hitter for neck concerns," says Marino. "Its peptide-based formula's delivery system is rapidly absorbed into the skin to help stimulate collagen and instantly improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. The ingredients target all five types of collagen to encourage skin density as we age. It's both a face and neck cream, making it a wonderful choice for someone who is a minimalist and doesn't want too many separate products."
Pros: Contains damage-fighting antioxidants, lightens dark spots and stimulates cell turnover with AHAs, hydrates with hyaluronic acid, and kills acne-causing bacteria with salicylic acid.
According to Marino, this neck-firming cream from IS Clinical is packed with antioxidants to protect the skin and repair environmental damage. "AHAs gently exfoliate by encouraging cell turnover, which helps lighten pigment and dark spots in addition to lessening textural concerns. Additionally, hyaluronic acid moisturizes the skin," she says.
Customer Review: "IS Clinical products never disappoint! The Neck Perfect complex really does what it preaches—lifts and firms. I’m 60 and my neck is the one area I really feel vulnerable, but this light yet concentrated cream is making a difference."
Pros: Great for sensitive skin, formulated with an enzyme complex that digests dead skin cells, and is a great alternative to retinol or other strong BHAs/AHAs.
"This neck-firming treatment is a great choice for anyone with sensitive skin," says Marino. "It is formulated with Restorsea’s proprietary enzymatic complex, which digests dead skin cells in order to reveal a more even and unified skin construction. Studies show their ingredient is a super alternative to glycolic acid and retinol, making it appropriate for anyone who has ultra-sensitive skin or conditions like eczema and psoriasis."
Customer Review: "I've been using this treatment for several years. Just a pea-size amount covers the throat and decolletage. My skin remains supple and firm. So glad to have found Restorsea products."
The Celebrity Makeup Artists' Picks
Pros: Helps lighten discoloration, contains plant stem cells that help lift and sculpt the neck area, improves skin elasticity and firmness.
"I love this lightweight serum because it firms and tightens the skin on the face and around the jaw and neck area," says makeup artist Mai Quynh. "It also helps lighten discoloration on the chest and décolletage area."
Customer Review: "Excellent. I can't be without it."
Pros: Contains retinol and peptides to boost collagen production and helps provide quick results with a powerful antioxidant blend.
"Neck creams are only as effective as their ingredients," notes makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown. "Retinol is a powerful wrinkle fighter, and peptides boost collagen. These are always my top two ingredients I look for in neck creams. Elizabeth Arden extended its popular staple Prevage facial product line and added this coveted neck cream to the product line. It features a powerful antioxidant blend that provides quick results—smoothing and softening the skin while boosting its natural collagen with amino acids."
Customer Review: "I've been using [the] Prevage Anti-Aging Neck and Decollete Cream for about one month now. This is an excellent rich and creamy product! I can actually see a difference—my neck appears firmer and my decollete is not showing as many fine lines. I would highly recommend this product!"
Pros: Fragrance-free, contains firming peptides, and hydrates with glycerin and vitamin E.
"This neck cream from Epicuren works," divulges makeup artist Lisa Aharon. "It tightens while providing hydration—the neck never gets enough! It has a gorgeous texture upon application and is a perfect option if you're searching for a fragrance-free formula."
Customer Review: "I love this product. For my age everyone believes I'm younger than I am. I have few signs of aging to my neck and I am over 60. I highly recommend this product."
Pros: Contains SPF 15, features firming agents to tighten the neck area, and plumps fine lines.
"If you love the smell of roses and want daily SPF built into your neck cream, this is a beautiful option," suggests Aharon. "It has the bonus of skin-renewing ingredients, so it leaves you with a smoother appearance."
Customer Review: "Love the product. The texture is amazing—sinks in, highly moisturizing, not greasy and effective. Would definitely buy again."
Pros: Boosts collagen and elastin production and reduces fine lines on the neck.
"This neck-and-décolletage serum is very spendy, but it's also extremely lightweight and effective," notes makeup artist Autumn Moultrie. She adds that the effects are maximized even further when paired with the 111Skin's cult-loved Y Lift Neck and Décolletage Treatment Mask.
Customer Review: "Have purchased numerous neck creams with, usually, not very positive results. but this one [is] a good one. I have only used this cream for one week now and I can say I actually saw a difference the very first day."
Pros: Has an immediate tightening effect on the skin and soy fibers help fight the loss of firmness.
"This is a great formula with oat seed extract that can immediately make the skin on your neck look softer," says Paris-based makeup artist Andreea Ali. "It has a nourishing and hydrating formula, which really allows you to massage the neck longer if desired."
Customer Review: "I have used the product for three years. When I run out and do not replace it immediately, any substitute is not good, even for a couple of days. I am 70 and will buy this forever! Forget the cost, it is worth it."
This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.