A 5-Step Skin Care Routine for Your Décolletage
Don’t neglect your neck.
Don’t neglect your neck.
Think back to your skin care routine. It’s probably filled with a dedicated selection of products to clean, exfoliate and moisturize your skin for a healthy complexion. Along with the routine, think about where you’re applying these products. If you’re picturing yourself applying skin care only to your face, you’re missing out on the important neck and décolletage area.
While your complexion definitely deserves TLC, you should extend your skin care routine for your neck and décolletage as well. After all, why should your face get to have all the skin care fun? Below, learn exactly what your décolletage is, how to minimize wrinkles on your décolletage and the steps to caring for the area with insight from Michelle Henry, MD FAAD, board-certified dermatologist and L’Oréal Paris consultant.
The décolletage is usually used to describe an article of clothing with a low neckline. But In the skin care and beauty world, décolletage and décolletage area are used interchangeably to describe the part of your body between your chin and chest (specifically before cleavage). Basically, this French word is used to describe your neck and chest.
The décolletage area is comprised of thin skin that lacks fatty tissue, making it more susceptible to signs of aging like wrinkles, dark spots, and loss of skin elasticity, per the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). This is why it’s so important to use skin care products on your neck and décolletage area since they can age the same (if not faster) as the skin on your face.
In general, it’s impossible to completely rid skin (anywhere) of wrinkles with skin care alone. If you’re currently dealing with wrinkles on your décolletage and you want to get rid of them, you’ll have to look towards expert-applied treatments, like fillers, to plump skin.
When it comes to the skin on your face, neck, décolletage and everywhere else, skin care is used as a preventative way to slow signs of aging and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Simply, you can use your skin care for your fave on the skin below your neck (aka your décolletage area).
Just remember, wrinkles are a normal part of aging and (eventually) unavoidable. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for the skin in your décolletage area, especially from the dangerous UV rays of the sun.
You can absolutely use retinol on your décolletage area, confirms Dr. Henry. Retinol is a powerful ingredient well-known for its ability to minimize signs of aging, like wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. A 2023 study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology discovered that the topical use of retinol was effective in targeting signs of aging including elasticity, texture and crepiness (thin skin that wrinkles and looks like crepe paper).
However, as you begin your décolletage skin care journey, you’ll want to be cautious about the strength of retinol you initially use. “[Skin on the neck] heals more slowly than the face, so because of that we want to exercise caution when we're putting these strong ingredients on the face,” Dr. Henry shares.
Now that you know what your décolletage area is and the importance of skin care for the neck, it’s time to learn how exactly to take care of it. Below, find a step-by-step skin care routine for your décolletage. These steps are very similar to an ordinary skin care routine because (in general) you can use your skin care products on your face, neck and chest. Of course, you can still use skin care specifically designed for your neck and décolletage — it’s entirely up to you and your budget.
The first step in any skin care routine should be cleansing as this can help rid the surface of your skin of any impurities like dirt, makeup and oil that may have built up throughout the day. To save some time, you can start your skin care routine in the shower by using a gentle body wash to cleanse your décolletage.
You can also reach for a gentle facial cleanser like the L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Radiant Smoothing Cream Cleanser, which is formulated to remove all traces of makeup and impurities from your skin. This cleanser also gently exfoliates dead skin cells to strengthen the skin for a smooth and radiant complexion. After you’ve cleansed your décolletage (and your face, while you’re at it), pat — don’t rub — excess water away with a towel to dry off.
This step is where you’ll want to introduce a serum to target concerns like wrinkles, dryness and loose skin. A serum with an ingredient that’ll resurface skin like retinol or a hydrating serum with hyaluronic acid make great additions to your décolletage skin care routine.
You can pick up a retinol neck cream designed for the décolletage area, or use a retinol serum like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Night Serum, 0.3% Pure Retinol once a week — and increasing usage as the skin adjusts to the vitamin. This serum is formulated with glycerin and hyaluronic acid to soothe and moisturize skin as the retinol resurfaces skin texture. After 12 weeks of continuous use, you’ll notice wrinkles are visibly reduced and skin appears brighter and more radiant.
With time, the skin on your face and décolletage will begin to sag and lose its elasticity. To help plump the skin on your neck add L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 1.5% Pure Hyaluronic Acid Serum to your skin care routine. Apply a few drops to your neck and chest and gently massage the serum, which quickly absorbs without leaving behind a greasy texture, into your skin. Pure hyaluronic acid is formulated in this serum to immediately hydrate, and help plump skin after one week of daily use. Your décolletage will appear firmer with minimized fine lines and wrinkles.
As skin matures, one of the biggest changes is the loss of moisture that minimizes skin’s elasticity on the face, neck and chest, leaving it feeling dry and looking loose. From head to toe, you’ll want to keep your skin moisturized, and while it may seem like a time-consuming process, your future skin will thank you. When it comes to the neck, the best décolletage cream is the one that you use. Consistency is key in skin care, so as long as you’re using a nourishing moisturizer you’re helping your skin.
If you’re concerned about greasy moisturizers that leave your neck feeling sticky to the touch, reach for a water-based moisturizer like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives Micro Hyaluronic acid + Ceramides line-plumping water cream. This super lightweight moisturizer applies like a gel to quickly absorb into the skin. The formulation of hyaluronic acid and ceramides work together to attract and lock in moisture, as well as strengthen the skin barrier.
You can combine steps two and three with a retinol-infused moisturizer like L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Pressed Night Moisturizer with Retinol + Niacinamide which is formulated to even skin tone, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and soothe skin. This serum is a great option for those with sensitive skin who need a gentle introduction into the world of retinol with the added niacinamide that soothes and balances the skin. As part of your nighttime routine, apply this moisturizer to your entire face and apply some of the product down to your neck and chest to enjoy the benefits in that area as well.
Editor’s Tip: Just remember, you don’t want to actually drag your face cream (or any skin care) down your skin when you use it. All that does is help gravity sag your skin down faster. Instead, massage skin care in gentle circular motions and lift your fingers up as you apply. You can always start at your chest and pull skin up as you work from décolletage to face.
In the morning, taking sun protection measures before you head outside is key. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 and reapply every two hours — or immediately after swimming or sweating.
When applying sunscreen to your face, extend it down to your neck, chest and any areas exposed to the sun. Try the L’Oréal Paris Bright Reveal Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Daily UV Lotion which protects against UVA and UVB rays that are responsible for skin burning and dangerous cancers, per the Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin will feel fresh and moisturized with the added vitamin C and vitamin E that help protect against free radicals that can speed up skin aging.
While this isn’t a 100 percent necessary step to include in your décolletage skin care routine, using a self-tanner or makeup bronzer can give your skin a natural-looking, sun-kissed glow (without the sun damage) year-round. For a natural-looking tan, add one of the following skin glow enhancers to your décolletage routine:
To avoid those dreaded self-tanner stains on your clothes and sheets, try this self-tanner that goes on clear. The clear mousse gives your décolletage area (and the rest of your body) a long-lasting tan that develops gradually. Allow the mousse to sit on the skin for four to eight hours for a natural-looking glow. If you want a deeper sun-kissed tan, apply another layer of mousse and let it sit for 12 hours before rinsing for a glowy appearance.
Limit the difficult guessing game of how much self-tanner you should be using with these facial drops. Simply add five to seven drops of this self-tanner for face to a dime-sized amount of your favorite moisturizer and apply the mixture to your face. You can repeat this process daily (without fear of getting an orange hue) until your skin has the natural, sun-kissed glow you’re looking for. This serum is fragrance-free and lightweight so it won’t clog your pores when combined with a moisturizer.
For those who prefer a very temporary and wash-off option, reach for one of the four glowy shades of this liquid face highlighter that melts into the skin to blend with various undertones. Applying makeup like this liquid highlighter enhances the skin’s natural glow and illuminates the skin on your face and décolletage area. Your skin will feel continuously hydrated with the added glycerin (a moisture-drawing ingredient) and shea butter ( a nourishing, natural fatty butter). Using your fingers or a brush, add a small amount of this glow lotion to your décolletage to highlight the area, and use a darker color to contour for a defined look.
Photographer: Nelson Huang, Art Director: Hannah Packer, Producer: Becca Solovay, Beauty Content Director: Shalwah Evans, Visual Designer: Sarah Duvivier, Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi, Wardrobe Assistant: Jazmine Alzado, Makeup Artist: Jonet Williamson, Hair Stylist: Akihisa Yamaguchi, Digi Tech: Jacky Jiang, Photo Assistant: Tyler Andrews, Model: Erin Williams