When Winter White Goes Wrong: How to make your neck match your face

white-neck-flickrs-juicy-carolinaFunny thing, necks.  We rarely give them much consideration.  When you think about it, your neck is merely a pedestal for the work of art that is your face, isn’t it?   Think again, girls.

Your neck is your face’s date to a ball. While you can arrive stag, wearing a scarlet gown that screams ‘look at me’, your appearance is more awe inspiring when you arrive with a gorgeous man who is wearing a matching scarlet hanky in his tuxedo jacket.  It says to the crowd, ‘Bask in the divine happiness which stands before you.  Admire our unity.’

Which is exactly what your neck should do for your face.  It is the man in the fabulous tux with matching hanky.  It UNIFIES the skin on your face with the skin on your decollete.  It’s not just a patch of go-between skin, your neck.  It is an isthmus of color.

I fear I’m losing you.  Here’s what I want you to do.  When you take your makeup off tonite, stand back and stare in the mirror with your robe open. (Not ALL the way, just the top bit)  Now, look–really LOOK at the difference in the color of the skin on your face, your neck, and your chest.  Sometimes you’ll see three different colors, sometimes just two.  But it is RARE to see only one tone.  There are reasons for this:

1. we use sunscreen on our face but not our neck or chest.  Therefore, our chests carry the effects of sun damage: freckles, sunspots, age spots, and a general darkness, thanks to all those cleavage baring shirts we love.

2. even though we forget sunscreen on our necks, the sun rarely finds its way there.  Therefore, our necks are nearly ALWAYS five shades lighter than our chests.

3. we’ve only recently begun to be vigilant about sunscreen on our faces, and truth be told, we often forget (especially in the winter) to apply it at all.  Therefore, our faces are often THREE or FOUR shades darker than our neck.

So what’s a girl to do?  Are we supposed to match the color on our necks, or the color on our faces?  If you choose a lighter foundation to match your neck, your chest won’t match (unless you apply makeup down the front of your shirt)  If your match the color on your face, your neck won’t match, and you’ll have that old telltale “Foundation Line”, even though you’ve actually taken the time to color match.

The solution? Match your tinted moisturizer or foundation to your face.  Then, use BRONZER to warm up the color on your neck. Simple as that.  Now, I go through bronzer love/hate phases.  Sometimes I like a snow petal look: a porcelain face with rosebud cheeks, skip the sun kissed look.  But if you’ve gone skiing, hiking, snowboarding, or have been just standing around outside admiring the winter, you’ve gotten kissed by the sun and your face is carrying a hint of red, if not an outright tan.  Bronzer (lightly applied) across the forehead, down the nose, on the chin, and at the cheekbones will mediate that redness, and then you’ll sweep it UNDER your chin and down the sides of your neck to close the deal.  And even if you’ve avoided the outdoors for the past few months, you’re likely not a porcelain doll.  You’ve got years of built-in color that’s just dying to be spread around evenly.

If you’re wearing your hair in a ponytail, don’t forget to sweep a little bronzer on the back of your neck as well.

Avoid the line.  A little powder bronzer is all it takes to even out the whole of your complexion.  Remember, you’re more than just a pretty face.  (You’re a pretty neck and chest, too)

Here are a few bronzers I particularly like:

100-percent-bronzer100% Pure Cocoa (that’s right, chocolate) Pigmented Bronzers

physcians-formula-bronzerPhysician’s Formula Organic Wear Bronzers (the pressed versions only, available at Walgreen’s) My favorite is the neutral bronzer with pink bits in it. Never orangey.

Dr.Hauschka Bronzing PowderDr. Hauschka’s Bronzing Powder: super light and silky!

top photo courtesy of flickr’s Juicy Carolina


3 thoughts on “When Winter White Goes Wrong: How to make your neck match your face

  1. I love your posts! So glad I found your site! Do you mind sharing the exact color for the Physicians Formula bronzer that you use? I picked up “natural glow bronze organics, 2240” and then compared it to your photo and it looks too dark. I think they might have changed the names over the last little?? I found one that looks similar on drugstore.com and it is for “light skin” #2159. Thank you, thank you!!

    • The “light skin” shade is a good bet, Erin. With bronzers in general, (and the reason I specifically don’t like the PF organic loose powder bronzers) I see a LOT of orange tones. Women with a substantial depth to their skin color can get away with bronze-y bronzers, but fair skinned women must take extra care. You risk looking Oompa-Loompa-like (the movie, not the book) or, with bronzers that are too dense, you can look rather dirty. Hobo-esque. So the key is to find a pale, neutral brown bronzer. BONUS if it has pink mixed in, since when we tan, we invariably go a bit pink, as well. Some PH bronzers (and others) have pink bits in the midst of the bronze pressed powder, and some have pink to the side, allowing you to choose whether you’ll use it as a blush, bronzer, or mix. I’ve noticed that PH has done a variety of natural bronzers in the last few years, from their Organic line, to a line called Healthy, to a new one called “Happy Booster”, which includes “happy-making botanical ingredients”. I haven’t had a chance to check out the latest version, and can’t comment yet on ingredients, but I’m interested. And while I love 100% Pure’s bronzers because they’re so freakin’ clean, and contain CHOCOLATE, they must be used with a VERY light hand. The color is quite dense. Upon last check, there were two shades, one being a cinnamon-y bronzer (with a tinge of brick red to it) and the other a hot chocolate shade. But, while I’m not a fan of fillers, with bronzers it might be easier to learn to apply brown color with a product which is less dramatic, initially, and for that, PH Organic Wear pressed bronzers fit the bill. Happy experimenting!;)

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