Just as we’re told to switch up our exercises and workouts to strengthen different parts of our body and give them time to recover, Skin Cycling is centered around the idea that we want to cycle through using different products for our nighttime routines in order to maximize results. The concept was made popular by Dr. Whitney Bowe: a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Dr. Whitney Bowe Beauty, who stated on her TikTok channel, “The secret to optimizing your skin health and slowing down the signs of aging are cycling through your skincare.”
With an overabundance of skincare products on the market (anecdotally - Sephora alone carries 78,000 products from 250 separate brands), it can be daunting to decipher what is actually beneficial for your skin. And even though there are numerous incredible ingredients that can do wonders for your complexion, using all of them every night can wreak havoc on your skin. Instead, she suggests exfoliating the night before you use your retinol to reap the best results from both steps.
When we’re young, our skin cells turn over quickly. This means the rate at which we shed dead skin cells revealing younger, more vibrant looking cells happens anywhere from 20 to 28 days. As we get older, this time increases and can take up to 35 or 40 days. As the rate of desquamation (ie: the rate at which we shed dead skin cells) slows down one is left with a duller, rougher looking complexion. The faster we shed dead skin cells, the healthier and plumper our skin tends to look. But! You don’t want to try to rush the cycle (i.e., scrubbing at your face); you instead want to work with it and support it the best you can.
This is where skin cycling comes into play. Though there are many different ways to cycle (and if you want to address specific concerns, it is always best to consult your dermatologist). One of the most popular ways to cycle is a 4-day routine. In fact, Dr. Bowe uses this timeline herself. As posted on her Instagram, her 4-night regimen goes as follows:
Night 1: Exfoliate
Night 2: Retinol
Night 3: Recover
Night 4: Recover
Dr. Bowe states that you do NOT want to exfoliate and use your retinol on the same night - it’s too invasive! Instead, give your skin 24 hours in between the steps. It’s also important to listen to your body and your skin and switch up the ingredients and products that you’re using if necessary. Skin feeling dryer than usual? Consider laying on a thicker moisturizer. Wearing a lot of makeup during the day? Make sure to double cleanse at night.
Here at INNBEAUTY Project, we have ample products to fit into any cycling routine that you see fit. In following Dr. Bowe’s nightly routine, here are the IBP products we most recommend:
Whether doing a single or double, cleansing has never been easier or more efficient than with our Keep It Clean Hydrating Gel Cleanser. Keep It Clean is ophthalmologist tested, safe for makeup removal and contact users. A blend of 10 amino acids combined with ceramides and vegan collagen are tough on dirt and makeup while being gentle on the skin. They work to maintain the resilience and overall healthy appearance of your skin and keep your moisture barrier intact.
Two Ways to Keep It Clean:
To Remove Makeup: Apply 4 pumps to dry hands and massage onto dry skin. Massage in to break up makeup & spf. Add some water and continue to massage into skin. Rinse with warm water.
Regular Cleanse: Apply to wet skin. Thoroughly massage and rinse with warm water.
Green Machine Insta-Glo Resurfacing Acid Mask: Looking for an exfoliating mask packed with AHAs and BHAs? Then Green Machine is for you. Our resurfacing mask has an 8-acid blend (we’re talking glycolic, lactic, salicylic, azelaic, mandelic, tartaric, pyruvic, and citric, baby) combined with 15 green superfoods, vegan squalane and bisabolol to slough away dead skin cells and impurities without over-drying your skin. Apply to clean, dry skin and leave on for 5-7 minutes (5 if you’re on the sensitive side) 2-3 times per week for a smoother and glowier complexion.
Down To Tone: A liquid exfoliant is another great way to work exfoliation into your routine. A liquid exfoliant like Down To Tone is an exfoliating step that allows the other ingredients in your regimen to penetrate deeper into the skin. Our Down To Tone has a 6-acid blend of AHAs, BHAs, and PHAs that work together to visibly dissolve rough, dull skin and the look of blackheads. Sugarcane and sugar maple extract help brighten the appearance of the skin, while Niacinamide helps to strengthen skin’s natura moisture barrier to lock in moisture. This liquid exfoliant is great for those who want to incorporate exfoliation as a more regular staple in their routine. You can use your hands or a cotton round to apply Down To Tone to the skin after cleansing and drying. Be sure to avoid the eye area and any areas that are open wounds. You should start off using Down To Tone 2-3 times per week. See how your skin reacts and slowly build up to using it daily. Always follow up with a moisturizer and wear your SPF during the day.
Retinol Remix: Effective, not aggressive. Again, for those in the back: effective, not aggressive! We here at INN know how real the retinol scaries can be. Fears of dryness, flaking skin, irritation, purging and redness can keep a lot of people from using this incredible ingredient. That’s why our co-founder, Jen Shane, created Retinol Remix: a 1% Retinol Treatment that combines three different types of retinoids that convert to retinoic acid (what skin uses) at different rates. This “time-released” effect helps to mitigate the effects of overloading the skin too quickly. Retinol Remix combines Retinal, Retinol, and a Retinoic Acid Ester, In addition the formula is packed with soothing agents such as Hyaluronic Acid, Glycerin, Centella Asiatica, and German Chamomile to counteract those negative side effects. Apply one pea size (yes, just a pea size) to your forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck, and follow up with a moisturizer. If you are also treating your neck and decollete you can use a second pea for that area. You can even “sandwich” your retinol for extra protection by applying a layer of moisturizer, then your retinol, followed by another layer of moisturizer. If you’re new to retinol, start by applying 1-3 times per week at night (retinol deactivates in sunlight, so you never want to apply during the day). If you’re a more advanced retinol user, you can apply 5-7 times per week. And as always, make sure to wear SPF every day because retinol can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
10+10 More-Sturizer: Formulated with a 10% Vitamin C, 10% Peptide Complex, and a special skin-barrier nourishing blend of Ceramides, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and Plant Cholesterol, this moisturizer is about to be your best friend. Vitamin C works to visibly brighten, and even skin tone while Peptides visibly firm and tighten. In addition, the special 3:1:1 ratio of Ceramides, Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and Plant Cholesterol soothes and nourishes the skin barrier. 10+10 also features Vegan Squalane & Glycerin which are powerful moisturizers that help maintain skin barrier health to keep moisture in and free radicals out. Our More-Sturizer is a great slugging alternative to those thicker more greasy options like Vaseline. It’s lightweight yet heavy-duty: a silky texture that beautifully sinks into the skin while providing long-lasting hydration and protection. Apply morning and night on top of clean skin or your favorite serum.