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The 10 Best Luxury Beauty Brands and Products for Skin Cycling

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The latest Tik Tok trend to catch our eye is skin cycling: a 4-day regimen meant to keep faces healthy, clear and glowing. If you haven’t tried it, here’s your chance. We’ve rounded up the 10 best luxury beauty brands and products for each phase of a skin cycling regimen, including exfoliators, retinoids, hydrators, and moisturizers. These are not cheap – but healthy skin is priceless, right?

what is skin cycling and why is it so popular right now?

Every so often, a viral trend on TikTok that we can actually get behind reaches us Millennials. Like tenniscore. And Coastal Grandma.

Next up? Skin cycling. With 122.3M views, the practice name coined by Whitney Bowe, MD, a New York City–based board-certified dermatologist, might sound intimidating. Like Face Gym on steroids. But its not as laborious and strenuous as it may sound. Whew!

As modern skin care has evolved, with more and more active ingredients like retinoids and chemical exfoliators, dermatologists have started recommending simpler routines. The skin cycling regime is a 4-day cycle of alternating facial care products.

Top luxury brands and products for each phase of a skin cycling regimen, including exfoliators, retinoids, hydrators, and moisturizers. 
Top luxury brands and products for each phase of a skin cycling regimen, including exfoliators, retinoids, hydrators, and moisturizers.

The first night is for exfoliating with a chemical acid like glycolic or salycylic acid. The second night is for retinoids: powerful formulas using Vitamin A derivatives that can drastically improve skin’s texture (but which can often be irritating). On the third and fourth night, the skin is allowed to recover with products emphasizing hydration and moisture. Finally, rinse and repeat.

As with so many things in life, perhaps less really is more.

Ahead, we’re featuring some of the top products for each phase of your skin cycling regimen. As we head into winter, it’s all about thoughtful layering. With your clothing and with your skin care.

The 10 best luxury beauty brands and products for each phase of a skin cycling regimen

Skin Cycling Day 1: Exfoliators

Skin health expert Kate Somerville explains that exfoliation is simply the removal of dead surface skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin. While washcloths might have been efficient for this task when we were kids, adult skin typically needs something a little more.

Enter chemical exfoliation, which relies on a number of substances – from acids to biological enzymes – to help dissolve surface skin cells. The results promised are clearer pores and improved skin tone. Exfoliation also helps foster other serums to penetrate more deeply into the skin.

For Day 1 of skin cycling, here are some of the most effective luxury brand exfoliators on the market.

1. Tata Harper Regenerating Exfoliating Cleanser

The cult favorite green beauty brand Tata Harper has a 100 percent natural formula that addresses dullness and uneven texture with apricot microspheres and natural BHA from white willow bark extract. The elegant citrus scent elevates your daily face washing routine and the addition of an olive oil liquid crystal complex means your skin never feels too tight or dry.

luxury products for skin cycling

BUY NOW: $88.00.

2. Summer Fridays AHA Exfoliating Solution

Formulated with a concentrated solution of 16 percent alpha hydroxy acids, this solution is meant to be swept over the face after cleansing. It includes three powerful ingredients of lactic acid, niacinamide, and glycolic acid to visibly clarify the skin and promote cell turnover for a smoother, more even-toned appearance overnight.

luxury products for skin cycling

BUY NOW: $56.00.

3. Skinceuticals Retexturing Activator

We can always count on clinical skincare line Skinceuticals for effective, science-backed results. This advanced resurfacing serum combines exfoliation and hydration to activate the skin’s regeneration response.  The potent formula surpasses the results of a 20% daily glycolic treatment with a proprietary concentration of a paradoxal compound, kombucha and hyaluronic acid. Expect smoother and more youthful looking skin that can even go makeup free!

luxury product for skin cycling

BUY NOW: $86.00.

4. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Resurfacing Night Serum

This lightweight serum combines glycolic, tartaric, citric, and salicylic acids to resurface congested skin by lifting away dead skin cells to visibly improve skin tone and texture. Fine lines, wrinkles, and pores look erased while revealing the skin’s natural clarity and luminosity –  all while you sleep. The formulation contains raspberry fruit extract –an effective antioxidant to soothe and rehydrate.

luxury product for skin cycling

BUY NOW: $90.00.

Skin Cycling Day 2: Retinoids

For the uninitiated, retinoids are defined by the American Academy of Dermatology Association as a catch-all for an array of vitamin A-based products used on the skin. Names like adapalen or tretinoin might sound familiar to people who have dealt with acne. Its relative, retinol, can be widely found in skin care products at every price point. Retinoids aid in skin cell production, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And giving skin that “lit from within” glow.

Consider one of these luxury beauty brands’ retinoids for Day 2 skin cycling.

5. Chantecaille Retinol Intense+

Luxury French beauty brand, Chantecaille’s night cream contains twice the amount of retinol to boost the skin’s natural healing properties and help regenerate cells. In addition, niacinamide, vitamin C and green decaffeinated coffee help to lighten hyperpigmentation and brighten skin tone. Users rave about its gentleness and easy absorption despite the potent formula.

luxury product for skin cycling

BUY NOW: $142.00.

6. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil

Ideal for people with sensitive skin, this oil contains retinoid ester – a gentler version of traditional retinol. It’s supported by a complex of lightweight but nutritious botanical oils that soothe the appearance of surface redness for a calm, visibly even-toned complexion. Simply apply three to four drops onto clean, dry skin on the face and massage the oil from blue to clear.

BUY NOW: $105.00.

7. MZ Skin Retinol Skin Booster

Dr. Maryam Zamani’s high performance products combine pioneering ingredients and trusted actives with luxurious textures. This lightweight night serum contains 2% encapsulated vitamin A to re-build, smooth and repair the skin’s surface. If you’re wondering like we were, encapsulation helps target skin cells where it would provide the most benefit and enhance skin penetration.

BUY NOW: $165.00.

8. Kate Somerville Resurfacing Overnight Peel

Inspired by the visibly transformative results achieved by chemical peels at Kate’s clinic, this expertly formulated leave-on peel gets spa results overnight. Ceramide-encapsulated retinol visibly smooths wrinkles and firms with minimal irritation for more luminous skin. In a clinical trial, 90% of users reported softer and smoother skin after two weeks.

BUY NOW: $98.00.

Skin Cycling Days 3 and 4: Hydrators and Moisturizers

On days three and four – especially for those with sensitive skin – it’s important to give your skin barrier recovery time. On these two days, add nourishment in the form of a serum, oil or cream-based moisturizer. As dermatologist Dianne Davis told Prevention, look for “ingredients that will penetrate deep into the skin like glycerin, sorbitol, and hyaluronic acid, which all work to attract and retain water in the skin.” In addition, look for vitamin E and argan oil, which are great picks because they are “water-based and are absorbed easily.”

Here are some luxury beauty brands and skincare products – hydrators and moisturizers – perfect for Days 3 and 4 of skin cycling.

9. Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisture Cream

If you’re committed to skin cycling in the winter, you need to have a heavy duty moisturizer. We love this one by Bobbi Brown. With vitamin C, argireline peptide, and hyaluronic acid, it provides soothing and plumping coverage without clogging pores.

BUY NOW: $110.00.

10. Sisley-Paris Black Rose Skin Infusion Cream

Crafted with a silky texture that transforms into micro-droplets of water, this unique formula absorbs quickly to provide deep hydration to the skin. Rare and precious black rose extract moisturizes and smooths the skin while alpine rose extract combats dullness.

BUY NOW: $202.00.

11. Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Serum

We finally tried this cult classic this year and it lived up to all the hype. The serum contains a blend of powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrients including avocado, neroli, rose, turmeric, sea buckthorn, and marigold to help boost cell turnover, boost its elasticity and fight signs of aging. It smells divine and immediately makes the skin look refreshed and radiant.

BUY NOW: $195.00.

12. Dr. Barbara Sturm Hyaluronic Serum

The before and after photos from this product need to be seen to be believed. Hyaluronic Acid is a potent humectant and binds existing water into the skin so it can’t evaporate. Dr. Barbara Sturm’s formulation of low and high weighted hyaluronic acid molecules works at both the surface and deeper skin layers for ultimate hydration while preventing evaporation. Say goodbye to dehydrated skin.

BUY NOW: $320.00.

The top luxury products for each phase of your skin cycling regimen.

That’s the low down on skin cycling. And the best luxury brands and products for each phase of a skin cycling regimen, including exfoliators, retinoids, hydrators, and moisturizers. What do you think, dear reader? Ready to take a spin?

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