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Industry • Best Practice

Skin Cycling: How to Coach Clients on This TikTok Trend (& Dermatologist Hack!)

Here’s everything your staff needs to know about this viral beauty trend

Sure, social media has contributed more than its fair share of questionable beauty advice — but it’s not all bad. Sometimes the (skin) cream does rise to the top of the algorithm and the latest viral trend includes genuine insight from experts. 

Skin cycling, as it turns out, is precisely that. A catchy name for dermatologist-recommended skin care strategy, skin cycling is all over the internet, and chances are your clients will want any tips you can give them to get it to work for them.

So… what is skin cycling?

Skin cycling is the practice of breaking your skin care routine into a multiday (four is the standard) process. Some days are for preparing the skin to receive active ingredients, some are for applying those active ingredients, and some are for rest and recovery. 

According to experts, skin cycling has taken off in large part due to the rise in complexity of daily skin care regimes — and the large number of products they could include. These rigorous routines could actually do more harm than good, which is why skin cycling simplifies the process and spreads it out over a longer period to improve results. 

Here’s what a traditional cycle looks like: 

  • Day 1: Your clients should begin the cycle with exfoliation. Tell them to apply their favorite leave-on chemical exfoliant and moisturizer combo on the first night. 

  • Day 2: The second night is where they break out the big guns: their retinoids. They should apply this after thoroughly washing their face and letting it dry… completely. If they’re new to this active ingredient, they might also want to use a little moisturizer on any particularly sensitive areas before using their retinoid. 

  • Day 3: The third night is when your clients let their skin rest. They can do a little washing, moisturizing, hydrating, etc. — but nothing crazy.

  • Day 4: Same as the third: Your clients must focus on letting their skin recover.   

A little inside baseball on skin cycling

Here are a few more pieces of advice that you can use to help your clients get the most out of this approach:

  • The four-day schedule isn’t for everyone. Although many have found the standard format works great, tell your clients they may need to experiment a bit before they find the cycle for them. For example, some may do best with an extra rest day between exfoliating and applying the retinoid, while others may find they don’t need two whole days dedicated to recovery.

  • Skin cycling can be effective at every price point. One of the best things about skin cycling is that it can work for anyone, regardless of their beauty product budget. This is because skin cycling boosts their products' effectiveness by ensuring their skin is fully recovered before it is treated again. No more wasting product by using it on skin that isn’t ready for it.

  • Those with skin conditions should take extra precautions. While this is a good rule of thumb most should follow, those with rosacea, eczema, or other skin conditions need to talk to their dermatologist before trying skin cycling. This consultation will ensure they’re aware of any risks and that they start the routine on the right foot. 

Skin cycling and a great customer experience

From beauty basics to advanced techniques like skin cycling, your staff’s knowledge will help ensure they can consistently give your clients the best possible advice — and, ultimately, provide the best possible customer experience. 

But that’s just part of the recipe. 

For the rest, read our guide to optimizing the customer experience. Packed with insights gleaned from an in-depth survey of 800 beauty clients, “The Perfect Salon: A Data-Driven Guide to Creating the Ideal Client Experience” will help you sell more beauty products, build long-term customer loyalty, and so much more.

Want more tips on how to run your spa (without running yourself ragged)? This guide can help

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