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HOW-TO: Your Guide to the Perfect Skincare Routine Under $50

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SDSU chapter.

By now, you’ve probably heard of the term skin cycling that went viral on TikTok. If you haven’t, it basically consists of chemical exfoliating one night, retinol the next night, and then the following two nights you “recover” or “barrier repair,” which are fancy terms for hydrating your skin. This can be done by moisturizing or even slugging. This 4-night cycle is easy and perfect for every budget. 

Night 1: Exfoliate

To start your new routine you want to cleanse with your favorite cleanser and pat your face dry, then apply your exfoliant. When we hear the word exfoliate, we automatically think of a facial scrub; but, actually, a product made with exfoliating acids is preferred since it’s gentler on your skin and more effective in addressing your skin issues. It is recommended to use a leave-on product instead of those you have to wash off, however, the preference is yours! A few minutes after applying your product, you want to end with a moisturizer. If you are looking for affordable chemical exfoliants, here is the guide for you: The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Exfoliating Toning Solution ($10) or  The INKEY List Glycolic Acid Toner ($12).

Night 2: Retinol

Once again, you cleanse and pat your face completely dry to avoid irritation. To further avoid this, you can moisturize sensitive parts of your face (like under your eyes) before applying your retinoid. The key here is to remember that less is more! Don’t overdo it with retinol because it can be very drying. If needed, you can use the sandwich technique and apply moisturizer after. Some inexpensive products are: Versed Press Restart Gentle Retinol Serum ($22) or  The INKEY List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum ($11).

Night 3 & 4: RecoverFor recovery night, after cleansing you can leave the skin a little bit damp to help seal in the moisture once your serum is applied. For this, products with hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or niacinamide are ideal. After your serum, you want to go ahead and apply a moisturizer to really hydrate the skin. You can also slug on recovery nights. As weird as it sounds, it is basically slathering your face with petroleum jelly and keeping it on overnight. Again, some inexpensive products include: The INKEY List Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum ($9) or Naturium Quadruple Hyaluronic Acid Serum 5% ($16).

Hi! I am currently a fourth year marketing major with a minor in portuguese and digital and social media studies! I'm really interested in digital marketing, and want to make a difference in business using new innovative ways through social media platforms. My hobbies include reading, playing piano, figure skating, and art!