How Much Skincare Product Should You Apply?
Too much effective skincare can lead to irritation, dryness, even breakouts. And we doubt this was what you had in mind when you carefully chose the products in your routine, right? So, let’s have a look at some of the optimum amounts of product you should be applying.
Skincare has moved on since the days of 'cleanse, tone, moisturize and done.' Nowadays, there are all manner of eye treatments, serums, facial oils and retinols to contend with. And while we’d never suggest you overload your skin with gazillions of products, a carefully curated routine that contains a gentle mix of antioxidants, AHAs, night treatments and sun protection will go a long way to achieving younger-looking skin.
But it’s not just about what you put on your skin. Turns out, how you apply them, when you apply them and even how much you apply is just as important. We’ve covered the hows and the whens before, so hopefully by now you’ve nailed the art of skincare layering and applying your products like an absolute pro. But are you sure you’re applying the right amount?
Knowing how much of your skincare essentials you need can be confusing business, so here are some basic rules to follow to get to know your products’ sweet spots.
Always Read The Label
The directions on your skincare labels are not just there to fill space or look nice. They’re important and should always be followed for the best, safest and most effective results. Granted, skincare products don’t need FDA approval but they must still adhere to particular guidelines. And one of these is that both the ingredients and the finished product must be safe to use according to its directions.
This means it’s always vital to read the instructions for a guide on how much you should be using. Obviously these guidelines aren’t set in stone, but they’re a great starting point.
Know The Basic Numbers
All products are different, but generally speaking the amount you should be using rarely differs from the following:
- Cleanser – a dime-sized amount is plenty to effectively cleanse your face and neck. Anything less might not be enough to gently remove bacteria, dirt and oils, whereas using more will just be a waste.
- Toner – go for around four or five spritzes if you’re spraying toner directly onto your face, or enough to saturate an entire cotton round.
- Serum – treatment serums such as antioxidants, AHAs and retinols are super lightweight, but extremely potent, so less is always more. Stick with two or three drops for your entire face and neck.
- Eye Cream – a single pump or pea-sized amount is the sweet spot for both eyes. More than this will overload the delicate skin around your eyes, resulting in puffiness and/or irritation. Not cool.
- Moisturizer – moisturizing creams, lotions and gels vary a lot, but as long as you choose the correct formulation for your skin type, a pea-sized amount should be ideal.
- Sunscreen – the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends about half a teaspoon of sunscreen for your face. This may sound like a lot, but failing to protect your skin increases your risks of premature aging and skin cancers. This is why sunscreen is one of the few products where scrimping is not an option.
Understand That Your Skin Type Isn't The Issue
The amount of product you apply shouldn’t be dictated by your skin type. It’s far more important to choose the right product to suit your needs and concerns than to overload, or indeed scrimp on your application. For example, if you feel like you need to double up on your moisturizer, because your skin still feels dry, tight or dehydrated even after you’ve applied it, you’ve clearly got the wrong formulation and should up your moisturizing game with a richer or heavier cream or balm. Similarly, if you end up applying less moisturizer than the recommended amount because it sits on your skin and makes it feel oily or sticky, your product is likely too rich for your skin. In this case, switch it up with a lighter gel or lotion.
The only exception to this rule is if you wear heavy makeup and feel like your cleanser isn’t doing a good enough job. Gentle is ALWAYS the way to go so stick with a mild cleanser (tailored for your skin type, of course), but try a double cleanse on heavy makeup days.
Spread The Excess Elsewhere
If you do get a little over-excited and end up with too much serum or moisturizer on your hands, smooth any excess over your neck (which you should be doing anyway), décolletage or even on the backs of your hands. This is way more beneficial than smothering your face and increasing your chances of clogging your pores or causing redness or irritation.
And just think of the love you’ll be giving your neck, chest and hands as a bonus.
About Georgia Gould
Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.