When it comes to skin care, it seems to endlessly be about the type of products and number of steps in daily routines, but never about how much product should actually be used. Directives usually advise to “slather on” moisturizer, “dab” eye cream, and “coat faces in a thin layer” of serum but, really, what the heck does any of that even mean? What is the correct amount of skincare product to use? It turns out that size really does matter! Too much of one product risks wasting product, and too little of another could leave you with beauty issues.
It’s impossible to have a one-rule-fits-all mentality. However, if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your product, there are general guidelines that can (and should) be followed, tweaking slightly where necessary.
Exfoliator & Face Mask
A radiant complexion is possibly the most universal beauty goal, and smooth skin is the easiest way to get there. And yet, the rules of exfoliation are often somewhat opaque, it's recommended to use a thin spread, approximately a 20p coin. Too much can be harsh to the skin, too little won't do the job as affectively.
Face Mapping - What you face is telling you.
The power of cleanser is far less to do with how much of it used, and more to do with how often you're doing it. Generally speaking a 20p-sized blob for cleansing is enough to massage around the face and easy to remove with a warm flannel. Try doing this twice in the evening, as one cotton pad may not be enough to remove all residue.
Serum and moisturiser
When it comes to facial hydration, rules on how much should be used is a little hazy. The richness and potency of the active ingredients all have a role to play in how much you should use.
More of something doesn't necessarily mean better hydration. Molecular weight and pH both determine how a product/ingredient penetrates. Actually, putting 'more' on can sometimes waste product. For serum, a 20p-sized pump is recommended. Afterwards, a green-pea-sized serving of moisturiser is usually plenty for the face and neck.
The skin around your eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the skin everywhere else on your face. It is also the area where most milia (small white bumps that form as a result of keratin build-up underneath the skin's surface) exist, so it's crucial not to overdo it and block pores. A serving of a grain of rice per eye is enough. Using too much eye cream can cause puffiness if the area absorbs too much product.
This is where the amount of product that you use is seriously important. Besides the fact that sun cream should be applied every two hours after application, the amount of sun cream that you're applying could be the difference between sun protection and serious skin damage.
It's important to follow individual instructions as different formulas have varying consistencies. However, as a general rule for cream formulas, the face, neck and chest area need at least 1 heaped teaspoon. When it comes to your legs, you'll need more like a dessertspoon for each. If you don't apply enough sun cream, you will not be getting the protection stated on the bottle.
Shampoo and conditioner
It turns out you really don't need anywhere near as much shampoo as you may have initially thought. A 10p size blob should be enough if its properly emulsified through your hands before applying it to your hair, making sure to concentrate on roots. If necessary, add more water. In most cases, there is no requirement for additional product.
When it comes to conditioner, the amount of conditioner you use is solely dependent on how much hair you have. However, as a rough guide, start with the same amount of conditioner as you did shampoo, emulsify and apply to the roots as before, building up if you need more. Concentrate on mid lengths and ends as this is generally the most porous area of the hair.
Body wash and lotion
Portion control applies to your body care habits, too. Products targeted at bodies should be used liberally to ensure enough coverage. For body wash and shower gels, a 50p-sized portion on arms, and then the same again for legs, back and body.
As for lotion, the same 50p rule for hands and arms, but when it comes to the body, using an amount equal to the size of an orange segment for each area is recommended.