You've got all your skincare in check but aren't sure if you're using too much, or too little of each product.
We’re all too used to seeing the words 'drop', ‘dollop’, and ‘swipe’ when reading the labels of our favourite products, but what do these nondescript terms really mean? How much product quantifies a drop, dollop, or swipe?
There are many graphics out there that appear to reveal the amount of each product we should be using but a lot of them vary and say different things. So although this may not be a definitive list, it will certainly help you have a better understanding of how much, or indeed how little you really need for an effective skincare routine.
There are lots of different types of cleanser out there with varying consistencies, so we need to break this category down a little further. Depending on your formula and what your product is being used for (makeup removing or skin cleansing) will depend on the amount of product required. I always recommend a double cleanse in the evening to thoroughly remove makeup and pollutants from the skin - your first cleanse removes the majority of your makeup and the second cleanse leaves your skin actually clean.
Balm - My personal favourite in terms of cleansers, balms are great for your first cleanse, and therefore your makeup removal. In terms of how much we should be using, I would say a dollop the size of a large grape will give you plenty to work with.
Milk - Another great first cleanse/makeup remover. Cleansing milk often come in a pump bottle - if so use 2 pumps which would be roughly the equivalent of a heaped teaspoon.
For your morning cleanse, where makeup removal isn't necessary (I hope you're not sleeping in your makeup!) a level teaspoon, a dollop the size of a 20p, or a single pump of your product will be enough. The same applies for your second cleanse - slightly less product is required than the first cleanse.
Acids & Toners
I would always advise toners are used on cotton pads, rather than cotton balls as cotton balls are thick, absorbent and waste too much product and once wet, they can fall apart easily making them hard to work with.
Dampen a flat cotton pad until two thirds of the pad are wet, then use both sides across the face. For pre-soaked pads, one pad will do the full face used on both sides.
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 your pores.
Most of the graphics you see online will suggest a ‘pine nut per eye’ and I would say this is pretty accurate. If your eyes are dry or showing signs of ageing, then you may want slightly more. But for younger skins, one pine nut on each of your ring fingers, and gently applied to the eyes, is sufficient. You need enough to cover the entire orbital area, over and below your eye without saturating the skin. Using too much eye cream can cause puffiness if the area absorbs too much product from excess application.
Serums & Oils
This one is where I have to disagree with the majority of recommendations out there as it is often suggested a pea sized amount of product will be sufficient! I don't know about you, but if I tried to apply a pea sized amount of product, it wouldn't go much further than my fingertips and would disappear into nothing. Having said this, you don't need to be heavy handed with it either. Serums are some of your most active products so you don't need much!
Serums and oils tend to come in a pump bottle or with pipette style dispensers, meaning they are usually easy to gauge, and designed to be dispensed one pump/a few drops per application. However, the richness and potency of the active ingredients all have a role to play in how much you should use. You will get to grips with the consistency of your products and will know how much feels right for the size of your face. If I had to compare it to an object, about the size of 20p is what you’re going for, on the whole when applying to the face and neck/decliotage.
You don't want to go overboard with your moisturiser! Depending on your skin and the size of your face (you may laugh but some of us have larger faces than others), a pea sized amount should be sufficient for the face and neck, especially if it's a clinical brand. Choosing clinical over high street means you're more likely to get products that fully penetrate the skin and have more potent ingredients. You don't want to be left feeling greasy after applying moisturiser - you want just enough to cover the skin and provide adequate hydration.
This category is key! Not only because many people so often get it wrong but because SPF is about protection. Not applying enough product can be damaging to the skin and if you aren't applying the correct amount, you won't be getting the level of protection stated on the bottle.
Most of the advice on Pinterest graphics suggests a grape sized amount of SPF. Not only is this wrong, it’s dangerous.
Whilst on the face of it you could say that a grape would suffice for the face and neck, skin cancer specialists recommend a heaped teaspoon for the face, neck and upper chest area. This needs to be really worked into the skin and where possible, reapplied every few hours.
For your body, a tablespoon per limb is the recommended quantity. A tablespoon. One for each arm and each leg. If you follow the ‘grape’ advice you are most certainly setting yourself up for one hell of a sunburn, and nobody wants that!
Shampoo & Conditioner
Now, whilst it's widely disputed about how much product is recommended for your hair care, each person has their preferred way of washing their hair. Most of us are using way too much shampoo - I use roughly the size of a 10p. It is then recommended that you emulsify the product in your hands before applying it to your hair, concentrating on the roots. If necessary, add more water for a richer lather. In most cases, there is no need for additional product.
One important thing to note, however, is that shampoo cleanses not only your hair, but your scalp, whilst conditioner not only acts as a moisturiser for your hair, it soothes and repairs the balance of your scalp. To only use shampoo on your roots/scalp and conditioner on the ends of your hair leaves the hair unbalanced and very prone to static! So make sure you use your conditioner throughout the full lengths of your hair and across the scalp. I always recommend my clients do a thorough condition prior to any hair appointment as without it, the static is a nightmare!
I hope this has aided in dispelling some myths surrounding how much product we really should be using and you can start getting to grips with your skincare. The truth is that with varying consistencies, textures and thickness across all formulas, it’s impossible to have a one-rule-fits-all approach, so do use your discretion when working with your individual products. If you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your product, these are the general guidelines that can (and should) be followed, tweaking slightly where necessary.
Image 1 - Pexels, Andrea Piacquadio
Image 2 - Pexels,
Image 3 - Pexels,
Image 4 - Pexels,
Image 5 - Pexels,
The views expressed on this site are the author’s own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.
I happily recommend products through my blog and this has become a key component of my Blog and Instagram channels. Any recommendation is based on personal experience – or the trusted experience of a tester/colleague – but everyone’s skin is different and something that works for me may not necessarily work for you in the same way. This also applies to allergic reactions. It is impossible to anticipate allergies and therefore I am not liable should any irritation or allergic reaction occur. Please use product recommendations at your own discretion and risk.