Skincare can sometimes feel overwhelming. If you worry about wasting precious product or overloading your skin, we’ve compiled a fool proof guide to the optimal amount of product to use for every step of your skincare routine. And while this is a great rule of thumb to follow, it is worthwhile remembering that all products are formulated differently, so for the best results, always check the usage instructions for each product you’re using.
The texture of your preferred cleanser is one of the main factors that determines the amount of product you’ll need. If you prefer a foaming or gel cleanser, which expands and lathers up with water, you’ll find you need less, whereas if you like to use a balm or oil cleanser, you can afford to be more liberal as dry skin tends to absorb the product as you work it in and you need a sizeable amount to create slip and flexibility for massaging.
Although it may sound silly, the size of your face also influences the amount of product needed – the larger your face, the more cleanser you’ll need! If you like to double cleanse to ensure any traces of stubborn makeup are completely removed, we suggest using half the amount of cleanser on the second go so as not to strip all of the natural oils out of your skin.
Exfoliants, Toners, Essences
If you’re using a physical exfoliant or scrub with a grainy texture, use a raspberry-sized amount. This should be enough to massage into your face and neck, just ensure you avoid the delicate area around your eyes. Be careful not to over-do it, especially if your skin is on the sensitive side, as the small grains can tear or rip skin and be slightly abrasive.
If you’re using a chemical exfoliant in a liquid formula, moisten a cotton pad so it is sodden but not completely saturated and sweep over the face once. Again, don’t over-do if your skin is on the sensitive side. For liquid toners and essences, use enough to moisten one side of a cotton pad (as above) and simply swipe over your entire face once. Or, if you prefer to apply using your hands, drop 3 – 4 drops into the palm of your hand, press together and and gently press into skin.
“Applying a face mask will always depend on the specific mask and its consistency,” explains Dr Dennis Gross, “but essentially you want a thick layer applied all over the face, avoiding your eyes and lips.” For a cream or clay mask, we recommend using the equivalent of a two pound coin; it’s quite difficult to use too much and as the product will be removed there is less concern when it comes to drying out skin or causing sensitivity.
Less is more when it comes to eye cream, these formulas contain rich emollients which have been designed to absorb deeply and so only a small amount is required. Space NK Training Manager Niamh Butler suggests, “using the equivalent of a single grain of rice to cover both eyes.” Try not to overload this very thin and delicate skin around the eyes, which is semipermeable, with product as too much could lead to irritation and puffiness and cause undereye concealer to slip off during the day.
Serums are packed with a high concentration of hardworking actives and so while it’s tempting to douse skin in their thin, silky formulas, hold off and instead stick to a less is more mantra. Due to the varying concentration of ingredients and consistency of each product, Dr Dennis Gross suggests always consulting the packaging first, however as a rule of thumb recommends using 3 drops or 1-2 pumps gently pressed all over skin.
Season and skin type can affect how much moisture or hydration your skin needs. Fair complexions with thinner skin often require more product, whereas dark complexions with thicker, more oily skin require less. On average, we recommend using the equivalent of an almond-sized amount of moisturiser.
Dr Dennis Gross recommends applying one third of the moisturiser to the forehead and then to both cheeks and “gently massage into the entire face by applying more pressure with your fingertips as you feel the product penetrate. Use the moisturiser on your neck and décolleté, which requires a little less than double the amount you used for your face.”
You can generally use a bit more face oil than you would serum, because you tend to need more when massaging into to skin. “If the face oil does not have active ingredients, you can use about six drops in your palm and then from there dab small amounts evenly onto from your face,” says Dr Dennis Gross.
“According to dermatologists, most people do not apply enough SPF or the recommended amount of sunscreen,” says Niamh. “When that happens, you get a square root effect on the level of protection, i.e. if someone applies a 1/3 of the recommended amount of SPF50 that only corresponds to factor SPF 5–7.” According to scientists from King’s College University, the below is the correct amount that should be applied regularly when exposing skin to UV rays.
On each arm: at least half a teaspoon (3ml)
On the face: at least half a teaspoon (3ml)
On the neck: at least half a teaspoon (3ml)
On each leg: a full teaspoon (6ml)
On the front of your body: a full teaspoon (6ml)
On the back of your body: a full teaspoon (6ml)