October 27 2021 – Talya Cayce
Size does matter when it comes to knowing how much of which skincare product you should be using to get the best results. With the wide variety of skincare products in your daily skincare regimen, it can get daunting and outright confusing knowing exactly how much or how little of each product to use.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules. How much you should use depends on different aspects, such as your skin type, consistency and texture of the product, concentration of active ingredients, and even the kind of skincare product, i.e., eye cream, serum, toner. There are, however, general guidelines accepted by dermatologists and skincare experts.
The Right Amount for the Right Stuff
Using too much product will most likely cause clogged pores and as a consequence, breakouts. Slapping too much product on the skin is not only ineffective and a waste of product, it’s also doing the opposite of having supple and clear skin.
On the other hand, using too little of a product is likewise ineffective. Your skin will not have the recommended amount of active ingredients and in the case of SPF products, too little amount will make your skin barrier under-protect from environmental and sun damage.
Often the words like a ‘drop’ or ‘coin-sized’ appear when looking for information on how much to use. But what really qualifies for a ‘drop’ and ‘coin-sized’ differ?
First, check the product label for the recommended amount of use per application. If you feel you need more or less of a certain product, below are general guidelines to how much of a type of skincare product you will need.
Let’s start with the Cleanser.
Cleansers come in different thicknesses. The amount of cleanser you will need will be dependent on how much makeup you wear, the thickness of the cleanser, the cleanser type, and your skin type. The cleanser is the skincare product that you should have more rather than a smaller amount, about a dime to a nickel-sized coin will be sufficient in the morning.
In the evening, you might need to do two cleansing applications, massage the product into the skin to break up oil, make-up, and other unwanted substances. Too little cleanser won’t be able to get rid of all traces of the day’s make-up. Use micellar water or a cleanser specific for waterproof makeup to avoid rubbing on the sensitive eye area.
For foam cleansers, a golf ball-sized dollop is ideal. Gel cleansers, a pea-sized portion is more than enough. Add some water and lather up or emulsify first in your palms rather than straight away applying to your face.
Toners refresh your skin and balance the skin’s pH. They also remove residual cleanser as well as chlorine and other drying minerals from the tap, which you may have used to rinse off your cleansers.
Some people like to spray toners directly onto their skin, others like to use toning cloths or cotton pads. For toning sprays, two to three spritzes will suffice. Pat gently afterward for maximum absorption. If a cotton pad is preferred, 4 or more spritzes on the cotton pad, or enough toner to get a moist but not dripping wipe all over the face and neck.
To exfoliate, brighten or firm up your skin, facial serum is the most effective at-home treatment to target your skin’s condition. Facial serums have a high concentration of active ingredients and are often pricey. Apply too little and you won’t see any results. Too much and you’ll likely get clogged pores in the least, and worst case, blotchy, damaged skin. You won’t get faster results by applying more serum, skin needs time for serums to work properly.
Some facial serums come in pipettes or droppers which makes it easier to dispense. Depending on the area of skin you’re applying on, two to three drops will be all you’ll need. Double it if using the treatment on your neck as well. For face serums that are in cream or lotion form, apply a pea-sized amount to cover the face in a thin layer. Always check the product label or packaging for specific instructions.
All skin types can benefit from moisturizers, even oily and breakout-prone skin. Some skin types can skip the moisturizer if using a super hydrating serum. The amount you need depends once again on your skin type and the thickness of the product. Start with a small pea-sized amount, add a bit more as needed. You won’t need a ton of moisturizer, especially if you’re using a face serum before, a face oil after, or both.
The eye area is a major problem for most that the tendency is to apply too much eye cream. Like the moisturizer, too much eye cream will not speed up the sought-after result. It may, most likely, worsen the condition of the area. It will also attract eye make-up to create creases and mini pockets. Moreover, some of the excess eye cream can migrate into the under-eyes, worsening any existing eye-bags problem.
Half a pea or a grain of rice is good enough for both eyes in the morning. And a little bit more in the evening, allowing the cream to work while the skin will be having long hours of dryness. Make sure to pat gently and not rub the product into the skin.
Masks come in a variety of forms and active ingredients. Sheet masks users won’t need to watch how much to use, only how often. Sleeping masks are used as the last step in your skincare routine. A pea or dime-sized is all that’s needed, around the same amount as a moisturizer or night cream, and in lieu of those.
Creamy masks that are thinner in consistency or peel-off masks may require two quarter-sized portions to cover the face in an even layer.
Clay masks may require three quarter-sized portions or more. Clay should be sufficiently thick and evenly applied on the skin to absorb oil and impurities from the pores.
AHA or BHA liquid exfoliator or face physical scrubs slough off dead skin cells, remove residual buildup and excess oil, to uncover a brighter, firmer, and smoother complexion.
Exfoliating acids have varying active ingredients and concentrations, it is best to follow the label’s instruction on how and how much to use. As for gel or semi-liquid face scrubs, a nickel-sized portion applied to damp skin is sufficient. For clay scrubs, a third of an egg-sized mound is acceptable. Add another mound if using the scrub on the neck as well.
There’s a debate whether a face oil or a sleeping pack is the last step in a skincare routine. Most face oils are thick, they have the biggest molecular size compared to other products. That means face oils will make anything product on top of it have difficulty in penetrating the skin. Face oils are good at sealing in moisturizers though.
But there are ‘light’ oils like argan or rosehip that penetrate fast and allow other skincare products on top of it to be absorbed as well. You’ll need three to four drops, another four drops for the neck.