Too much or too little- How much product, is always a riddle!

We often come across bloggers, influencers and Instagram artists who pour their skincare products directly onto their face purely to increase its aesthetic appeal. This can mislead us into believing that this is the right way to apply a product. There are tons of articles on the order you need to use your skincare, the right time of the day to apply them, the products that should and should not be used together, however not much is available on the amount that you should be using. So, today we are going to share the ideal quantity of each product you should use. Not only will this help you to make them last longer and save you some money in the long run but also help make your products work better.

Why is it important to use the right amount of product?

Good skincare is important to preserve and restore skin health. A common myth we come across is that slathering a thick layer of a product onto your face will increase its efficiency and give faster results. This certainly is not true. Using too much product on your skin can cause reactions while applying too little can have no effect at all. Here is list of what to expect if you use too much or too little of these basic products listed below:

1. Results of using too much 

  • Overusing a cleanser can leave your skin dry and irritated especially if you have sensitive skin. You will run out of the product much faster and receive no added benefits. 
  • A serum is infused with active ingredients that can target specific concerns. Using too much serum can create a wedge. Our skin may not absorb the beneficial ingredients of the product and can leave active ingredients to sit on the surface of our face.
  • If you have dry skin and believe lumping your face with an oil-free moisturiser is the answer, you may be aggravating your skin. Applying more moisturiser does not cause better skin results. Over moisturising can weaken the skin barrier and clog the pores. It can leave your face feeling oily and potentially lead to breakouts.
  • The most effective results of applying sunscreen are found by following the two to three finger rule. This means the amount of sunscreen you must use should be a strip that runs from the tip of your finger to the crease at end. Overusing sunscreen can block your pores and cause dirt deposits to form bacteria development. 

2. Results of using too little

  • Using too little cleanser will not perform its task and leave dirt and debris on your skin leading to clogged pores and breakouts.
  • Using too little serum will obstruct even distribution of the product, leaving your face dull and lifeless. 
  • All skin types need hydration regardless of how oily your skin may be. A moisturiser increases water content in the skin. Using too little moisturiser will not be sufficient to prevent further water loss. This can make your skin feel flaky and dull as it is not hydrated properly.
  • Using just a dot size amount of sunscreen is almost equivalent to not using it at all. Your skin will receive no protection leading to sun damage and sunburns. The most serious result of using little sunscreen is developing skin cancer. It can damage your skin cells and make your skin look older, wrinkled and discoloured.
This is an image of the results of using too much or too little skincare products.

What is the correct order to apply your skincare products?

Whether you want a simple 3 step routine or a full regimen, the order you apply your products in matters.  The rule of thumb is to apply products from thinnest to thickest. It is important to layer your products in the right way else your efforts could seem totally ineffective or even lead to adverse reactions. 

We are exposed to so many different products that are available in various consistencies, ingredients and percentages. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the options laid before you. Following certain tips and guidelines can help develop a skincare routine that works best for you. To simplify your task, we have listed the “must have” skincare products in the order of application -

  • Cleanser: The first and most important step in any routine is to get the dirt, dead skin and oil out. This helps to unclog pores and prevent skin conditions such as acne. 
  • Toner: It helps to remove any impurities stuck in your pores after you wash your face. It also tightens the skin and reduces the visibility of pores. Its main function is to balance the pH levels after you wash your face and prep the skin to soak in the ingredients that follow.
  • Serum: Face serums are light weight formulations concentrated with active ingredients that target specific skin concerns. They can be applied twice daily but avoid using the same serum at both times as serum actives differ for day and night.
  • Eye cream: The skin around the eye is delicate and thin. Due to the lack of oil glands this area is prone to dryness and shows early signs of ageing. Apart from brightening and reducing the appearance of fine lines, eye creams deliver ingredients to your face in a gentle manner without causing irritation.
  • Moisturiser: To prevent dryness, flakiness and inflammation you must keep your skin hydrated.  It is a vital step to maintain your skin’s health by preventing water loss and prolonging the ageing process. 
  •  This is an image of the order in which products can be used.AM Routine

    The primary aim for your day time routine is to block out the harmful UV rays and pollutants that can break down your skin’s barrier. You must follow these steps and tips in your day routine:

    Cleanser >> Toner >> Serum >> Moisturiser >> Sunscreen

    • Start your day with a detoxifying drink such as green tea or turmeric and honey mix.
    • Your morning cleanser should help to sooth and calm the skin and rinse it off with cold water.
    • Rebalance the hydration on your face with a toner by patting it into your skin.
    • You can address spot treatment by applying a gel or cream on your acne or scar. Salicylic acid is a great ingredient to look for as it will help kill that acne causing bacteria.
    • Your day serums should promise hydration and protection containing antioxidants to reduce damage from pollution.
    • Use a lightweight moisturiser that absorbs in easily. Look for a product with a mattifying effect as you do not want the oils and sebum to make your face look shiny throughout the day.
    • Having additional SPF in your moisturiser or foundation will help to protect you from the UV rays but this does not mean you can skip sunscreen.

    PM Routine

    The goal for your night time routine should be to stimulate collagen production and repair the damage caused by oil, dirt and pollutants. You must follow these steps and tips in your night routine -

    Cleanser >> Exfoliator >> Hydrating Mist /Toner >> Acid >> Eye cream >> Serum >> Moisturiser >> Face Oil

    • After a full day of makeup with dirt and free radicals sitting on the surface of your skin, the first thing you must do is cleanse. Using cleansing oils is a great way to remove makeup and excess sebum and oil attracts oil. 
    • Use products with performance ingredients such as AHA and BHA acids, Retinoids and exfoliating serums.
    • Use heavier and more potent products for hydration as you will not attact pollution and dirt that clogs the pores.  
    • Your night serum should have anti - inflammatory properties and treat the skin by providing nutrients to boost growth.
    • Drink water before you sleep. Not only will this keep you hydrated but you lose water through your skin while you sleep. Drinking water helps to increase dermal thickness making the skin firmer and more youthful.

    Check out our article, Layer your player: How to get the most of your skincare products by layering to get a more detailed understanding on the importance of layering and the correct order to do so. 

    This is an image of an AM and PM skincare routine.

    What is the right amount for each product and how to use it? 

    When we talk about application of skincare products, we come across directive words such as dab, apply, coat, slather and many more. We are rarely presented with the exact amount, leaving our assumptions unto fate. Imagine using too much of that expensive serum to receive no added benefit or too little of that lightweight moisturiser that will lead to no result at all. It is true that the type of product matters but so does the quantity you apply. Therefore, how much of each skincare product should you use?

    1. Cleanser

    As satisfying it may be to squeeze cleanser into the palms of your hand and lather it onto your face you will simply be wasting the product. Too much cleanser can dry out your skin and hence it is important to stick to a coin size amount regardless of its consistency and type. If it comes in a plump bottle, one pump is more than enough to cover your face while two pumps to cover your neck as well.

    2. Physical Exfoliators

    A dime size amount is generally sufficient to cover both your face and neck area. Too much can be too harsh and encourage us to scrub heavily while too little might not spread evenly over the face to remove all the dead skin cells. Use smaller beads for the face as they are gentler and will not tear down the skin barrier. Gently massage the product for 30 seconds to a minute and rinse off the excess with lukewarm water, patting it dry. It is advised to exfoliate two to three times a week by applying the product on the tips of your fingers and using circular motions.

    3. Body Scrubs

    They are great to achieve glowing skin however, over exfoliating and rubbing harshly can damage the skin. For your body, scoop two grape size amounts of scrub and gently circulate it on your arms and legs. Remember to exfoliate on damp skin else it can get too abrasive. Avoid using more scrub and instead add a few droplets of water to ease the motion. 

    4. Chemical Exfoliators

    Chemical exfoliants are acids that get rid of dead skin cells. They come in various concentrations. Depending on the consistency, if it is in liquid form you can apply it using a cotton pad and if in gel or lotion form you can directly apply it using your fingers. The directions on your chemical exfoliator packaging may encourage you to either soak the cotton pad or use a generous amount. However, you may notice that there is still a lot of product left on the cotton pad after you have swept your whole face and neck area. A few drops on a cotton pad are more than enough as we are not trying to soak the skin. You can make optimum use of the few drops by turning the cotton pad over to use the residue product on the other side. Alternatively, you can apply the chemical exfoliator as you would apply a toner by adding a few drops in your palm and gently dabbing it to your face. 

    5. Toner

    Similar to the chemical exfoliator, a few drops applied to the palm of your hand and pat it on to your skin is more than enough. You can also layer up your hydrating toners by adding multiple dime size amounts onto your skin by patting it on after each layer. You can try the 7-skin method of applying a light weight essence or toner to your face up to seven times before you moisturise for lasting hydration. This is not recommended for every toner as some of them can bulge your face with product and should be avoided for toners with alcohol contents as it will dry the skin out.

    6. Mist

    The biggest misconception for mists is that you can just spray it on your face and you are good to go. Remember, a mist is not just water. It is formulated with essential ingredients to brighten and refresh your skin. To get the most out of your mist you must place it approximately 30 cm away from your face and spray it all over at least 2 to 3 times with your eyes closed.

    7. Serum

    These are extremely potent in their ingredients. The reason most serums come with a dropper is certainly for hygiene reasons but also because you are supposed to apply just a few drops onto your face. Overusing serums can cause more harm than good. It does not give you added benefit nor does it increase in efficiency. It will simply result in wastage of product. A pea size amount is enough to give your skin a boost. You can limit the amount of serum you use applying tiny drops in 4 to 5 different areas around your face such as your cheeks, forehead, chin and nose. Gently pat it out and you will notice that the small amount will go a long way.

    8. Ampoules 

    Individual shots are stored in airtight containers to preserve the ingredients inside. Shake the ampoule lightly. Tip  ½ of the product into the palm of your hand and gently massage it onto your face using circular motions moving down to apply the residual product onto your neck area. Store the product at the base by securing the lid on once again.

    9. Eye cream

    It is an important product to prevent wrinkles and fine lines. As we all know the skin is very thin and delicate under the eye. Using too much product can over hydrate your under eye. You can apply a pumpkin seed amount of eye cream on either side gently dabbing it into your skin with the help of your ring finger.

    10. Moisturiser

    Nothing feels better than giving your skin the hydration it requires but if you have oily or sensitive skin you must be careful with the amount you use. The amount of moisturiser to use is very subjective depending on the climate, your skin type and age. Your skin is the best judge depending on how tight or dry it feels. The standard amount would be a size of a blueberry or 2 to 3 pumps. Even if your skin feels parched do not slather on large amounts of moisturiser as applying too much cream will prevent it from penetrating into the skin.

    11. Sunscreen

    Here, the problem is not about over using but instead using too little. The only time you will be protected by sunscreen is if you use a generous amount to cover your skin completely. In general, you must use enough to make sure every patch is fairly quoted including your ears, neck and shoulders. This often varies between a quarter of a teaspoon to a full teaspoon for your face and neck for your first application followed by reapplications of quarter of a teaspoon.

    This is an image of how much product to use.

    When to use and how long should a product approximately last?

    Have you ever wondered how long your product should actually last especially when it is expensive?  There are so many variable answers to this question! They should last anywhere between 2 to 5 months depending on the frequency of use, if you alternate between products and how much you apply per. To get the best results stick to the instructions given on the product package. The application method and storage too affects the lifespan of a product. Check out our list below to get a quick brief: 

    1. Cleanser:  A 100 ml bottle should last you approximately 1 months if used twice daily. 

    2. Scrubs & Physical Exfoliators: A face scrub weighing 200 ml should last approximately 2 months while a body scrub weighing 200 ml should last 1 month if used 2 to 3 times a week. 

    3. Chemical Exfoliators: A 50 ml bottle should last you 1 month if used 2 to 3 times a week.

    4. Toner: A 125 ml bottle should last you approximately 2 months if used twice a day.

    5. Serum: Serums go a long way to reduce the amount of moisturiser the skin requires. Each 15 ml bottle should last 2 months approximately if used once a day.

    6. Eye Cream: A single 15 ml tube if used once a day daily should last approximately 2.5 months.

    7. Moisturiser: If you have applied a serum before, the skin has already absorbed one layer of product and received some hydration, this will help to prolong your moisturiser from running out. A 125 ml bottle should last you approximately 4 months if used twice daily.

    8. Sunscreen: A 50 ml bottle should last you 3 to 4 weeks if generously on your face and body every 60 to 90 minutes.

    This is an image of how long does a product last

    SUMMARY

    To attain flawless skin, do not expect overnight miracles slathering huge amounts of products on your face. There is a routine and guide to follow to ensure maximum results with minimum wastage. When applying your products remember, your skin will only absorb what it needs. Anything else that is not needed just sits on the surface of your skin making you look greasy and cakey. Therefore, you must apply the right quantity and follow correct application procedures to get results. 

    - Howrah Lookmanji 

    Leave a comment

    All comments are moderated before being published