How Much Skincare Product Should You Be Using?

How Much Skincare Product Should You Be Using?

When it comes to skincare, you’d be forgiven for thinking that being generous with the anti-ageing serum or slathering on the moisturiser will deliver the best results. In fact, using too much product can damage your skin, not to mention your wallet. So we spoke to skincare expert and facialist, Debbie Thomas, to remove the guesswork and find out how much skincare product you should be applying for the best results.


When it comes to cream cleansers, I recommend you apply approximately a 50p-size amount as you need enough to thoroughly work it into the skin. However, if you’re using a gel wash or something with a thinner consistency, you only need around a 5p-size amount, as it expands with water and can be easily massaged into the skin. Be wary of using cleansing oils as they can leave behind a residue that acts as a barrier, preventing the rest of your skincare from properly absorbing. 

Exfoliating Scrubs

While it can be tempting to slather on a scrub, stick to an amount that’s somewhere between a blueberry and a grape. It does depend on the texture, but this is my general guide as you need enough product to easily glide over the skin as you massage it. If you use too little, you lose the exfoliation, too much and you waste the product, so aim for my recommendation and always apply it to damp skin to avoid any irritation. 

Face Masks

With a mask, you want a good visible layer of product on the skin. The idea of using a face mask is to saturate the face with active ingredients, so if you don’t have enough product, your skin won’t benefit at all. Use a grape-sized amount and massage it into the skin briefly before leaving for the recommended amount of time, then rinse off with water. If you’re using a hydrating and firming mask, you can afford to be a little more generous and opt for an amount closer in size to a walnut. 


People are often confused by toners, but the idea is to use the bare minimum and never too regularly. A few drops are plenty – you only need enough to dampen the skin before leaving it to dry for a few seconds. Generally speaking, toners should be used if you’re someone with particularly oily skin, otherwise, they’re no longer considered a necessary step.


Always look at the consistency of your serum, this has a huge bearing on how much you should be using. Some are closer to water while others are more gel or lotion type textures. With a serum, you have very concentrated active ingredients and because of that, you only need a very thin layer for effectiveness, this is also because they’re nearly always followed by an SPF or hydrator. So, if you’re using a very liquid serum, try 4-6 drops, and for a gel type, the size of a coffee bean is about right. 


You want enough that you get a thin layer on the skin, which after a short time, soaks in completely without any stickiness. I think a pea to a blueberry-sized blob is more than enough though – anything more will just sit on the skin’s surface, not allowing it to breathe or absorb properly. Apply when skin is still slightly damp after cleansing to maximise the benefits. 

Eye Cream

This is one area where people assume packing on the product will help – it won’t, it will just cause the eye area to become puffy. Go for a grain of rice per eye, honestly this will suffice and prevent any excess from creeping into your eyes and irritating them. Dot it on with your ring finger about half an inch underneath the eyes for the best effect. 

Body Cream

We’re back to using walnut as your size guide here. Having said that, every body type is very different, so you need to use a little bit of trial and error, along with some common sense. I would say an average-sized leg would be a walnut, so gauge the rest of your body from that. Ideally you would have no stickiness or white residue left – that’s a great guide in itself. 

Body & Facial SPF

For face and neck, it should be AT LEAST a teaspoon. Most faces are about 2.5 times the surface of the hand, so keep that in mind. As for arms, they’re usually roughly the surface size of five hands, so two teaspoons would be the absolute minimum on each. If you want to think of the body as a whole, a shot glass amount should be enough, but with SPF, you have to follow the instructions because again, different consistencies and formulations will have different application advice. For instance, if you’re tall or broad, using more than you think necessary is always best.

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