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The Perfect Amount of Every Skincare Product You Should Be Using


When it comes to skincare products, a slew of questions on how to use the product arise: "Will this be enough for just my face or should I apply to the neck and chest as well?" "Will extra products make the application more effective, or is this a ‘less is more’ situation?" and "Will there be adverse effects if I don’t use the proper amount?" 

While skincare companies will include directions for best use on each product’s packaging, sometimes that just doesn’t give you everything you need to know. We're here to clear up your most pressing FAQs below.

how much skincare product should you *actually* be using?

a good usage rule of thumb

When in doubt, a good rule of thumb when applying skincare products is to first dispense a modest amount (usually about a dime-size) onto your fingertips and dot it along your forehead, cheeks, nose and chin. This ensures that your product will be dispersed evenly all over your face without needing to use too much to reach all areas. You can also apply this same rule when using a product on your neck and décolleté. By doing this, you can avoid using too much product to cover all desired areas as well as determine whether you will regularly be needing more or less than your initial estimate.  

understanding product effectiveness

Regarding whether the amount used alters the efficacy is entirely dependent on the type of product. 

how much skincare product should you *actually* be using?

cleansers, hydrating serums & moisturizers

As long as you are able to fully and evenly cover the entirety of the area desired, you are most likely getting the full benefit of your product. Using an excessive amount won’t render your product ineffective or make it extra beneficial — but you do run the risk of blowing through your precious product quicker than you should be (a costly endeavor!). 

To combat this, prepare your skin before use with an oil-busting toner and regular exfoliation for ultimate product penetration. This will help to make sure your product is penetrating and working its best — not so much the amount used.

Retinols & Retinoids

These actives are a totally different story. With retinol, more is definitely more. Heavier application and/or layering will result in stronger results. While this can be awesome and beneficial for your skin, make sure you ease into the higher levels of application as it’s not uncommon for skin to react with redness, flaking or itchiness when introducing and subsequently increasing the strength of your retinol. Proceed with caution — but enjoy the vast benefits!


It is imperative that you apply enough product to ensure that you are getting the sun protection factor being promised on the box. When applying your sun protection, feel free to go overboard (within reason). Just remember that you want to make sure you are using an SPF product that works well for your skin (i.e. not too heavy/oily if you are prone to clogging). As you should be applying throughout the day and in hefty amounts, your SPF shouldn’t be a contributing factor to breakout worries.  

Note: As always, please consult a licensed healthcare professional before starting a new routine.

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