May 29, 2024

From SPF to serum, here’s your no-nonsense guide on exactly how much beauty product you should actually be applying

We’re all too used to seeing words such as ‘dollop’, ‘drop’ and ‘swipe’ when reading the (very basic) directions that are usually printed on the bottles of our favourite products, but what do these nondescript terms really mean? How much product quantifies a dollop/drop/swipe?

Religiously applying SPF but still burning? Slathering on moisturiser but find that your skin is still dry? It turns out, the cause of your on-going beauty problems could be down to your serving sizes.

When it comes to our skin and hair regimes, size actually does matter. Too much of one thing risks wasting product, and too little of another could leave you with serious issues.

Actually, it turns out the lack of detail that brands give us on exactly how much product to apply could be causing us all kinds of issues. In the most trivial of instances, using too much product means getting through tubs and bottles much quicker than we should. This isn’t just a burden on our bank accounts, but it also contributes to the on-going issue of how environmentally-damaging beauty waste is impacting our planet. However, on the other end of the spectrum, using too little of something could leave you under-protected from external aggravators and end up causing long-term damage.

So how much of each product should we actually be using? While a viral image on social media might suggest a ‘walnut-sized serving’ of link ur”https://www. glamourmagazine. co. uk/gallery/best-sun-cream”sun cream /link will suffice, experts are now taking a stand against the spread of potentially damaging false information on social media.

The truth is that with varying consistencies, textures and thickness across all formulas, it’s impossible to have a one-rule-fits-all mentality. However, if you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your product, there are general guidelines that can (and should) be followed, tweaking slightly where necessary.

Here, we catch up with some of the best in the business to clear up just how much of each product we should be using per application…

Shampoo and conditioner

OK, this one shocked us. It turns out we really don’t need anywhere near as much shampoo as we thought. Redken Artist and Creative Director at Lockonego, Anthony Rawlings says: “I always use roughly the size of a 10p. You should emulsify the product through your hands before applying it to your hair, concentrating on the roots. If necessary, add more water. In most cases, there is no requirement for additional product. ”

When it comes to conditioner, we’ve also been using way too much. “The amount of conditioner you use is solely dependent on how much hair you have. However, as a rough guide, start with the same amount of conditioner as you did shampoo, emulsify and apply to the roots as before, building up if you need more. Concentrate on mid lengths and ends as this is generally the most porous area of the hair,” advises Anthony. We are #shook.


While they do tend to have different consistencies, the power of your cleanser is far less to do with how much of it you use, and more to do with how often you’re doing it.

Pamela Marshall, Clinical Aesthetician and Co-Founder of Mortar Milk explains: “I generally recommend a 20p-sized blob for cleansing. It’s enough to massage around the face and easy to remove with a warm flannel. In the evening, I always recommend doing this twice. One cleanse rarely removes makeup, pollution, sweat and oils. ”

Serum and moisturiser

From thick creams to lightweight gels, when it comes to facial hydration, rules on how much we should be using are a little hazy. The richness and potency of the active ingredients all have a role to play in how much you should use.

Pamela advises: “More of something doesn’t necessarily mean better hydration. Molecular weight and pH both determine how a product/ingredient penetrates. Actually, putting ‘more’ on can sometimes waste product. For serum, a 20p-sized pump is recommended. Afterwards, a green-pea-sized serving of moisturiser is usually plenty for the face and neck, especially if it’s a clinical brand. Choosing clinical over high street means you’re more likely to get products that fully penetrate the skin. ”

Eye cream

Now here’s one you really don’t want to get wrong. The skin around your eyes is much thinner and more delicate than the skin everywhere else on your face. It is also the area where most milia (small white bumps that form as a result of keratin build-up underneath the skin’s surface) exist, so it’s crucial not to overdo it and block pores. Debbie Thomas, Founder of D. Thomas Clinic advises: “A serving of a grain of rice per eye is enough. Using too much eye cream can cause puffiness if the area absorbs too much product. ” Eesh.


This is where the amount of product that you use is seriously important. Besides the fact that sun cream should be applied every two hours after application, the amount of sun cream that you’re applying could be the difference between sun protection and serious skin damage.

According to Debbie, it’s important to follow individual instructions as different formulas have varying consistencies. However, as a general rule for cream formulas she says: “The face, neck and chest area needs at least 1 heaped teaspoon. When it comes to your legs, you’ll need more like a dessertspoon for each. If you don’t apply enough sun cream, you will not be getting the protection stated on the bottle. ”

Body wash and lotion

Portion control applies to your body care habits, too. Founder of Harley Street Skin, Lesley Reynolds advises that products targeted at our body should be used liberally to ensure we get enough coverage. “For body wash and shower gels, I used a 50p-sized portion on my arms, and then the same again for my legs, back and body. As for lotion, I follow the same 50p rule for my hands and arms, but when it comes to the body I recommend using an amount equal to the size of an orange segment for each area,” she says.

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