To make sure you're getting the biggest bang for your buck, we consulted Dr. Howard Sobel, Attending Dermatologist and Dermatologic Surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, to learn exactly how much of your favorite beauty products you should really be using to see maximum results — without wasting a single penny.
For exfoliating scrubs, which can be harsh or abrasive on skin, Dr. Sobel recommends a quarter-size amount to exfoliate skin thoroughly. To apply, gently smooth over skin in a circular motion, he says.
According to Dr. Sobel, the amount of product to use depends on the type of cleanser. For foam cleansers, use a golf ball amount to spread evenly and massage onto skin. Creams require a quarter size, or enough to massage into skin without irritating it. And finally for oil-based face washes, use a quarter for drier skin types and a dime for oilier or sensitive skin types.
As with face washes, the amount of toner to use depends on the type of toner you are using — water, micellar or milky — as well as its purpose, according to Dr. Sobel. "For chemical and exfoliating toners, saturate a cleansing pad or cotton ball and wipe gently over the area to be cleansed," he says. Gentle, alcohol-free toners, can be poured into hands and simply patted onto skin gently. (Just make sure to avoid the sensitive eye area!)
There's no hard-and-fast rule for the amount when it comes to moisturizers. Dr. Sobel says it's more important to choose the right moisturizer for your skin type than to worry about how much to use. Finding the right type of moisturizer can depend on the skin's condition at the time. Consult your dermatologist to learn more about what your individual skin needs. However, when applying a moisturizer, apply liberally and gently massage onto the face and neck, says Dr. Sobel.
Because serums are concentrated treatments, a little goes a long way, says Dr. Sobel. Use a pea-sized amount of product and use your finger to tap — not rub — onto problem areas, such as smile lines and developing wrinkles, he explains.
"A quarter amount is plenty because skin repairs itself at night and therefore is most receptive to active ingredients, like retinol, antioxidants and peptides at this time," says Dr. Sobel of overnight creams. Looks like a little goes a long way!
"Half a pea for each eye is just enough, as over-applying eye cream can cause it to slip into the eye as well as increasing your chances of developing milia (raised bumps on the skin)," says Dr. Sobel. With your ring finger, dab on sparingly, working from the outer corner in and around the orbital bone, he says of application.
For your body, Dr. Sobel says to imagine a shot glass or two tablespoons of sunscreen. This is enough to cover the skin and ensure that harmful rays do not penetrate skin. Just make sure to reapply every two to three hours regardless of your blocker being waterproof or not, he cautions.
But when it comes to your face and ears, a quarter amount will suffice as long as you are reaching for SPF 30 or higher — even on overcast days. "You can apply SPF under or lightly patted over makeup, as SPF in most makeup products are simply not enough to protect the face from the sun’s harmful rays," says Dr. Sobel. Just don't forget your neck! To protect your neck from sun's harmful rays, use a teaspoon amount of sunscreen, he says.
"For all body products, the proper amount generally depends on the type and texture of the product — oil, cream or wash — the size of the area you are applying product to, and the look and feel that you want to create on your skin," explains Dr. Sobel. He explains a quarter-sized amount for body is a general rule of thumb, as this is enough to coat the area without having product sit on the skin. "A great tip is to apply body wash, lotion and oils on top of damp skin to help the product absorb into pores," he adds. Simply rub hands together to warm and begin to spread out the product; pat it over the area then rub it over and into skin, he says.
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