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How much beauty product do you really need?

When it comes to beauty products, do you need a dot, a dab or a dollop? Find out the exact amount of skin care, hair and makeup products you really need in real-life measurements.

Woman applying lotion

We’ve all fallen prey to the old “more is better” adage from time to time, but when it comes to beauty products, using more can actually damage your skin and hair and cost you hundreds of dollars each year. Board-certified dermatologist, and author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets of a New York Dermatologist, Debra Jaliman says that most people use too much of their beauty products without realizing it. So before you pump out another dollop of moisturizer, find out how much you really need to use.

Skin care products

  1. Retinols. For anti-aging products like retinols, only use a pea-sized amount on your entire face. Using more than that can irritate your skin, says Jaliman.
  2. Facial cleanser. Jaliman recommends using a dime-sized amount of cleanser on a cotton pad or facial brush. The cotton pad or brush will help evenly distribute the cleanser all over your face — without over-drying skin.
  3. Moisturizer. Instead of slathering moisturizer all over your face, only apply a pea-sized amount where you need it. For example, if you have an oily T-zone, avoid your forehead, nose and chin. Apply a second pea-sized amount if you need more.
  4. Sunscreen. It might be the only beauty product you’re not using enough of. Apply a heaping tablespoon — enough to fit in your cupped hand — to protect your face, ears and neck from the sun (even in the winter). Use a shot glass for the entire body when more skin is exposed, such as in a swimsuit.

Hair care products

  1. Shampoo and conditioner. White Sands hairstylist Fernando Salas recommends using a quarter-sized amount of shampoo. Rinse and repeat, and then apply a quarter-sized amount of conditioner.
  2. Mousse. Use a golf ball-sized amount for regular hair. Girls with fine hair should use slightly less product to ensure hair is not weighed down. Thick strands will require slightly more product.
  3. Leave-in treatments and oils. Salas recommends dispensing two pea-sized portions of leave-in treatments onto your fingertips and applying evenly by combing through.


  1. Foundation. According to pro makeup artist Liz Washer, use just a dime-sized amount of foundation. “The trick is to blend it evenly over trouble areas only — the entire face does not need to be coated if the color match is a good one,” she says.
  2. Concealer. To avoid over-applying concealer (resulting in a thick and pasty look), use a makeup brush to stipple it on only where you need it.
  3. Lip gloss. For lip gloss, just use the amount that’s on the brush when you pull it out of the tube. That’s enough to gloss both your top and bottom lip.

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