June 17, 2015

How Much of Each of My Skincare Products Should I Use?

After filling out my Eval by Email® form for Adult Acne and Sensitivity issues, a sample packet of an entire skincare regimen is sent to your home to check for likeability and any adverse reactions, after which you purchase the full size products from my web store.  

Of course, accompanying this sample packet is a full set of instructions with the order in which the products are to be used, and how to use them.

In addition, there are full step-by-step instructions in my web site’s Advice Section for an entire skincare routine for every skin type.

Every time a client comes to get a facial at my skincare salon, Daniela’s Facial Studio, or when a remote client writes that they need to order more product, I check on their previous product purchases, what they’ve been using, on what date they purchased last, and whether they might need to replenish or tweak. 

Generally, my products, which are priced around the same level as low-to-medium end of department store prices, last 3-5 months depending on the item.  There are serums that seem to last a little bit less time, but that depends on how much you have to cover with it - face only, face and neck, only one part of the face. 

So, when it appears that it’s been a long time since new purchases have been made, I have to ask the client, “How often are you using your products?” which is a pretty obvious question.  One would think that if it’s been too long since a product has been purchased, it should mean it’s hardly ever used. 

Turns out, too often it’s the amount of product 
used at a time that’s off, not the frequency!  

We’re all used to the idea of using dime, nickel or quarter size amounts of cheaper products, and figure on skimping on more expensive products to make them last longer.  This can be a big mistake.  An even bigger mistake?  Stretching products out in anticipation of a discount for an event or special.  That doesn’t do either of us any good.

A very important point to consider:

Products of quality are dose dependent.  
This means using too little can
 be like using none at all.  That wastes your money 
and delays your acne clearing progress!

So.  Here is guide to how much of each product type should be used:

~ * ~    ~*~    ~*~    ~*~    ~*~


Gel Cleanser
Three of my cleansers are concentrated, so only an M&M-size amount is needed.  Most other cleansers need a bit more, like a bean size.  But whether a cleanser is concentrated or not, you need just enough to develop a small lather, enough to cover your face, and should be able to rinse in just a few splashes.

A word of caution :  Check first to make sure your cleanser is meant to remove makeup.  Most gel cleansers can’t.  If you try to remove your makeup with a cleanser that can’t do the job, you’re liable to overuse your cleanser at best, and remove residue with a towel causing milia at worst.  You’ll need a separate makeup remover.

Lotion Cleanser
Much of the time a lotion cleanser is formulated to remove makeup as well, so you can either use a dime size amount twice, or a quarter size amount once, being very thorough.  

For mascara and lipstick removal, cotton-rounds are most helpful, just load up and be gentle when going back and forth, but when wearing just one coat of mascara or lipstick, your fingers can actually be enough.  Rinse thoroughly.


Alcohol-free Toner
These can come in spray or non-spray.  Enough should be applied so that your face is damp but not dripping wet.  If your alcohol-free toner does not come in a spray bottle, you can splash it on with your hands, or transfer it to a spray bottle.  Cotton balls or rounds are completely unnecessary.  The idea here is that your skin should still be wet as you apply your serum or lotion, working them in thoroughly.

Salicylic Acid Toner
Sal Acid Toner needs a bit of alcohol to use as a vehicle to get it into the skin.  It doesn’t have to be a lot, nor does it have to be very drying.  But it does mean it can’t be sprayed directly on the face, so it needs to be applied with cotton.  Read carefully - applied.  Not rubbed on. If your toner has alcohol but no salicylic acid, what you have there is a badly formulated toner.

Toner does not have to be used to “continue” any cleansing process, it just needs to be gently swiped onto the skin.  If you see black schmutz on the cotton-round, this is NOT dirt; it’s actually your dead skin cells!  It doesn’t mean you have to keep going until you don’t see color - this will dehydrate and irritate your skin.  If you see makeup, again, don’t keep rubbing - talk to me about getting you an adequate makeup remover.  Just lightly swipe.  Read more about the benefits of toner!


Most serums come in a small pump bottle, a few come in a small, plastic squeeze bottle.  Others come in tiny plastic or glass pillows known as Ampoules (say Amp-U-Oles or Amp-Yules).   Ampoules are single dose.  But for serums that come in bottles, you need enough to very lightly cover your entire face and be massaged in gently for about 20 seconds.  This means if you’re massaging for more than 20 seconds, or it’s still very wet on your face and hands after massaging it in for a while, you’ve got too much.  If it absorbs before you’ve had a chance to massage it into your entire face (and neck in most cases), you’re using too little.  In some cases that means half a pump or M&M size, in others a full pump or slightly more than M&M size.


The best description I’ve ever heard of how much sunscreen you need to use at a time, is one strip each going down the inside of your index and middle fingers.  This should cover your face, all sides of your neck, your decollate and tops of your ears.  

Massage in well, ½ hour before you will be going out.  Every day.  No matter what the weather.  Seriously.  I know it can seem like it’s too greasy and like you’ve applied too much.  A trick I do, is I massage in with dry hands a second time, then I dust cornstarch all over with a large makeup brush, and I’m seriously matte for hours after! 

So why apply so much at a time?  Because this is the amount tested in the lab to arrive at the SPF number.

If you use too little sunscreen, you will not get 
the protection of that SPF # !

Nighttime Moisturizers

This is where people with oily and acne skin get thrown off.  It is true that some people really don’t need a nighttime moisturizer.  I didn’t start using one until I was 37 years old, and didn’t use it on a nightly basis until I was 45 (I'm 49 as I write this).  The way you tell?  After toner and serum (must be both), wait 20 minutes.  If you don’t feel like you need moisturizer, you don’t.  But I'll bet you dollars to donuts, you do.

Thing is, there are quite a few benefits to nighttime lotions, for instance, like a light lotion that balances oil and water levels.  

So how much should you use?  Enough to evenly cover your whole face and neck using both hands entirely.  What do I mean by this?  

Watch this Acne Whisperer TV video to learn exactly how best to apply a lotion - you need enough to be able to follow these simple instructions.

Eye Creams or Gels

For how much you need and how to apply, check out this previous blog post on Acne Whisperer TV !


Anyone who has seen me at my skincare salon or who has experienced my Eval by Email® program knows how HUGELY I advocate weekly masks!  Exfoliating, oil absorbing, hydrating, smoothing, all possible depending on the type of mask and your skin’s needs.  How much do you need?

Clay Types
Apply enough to NOT to see your skin underneath, but not too much to waste it.  If your clay mask dries in less than 10 minutes, you’ve used too little.  10 minutes is all you need, it doesn’t have to dry, even if the instructions tell you it does.

Cream and Gel Types
Apply enough gel mask to be able to see the product over your skin.  Be generous.  Let sit for 15 minutes, wipe off as much as you can with plain Kleenex, or wipe with damp paper towel, then rinse.  With cream masks, you can wipe most of it off with tissue and massage the remainder into the skin.

Peel-off or rub-off Type
Apply a generous amount, but only enough to resemble thick application of rubber cement on paper.  That basically means the size of a large marble.  If you apply too little you won’t get enough benefit, and you won’t be able to rub or peel it off.  If you apply too much, it won’t solidify enough to rub or peel off.  However, check to make sure rubbing or peeling is right for you - you can often still get benefit while rinsing this exfoliating mask off with tepid water.

Now that you understand how much of each product to use, let’s determine what the best regimen would be for you!  Please contact me so we can get your skin clear and healthy together.

Have any questions about what you’re using right now?  Please feel free to ask in the comments below.

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