Portion Control: How Much Product Should You Really Apply?

Managing all of your skincare products can be confusing. “How often do I exfoliate? How much cleanser should I be using to take off my makeup? Is this sunscreen giving me enough coverage?” Just a few of the questions that may run through your mind.

You always want to make sure your products are giving you the best bang for your buck, but could you be wasting your precious products without realizing it? As we like to think at Sonäge, “Beauty, like food, should be a health choice.” And just as you practice portion control at meal times—your skincare application may need some portion control of its own. Typically, people tend to slather on way more product than they really need. We may think that more moisturizer means more hydration for dry skin, right? Wrong—your skin can only absorb so much, meaning at some point your extra product is just overfeeding your skin.

Now, we know skincare isn’t one-size fits all—but these guidelines will help you get the most out of your products, no matter what your skincare appetite is.

We’ll start with cleansers. This is typically the foundation of your routine. Just as it’s recommended to drink a glass of water when you wake up, cleanser should kick start your skincare for the day. But, while you can never get enough water—cleansers don’t play by the same rules. Most natural cleansers are very spreadable and you want to be careful not to use more than you need.

When your cleanser comes in a pump, it’s especially easy to press down too hard and suddenly you have enough in your hand to clean three faces. For a cream cleanser like our Hydrating Cleanser or Soothing Cleansing Créme, a grape sized drop should be enough for your entire face. We don’t recommend diluting ours with water, instead just wet your hands and take one pump to apply.

But, sometimes you may need a little more. Certain days call for a double cleanse. Especially for those days where you’ve worn heavy makeup, a double cleanse can get all of the extra grime off of your face to allow the rest of your products to do their job. Think of it as going in for seconds; just make sure it’s not every day.

The next step is toner. Toners are used after cleansing to remove any impurities that may still be lingering on your face. Most importantly, they restore the skin’s natural balance. Depending on the toner you use, your product may work to address excess oil – like our Facial Rinse, or hydrate a dull complexion— Hydrating Rinse. But, too much of a good thing can take away from a product’s intended effect. With a toner, you want to make sure you aren’t completely saturating your cotton pad, but are using just enough so that it glides easily across your face. If your toner comes in a pump like ours, one to one and a half pumps should be enough to do the trick.

Follow up your toner with a serum—your third course. There are so many serums out there that all serve their own purpose and address different skinconcerns. But, what they all have in common is that they’re typically highly concentrated. A pea-sized drop will give your skin the extra boost it needs. At Sonäge, we meticulously choose our airless pumps packaging—ensuring that one pump of our serums will give you the ideal serving for your entire face. With oils, it is important not to get caught up in sensory euphoria—one drop is plenty, too much can suffocate your skin and have an adverse effect on its glow.

After your three-course routine, you always want to use a moisturizer. Some moisturizers are thicker than others, but no matter which moisturizer you’re using, your portion should be kept to an almond-sized amount. It’s normal to feel like your skin needs more if it feels a bit dryer, but layering on a larger portion than necessary will only waste your product since your skin can only absorb so much. Don’t try to overfill yourself! Instead, try using a richer product in times of extra dryness.

Finally, eye cream. Some people keep eye cream for their night regimen while others prefer to wear it day and night. Eye creams, like serums, are highly concentrated—a little goes a long way. A small pump of R&R Peptide-Packed Eye Serum will give you a blob the size of a grain of rice, enough for both eyes. If you do wear an eye cream day and night, try something sheer like Luster Eye Créme for the day, so you can still wear your makeup over your product.

Watch: How To Apply An Eye Serum The Right Way

And of course, it’s always good to treat yourself—in moderation. Just as you shouldn’t indulge in dessert every single day, exfoliators and masks are often stronger products and should be used only every 2-3 days. With masks, depending on the consistency, a full teaspoon should allow you to spread the mask across your face with even coverage. Exfoliators are a little tricky. If skincare isn’t one size fits all, exfoliators truly echo that statement. With a chemical exfoliant like Harmony Glycopolymer Solution, one pump on a cotton pad will suffice. If it’s an exfoliating mask, refer to the masking serving size. However, exfoliators come in different forms and in this case it’s best to follow the guidelines on your product’s label.


People say that food is fuel, so don’t over eat—but it can be fun too. With food and with skincare, control your portions to make sure you’re using your products to their best benefit—and saving your wallet too!


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