What’s the Right Amount of Beauty Products You Should Use?

Cynthia Bailey, MD|February 7, 2013

are you wasting skin and hair care productAre you wasting beauty and personal care products? Do you know how much product is enough and how much is too much? Your annual beauty and personal care product budget can add up. It's especially true if you're using the sort of high-quality professional products that give you the best results. On the flip side, low-quality products are often a waste of time and money. So, to be smart with your money, the trick is to use just enough, but not too much of the high-quality products that fix your skin problems. I'm thrifty; I hate wasting money or time so I'm careful with my pricey professional products, and I help my dermatology patients and my readers to do the same. Here are my guidelines for the right amount of beauty and personal care products for your skin and hair care: How Much Sunscreen Do You Need to Apply? Sunscreens are a "medicine" and you need to know that the sun protection you get from your sunscreen is “dose dependent.” This means that product application amount is critical for protecting your skin. The average-sized adult in a swim suit needs to use 1oz of product per application - that’s a shot glass full, or 2 tablespoons. For your head and neck application, it’s a teaspoon, but for just the face I’ve done the math and it’s about 1/3 teaspoon. If you want to know more about how to be a pro with your sunscreen application check out my post titled Apply Sunscreen and Have Healthy, Fabulous Skin Forever. Zinc oxide mineral sunscreens are more forgiving than chemical-based products because they are less easily inactivated. For my favorite trustworthy list of sunscreens click here. How Much Moisturizer Do You Need to Apply? For all other products, the proper amount of skin care product generally depends on product slide (how well it spreads over your skin), the size of the area you are applying product to, and the look and feel that you want to create on your skin. For moisturizers, proper application amount is about covering the skin but not using so much that you have visible or excess product that rubs off on clothing. To get products to slide better I tell my patients to take a quarter-sized amount for body or a dime-sized amount for face, put it in your hands or on your fingers, rub them together to warm, and begin to spread out the product; pat it over the area of application then rub it over and into your skin until it feels “right”. Remember, moisturizers only work if you've just wet your skin with water and then dried off the surface with a towel. How Much Shampoo Should You Use? With shampoos, proper amount of product depends on how well the product spreads over your entire scalp and how much hair you have. Some shampoos have better foaming agents and thus cover your scalp better than others. You need your shampoo to reach onto, and foam up on, your entire scalp to remove oil, scale, and old product buildup. You also should lather and rinse twice. Photo: Thanks and Gratitude to Julija...!

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