Are you the kind of girl who regularly slathers on so much moisturiser that you end up resembling Casper the friendly ghost, or using so much shampoo that the act of rinsing your hair triggers a hosepipe ban? It's all too easy to use too much - or too little - of our favourite beauty products so we've taken it upon ourselves to find out exactly how much we should be using.
When it comes to anti-blemish products, a little goes a long way, and using too much of these types of product can play havoc with our skin. "I often see people apply too much of a drying product for acne, or other products which deal with breakouts," says celebrity facialist Ole Henriksen. "People tend to over treat and consequently over dry. This could cause your skin to become irritated, extra dry and flaky."
When it comes to moisturiser, Ole believes we don't use enough: "People often don't apply enough — be generous with your moisturiser," he urges. "Once you've applied your moisturiser, a great way to test if you've used enough is to form a fist and slip your fist down your skin. You should be met with a little bit of resistance when there is enough moisture. You always want to apply enough so that you have created a surface mantle to protect and allow for a luminous glow." Remember that to get the most out of your moisturiser, it's important to exfoliate, in order to slough away the dead skin cells which will prevent your moisturiser from being absorbed.
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When it comes to facial scrubs, one teaspoon full of product should do the trick, although it depends on exactly how "scrubby" your exfoliator is. " When working the scrub across your face with a little bit of water, you want to maintain enough granular (walnut, almond, etc) to do the job," says Ole. "But even with a product which contains a high concentration of granulars, you still want to use a generous amount." If you find exfoliatiors leave your skin dry or inflamed, this is more likely to be the result of over exfoliation rather than using too much of a product. Skin only needs to be exfoliated once or twice a week.
One thing you can never use too much of is sun screen. The best approach to application is to divide your body up into three parts - the feet and legs, your torso and back, and your arms, neck and face. Apply at least a grape-sized amount of sunscreen to each area (more if you're tall or broad) and reapply every two hours.
Using too much eye cream can result in a product build-up within the delicate under eye skin - a pea-sized amount is all you need for both eyes. Apply a quarter of the cream under the lower lash line, from the outer to the inner corner - this patting action will help disperse under eye puffiness. Dab another quarter above the eye, from the inner to the outer corner (drainage runs in the opposite direction above the eye). Then simply repeat for the other eye, using the remaining product.
The length of your hair is obviously a key factor with hair products, but generally, people use more than they need to. "With shampoo, if you have short hair, you should use a dollop which is about the size of a 1pence coin," says hairdresser to the stars Richard Ward. "If you have longer hair, use a slightly larger amount." Remember that unlike conditioners, leaving shampoo on for longer or using more shampoo won't give a better result. Also bear in mind that dirt and grime is more likely to collect at the roots of the hair, so your ends will need less shampoo.
Less is more
"The more styling products you use on your hair, the more stiff, ridged and greasy it's going to look," points out Richard Ward. "If you want your hair to look soft, floaty and product-free, then you should use between one and two styling products." When applying hair spray, always opt for less of a firm-hold spray rather than more of a lighter hold spray - the firmer hold spray will be easier to wash out than an entire can's worth of the lighter spray.
As for the one product Richard feels people don't use enough of? "Heat protectant! This is the one product that people have a tendency to scrimp on!"
So, why not give these tips a try? Hopefully you'll find that your stash of beauty products - and the money in your wallet - will start to last a whole lot longer.