How much skin care should I be applying?

A pea-sized amount? A coin-sized amount? An expert takes us through it

April 12 2021

Blame it on COVID-19 or our quest for skin that illuminates upon waking, but the skin care industry is booming. And as we all become savvier with ingredients like retinol, vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, it can be tempting to pile it all on at once.

But while skin care layering is encouraged, and the right mix of products can see your glow goals achieved, like most things in life there can be too much of a good thing. So just how much of each skin care product should we actually be applying? 

Although there’s no exact measurement, we spoke to Gina Cook, Ella Baché’s National Training Manager, for some rough guidance for each step in our skin care regimen...


For a squeaky clean cleanse, "approximately a 10 cent coin[-sized]" amount is enough to massage and effectively clean the whole face. But don’t skimp on the neck, where an additional '10 cent coin’ is needed.

Looking for a pick that'll provide a deep cleanse without drying your face out? The Clarins Purifying Gentle Foaming Cleanser is free of alcohol and ideal for combination to oily skin.

Clarins Purifying Gentle Foaming Cleanser, $42 at Adore Beauty

When it comes to scrubs, Cook says "a blueberry" amount of exfoliant is ideal for freeing your skin from built-up layers of pollutants and dead skin cells.

If you're trying to give dullness the boot, Cook recommends the Ella Baché Defence+ Charcoal Micro Exfoliant. It contains red tomato and charcoal among its ingredients to absorb impurities and toxins and help reveal a brighter complexion.

If you prefer to use a chemical exfoliant, generally speaking, a damp cotton pad's worth is all you need.

Ella Baché Defence+ Charcoal Micro Exfoliant, $60 at

Your toner isn’t meant to feel like it's burning or stripping the skin. If it does, you're either using the wrong formula or too much of it.

"Dampen two cotton pads and use [one of each] on either side of face," instructs Cook. This should be sufficient enough to dampen the skin and prep it for your following serums and creams.

Looking for a refreshing pick? The Dior Hydra Life Balancing Hydration 2 In 1 Sorbet Water works to eliminate and neutralise free radicals while keeping hydration in check.

Dior Hydra Life Balancing Hydration 2 In 1 Sorbet Water, $75 at Sephora

Although serums are often a little pricier than your other skin care products, a "pea-sized" amount is all you need when using an effective formula. So why not splash out a little?

Lightweight in texture, the Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum hydrates, smooths and replenishes the skin. Plus, it looks damn pretty on a vanity.

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum, $135 at Myer

For moisturiser, stick to the size of a pearl — "but not a Paspaley one, it’s too big!". If you're after a decent hit of moisture, try the Dermalogica Cooling Aqua Jelly. It's filled with hyaluronic acid, which absorbs quickly into the skin and locks in hydration.

Dermalogica Cooling Aqua Jelly, $38 at

When it comes to SPF, "good coverage is needed, so depending on consistency of the product, approximately a 20 cent-sized dollop is required for the face," explains Cook. But don’t forget that "sunscreen [also] needs to be reapplied every two hours or more."

With an invisible finish, the Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF30 is lightweight and won’t feel too heavy on your skin, making consistent wear less of a chore.

Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF30, $59 at Adore Beauty

Eye cream
The skin around the eyes is thinner and more delicate than the rest of the face, therefore a "small pea[-sized amount] dabbed lightly across the eye area" is all you need.

Formulated with quinoa extract to lift and decrease puffiness, the Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Eye Gel Cream is perfect for smoothing and plumping the skin around your peepers for a firmer, refreshed appearance.

Caudalie Resveratrol-Lift Firming Eye Gel Cream, $81 at Sephora

When applying face oil, Cook recommends five drops as a good rule of thumb. This way, "a drop can be pressed into the forehead, each cheek, chin and neck."

If you love the sound of an oil, but hate the idea of residue, try the Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil. It moisturises, softens and conditions without leaving your face feeling greasy.

Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil, $105 at

Main image credit: @haileybieber

Love a good facial oil? These are the ingredients you should look for, according to your skin concerns.