A Guide On How Much Cleanser To Use

With so many cleansers to choose from, the thought of choosing one can be overwhelming. Then, when you finally think you've got it figured out, you're not sure how much you should use. Well, we've researched the topic in-depth and have an answer for you.

The amount of cleanser you use depends on the type of cleanser you have. You should use the following amounts of cleanser depending on its type:

  • Gel cleanser: dime size amount
  • Foam cleanser: one pump
  • Cream cleanser: dime size amount

As you can see, you only need to use a small amount of cleanser, whether it is in gel, foam, or cream form. Keep reading as we discuss how to apply cleansers. We'll also answer some more questions you might have about cleansing your face.

Different varieties of skin care products on a gray background, A Guide On How Much Cleanser To Use

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How Much Cleanser?

Though you might be tempted to use more to achieve that squeaky clean feel, you only really need a small amount of cleanser to get the job done. Using too much can cause irritation and dry skin. A dime-sized amount of either gel or cream cleanser and one pump of foam cleanser is enough.

How to apply cleanser?

So, we've told you how much cleanser you need, but now what do you do with it? You should always follow the directions on any manufacturer's packaging, but if for some reason you've lost it, we'll go over some steps for each cleanser form below. With any of the cleansers, you should start with clean hands. You don't want to spread any germs or bacteria from your hands to your face.


First, rinse your face with lukewarm water. Next, place a dime-size amount of gel cleanser in your hands and work into a lather. Apply to your face with gentle circular motions. Rinse your face and pat your skin dry.


An up close photo of a milky lotion on a beige background

You can use cleansing cream on wet or dry skin. However, if you apply it directly to dry skin, it will be able to remove more dirt because the water will not dilute it. Apply the dime-sized amount to your face in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and pat your face dry.


A woman pouring cleanser on her hand

Begin with a wet face. As the name suggests, a foaming cleanser will automatically foam when you pump it into your hands. Apply the cleanser to your entire face and then rub it in using a circular motion. Splash water on your face to remove the cleanser, and pat dry with a towel.

You may have noticed that for all of the cleansers, we suggest patting your skin dry. It can be tempting to rub your face with a towel, but this can also irritate and damage your skin. In fact, if you can, it's much better to let your face air dry.

How many times a day should you use a cleanser?

You should wash your face at least once a day. The best time is in the evening to remove any dirt, makeup, or grime that has built up during the day. If you have oily skin, you should wash your face in the morning and in the evening. Even though you are washing your face, this doesn't mean you have to use the cleanser every time.

How often you use a cleanser will depend on the cleanser and your skin type. Some cleansers are harsher than others. If you do have a harsh cleanser, it may direct you to use it every other day. Whereas some cleansers are daily cleansers, and you should use them once a day, while others might direct you to use them during your morning and bedtime routine.

It might also depend on how sensitive your skin is. If you have very delicate or sensitive skin, you might need to take a break between cleanses. While others can use a cleanser every time they wash their face. You should check the directions on the cleanser and experiment with how often you use it to see what works best for you.

How long does a cleanser last?

If you enjoy switching out your products often, you might have some that have not been used in a while. It can be easy to push some products to the back of the shelf and forget about them. Because of this, you might be wondering how long the face cleanser lasts. Unfortunately, cleansers do not last forever and will eventually expire.

Your cleanser may have an expiration date on its container, so you should check there first. Depending on the cleanser, you can expect it to last anywhere from six months to two years. Many beauty products don't have a set date but rather a time frame they will last after they are opened. You might see a symbol that says 6M, 12M, or 24M. This tells you how many months it will last after it is opened.

A woman putting body cleanser on her shoulder

Storing Your Cleanser Correctly Will Extend Its Life

You might be surprised to know that where you store your cleanser might dictate how long it lasts. It is important to follow the instructions on the packaging for how to store the cleanser, but if in doubt, store it in a cool, dry place. Exposure to humidity, heat, and moisture can decrease its life span. Try to store it outside of your bathroom if you can.

Handling Your Cleanser

Most cleansers come in a pump bottle or squeeze tube, but if you have a cream cleanser that requires you to scoop it out, you should try to avoid getting it out with your hands. Bacteria from your hands can transfer into your cleanser and cause mold to grow. Instead, use a spoon or scoop to get a small amount out.

Even if you have a tube cleanser, try to avoid touching the container where the cleanser comes out.

If In Doubt, Throw It Out

If your cleanser changes in appearance, including consistency or color, or smell in any way, you should throw it out. Expired cleansers may become separated or thinner. Any change from its original appearance is a sign that your cleanser is no longer good to use.

Cleansers, even though they have the same function as face washes, are in fact different. So if you are wondering how long your face wash will last, check out our other blog post here: "How Long Does Face Wash Last?"

Different varieties of face cleanser on a yellow background

Is it ok to use an expired cleanser?

Whether it's ok to use an expired cleanser depends on a couple of things. First, it depends on how long the product has been expired. If it's only a few days past its expiration and it has the same appearance as when you first got it, it's likely fine to use.

Second, if you have sensitive skin, you should probably not risk using an expired cleanser. Using an expired cleanser can result in breakouts and irritation to your skin. Most cleansers will just become less effective after they pass their expiration date. However, over time some cleansers may also become stronger. Because there's no way of knowing what your cleanser will do, you can seriously hurt your skin.

As we mentioned earlier, once opened, your cleanser becomes more likely to be exposed to bacteria. If your cleanser has been sitting a while, it could lead to bad infections.

Final Thoughts

You only need a small amount of cleanser to get your face squeaky clean. Remember, the skin on our face is delicate. Don't overuse your cleanser, or you could end up doing more harm than good. Hopefully, our post has helped answer some questions you might have had about your cleanser and how to use it correctly.

For more reading on the topic. Check out one of our other blog posts: "How Long Should I Leave Cleanser On My Face?" or "Should I Wash My Face After Using Cleanser?"

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