How much is enough?

2 min readAug 12, 2022


Between stuff of the material world and stuff of the mind, it is common to see people go overboard without knowing how much is too much. The consequences can range from mild (running out of washing powder too quickly) to detrimental (Losing yourself in metric purgatory).

I will take you through some examples of commonplace overuse (usually borne out of advertising or fads) of physical everyday products that I have observed in the average case. It’s possible that ‘overuse’ for the average case is the right thing for your situation — Consult experts.

Overuse of stuff

Let’s start with products. Corporations do a great job of showing their models use copious amounts of their product to increase those sweet repeat purchases. However, you often need far less of their product than they portray in their advertising.

Shampoo — You only need a little bit of shampoo to wash your hair — women need about 10 ml of shampoo, as per shampoo manufacturers Head and Shoulders. Men could do with as little as a coin-sized amount. There’s no need to generate a forest of lather like in the picture below (making gigantic white wigs does sound like a decent side gig though).

Man applying shampoo to generate copious amounts of lather to make advertisements look good
Hells yeah! 100% lather = 100% vibes

Detergent is another one. As per multiple sources (including a manufacturer), you only need about 1–2 tablespoons of detergent per load. That enormous measuring cup that comes with your detergent, while accurate, should not be filled up for every wash. Overuse could be less than ideal for your clothes as modern machines use less water than they used to, raising the chances of stains from detergent overuse.

Toothpaste applied over the entire toothbrush, with a twirl at the end for effect
Mamma mia!

My personal favourite — Toothpaste is always shown covering the entirety of the toothbrush, with a twirl at the end to finish the magnum opus of marketing. Your teeth, however, only require a pea-sized amount. Work on your cleaning technique (Pro tip: Don’t rinse your mouth immediately — Fluoride takes a bit of time to work its magic), that’ll help more than stuffing your mouth with paste.

Cooking oil — While it’s a common sight in Indian kitchens to see utensils layered with huge dollops of oil for each cook, the recommended daily intake for adults is 4 teaspoons or less. Nearly every dish should cook just fine with just enough oil to layer the bottom of the pan.

Have any thoughts on the list, or know any more things that belong on here? Feel free to leave a comment!




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