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Ask The Makeup Diva
Welcome to Ask The Makeup Diva™! Our resident expert, The Makeup Diva, answers makeup and skin care questions sent in by readers just like you.

Q: I usually use a cleanser and a moisturizer, but I recently added an anti-wrinkle cream to my routine. Can I replace my moisturizer with it? In what order should I apply everything?

A: With all the different products to choose from these days, it's no wonder we have a hard time knowing what to put on first. The first basic steps are:

  1. Use an eye makeup remover for stubborn mascara/eye makeup (if you feel you need a separate product)
  2. Cleanse your whole face
  3. Use a toner/freshener/astringent if you like
From here, it all depends on what you are using. In most cases, you should apply a treatment like an AHA, BHA or vitamin product as step four, then your moisturizer (if you need more moisture than your treatment offers), then sunblock last. Most sunblock products should go on last for the best protection.

The confusion starts when you are using multiple treatment products and moisturizers and eye creams and on and on. What I've found works best is to alternate days/nights with different treatments, rather than piling on layer after layer on your face. For example, some vitamin creams like vitamin A (usually known as retinol) make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, so you could use it at night and use an AHA/BHA in the morning. I would apply it after cleansing and toning, but before a moisturizer.

You can also layer on products depending on how potent you want them to be on your skin. For instance, if you are sensitive to acne treatment creams like benzoyl peroxide, consider applying it after your moisturizer so there is a barrier against irritation. Conversely, if you are concerned about fine lines around your eyes, apply your eye cream right after cleansing/toning but before your regular moisturizer for the maximum benefit.

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