Month-by-Month Beauty Care Checklist

Let’s face it: There are a lot of details (and appointments) that go into looking good. This month-by-month guide makes taking care of yourself easy.


  1. Check Don’t forget sunscreen.

    UVA rays are just as potent in the winter. Apply a facial moisturizer with SPF 15 to protect your skin.

  2. Check Zap skin spots.

    Consult a dermatologist about laser treatment if spots or broken blood vessels are a problem. You’ll get the best results if you treat paler winter skin: Since lasers are attracted to color, they’ll often attack tanned skin, rather than the blemish.

  3. Check New year, new mascara.

    If you haven't changed your mascara since the summer, do so now. Instead of basic black, try one in eggplant, a shade that enhances any eye color.


  1. Check Schedule a full-body skin-cancer scan.

    Any time of the year is fine, as long as you have a yearly checkup with a dermatologist. If you've had skin cancer in the past, schedule a six-month follow-up in August. Always be on the lookout for moles that change color, size, or shape.

  2. Check Start treatments like Retin-A.

    Since acne treatments or antiaging products that contain vitamin A thin the top layer of skin, you’re more prone to sunburn when using one. Winter is a good time to try a retinoid—you're not spending as much time out in the sun. Even so, if you’re using a vitamin A treatment, always wear a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.

  3. Check Be your own valentine.

    Flowers are always nice to receive, but who wants to wait for the doorbell to ring? On February 14, give yourself a rose-infused bath with bath salts.


  1. Check Spring-clean your makeup bag.

    Toss out foundations, concealers, and lipsticks that are a year old, mascara that was purchased more than six months ago, and anything that smells strange.

  2. Check Treat yourself to a massage.

    You've been slouching your shoulders all winter to keep warm. A massage will loosen up your back muscles and improve your posture.


  1. Check Alternate anti-aging treatments.

    As summer approaches, switch over from a retinoid to an anti-aging product containing glycolic acid, which is safe to use during the sunny season.

  2. Check Get an easy warm-weather hairstyle.

    Shorter hair takes less time to dry. Schedule regular trims every six to eight weeks.


  1. Check Groom feet and hands.

    Use a scrub nightly to shed winter-toughened skin on feet. Try a pale polish on hands—it's modern and classic, and won't show cracks or dings.

  2. Check Throw away last year’s sunscreen.

    After a year, a sunscreen’s efficacy deteriorates. Stock up on a new supply of SPF 15 or higher, and apply it liberally.


  1. Check Get a bikini wax.

    It’s no one’s favorite thing to do, but a bikini wax is relatively inexpensive, and the results last much longer than shaving—about four to six weeks.

  2. Check Switch to a clarifying shampoo.

    Sun, salt water, and chlorine can leave hair dull, dry, and discolored. A clarifying shampoo removes chlorine, salt, and styling-product buildup.

  3. Check Reassess the shade of your concealer.

    As your skin gets a touch of color, you may need a slightly darker shade.


  1. Check Pack a face spritzer for hot days.

    Tote chilled tap water in a spray bottle to keep your skin cool and refreshed. Just make sure you're wearing waterproof sunscreen.

  2. Check Deep-condition summer-sapped hair.

    Apply an intense moisturizing hair mask to wet hair, then wrap hair in a warm towel. (Toss a damp towel in the microwave for one minute to heat it.) Relax for about 20 minutes, and then rinse hair with cool water.

  3. Check Keep heels smooth.

    At the beach? Take a stroll on the sand for natural and free exfoliation.


  1. Check Brighten your smile.

    Visit your dentist every six months. August is an ideal time for a checkup, since many patients are on vacation. With luck, your dentist won’t be.

  2. Check Stock sunscreen.

    Don't try to make it through Labor Day with an almost-empty bottle. For proper protection, you need to slather on a shot-glass-size amount of sunscreen (the amount that fills your cupped palm). You don’t want to skimp.

  3. Check Clean your feet.

    Your feet can be stained after spending months in flip-flops. Fill a basin with equal parts water and hydrogen peroxide, dunk your feet in, and scrub with a brush or a pumice. (Hydrogen peroxide can discolor fabric, so use with caution.)


  1. Check Prevent new-fall-shoe blisters.

    Walk around in new shoes to identify trouble spots, then apply moleskin or a liquid bandage to the areas that are liable to blister.

  2. Check Put on a richer lipstick.

    Deep, warm hues work well in cooler weather because you need more color on your face as skin gets paler and clothes darker.


  1. Check Clear up skin.

    Topical antibiotics like benzoyl peroxide take two to three weeks to kick in: a good thing to keep in mind as you get ready for the holiday season. To prevent breakouts (often triggered by stress or a packed schedule), start using an over-the-counter acne treatment now.

  2. Check Shelve nail polish.

    Nails need time off to regain their natural color, so leave them clean for a few weeks. Gently file nails to remove yellowing.

  3. Check Use creamier cleansers.

    In cold weather, steer clear of bar soap, which is drying. Try a non-water-based cleanser instead.


  1. Check Deep-clean your pores.

    Schedule a facial to brighten skin for the holidays. Do it a couple of days before a party so any irritation from extractions or peels will have disappeared. After late nights (or alcohol consumption), smooth on an at-home nourishing mask to prevent puffiness in the morning.

  2. Check Treat yourself to a manicure.

    Wear your nails on the shorter side to keep them low-maintenance. Take a bottle of polish to your manicure appointment, then use it afterward to touch up chips as they occur.


  1. Check Don't stain your teeth.

    Dark beverages, such as cranberry juice and red wine, are big tooth tainters—as hard to get off your teeth as they are to get off your kitchen counter. After a meal, swish with a mouthwash.

  2. Check Keep skin moisturized.

    Take quick showers that aren't too steamy, since extended exposure to hot water can dry out skin. Exfoliate with a hydrating scrub, then apply a rich moisturizer.