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Live Your Year, Beautifully 

It’s February and you’re felling meh. Fair play. It’s too cold to want to go outside and after binge-eating for the past two months and a dead-on-the-treadmill resolution, it’s safe to say no one want to stay inside and Netflix and chill. No problem. We’ve got your fix. Consider this your month-by-month beauty cheat sheet that you can start right now.

February: Prevent stress
This is such a no brainer…you need to book a massage. Not only will you get to lie down for a solid 60, the human touch soothes, relieving muscle tension, pain and tightness. It can also improve your circulation, which means your skin will look and feel healthier enabling your skin to better fight off the gross bacteria and infection we’re all breathing in right now. Plus, it’ll help keep you from becoming a number, as in the one in four Canadians Statistics Canada says describe their daily routine as stressful.

March: Spring clean!
Take a line from Marie Kondo’s page of life and eliminate the old (a.k.a: layer of dead skills you didn’t know you have on your face) by giving it a spring-cleaning. Professional chemical peels are a great option as they remove dead skin cells and stimulate new ones. If you want to go the DIY route, deep cleaning, exfoliating facial products containing chemicals like Olay ProX Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser ($18, available at Walmart) and NeoStrata Dual Acid Brightening Peel ($80, available at Shoppers Drug Mart), retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids (e.g., glycolic) or beta-hydroxy acids (e.g., salicylic) works best if you use them once a week. (Bonus: Freshly exfoliated skin absorbs serums and moisturizers more easily.)

April: Shape up
Covet J.Lo’s abs (P.Diddy did a double take and posted about it!) or Jessica Alba’s tush? Tap into the celebrity-favoured Body Contouring treatment. “Spring is a great time for this procedure because it takes about eight to 12 weeks to see the results,” affirms Dr. Cory S. Goldberg MD, MASc, FRCSC, FACS, MBA, a plastic and craniofacial surgeon at his eponymous clinic in Toronto. “This will leave you with enough time to look your best when summer arrives.” Applied with a non-invasive laser, the non-surgical body LipoSonix treatment alternately cools or heats fat, causing it to die and resorb and can be applied to your tummy, love-handles, thighs and upper back.

May: Polish your look
Open-toe sandal season is here and with a bevy of nail polish shades to choose from, like the water-based, natural, odour-free, vegan line from Canada’s Suncoat nail polish ($12 each, available at suncoatproducts.com), you can primp your way to a pretty pedicure in five easy steps:

  1. Remove residue and old polish with nail-polish remover.
  2. Soak your feet in warm soapy water then soften your cuticles with cuticle oil and gently push the cuticles back with the base of a nail file.
  3. Add a base coat to protect your nails and give your favourite colour something to adhere to.
  4. Paint on a thin layer of your chosen hue and follow up with a second coating.
  5. Layer on a topcoat to seal the deal and prevent chipping.

June: Faux glow
No need to revisit the ’80s and bake your skin under the sun’s harsh UVA (think: aging) and UVB (think: burning) rays. Self-tanning suntan products will do the trick leaving your skin with a bronzed-looking glow. Simply, shower, shave and exfoliate, then pat your skin dry before moisturizing with your favourite body lotion. Apply a thin layer of self-tanner onto your skin and voilà, you’ll look like you’ve spent the week in the Caribbean. (Tip: Wait 10 to 15 minutes until your self-tanner has completely absorbed into your skin before getting dressed to avoid transference onto your clothes.)

TRY: Vita Liberata pHenomenal 2-3 week Tan Mousse, $65 at Sephora.

July: Exfoliate
Love the sunshine; loathe the sweating. Slough off grime, dirt, sweat and dead skin cells with a gritty-feeling facial product on a weekly basis. It’s a good thing, especially during summer’s hot and humid months. Why?

  1. It leaves your skin with a smoother appearance and feel.
  2. It eliminates your dermis of dry flakes, sweat, grime and dead skin cells.
  3. It helps improve the skin’s natural cell renewal rate.

TRY: Fresh Sugar Face Polish Exfoliator, from $30, available at Sephora.

August: White On
Getting back to reality post summer vacation is the perfect time to book your annual teeth whitening appointment. Consider it your preventative dental hygiene and an instant makeover all in one. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Get your teeth cleaned beforehand to eliminate surface stains and/or tartar buildup. This will help achieve “the whitening results you want in a faster, more predictable way,” explains Dr. David Gardner, a cosmetic makeover dentist at the Gardner Dental Centre in Toronto.
  2. While whitening will not change the colour of plastic bonding, fillings, crowns or veneers, you can have these redone in the new, brighter colour.
  3. Whitening “sensitivity is due to dehydration of the tooth by the whitening agents and can be easily managed,” says Dr. Gardner. All you need to do is ask how.

September: Brighten Up
You came, you saw, you sunned, you played hard and now you need to repent. Your face needs a little TLC after being exposed to your summertime behaviour. Erase sun spots, fine lines and even, acne with skincare products containing Retinol. Health Canada approved and typically containing a maximum of 1.0% of the anti-aging ingredient, retinol-based products are the gold standard for glowing, covetous skin, removing the layers of dead skin cells on your face, increasing cellular rejuvenation and stimulating collagen production—all while softening fine lines and wrinkles and reducing the size of your pores. (Tip: Don’t forget to add an SPF to your daytime routine as retinol products can make your skin more susceptible to burning.)

TRY: Drunk ElephantA-Passioni Retinol Cream, $92, available at Sephora. 
TRY: Olay CC Cream Total Effects Tone Correcting Moisturizer with SPF15, $32, available at drugstores.

October: Swap your shades
With your summer vacation fading into a distant memory it’s time to swap your coral and bronze lipstick, eyeshadow and blush hues for autumn’s neutral, berry and rosy shades.

  • On your eyelids try: HUDA Beauty The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette, $85, available at Sephora.
  • On your eyelashes try: Shiseido Makeup Full Lash Volume Mascara in Black, $32 at Hudson’s Bay.
  • On your lips try: Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in “Etienne,” $46 available at Holt Renfrew.
  • On your cheeks try: Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Chic blush in “Sex On Fire,” $50, available at Sephora.

November: Start laser
Winter’s cool weather, minimal sunshine and our need to bundle up in layers of clothing make it the ideal time to book your laser hair removal sessions. “The sun and the laser are not friends,” affirms Dr. Bendago. Combined they can cause burning so “all UV light exposure needs to be avoided two to three weeks before and after each of your laser sessions.” While permanent hair reduction is the ultimate benefit of this slam-dunk treatment, bet you didn’t know you can also zap away unwanted spots. “The hyperpigmentation wavelength of the laser pick up and reduce dark pigmentation as well,” says Dr. Bendago.

December: Hydrate
Cool temps, late nights and too much rum-filled eggnog always lead to dull, dry skin. Follow our to-do list to ensure your skin stays hydrated:

  1. Drink nine cups of water a day. (Bonus: you’ll feel more energized.)
  2. Load up on water-rich foods like tomatoes, celery, cantaloupe, grapefruit, cucumber, strawberries and watermelon. (Tip: they contain at least 90 per cent water when eaten raw.)
  3. Quench thirsty skin by using serums and creams that contain hyaluronic acid as it can hold 1,000 times its weight in water.

TRY: Vichy Aqualia Thermal ExtraSensitive Moisturizer, $40 at Well.ca and Scentuals Vitamin C Facial Serum, $45, available at Scentuals.com

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