Beyond the marketing gimmicks and overpriced blooms, Valentine’s Day is, ultimately, a rose-covered reminder to love a little harder. And by harder, I mean wilder, gentler, faster, spicier, louder or kinder. Both for yourself and your significant other—whether you’re in a long-term relationship looking to reignite romance, revelling in the fluttery thrill of a newfound chase, or focusing on you…and some well-deserved tender loving self-care.
From olfactive tools for deeper connections, to pretty little multi-sensory pleasures that will make more than your spine tingle, here are 24 beauty essentials to get you some serious loving on February 14:
Ignite passion with candles
Candles are effortless little accents with huge mood-setting potential. Visually, their warm, flickering lights create an instantly romantic ambience; while their room-filling scents have the power to conjure up all sorts of emotions depending on what fragrances you choose to light up. Lavender and ylang ylang are wildly aromatic blooms that have olfactory properties to calm the soul, which is key when letting loose with your partner, but there are several science-backed scents famed for their ability to turn you—your mind and senses—on: from the sweet, gritty floral (and apparently libido-increasing) nature of jasmine, to toasty sandalwood that, according to a 2006 study, spikes desire and elevates women’s moods during sex. Notes that bring decadent desserts to mind, too, are notoriously arousing, like creamy vanilla, rum, cinnamon, whiskey and strawberry.
Jo Malone Special Edition Velvet Rose & Oud Home Candle
Diptyque Tubereuse Scented Candle
Candles of Light Privacy Please Evenlight Aura Holographic Candle
Maison Margiela Replica Candle in Jazz Club
Want to take your candle play a little further? Some candles offer more than just olfactory allure but double up as warm, luscious massage oils, safe to be dripped all over your body.
Sunday Riley Come Upstairs Massage Candle
Swede Senze Herbal Aphrodisiac Teasing Massage Candle Vanilla Chilli Ylang Ylang
Spritz on scents that are good enough to eat
More than candles, perfumes and colognes are even stronger—if not the strongest—beauty weapons of mass seduction, simply because of the power of scent… and the intensity of potent eau de parfums. Your sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain, which is the most primitive part that controls your feelings and emotions—love and lust included—and spritzing copious amounts of your choice fragrance onto pressure points that interact with your skin, body heat and sweat has serious potential to drive others wild. While certain notes have been scientifically proven to trigger a biochemical response, like amber and musk which are said to resemble the smell of skin, some of the most aphrodisiacal scents are “edible” ones—notes that smell good enough to eat.
Tom Ford Lost Cherry Eau de Parfum
Maison Christian Dior Vanilla Diorama
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
Kilian Paris Rolling in Love
Lock in red lips with a lip stain
Red lipsticks are extra popular on Valentine’s Day but the honest truth is even the most waterproof, budge-proof liquid matte formulas cannot withstand the heated friction of a passionate kiss—and then some. Save yourself the trouble of having to lock your lipstick in place with dabbing techniques, loose powder or ultra-drying formulas and opt for a lip stain or tint instead. A serious hack for long-lasting lip colour, these highly pigmented, inky formulas essentially infuse lips with rich colour in a weightless, undetectable finish that stays put no matter what you do with that pout. Plus, when applied to the centre of your lips and sheered out to the edges, this gives lips a natural but vibrant, just bitten look and can even be used on a cheeks for a gorgeous flush.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Lip Stain in Black Cherry
Benefit Cosmetics Lovetint Cheek & Lip Tint
Hera Sensual Powder Matte Lip Tint in 90 Deja Vu
Dior Lip Tattoo in 771 Natural Berry
Intensify connections—and sensations—with a relaxing massage
It’s no secret that the most satisfying, toe-curling orgasms happen when you’re relaxed. And nothing relaxes the body and soul quite like a sensual massage of deep, long strokes to melt away all tension and inhibition—especially when aided by these sensorial massage oils and luscious body creams.
Aesop Geranium Leaf Hydrating Body Treatment
The Body Shop Hawaiian Kukui Cream Rich Nurturing Body Cream
Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm
Payot Revitalising Body Oil with Thyme Essential Oil
Keep your Y-Zone silky smooth
Soft, smooth skin around your intimate area is key because not only does that give you more confidence to peel off those layers, but also ensures you don’t experience any discomfort with skin-to-skin action. Freshly shaved or waxed skin is most susceptible to ingrowns, irritation and inflammation, so on top of gentle weekly exfoliation, you should keep the skin calm and supple with an ingrown cream to tackle any unwanted bumps, and safe-for-there soothing creams that help nourish and repair the skin.
Don’t forget your mane attraction
Ariana Grande sang it best: “I want you to touch it softly, like the way you do my mind. It got body and it’s smooth to touch, the same way as my skin”. She was talking about her hair, and that incredibly sensual sensation of having someone run their fingers through your hair. And if they gently caress your scalp, even better, for it is a highly sensitive, erogenous zone with plenty of nerve endings that can elicit all sorts of feelings when stimulated. So make sure your hair is not only fresh and clean, but silky smooth and smelling divine to invite just the right amount of strokes—or tugs—that are sure to send waves of pleasure down your spine.