Ever listen to “Close to Me” by The Cure and wonder what Robert Smith is singing about? Those breathy, restless lyrics could mean anything, but one scenario that comes to mind is the hopeful feeling that comes rushing on leading up to a hot date.
Expectations can soar on Valentine’s Day, but before your date steps up to your door, take a second—or an hour or two!—to relax that beating heart and get your glow on. This foolproof pre-date beauty routine will give you time to treat yourself and give you a confidence boost for the big night.
Hop in the shower for a fresh and clean start. Breaking out the body scrub can feel like an extra step you can skip most days, but now’s the time to go for it. Do your shoulders if you’re rocking a strapless or on-trend “cold shoulder” outfit, and don’t forget your gams.
Post-shower, slather on a body oil right away to lock in moisture and leave skin soft and glowing.
A warm shower opens up pores pretty nicely on its own, but if you’ve got time, go the extra mile and give your face a luxurious steam bath with rose petals and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Steaming loosens up the sebum and pore-clogging dead cells, making it easier to thoroughly cleanse and also helping the skin absorb any treatment applied afterwards. Bonus: the scent just might put you in the perfect date night mood—relaxed and romantic.
Exfoliate with a radiance-inducing scrub for a silky-smooth complexion. This also primes skin for the next step: multimasking!
Indulge every part of your face with its very own special treat. First, whip up an antioxidant-rich citrus face mask with papaya, lime, orange, and honey; it fights free radicals and amps up the glow factor. Spread it all over your face, leaving space under the eyes. Then, mix up 1 tablespoon of chilled whipped coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of brightening pomegranate powder, and a drop or two of anti-inflammatory raw honey. Apply a thin layer to the under-eye area. Spread a bit of raw honey onto your lips while you’re at it—it’s a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. Leave it all on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. Finish with a splash of cold water to tighten up pores.
While you’re waiting for the masks to do their thing, treat damp hair with a defrizzer and heat protector for shiny tresses, and style as you like. If you’ve got curly hair, apply a curl cream that makes hair weightlessly bouncy. Stick-straight hair more your style? Try just two to three drops of argan oil blended with the essential oil of your choosing for a sweet smelling ’do.
Once your skin is fresh, put on your face. To prep, hydrate with your favorite oil or moisturizer. Use foundation and/or concealer as needed. For your most romantic look, don’t skip the blush! A rosy glow keeps all eyes on you (your date’s, and probably a few onlookers’, too). For lips, you really can’t go wrong with this lipstick that literally looks good on everyone (trust us, we tested it). The final touch—a swipe of black mascara.
You can DIY a mani-pedi either the night before or day of. Our go-to routine: Soak fingers and toes in a bowl of warm water for five to 10 minutes. Pat dry, and then use a cuticle nipper to carefully trim any excess skin or hangnails around the nails. File nails to your desired shape and massage a tiny bit of argan oil onto each cuticle, allowing it to absorb for a few minutes.
Then, paint! May we suggest some classically romantic shades for V-Day? Go all-out red, be pretty in pink, or try a chic-sexy icy neutral shade. If you’re short on time, here’s a trick to quick drying your polish: grab an ice-cold bowl of water, dip your nails in, and leave them in for as long as you can handle. That should help the color set.
If your date’s right on time, don’t sweat it—you’ve been ready. Just a spritz of rosewater for a subtly seductive scent, and you’re good to go.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho