Christmas and birthday gifts for your partner can be tricky, but, basically, if you spend lots of cash, or give something with sentimental value, you’re pretty safe.
The rules are less clear-cut for Valentine’s Day. Do you give presents at all, or will a card suffice? Are you expected to plan an elaborate night out, or is a home-cooked meal more the thing? Soon enough, February 14 rolls around, he hands over a dozen roses and something sparkly from Tiffany, whisks you off to Barbados, and you reciprocate with some comedy Post-Its and a handmade card.
This year, we advise opting out of all that drama by simply agreeing to buy yourselves something you’d actually like. So here are 11 beauty goodies, tied together by the tenuous link that they all happen to be red (or pink) and, also, fabulous.
Beauty Blender red.carpet
$28 – available at Sephora
This little sponge doesn’t look like much, but it can help you get a professional finish to your makeup, with no expertise at all. Dampen it with water, then use it to dab on foundation or powder. The big end is great for covering large areas of your face quickly, while the pointy bit allows you to reach areas like the sides of your nose. The red shade is limited edition and exclusive to Sephora.
Diptyque Rosa Viola Mini Candle
$42 – available at Holt Renfrew
You may balk at the idea of paying 40 bucks for something you’re literally going to set on fire, but posh candles are expensive for a reason. They smell better than cheap ones, have stronger scents (one candle can fragrance your whole house), and last longer. This limited edition version was created by designer Olympia Le-Tan, formerly of Chanel and Balmain, and smells of roses and violets.
Essie Nail Polish in Raspberry
$9.99, available at drugstores, salons and other beauty destinations
This polish is great for transitioning from winter to spring – it’s not a Christmassy holly-berry hue, but rather a cool-toned red that’s fresh and bright. You need two coats for maximum impact. With base and top coats, it’ll last up to a week without chipping.
Fresh Suga(red) Lip Treatment
$28 – available at Sephora
Make your kisser more kissable with this moisturizing treat. It gives your lips a touch of sheen without being sticky, and contains antioxidants and SPF too. The product is a collaboration between Fresh and (Red), the foundation created by Bono and Bobby Shriver to fight AIDS in Africa, and 25% of the retail price goes to (Red).
Giorgio Armani Eyeshadow in Lust Red
$39 – available at Nordstrom
Red eyeshadow is usually best avoided – it can look Halloween-y and creepy, which is probably not the Valentine’s look you’re going for. This one is actually a charcoal shade, flecked with red, so it’s a great way of spicing up a standard smoky eye. The texture is somewhere between a powder and a cream eyeshadow, so use an eye primer (we like this one) to avoid fall-out. If you want the full Gaga-at-Superbowl effect, try Make Up For Ever’s Glitter in N7, Red ($15, available at www.makeupforever.com).
Luna 2 by Foreo
Ultrasonic cleansing devices have been around for a few years now. The attraction is that they cleanse much more effectively than your hands, so skin looks immediately brighter and your skincare products are able to penetrate more deeply. Existing devices have brush heads that need to be replaced, and can be harsh on sensitive skin. They also need regular washing because they get clogged up with dirt, making them a haven for bacteria.
Enter the Luna, which is a one-piece device (no need to change brush heads, ever) made from soft anti-bacterial silicone. The reverse of the brush delivers pulses that can supposedly reduce the appearance of wrinkles. This, the second incarnation, comes in four models for different skin types, and has a flexible brush head that can supposedly reach every nook and cranny of your face. The whole device fits into the palm and it can be used twice daily, with any cleanser, without damaging skin. One hour-long charge lasts for up to five months.
Lush Roses All the Way Soap
$7.95 – available at Lush
This soap is shaped like both a rose and a heart, for double the romantic appeal. It smells like rose oil, and cleanses gently, without stripping skin of moisture.
Make Up For Ever Aqualiner in Iridescent Red
$27 – available at Sephora
If you’re bored with the classic cat-eye, change it up by creating the look in red. This liquid liner is water-, tear-, and smudge-proof, and highly pigmented too.
Revlon Ultra HD Matte Lipcolor in Love
$11.49 – available at drugstores and mass retailers
Matte red lipstick is grown-up and sexy, but most of them are drying and can make lips look crispy. This one is moisturizing and light, and goes on glossy, but dries to a velvety finish that’s more flattering than a true matte. It’s not long-wearing – you’ll need to re-apply it through the day – but it does fade evenly. This shade, Love, is Revlon’s reddest red – a tomato shade that’s great against darker skin tones.
Saje Tantra Sensuous Kit for Lovers
$39.95 – available at Saje
You don’t have to be getting ready for romance to use this Tantra Tin set, which comprises a mist spray, bath salts, bath body and massage oil, and candle. All are scented with lavender, vanilla, and rosewood, which are great for calming and de-stressing – something we all need, irrespective of relationship status.
Sealuxe Beach Glass Soap in Ritual Rose
$10 – available at Kiss and Makeup
Liquid hand-wash supposedly takes many times more energy to produce and package than bar soap, which means the latter is better for the environment. The problem with bar soap is it gets kind of gross after a couple of uses. That’s where this comes in. It’s a pack of little rose-scented soap pebbles, each of which is designed for a single hand-wash. The brand, Sealuxe, is based in Crescent Beach, B.C., and all its products are free from parabens, sodium laurel sulphate, petroleum, alcohol, phthalates, chemicals, dyes, and unnatural preservatives.