So, you’ve got all of your Valentine’s plans laid out. The scene is set, the presents are bought, and you’ve got everything in place for a perfect evening. Now it’s time to think about you!
Easing yourself into the mood for a great night out is all in the preparation; pampering and preening are all part of the ritual, as is spritzing yourself with your favourite feel-good scent. If you’re in need of some inspiration, take a little look at my date night essentials edit of products that’ll make your Valentine’s Day… and night!
Get the look
A romantic date night look is really very easy to achieve; it doesn’t matter whether it’s your first date or your one hundred and first, it’s just about enhancing your natural loveliness. Lashes are longer and darker, lips are rosy and full, and cheeks are beautifully flushed, without masking or overloading. Using your favourite radiance-enhancing base as a starting point, focus on the following three areas:
There’s a fine line between fluttery and spidery – and it tends to come down to your natural lashes. Those who are not blessed with long, full lashes will know this all too well! Achieving a show stopping look is all down to good preparation and patience.
Start by prepping lashes with the Diorshow Lash Maximizer, a primer that’ll thicken your lashes both immediately and over time thanks to its conditioning complexes. Leave to dry for a few seconds, and then immediately follow with the Guerlain Maxi Lash mascara, a beautiful formula with an innovative brush that adds curl, length and volume. Maxi Lash is brilliant because it doesn’t overstretch itself when building length – I sometimes find that the longer lashes get, the more spindly and droopy they appear throughout the course of the day. This genius formula builds volume from the root, offering great support, while a blend of waxes holds the curl right where you want it.
Rev up your look with a slick of black liner along the top lashes, and dot a little highlighter in the inner corner to really open up the eye.
Choosing a lip product can be a tricky thing when you’re getting ready for a date. It’s the only product during the course of the evening that you’re likely to have to reapply, but you won’t want to be doing it every hour. Aside from using a stain or opting for bare lips, you have two great options at your disposal: a barely-there colour that will subtly enhance lips, or a rich colour that will fade away evenly.
If you’re going for more of a natural look, then the much-loved Clarins Lip Perfector could be for you. The crème brûlée scented balm gives lips a semi-sheer wash of colour and shine, while smoothing out and subtly plumping the skin. It has a second-skin texture that keeps lips feeling great long after it’s worn away, and the tube is discreet enough that a quick reapplication won’t look out of place.
Those who crave colour love Rouge Dior lipstick, It offers pigmented, full coverage colour that lasts a long time. The high tech formula has quite a classic texture, feeling rich, smooth and really luxurious. I really love the shade 468 Rose Bonheur, a light and neutral rosy pink with a creamy finish.
And finally, the thing that ties the whole look together. Blush, in all of its different textures of finishes, is fantastic when you need an instant boost. For this romantic look, keep things sheer and fresh; you want your skin to look as naturally radiant as possible. Apply to skin prepped with an illuminating base such as the Clarins Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base and your chosen foundation, and gently build up your chosen colour bit by bit, making sure to blend well to avoid streakiness.
My two favourite blushes for creating a youthful, flushing finish are the Daniel Sandler Watercolour Blush in Cherub, a lightly shimmering rosy pink, and the Dior Rosy Glow Blush, a bright dolly pink that adapts its colour to your skin tone. They’re wildly different in application method and texture – Daniel Sandler’s blush is a fluid that I like to apply with my fingers, Dior’s blush is a powder that looks beautiful when buffed on with a fluffy powder brush – but they both produce a breathtakingly beautiful result.
Scent the occasion
So, you’ve got your make-up perfected – now it’s time to select the ideal fragrance for your night of romance. It goes without saying that scent is a very personal thing, and your scope of choice is almost endless. But for this post, I’m going to shuffle the big grand world of fragrance into two very broad ‘moods’ to make your decision a little easier: lighthearted and romantic, and sensuous and impressionable.
Lighthearted and Romantic
If your date is a more laidback affair, opt for something sparkling, light and romantic. A fragrance with citrus, floral or fruity accords will do very nicely, as they tend to have a more breezy and effusive character that is effortless to wear. There are plenty of options that will fit the bill! Especially Escada is a wonderful rose bouquet accented with juicy pear and spicy ambrette seeds; La Perla J’aime is another romantic folly, blending colourful fruits and a delectable drizzle of caramel with transparent waterlily and Egyptian jasmine’ and the Valentine’s Day behemoth, Ralph Lauren Romance, is always a beautiful choice, bursting to life with citrus, rose, lily and violet.
Sensuous and impressionable
If you’re looking to make a big impression, you can’t get a more passionate fragrance than Annick Goutal Grand Amour, a classic, heady bouquet of plush white flowers and the rarest balms. It’s said you must wear this fragrance like you’d wear a fur – it’s very opulent! A more accessible bouquet is iconic Dior J’Adore Eau de Parfum, a rich and sparkling fragrance that counts creamy ylang-ylang, damask rose and sambac jasmine amongst its refined ingredients. If it’s something sweet yet bold that you crave, then Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum is your kindred spirit. With notes of cherry, black tea and rose on a liquorice and patchouli base, it leaves a distinctive lasting trail.