Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, your golden anniversary, a night away from the sweet cherubs or any date for that matter, getting ready can feel like a painstaking process. For nights when you have to put your best foot (and face) forward, achieve the delicate balance between alluring and effortless with a little bit of self-care and the latest skin, body and hair care products. Ready to hit the town on his arm? Here’s our editor’s head-to-toe guide to getting ready – and pampered.
Ultra-romantic fragrances to fall head over heels with
Giorgio Armani Sì Fiori
Sweet yet deep, this velvety chypre floral scent is as romantic as it looks. If you don’t fall in love with the powdery pink exterior, you’ll fall for what’s inside. Best described as an elixir of femininity, this blackcurrant, orange blossom and vanilla fragrance exudes a positive vibe with an air of mystery. It oozes sensuality and has a musky finish but with a ‘prick’ of roses. Read: You’ll be irresistible!
From R1,375 for 30ml from Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini and Truworths
Azzaro Wanted Girl
Magnetic? Check. Alluring? Check. Desirable? Check. This oriental floral fragrance strikes the perfect balance for date night with a blend of fresh pomegranate, ginger flower and datura flower with sweet notes of truly delicious dulce de leche and vanilla tonka bean. This isn’t just a perfume – it’s a potion concocted to make anyone fall under your spell. One spritz will boost your confidence in seconds.
From R1,100 for 30ml from Woolworths, Edgars, Foschini, Truworths, Dis-Chem and Clicks
Elizabeth Arden White Tea Mandarin Blossom
Utterly chic inside and out, anyone would fall for this voluptuous, addictive and sparklingly fruity eau de toilette. An alluring alchemy of fruity-floral notes – think a delicious mix of mandarin, bergamot, lemon, exotic fruits, orange flower, jasmine, neroli and white tea – this summery spritz is a great go-to for romantic date nights or beach walks on balmy summer evenings. It’s also a prime first date perfume.
R895 for 100ml from Woolworths, Edgars and Foschini
NUXE Prodigieux Le Parfum
For unapologetic seduction tactics, NUXE’s rendition of its best-selling dry oil is as provocative as they come. The cult olfactory offering, which warms with the skin, is elegance bottled – think top notes of bergamot, mandarin, gardenia and magnolia and a dry down reminiscent of vanilla and coconut. Understated and effortless, sensual without being too obvious, it’s the ultimate neck-nuzzling perfume.
R855 for 50ml from Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini stores
The most important step in your date night skincare routine? Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. To channel that fresh, happy glow you get from Valentine’s Day excitement, take time to deeply cleanse your skin with the Burt’s Bees Soap Bark & Chamomile Deep Cleansing Cream (R250 from Dis-Chem). The combo of soap bark, chamomile and aloe in this cream formula work to cleanse skin from dirt, oil and pollution buildup, while a hint of menthol cools and soothes. Oh, and this being Burt’s Bees, it smells incredible! Our top tip is to massage it into dry skin and lay over with a hot muslin cloth to open your pores and leave you feeling fully refreshed. Then, plump it up with the L’Occitane en Provence Delicious Lip Scrub – Fabulous Fig (R300 from L’Occitane en Provence). Whether you’re adopting a less-is-more approach or slicking on a neon lipstick for date night, your lips will take centre stage and this fruity exfoliator will leave them super-soft and flake-free. You’ll definitely be tempted to lick it off!
Is there anything better than sipping on a glass of fizz and slathering your skin in your favourite face mask? The answer is no. After cleansing, follow with a brightening mask – the foundation of any luxurious skincare routine – like the Diego dalla Palma Professional Plumping Hyalu Mask (R540 from select salons and spas). Like a refreshing glass of water for your skin, its serum texture transforms from white to silver on your skin and uses four different types of hyaluronic acid as well as vitamin E and crambe oil to leave it looking plumper. We like to apply this seriously hydrating mask while we’re in the bath to let the steam do its work and then pop on a pair of Sothys Express Eye Patches (R135 per packet or R1,350 for a box of 10 from select salons and spas). These convenient, self-sticking patches stimulate circulation, giving the delicate skin beneath your eyes a nice refresh and a double tap-worthy glow.
To amp up the radiance and create a real wow factor, we’re a fan of the REN Radiance Perfection Serum (R820 from www.renskincare.co.za and select Woolworths stores). The best thing about this multi-active serum is that it tackles dull lack-lustre skin types. You can expect to see an instant dewy freshness after application, but then over the long term, it helps with the appearance of sun-damaged skin and hyperpigmentation. This complexion-correcting serum’s radiance-revealing properties will definitely make you want to go filter free! For dehydrated skin that’s anxiously awaiting a glow, the Gatineau Aquamemory Concentrate (R930 from select Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini stores) is a must. This serum’s milky texture is as thirst-quenching for your skin as reuniting with your water bottle after a HIIT workout. The lightweight formula restores the skin’s barrier and softens without weight your face down with product and little goes a long way with this one, so it’s worth the investment.
If you’re really targeting fine lines, discolouration and hyperpigmentation, the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (R3,088 from www.dermastore.co.za, www.skinmiles.com and select skincare professionals) is worth the price tag. Your anti-ageing routine isn’t complete without this potent serum packed with three key ingredients – vitamins C and E and ferulic acid, a plant-based antioxidant found in foods like bran, oats and rice. It’s a splurge, for sure, but it’s won a handful of awards and editors everywhere (ours included) are obsessed with it – and the hype is certainly warranted. When you start waking up to brighter, smoother skin and reduced signs of ageing every day, you’ll realise that this serum is truly in a league of its own. Plus, you only need four or five pea-size drops for your entire face every morning, so it should last a long time. Fun fact: The formula stays active for 72 hours after you apply it, even after washing your face.
Relax and indulge in a bath to calm your nerves before the evening begins. Burning a Jo Malone London Pomegranate Noir Home Candle (R1,000 from Jo Malone London and select Woolworths stores) will give your soak a luxury overhaul and immediately set the tone as it’s the sexiest scent in the entire collection. If you’re having a cosy night in for Galentine’s Day, light it as your guests arrive. Then, add a few drops of the REN Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil (R675 from www.renskincare.co.za and select Woolworths stores), a silky oil that smells like roses dipped in honey and does the hard work for you – moisturising your skin whilst you’re lying down. Now that’s our kind of date night hack! Two capfuls in the bath gives your limbs a much-needed hit of hydration, but doesn’t leave a greasy film on the bottom of your tub. Couple it with the Nivea Love Fun Times Shower Gel (R36.99 from Clicks and Dis-Chem) – a nourishing formula with a vibrant pink grapefruit scent – and you’ll be smelling like a snack all night long.
If you’re going to be applying self-tanner to achieve that flawless sun-kissed glow, it’s crucial to first use a good body scrub to prep your skin. You’ll get plenty of bang for your buck with the Bodycare from Africa Charcoal Exfoliating Shower Gel (R109.95 from select Dis-Chem stores), a fantastic exfoliator with activated and vitamin E that smooths, buffs and purifies the skin. It’s totally sophisticated – as is the chic packaging – and is also incredibly effective for use on dry, chapped hands. The St Moriz Professional Fast Tanning Mousse (R149.95 from Dis-Chem) is ideal when you need a tan ASAP: Achieve a light glow in one hour, a medium tan in two hours or a more bronzed tan in three hours. The lightweight mousse absorbs into the skin almost instantly – which, as any self-tanner aficionado knows, is the key to preventing colour streaking – and isn’t sticky or heavy. Use the St Moriz Professional Mitt (R99.95 from Dis-Chem) to apply it from head-toe-toe. Bonus: The price tag lets you stock up on multiple bottles.
For experienced self-tanners, the Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion (R379.99 from Clicks) delivers quick, impactful results like no other. The supremely hydrating lotion spreads easily and makes you look like you just spent an afternoon lying by the pool, so you can leave your house feeling toned and tan. Best of all, you can use it commitment-free because the tan can wash off after just two hours. On the flip side, the St Moriz Professional Gradual Tanning Lotion (R149.95 from Dis-Chem) is easy for beginners to use. The super-sheer self-tanner has a gorgeous, natural finish that’s easily buildable. Reapply it as needed to build your colour as deep as you want it. For best results, we recommend using it daily for up to three days before your date night. To keep your tan from fading too quickly, apply the NUXE Moisturising Body Lotion (R325 from select Woolworths, Truworths and Foschini stores) with almond and orange blossom petals immediately post-shower while your skin is still damp to lock in moisture. If you hate waiting for your body moisturiser to dry, try the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream All-Over Miracle Oil (R440 from Woolworths, Edgars and Foschini), which will leave your skin super-smooth and is delicately scented with a light, citrus floral fragrance. It could be the reason you’re fashionably, not ridiculously, late.
A hot date is the perfect opportunity to take your look up a notch. Start with a good foundation by rethinking your wash formulas. The Davines A Single Shampoo (R395 from www.completehairdressingsupplies.co.za) is an all-round triumph: Delicate enough for daily use yet efficacious enough for all hair types, it might be the secret to shinier and softer hair. Formulated with 95% natural ingredients, the gentle sulphate-free formula promotes elasticity and hydration. Next, it’s time to mask that frizz right out of your hair with the Davines Oi Hair Butter (R395 from www.completehairdressingsupplies.co.za). This lightweight mask seems to tame and nourish even the most stressed-out strands (think bleached and broken) while controlling and protecting hair from frizz.
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with implementing a good hair oil like the Marc Anthony Grow Long Anti-Breakage Oil (R194.99 from Dis-Chem and Clicks) in your routine. Length? Check. Thickness? Check. Shine? Check. This cult-favourite oil uses a combination of caffeine, ginseng and sunflower seed oil to penetrate strands for silky smooth hair. Another popular pick for piecing broken hair bonds back together is the OGX Anti-Breakage + Keratin Oil Weightless Rapid Reviving Oil (R209.95 from Dis-Chem, Clicks, Foschini and www.takealot.com), which acts as an essential dose of nutrition for your hair. If you don’t have time to treat your locks, the Batiste Rose Gold Dry Shampoo (R93.99 from Clicks) will take your second-day hair from très tired to très chic for a glamorous night out in just a few minutes. For more luxurious-smelling strands, the Byredo Eleventh Hour Hair Perfume (R1,080 from Skins Cosmetics) is the hair perfume that you never knew you needed. Imbue your style with a gorgeous scent featuring citrusy green top notes followed by a heart of wild fig, rum and carrot seeds.