Happy Valentine’s (to you): 16 beauty gifts to treat yourself

John Lewis & Partners - Valentines Day - Gifts for you
Cassie Steer,-Beauty Editor

Practise some self-care this Valentine’s Day with beautifying rituals to give yourself a little love

Cupid can be an irksome little imp, especially around Valentine’s Day but don’t rely on errant arrows when the best way to elicit that warm, fuzzy glow is simply by being good to yourself.

‘Self-care’ has become the word du jour in recent times and like most bandwagons not everyone is using it for wholly altruistic purposes. However, in an age where ‘busy’ has almost become a status symbol (millennials are apparently more stressed than any other generation) and when our days are becoming increasingly compressed, the act of making time to look after your mental and physical wellbeing is surely no bad thing. It’s all about creating a conscious connection between you and your body to help reboot as well as relax. 

So get date night booked in (with just yourself for company), and reap the benefits of these small acts of self-kindness.

Clean and serene

The bath – a place of refuge, relaxation and wrinkly fingers, but are you really making the most out of your tub time? The Japanese have turned bathing into an art form, ritualising every aspect and devoting proper time to immersing themselves – quite literally – in the pastime.

Onsens are traditionally based around natural hot springs, but it is possible to recreate a slice of this bathing experience at home. They have a strict code of conduct and rule number one is to scrub up before entering the water so start your bathing ritual by sloughing off dirt and dead skin with Liz Earle’s Gentle Exfoliating Mitt. Then light a transportive candle such as Aery’s Japanese Garden before indulging in the restorative power of some muscle-relaxing bath salts such as Anatome’s Muscle Ease + Skin Restoring Bath Salts, with a dash of Ritual’s calming The Ritual Of Jing Bath Foam.

Mindful mani

Date night isn’t complete without a set of perfectly polished digits but did you know that the process of painting your nails can be a small act of self-care in itself? The adult colouring book trend was cited as helping to reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety so why not extend it to your hands and feet too, while perhaps popping on some headphones and listening to a guided meditation or soothing podcast?

Start your at-home pamper session by treating your hands to Nails Inc’s Thirsty Hands Super Hydrating Hand Mask – which will also keep your mitts off your phone too – before exploring Margaret Dabbs Fabulous Feet Discovery Kit. Once your hands and feet are blissfully prepped, finish with a slick of nail polish in an empowering colour such as Nails Inc’s Coconut Brights Gel Effect Nail Polish, Chelsea Grove, and a little Dr Hauschka Neem Nail Oil Pen to keep cuticles beautifully conditioned.

Skin deep

Make-up industry expert and psychotherapist Lee Pycroft says, ‘Your skincare routine is an ideal way to employ a little self-love. One of the quickest ways to de-stress is through touch and breathing so by massaging your cleanser or moisturiser into your skin, you’re instantly bringing your awareness into the present moment.’

Lee recommends choosing a cleanser with a sensuous texture or an aromatherapy scent (we love Neom’s Perfect Night’s Sleep Cleansing Balm) to help you to really tune in to your senses, bringing you back into your body and taking you out of your head. Massage is another great way of doing this but if you’re not au fait with facial massage try using a tool such as those found in Skin Gym’s Amethyst Workout Set, which is used in Chinese medicine to help smooth, tone, de-puff and lift while stimulating blood flow. Start by applying a little facial oil such as Sisley’s deliciously opulent Black Rose Precious Face Oil to perfectly cleansed skin. Using gentle, sweeping motions, glide from the centre of the face outwards as well as along the jawline and up and down the neck. Sleep brings better focus and more energy so make it part of your self-care routine and finish by slathering on Clarins My Clarins RE-CHARGE relaxing Sleep Mask.

Silence is golden

Use Valentine’s night as the starting point to committing to a digital detox at least one evening a week (who wants to scroll through heavily filtered declarations of love anyway)? We live in a world of digital distraction which means that we never really get to savour the restorative benefits of powering down and staying present in the moment.

To quiet the din, as well as your mind, start by lighting a calming candle such as Cowshed’s Relax Calming Room Candle. Just staring at the flickering flame can be a way of helping the mind to unwind for those who find meditation difficult. If you’re still feeling the stirrings of stresses from the day creeping into your conscious, apply a little of OTO’s 20% CBD Balance Essential Oil Roll-On to your temples and when you feel ready, slip on a William Morris at Home Dove & Rose Eye Mask to allow yourself to revel in some blissfully rare sensory deprivation, bar the soothing scent of the lavender flowers that it’s filled with.

And if you’re really clever you will have also popped on a leave-in hair treatment such as Sisley’s Hair Rituel Regenerating Hair Mask With Four Botanical Oils at the beginning of the evening to really maximize your me-time. 

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