Whatever your relationship status, or feelings towards Valentine's Day, there's lots of lovely beauty stuff to self-gift

11.02.2020 | Phoebe McDowell

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It's nearly the 14th, so why not wake at dawn, pepper your partner with kisses and serve them eggs in the shape of a heart? You love Valentine's, because you love love. It oozes from your pores and pickles your insides like kombucha. But - oh! - your partner doesn't exist, or they do, but they bemoan Valentine's for as long as is possible post-Christmas, pre-St Patrick’s Day, because it is decreed by Haters of Commercial Holidays to be A Horrid Day. (Moonpig are the bad guys in all of this, not the professional ghosters). But back to you and your not-to-be-snubbed enthusiasm, which by the way, you shouldn't risk being harmed by dint of say, no gift, or worse, a bad gift. The solution? Go it alone. 'It' being self-gifting, not least because actual romance doesn't come from a bottle, or a box. It comes from daily cups of tea, unstacked dishwashers and extra hangers in the wardrobe, see. 


He wants to go on a date with you. Yes, YOU. On Valentine’s Day. This is everything you’ve ever wanted. And his polyamorous girlfriend is totally cool with it.

Gucci Guilty Love Edition Pour Femme, £73 for 50ml

With bergamot and grapefruit, there’s no roses or romance, which is fitting, because two fingers to the purists, he kicked off the proceedings with a bunch of lilies. Nothing says "I like you" like the flowers of funerals. 

Bella Freud Caio Candle, £50

Bonjour is prescriptive and passé, and why say hello when you can say something that also means goodbye. Caio satisfies all the ambiguities of nuanced dating. And anyway, you were not exclusive, you simply enjoyed a period of mutual partiality, he said. Hence the lilies, he stressed.


You are fluid in the language of love. Videos of otters building dams to protect their young, and the Obamas’ avowals of eternal love can elicit actual tears. Love is not just whose hand holds yours at 2am, it's female friendship too, and your best female friend has just asked you to be on her podcast, which frankly, is the most touching question you've ever been asked. 

It Cosmetics Love is the Foundation Brush, £36

Of course you need to apply make-up with a brush in the shape of a heart, and not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day. If only to be reminded of the love that surrounds you, and that for every crap thing there’s something wonderful, too - like the ability to get right into the cracks, and buff foundation to flawless, soft-focus perfection.



This is the love that dominates the group chat. The only love that your friends actually want to hear about. Sexy love, in other words. 

Rabot 1745 Liquid Chocolate Body Mask and Hotel Chocolat Salted Caramel & Pecan Chocolate Spread, £20

Some savvy person in marketing decided to put these two together, to be spread on torsos and toast alike. Love is messy and since your relationship is in the infant stage of lust, it'll only get bitter from here. 

Neighbourhood Botanicals Ooh I Feel Love Luxury Lubricating Gel, £17

Vegans do it better. ‘It’ being a lube that balances the microbiome of your nether regions with lactic acid and prebiotic oat in, too. Oatly had has a profound effect on us all, don't worry.


The clumsy delirium of your first love is as potent as ever, and no one can compare. You’ve read all the books that simper with sorrow. Twice. Thus, your evening will be spent solo in the cinema, consuming popcorn as if it’s on fire, and the only way to put it out is to eat it. Wait, shit, is that your ex with his new girlfriend queueing to watch… Parasite. Parasite! What?! He hates films with subtitles. 

Bobbi Brown Highlighting Powder, £36

What colour goes best with anxiety? Pearlescent, life-breathing pink of course. You glow girl, you tell yourself, before vowing never, ever to say "you glow girl" again. 


Returning to civilisation on the 15th means hiding the fact that you spent the previous day crying into vinegar-soaked chips and Chardonnay. Lines on your face constitute trenches and your skin is as angry as your friend who cancelled her date to console you. 

Aurelia CBD Super Serum, £64

CBD is brilliant at giving skin a semblance of order, especially when it comes to redness and rosacea. And when the next 'lesson' makes an appearance, you'll be ready to stun (with your beauty - not with lasers or anything like that).

Elemis Superfood Cica Calm Hydration Juice, £40

The key ingredient in this, cica, calms and soothes skin, and with a jelly texture, it's pretty cooling too. Perfect for when you appear to have been left on read for approximately 3 minutes. 

Rodial Instant Filler Primer, £39

This reduces the look of deflated, nondescript skin, but the telling word here is not ‘look’ but ‘reduces’, because.. "Oh wow. I look rested and sane, and pretty, and my foundation looks positively perfect sat on top."

What's love go to do with it?

Nothing, actually. Because while everyone is having scheduled sex in missionary you're doing just fine in the bath, thanks.

Ouai Chill Pills, £25

A more salubrious version of valium, one pill will make you forget you’re wallowing in your own filth. The fizzing is fun. The water feels silky and smells sweet, as do your limbs via jojoba, jasmine rose and hemp.