Soft To The Touch: How To Feel Good This Valentine’s Day

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Soft To The Touch: How To Feel Good This Valentine’s Day

Words by Mr Ashley Ogawa Clarke

8 February 2023

Are men too soft these days? We used to hunt and gather, and now we use lip balm by Dr. Barbara Sturm, wear nice little outfits and moisturise twice a day. A loss for the military industrial complex, perhaps, but surely a win for the people who deign to sleep next to us. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner, shouldn’t we be thinking of the ones we love? Here, a considered selection of grooming products that will buff you, soften you and make you slightly easier to fall for. We might not be able to guarantee any romance (sorry), but we can certainly help you look and feel your best.


The futuristic 111SKIN facial mask

Skin so dry and miserable that it’s sucking all the air out of the room? Allow us to introduce you to 111SKIN’s Oxygen Express Mask, infused with a clever concoction of inflammation-fighting ingredients including Egyptian cucumber extract. It also contains ATP, an energy-carrying molecule that’s been shown to diminish the appearance of wrinkles by cranking up skin’s moisture levels. As well as the anti-ageing benefits, the goopy, sci-fi formula works to tighten up large pores, calm down redness and bring dull skin back to life. Top tip: it’s transparent, so can be applied subtly, making it particularly great to stave off parched skin on long-haul flights, or for a quick application the morning after.


The top-shelf Aesop body scrub

Nothing softens someone up quite like a body scrub, and none will be quite as well-received as Aesop’s. Scented with geranium, mandarin and bergamot, it’s a subtly inviting mix that’s both refreshing and sophisticated. It will also look the part in the bathroom. Beyond the seductive smell and the fancy packaging, though, the product’s real purpose is to reveal smoother skin by gently scraping off your dead skin cells. And really, what’s sexier than that?


The incredible Dr. Barbara Sturm hydrating face mist

"You’re glowing,” your date says as they marvel at your skin from across the table at dinner, the candlelight dancing across your face. Of course you are – you’ve been spritzing yourself with a nourishing mix of hyaluronic acid and purslane extract in the form of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Hydrating Face Mist, which works as a refreshing toner to revive tired skin, reduce inflammation and generally make you look more radiant. Not exactly an essential part of your skincare routine, it’s nonetheless the kind of thing you’ll wonder how you ever survived without.


The La Mer jawline snatcher

Not the name of a 1980s video nasty. Rather, this jawline snatcher is La Mer’s Neck And Décolleté Concentrate. A potent serum for the man who takes his grooming routine seriously, it contains La Mer’s renowned Miracle Broth, a special ingredient extracted from algae that’s been shown to improve skin quality by stimulating collagen, ie, the stuff that keeps you looking young and healthy. If you’re concerned about tightening up the skin around your jawline and neck – areas that are easy to forget when it comes to skincare, and that will show your age – this stuff will do the job and then some.


The gold-standard Tata Harper moisturiser

If there’s one thing that you properly invest in when it comes to your skincare routine, make sure it’s your moisturiser. Even better, remember the name Ms Tata Harper – a skincare guru who runs her eponymous skincare label from a bucolic family farm in Vermont. She makes some of the best lotions and potions on the market. The brand’s Crème Riche is, to put it bluntly, a moisturiser that actually works, thanks to a blend of 43 ingredients, which have been chosen to deliver your skin everything it needs to look well cared for. And what’s more appealing to a mate than that? Its fresh, slightly floral scent is a bonus.


The godsend Jo Malone London hand and body lotion

Jo Malone London is a powerhouse British fragrance brand that does a consistently great job of creating memorable scents. Which is why the brand name is synonymous with well-chosen gifts. This hand and body cream is doubly great, because as well as smelling like a uniquely heady mix of grapefruit, rosemary, mint, vetiver and oakmoss, it also keeps skin soft and supple. The fragrance is subtly masculine and easy to love; it was created back in 1992 and has remained in Jo Malone London’s portfolio since. The kind of scent that encourages the deep, lusty inhalations only the truly enamoured exhibit.


The rejuvenating Susanne Kaufmann hand scrub

Everybody can appreciate the sex appeal of a good pair of hands. However, some of us need a little help making our mitts look the part. Susanne Kaufmann, a reliably effective skincare brand borne out of the Austrian Alps, does a hand peel that will do just that. Bright blue, it’s made with mongongo nut, olive and sweet almond oils that work to soften and moisturise rough, weatherworn skin, making it a great addition to your dopp kit in colder months.