I almost walked into him at a friend’s art exhibition. But truth is, I was less than impressed that first meeting so it barely registered. But a few months later at another friend’s birthday, we found ourselves becoming unlikely allies under the neon lights on a crazy golf course in East London as we stared down four guys who spent their weekends on the golf course. Neither of us even knew how to hold a club.
The Tuesday after that Saturday, he used a film I had mentioned as a poorly disguised excuse to text me. Wednesday, we were elbow-to-elbow at my favourite buzzy tapas bar in Soho. He told me later I had an easy laugh and an equally effortless ability to hold a conversation. I gave him my best breezy smile. If only he knew my stellar performance on our first date was thanks to my impressive ability to hold my Cava.
Because it took many glasses of Cava to fake my way to that level of chill. That and many hours of texting my friends to ask for advice on what to do or wear, and even more hours of private panic. Not all first dates start this way. But sometimes, often when you least expect it, one rolls around and winds you.
Perhaps you had your very own meet-cute (what screenwriters call the plot device where a couple meet in some zany or charming way), or it was love at first swipe. Either way, you’re excited about this one and you can feel it in your bones. You want to look and feel on top of your game but the jitters are cramping your style and you don’t know where to begin.
We’ve put together our favourite first date routine, tried and tested by everyone in our team. Here’s the routine we swear by, along with the trimmings, that will help you feel like the shiniest version of yourself.
Set the stage for a luminous complexion the night before. Start your prep with the Allies of Skin Bright Future Overnight Facial. Notes of lavender and geranium in this hydrating chemical peel help calm frazzled nerves, while a cocktail of potent alpha hydroxy acids – Glycolic and Lactic to be exact – brighten and refine lacklustre skin, as you sleep. You’ll wake up the next morning glowing.
A few hours before the big event, start off with Dr Hauschka Revitalizing Mask. This pale yellow creamy formula melts into skin, soothing stressed skin. It diminishes the appearance of redness and blemishes while soothing dry skin. Your pores will also look more refined and your skin will feel refreshed.
Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask is next up. Working like a traditional peel to clear out the impurities in your pores, but without the downtime or irritation!
Next, reach for the Banobagi Vita Cocktail Brightening Foil Mask. Thanks to the cocktail blend of concentrated vitamins, Banobagi’s foil mask will brighten dull skin and provide a boost of hydration.
Finish off with the All-Day Mask. After providing your skin with all these actives, you don’t want anything evaporating. This hydrating mask forms a breathable shield of moisturizer that seals all the good stuff in, while also protecting your skin from environmental aggressors.
So there you have it! Our beauty routine for maximum glow and a poreless finish. Top this off with your makeup routine of choice if you so desire.
Keep your hair clean and fresh-smelling in case anyone is thinking of running their hands through your mane! If you don’t have time to wash and condition your hair before a big date, try the Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Avocado + Quinoa Co-Wash. Rich in avocado oil, shea and quinoa extract, this conditioner wash is a convenient and quick fix to nourish and gently cleanse your hair, even if you have only a small window of time after work to get ready. Finish off with trusty styling products that you know won’t fail you. It’s probably not the time to risk trying anything new – you don’t need another reason to panic!
Spritz your signature scent on your pulse points at the base of your neck, behind your ears and on your wrists. Your body naturally generates more heat in these areas, which will enhance your fragrance and help it last longer. A failsafe first date scent is À La Rose by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Rose perfumes can sometimes be too cloyingly sweet or powdery. But this one is none of those things, conjuring up instead the subtle scent of a bouquet of freshly picked roses from a back garden on a crisp spring morning.
A get-ready routine is incomplete without the accoutrements that will truly get you in the mood. You probably don’t want to eat anything while you get ready for your date. But the obvious thing to do here is to crack open a little bottle of the fizz to get you relaxed and in the mood. We’re partial to a little Il Cortigiano.
Allies’ Top Screen Picks
If you’re watching TV while getting ready, you’ll want to stick to something light-hearted and fun which you can leave on in the background as you prep. Now’s probably one of the best times to put on a cheesy dating show to relax, and remind yourself to just go have fun tonight. Here’s what we like:
- First Dates – Watch this to get inspo conversation starters, but also to reassure yourself that whatever happens, there is always a worse dating disaster happening somewhere else.
- Love Island – Nothing like watching a bunch of hot young things being thrown together in a villa and the enthralling drama that ensues to distract you from the perils of your own love life.
- The Bachelor – This classic dating show has 21 seasons and my love for it shows no signs of abating.
- Take Me Out – If you’re feeling a little bit hopeless about your stakes in the dating game, hey, at least you haven’t literally descended into the pits of dating hell in the love lift.
Go get em’, tiger.