Light his fire (and yours!) with some cozy at-home pampering this Valentine's. Each of these relaxing indulgences uses heat to maximize the mellowness you'll experience - perfect for warming up a winter's night.
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If you've been craving a romantic evening with your guy, here's an idea that doesn't require braving the elements: Stay home for a cozy couples' spa night. You can even add a special twist. A new trend at spas is incorporating heat into treatments. "A massage or body scrub that uses warmth enhances all the senses, which makes the experience feel even more indulgent," explains dermatologist Jeanine Downie of Montclair, New Jersey. Heat also relaxes you and boosts blood flow, priming your whole bod for the steamy sheet session sure to follow.
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We've scoped out five tempting and supereasy (but not supergirlie) treatments. Choose one or two to try tonight and we promise you'll both feel so good that you won't care how long winter lasts.
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A warm bath "helps relax muscle tension," says Julie Lindh, spa and skin-care director of Townhouse Spa and Acqua Beauty Bar in New York City. It's a great way to start off your evening, whether you follow it with another treatment or a snuggling session by the fire.
Bubbles are fun, but they can fizzle quickly. Instead, try milky bath oil. It will make the water opaque (he'll like thinking about what he can't see) with a slinky, slippery feeling. Try Elemis Skin Nourishing Milk Bath, $66, or Biotherm Softening Bath and Body Oil, $38.
While you soak, sip a spa-tini (a spa-inspired cocktail). A great option: hot green tea spiked with sake.
Once you're done, wrap each other in toasty towels. (Prep for this just before you get into the tub. Throw the towels in the dryer, then roll them tightly in one large towel to keep the heat in.)Finally, slather each other with moisturizer that you've scooped into a microwave-safe bowl and zapped for about 15 seconds. Go for a yummy cream with a unisex scent, like Palmer's Olive Butter Formula, $7.
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If a bath isn't your thing, try starting with a warm body-polish treatment and a shower. You'll banish flaky winter skin and end up soothed and temptingly smooth.
De-chill the bathroom first by turning your shower on hot. But don't get in just yet. "The steam will soften your skin, making it easier to exfoliate," explains Lindh.
Do a dry scrub on each other in the steam-filled room before you shower. Choose a scrub that warms up when you rub it on, such as Bliss Steep Clean Self-Heating Body Polish, $42, or Bath and Body Works Breathe Instant Warmth Gentle Body Scrub, $18. Want to make your own? Try Lindh's recipe: Combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup bamboo powder (this will create a heating sensation; find it in Chinese food shops), 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (it revs up circulation), and 1 cup jojoba oil.
Use three long, slow strokes on one area at a time, starting at each other's calves. Move up to the thighs, arms, chest, back, and butt.Once you're both thoroughly sloughed, hop into the shower. Take turns soaping away the exfoliating grains - use a moisturizing cleanser, which will feel sensual on your soft skin. Try Caress Cashmere Silkening Body Wash, $3.47.
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You already know how good a back rub feels. Add toasty blankets and warm oil and it'll be even better. Following your bath or shower, give him a sizzling rubdown, then ask him to return the favor.
"Most professional massage tables are heated," says Mary Blackmon, founder of Spa-Addicts.com. Bring the experience home by having him lie on an electric blanket. (Put a plush towel on top of it too.)
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Check out one of the new candles that melt into massage oil. Light the candle, and let the first inch of it liquefy. Blow out the flame, pour the oil into your hands, and get rubbing. A good pick: Jimmyjane Ember Natural Emollient Massage Candle, $48.
Try to spend at least 15 minutes on the massage, concentrating on the upper back. "That's where people hold the most tension," Lindh says, "so working on that area can relax your whole body." A few moves: Pinch the upper shoulders, then use your thumbs to knead any tight spots. You can also press down between his vertebrae and run your fingers under his shoulder blades.
Okay, so it's one treat he can't reciprocate. But, says Joe Marchesi, co-owner of Truman's Gentlemen's Groomers in NYC, this barber shop-style shave "will make him feel warmed up all over."
Bundle him in a comfy robe, then have him sit on a chair that offers neck support. With his head back, place a hot, damp towel on his cheeks and chin.
After two minutes, remove the towel, and massage a preshave oil into his skin. Try Lab Series for Men Smooth Shave Oil, $18. Top that with some self-heating shaving suds.
Use a four-blade razor to shave hair in the direction of its growth. An option: Schick Quattro Power Razor, $10.99. Be careful, notes Marchesi: men's facial hair "switches directions a lot. It's not like women's leg hair."Finish by laying another hot towel on his face for two minutes. Then apply an aftershave lotion, like Neutrogena Men Razor Defense Face Lotion, $5.99.
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