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Give Yourself a Valentine

Why wait for candy and flowers when these options are on tap?

Give Yourself a Valentine, massage

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Treat yourself to a massage for Valentine's Day.

To admit you crave hearts and flowers in mid-February is apparently no longer PC. So we dis Valentine's Day as a commercial construct — a transparent ploy by florists, chocolatiers, jewelers, restaurants and the greeting-card industry to get us to spend (dollars) and pretend (that romance is in the air).

But let's be realistic: More of us are divorced or otherwise single than at any time in history, and plenty of age 50+ relationships have transcended the caramels-and-carnations stage.

So even if there's been no "status update" in your life of late, here are five heartfelt ways to celebrate "lovable you."

Give Yourself a Valentine, new hair, Robin Wright

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Experiment with a new 'do.

Get a sexy new haircut. Have a serious "talk about the relationship" with your since-high-school long hair — those stringy strands are not helping you! Instead, try a sleek modern crop like Mika Brzezinski's or Robin Wright's, or a tousled bob like Megyn Kelly's or Helen Mirren's. While you're at it, ratchet up the rainbow: Even gray hair benefits from the brightening effects of a few highlights.


Give your workout body a "fashion hug." Those dingy duds you've been wearing since Jane Fonda exercise videos were hot? Toss them today! Then splurge on a couple of new items — notably leggings, yoga pants, joggers or tops. These trendy updates will perk up your energy:

  • A-line, draped or blouson tops
  • Higher-rise bottoms in wild prints
  • Sturdy but sensual sports bras with keyhole cutouts, strappy backs or mesh inserts

For inspiration, check out Kate Hudson's Fabletics line, or perhaps SweatyBetty, a British brand just hitting U.S. malls but also available online. (As for what you'll wear to bathe in all those post-exercise endorphins, I leave that to you!)

Give Yourself a Valentine, new perfume, Miu Miu

Try a new scent to attract a valentine.

Buy a fragrance you're passionate about. Skip the usual — stir your senses up!

To remind yourself that spring is on the way, try a crisp green floral with a top note of lily of the valley, or a hint of citrus or the forest primeval: Tory Burch Jolie Fleur Verte, for example, Hampton Sun Eau de Parfum or Miu Miu Eau de Parfum.

If you're dating a younger man or just thinking about it, choose a smoky scent with hints of incense, herbs, spices and essential oils. The many possibilities here include the likes of L'Occitane Eau des Baux de Toilette or Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne. Or perhaps your taste runs to older, more conservative guys? I've heard they can't resist femme-fatale white florals such as Fracas by Robert Piguet or Estée Lauder Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia.

Book a salon massage. Screen time, social media, TV binges, iThis, iThat — hey, what ever happened to the healing touch of another human? The best Valentine's Day gift you can give anyone, including yourself, is a therapeutic hour of bliss in the professional (that is, nonsexual) environment of a day spa. Aside from relaxing your muscles and lowering your heart rate, a massage can soothe away headaches, fatigue, and back or neck pain. It also can help alleviate depression.

Uncomfortable with the notion? Opt for a salon blowout or manicure; both deliver similar, if less intense, person-to-person contact.

Give Yourself a Valentine, new red lipstick, L'Oreal

Choose a new lipstick color.

Try pink or red lipstick one more time. Moisturizing, matte-texture lipsticks are having a little moment right now, and there's no denying these two trendy colors will put a (youthful) smile on your face. Ah, but which shade should you use?

Conduct a physiocosmetic inventory: Check your gums, your natural lip color, the veins at your wrists; consider the color themes of your wardrobe and jewelry. If you look better in silver jewelry, love blue or purple tops, and have bluish veins and rosy gums and lips, choose a cool red or chilly pink lipstick in the ruby, cherry, merlot, rose or fuchsia range.

If you look better in gold jewelry, often wear yellow or orange tops, and have tawny gums and lips, select an orange-red or golden pink lip gloss in the fiery crimson, coral or peach palette. These three lines (and many others) make suitable shades: L'Oréal Paris Colour Riche Collection Exclusive Red Lipcolor, Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes and Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color.

For more beauty and style tips for women age 50+, check out The Woman's Wakeup and AARP's new Beauty & Style digital magazine, available on tablets.

(Video) Sneak Peek of AARP The Magazine’s Special Beauty & Style Issue: In this video, you’ll have a front row seat to learn beauty secrets from Christie Brinkley, Bobbi Brown and more. Watch now!

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