10 Cheap Thrills for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is February 14th, of course, and you may be thinking of giving a small gift or two to a special someone. I don't mean only romantic partners, either; I think that certain friends and family members deserve a little extra display of affection once in while, too. Here, then, are ten scented treats for all sorts of Valentines, each priced under $30.


Philosophy X & O gift set

Sweets to the sweet: the ever-popular Philosophy has assembled a limited edition X's and O's Trio just for Valentine's Day. It's a "three-piece set of deliciously scented favorites," including Vanilla Cream Topping Shampoo, Shower Gel, & Bubble Bath; Vanilla Cream Topping Body Lotion; and Cherry on Top Lip Shine. ($25 at Sephora)


Lush Tender Is The Night

LUSH also offers a handful of Valentine-themed goodies, including the heart-shaped Tender Is the Night massage bar. It has a heady jasmine-and-vanilla scent and, although its name is supposedly borrowed from a Blur song, it makes me think of F. Scott Fitzgerald (or John Keats) instead. ($7.95 at LUSH)

Crabtree & Evelyn Rosewater dusting powder

We really should include one or two rose-scented items, not just because I love roses, but because the rose is the traditional flower of Valentine's Day! A dusting powder is an old-fashioned luxury, and Crabtree & Evelyn's Rosewater line includes one in a prettily decorated canister. ($22 at Crabtree & Evelyn)


Velvet & Sweet Pea scent charms

If you like the traditional idea of perfume as a Valentine's Day gift, you could go the nostalgic route with Velvet & Sweet Pea Purrfumery's "scent charms." They're antique-looking lockets filled with all-natural Rose Jasmine solid perfume. ($25-$30, depending on the locket, at Velvet & Sweet Pea)


Aveda Love Pure-Fume

There's something appealing about a fragrance that's just called Love, period. Aveda's Love Pure-Fume Absolute is a blend of jasmine, rose absolute, frankincense, sandalwood and organic ylang ylang packaged in a convenient and affordable roll-on dispenser. ($22 for 7 ml at Aveda)


Crazy Rumors Sweetheart Set

And more dessert-inspired surprises: the latest lip balm flavors from Crazy Rumors are Red Velvet, Chocolate Strawberry, Bee My Honey, and Red Hibiscus. Who doesn't need a new lip balm in the middle of winter? ($3.49 each, or $13.49 for a 4-balm Sweetheart Collection, at Crazy Rumors)


Voluspa Macaron candle

Some home fragrances are just too dessert-y, with overdoses of vanilla or cinnamon or berries; but Voluspa's Macaron is a just-right almond-meringue scent in a chic white porcelain vessel. ($27 at Amazon and Candles Off Main)


ElizabethW eye pillow

Even someone who doesn't wear perfume or fragranced body products can appreciate an eye pillow filled with soothing flaxseed and French lavender. This one is available in a range of textile designs, from florals to plaids. ($22 at ElizabethW)


Harney Valentine's Blend tea

Harney & Sons Valentine's Blend would be a thoughtful gift for a tea-loving sweetheart or friend. It's a a "romantic brew joining chocolate tea and rosebuds," packed in a red tin adorned with hearts and cherubs. ($7 for 4 oz.; gift sets also available, at Harney & Sons)


Villainess Bad Breakup soap

Last but not least: for someone who is most certainly not in the mood to celebrate Valentine's Day, a Bad Breakup soap from Villainess might be just the thing. With notes of "cheap cabernet, markdown chocolate and a pint of caramel ice-cream salted with your own tears." ($6 at Villainess)

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  1. lucasai says:

    I like the idea of tea as a V-Day gift. Yesterday when I was in my local tea shop I saw a tea called “Valentine’s Heart” – it was a strawberry-vanilla flavoured tea with red sugar hearts in it. Lovely.

    • Jessica says:

      I think it’s a great idea, too! I know quite a few tea-drinkers, not all of whom wear perfume.

      • lucasai says:

        I was a tea drinker before I became a perfume lover :)

  2. Merlin says:

    Love the Bad Break-Up soap:“cheap cabernet, markdown chocolate and a pint of caramel ice-cream salted with your own tears.”

    • Jessica says:

      hah! I love Villainess. They do have a good sense of humor.

  3. Absolute Scentualist says:

    Lucas, that tea sounds delicious and adorable!

    Jessica, I love that Villainess soap suggestion and the massage bar from Lush! Both sound awesome and I might just pick them up. Thanks for the sweet suggestions. I like to gift those I love on Valentine’s Day, not just my sweetie, too. My mother always gave my sister and I a box of chocolates and I always thought it was nice and it made me feel a bit special.

    This Valentine’s Day is also our 13th wedding anniversary, so I don’t think I can get off the hook so easily as a box of candy, but I’ll be putting these ideas to good use anyway. :)

    • Jessica says:

      AS, do check out the LUSH Valentine treats if you’re near a store! and best wishes for your anniversary! Congratulations!

  4. Poppie says:

    Wonderful! My favorite holiday, celebrating my favorite things — fragrances, flowers, chocolate, the color red, lace, and love . The only ‘favorite thing’ missing, for me, is puppies.
    A note about the Philosophy body lotions that I’ve used in the past: the quality of the lotion is very good for my dry skin, it leaves a long lasting silky finish after it is absorbed, and moisturizes well. The scents in the lotions are also long lasting, and seem to me much stronger than their liquid fragrances. So pick a fragrance that you indeed enjoy!

    • Jessica says:

      It can be a really fun occasion, and definitely should not be limited to romantic partners only! Thanks for the tip about the Philosophy lotions.

  5. Ari says:

    That bad breakup soap is too good. And it would go so nicely with the Lush Ex-Factor bath bomb!

    • Jessica says:

      I can imagine how that bath bomb could be used very cathartically. Break off the limbs, smash the whole thing with a hammer…! ;)

      • Omega says:

        You can read minds! LOL

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I would love to receive any of these as a gift, especially the Rose Jasmine solid perfume and the Valentine’s Blend tea. Sadly, my Valentine’s Day will be spent bed-bound this year. Two weeks ago I fell and ended up with a bad spinal injury. (Three nightmare-inducing words: Spinal Fluid Leakage). I am home from the hospital and mostly out of pain now, but the doctor wants me to stay home and rest for at least another week. To top it all off, my birthday is on Monday! Such bad timing all around.

    • Erin says:

      Oh no, E, so sorry to hear it. Have a happy birthday, anyway – you can always enjoy tea and perfume in bed! (Or they’d never be my hobbies.) Feel better soon…

    • Absolute Scentualist says:

      Oh no, Elizabeth. Gentle hugs, happy birthday a bit early and smooth recovery. A comforting tea and perfume are definitely in order then.

    • Jessica says:

      Take good care of yourself, Elizabeth! I hope someone can bring some nice tea to your bedside, along with some of your favorite winter perfumes.

    • poodle says:

      I hope you feel better fast. That must have been some fall you took. Try to enjoy your rest time.

    • Merlin says:

      All that means that you deserve to be EXTRA spoilt. And if not everyone understands that I think you should make it altogether clear to those around you – with written instructions, if necessary!

    • Emily says:

      Oh, that’s awful. I hope you recover quickly!

  7. Omega says:

    With notes of “cheap cabernet, markdown chocolate and a pint of caramel ice-cream salted with your own tears.” LOL.
    If only I had this soap on a couple of really bad breakups, lol. I prefer Rocky Road for those special occasions, lol.
    I also want that dusting powder!

    • Jessica says:

      Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby got me through a few rough patches!! I wish I’d had this soap on hand for those occasions, too.

      • Omega says:

        Never tried that one, Cherry Garcia is my friend out of that line!

  8. JolieFleurs says:

    Just wanted to say I have one of the lockets from Velvet & Sweet Pea Purrfumery and it is awesome. Her entire line is fantastic and deserves more love!

    • Jessica says:

      I’m very fond of Black Cat, and might need a small bottle of that. I love the whipped “body frosting” creams. Her Honey fragrance is lovely, too!

      • JolieFleurs says:

        Her body frostings really are da bomb. They have made a noticeable difference in my old-lady hands, and they also make my face feel amazing.

  9. Rappleyea says:

    A brilliant list of gifts! The Aveda roll on sounds really good, but honestly, who could resist Bad Breakup?!? I’m ordering bars for all of my single girlfriends right now!

    • Jessica says:

      That soap is really a stroke of genius on Villainess’s part! I shrieked with delight when I saw it.

  10. Emily says:

    I want that soap, though I wouldn’t want my husband to get the wrong idea if he saw it.

    Has anyone tried the Aveda perfume? It sounds gorgeous.

  11. basia says:

    I had the Aveda Love in the 90’s and liked it. It was very “sandalwoody” and very long-lasting, but might be reformulated since then.

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