The Surprising Beauty Rituals That Changed Our Sex Lives

illustrated by Bella DiMarzio.
Before sex comes foreplay and before foreplay comes forethought: What do I need to do to make sure I'm feeling as hot as possible in the moment? Sure, sometimes, all it takes is watching a random stranger perform a particularly tender rendition of Celine Dion's "It's All Coming Back To Me Now" before you're making out in the back of a karaoke bar. But other times, you need to do a little extra legwork to set the mood.
Take Casanova, for example, who was said to have eaten 50 oysters a day in order to boost his libido. Scientists may have since debunked the food as an aphrodisiac, but the point is, we all have our thing.
Ahead, the surprising rituals — from sex-fueled fragrances to baths — that R29 editors swear make the act that much better.
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Remove All Traces Of Makeup

"I've had sex a few times with makeup on. In fact, I used to do a full-blown beauty routine before getting into bed with my ex-boyfriend. But at some point along the way, I got sick of my foundation sweating off and making my pimples, scars, and dark circles look even worse. So eventually, I made a pact with myself to never do something like that again. I'd rather be covered in my favorite night oil (this one from Sunday Riley is the one I always reach for) while hooking up than worry about my mascara smudging somewhere it shouldn't. Because at the end of the day, the person I'm with probably won't last forever, but at least my healthy skin slathered in the most luxe serums and creams will." — Sam Sasso, beauty writer

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil, $105, available at Sephora.
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Draw A Bath

"What makes me feel sexiest isn't wearing scented lingerie or a pair of 4-inch stilettos, but a bathing suit and Banana Boat sunscreen — so long as it smells like coconuts and I'm on the beach, in a lounge chair, with a piña colada in hand. So while I've never been much of a bath person, this powdery soak is the closest thing I get to that in the concrete jungle of NYC. Thirty minutes in the tub and all of a sudden, I'm revved up and ready to go. (Although, I do always make sure to hop out first — everyone knows water sex is only good for juicy Bachelor episodes.)" — Kelsey Castañon, senior beauty writer

Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Milk Bath Soak, $18, available at Dermstore.
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Just Add Gloss

"Unless I've got my favorite primer and a mean pencil on, my mattes don’t stand a chance during… uh, stuff. So, during Netflix (you know, before the chilling), I swipe on a good nude gloss. It doesn't stain, doesn't get all over my guy, and I don't have to stress out about applying it perfectly. Because eventually, it's coming off, anyway." — Khalea Underwood, beauty writer

Mented Cosmetics Gloss For Grown Ups Lip Gloss in Baby Brown, available at Mented Cosmetics.
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Stay Smooth

"I, like many individuals who shave their legs, have become lazier about this (kinda silly) practice as I've gotten older. That is, I rarely even do it unless I'm wearing a dress, and even then it's a knee-down, soap-and-water kind of situation. That being said, I do put a little extra effort in when the mood calls for it. Who knew shaving cream and taking my time to shave could go from a teenage daily ritual to something reserved for special occasions." — Lexy Lesback, senior beauty editor

Gillette Venus Swirl Women's Razor, $12.97, available at Jet.
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Spritz Some Perfume

"My boyfriend and I are pretty spontaneous, so it's not often that I have time to do much before sex. But when I do, I love spraying my favorite perfume in my hair. That way I don't sweat the scent off my skin in the first few seconds, and it keeps the mood going. Obviously there are fragrances specifically made for hair, but I stick to my go-to Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb because I like it. Luckily, he does too — especially when we're just chilling in bed afterward and he gets a whiff." — Jen Anderson, lifestyle writer

Victor & Rolf Flowerbomb, $115, available at Sephora.
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Swipe Right

"I have slept in my makeup all but one time in my life, and to this day I shudder just thinking about it. I just hate the feeling of getting in bed with makeup on, partly because my sheets are white, and also because who can get comfy with a full face of makeup on? So, as you can probably imagine, my preference is to at least wipe off foundation before any heavy petting." — Mi Anne Chan, beauty writer

Honest Beauty Refreshingly Clean Makeup Remover Wipes, $9.99, available at Target.
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Embolden Yourself — & Your Brows

"Yes, I'm a beauty writer, but I barely (and rarely) wear a full face of makeup. However, the one thing that I’m particular about are my brows. I don’t leave a two-block radius without brushing my ’em up and filling them in with this tinted gel that stays on forever, so why would I hit the sack without it? And when I say that it stays on, I really do mean it. I’ve done one too many walks of shames with my dignity missing, but my arches still intact the next morning." — Underwood

Glossier Boy Brow, $16, available at Glossier.
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