The One Beauty Product I Put in My Bag When I Know I'm Going to Hook Up

Getting laid when you’re not in a relationship is just a minefield of possible catastrophes. If your date orders a second drink, is that a sign that they’re into you? How soon should you be talking about deleting your dating apps? Are dating “leagues” even a thing any more? Why did he lie about how tall he was when I would obviously figure it out once we met?

Ping-ponging between these questions is one of the more exhausting aspects of dating, especially since there’s hardly a solid answer to point to for any of them. But there is one question I’ve come up with a pretty stellar answer to, an answer that, until now, I’ve kept my very own secret. My secret weapon, even. And that is the answer to the age-old question: “I have an intense skin care routine, what can I pack in my bag on a date so that I’m prepared in the event of a sexy sleepover, but that is stealth enough to not look like I necessarily packed my bags for a sexy sleepover?”

What, you’ve never panicked over this exact question? Okay, well, I’m going to share my secret weapon anyway.

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It’s a tricky beam to balance upon. On the one hand, you don’t want to pack nothing in your bag. Because what if you’re out with someone who doesn’t have so much as a face wash or moisturizer in in the bathroom, so you’re left to rub your face raw with a bar of Irish Spring and then tap a little olive oil on after the fact? (Before you ask, yes, this is a thing I’ve done.) Or what if you try to forgo the skin care altogether and wake up with half an eyebrow missing and your eyelashes stuck together? (Again, please don’t ask.)

But on the other hand, you can’t tote your entire medicine cabinet along in your cross-body bag. It’s not spatially economical, and there’s nothing that screams “I’m expecting us to have sex and for me to sleep over after the fact” more than you pulling out an eye cream when you’re reaching for your wallet. Might there be sex in your future? Yes. But it’s a little presumptuous to assume you’ll be asked to spend the night — and it’s not like you want your date to stop trying to seduce you, even if you know it’s a sure thing.

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After one too many mornings of riding the subway home with a whitehead on my chin, hair akimbo, and mascara smeared around my eyes, I decided enough was enough. And after a lot of trial-and-error, including one misguided attempt in which I tried to transport literal coconut oil in my bag, only to have it melt all over the place, I’ve come up with an ideal solution.  

Now, whenever I think an all-nighter may be imminent, I pack the travel-size bottle of Tata Harper’s Beautifying Face Oil in my purse. 

This oil’s main use is as a moisturizer, so it’s good in those situations. A blend of olive oil, argan oil, camellia seed oil, as well as bits of various fruits and seeds for fighting free-radicals and loading you up with vitamin B, it will keep your skin supple even if you have, in fact, scrubbed it raw with a body bar. It can be used in the morning, too — just splash some cold water on your face and smooth this stuff on if you can’t give your face a full scrub. Your skin will look model-glowy — even if you don’t have the concealer and highlighter (and seven other products) you usually rely on to achieve this look.

Size-wise, this product is ideal. The one-ounce bottle stands about as tall as a stick of Double Mint gum, and stashes easily in my purse. Plus, it just looks like a do-it-all kind of purse product, so if it’s found there, it doesn’t exactly scream: “I’m expecting to have sex later and need a way to hydrate my skin after the fact.” I’ve kept this oil in non-date bags on days when my skin is especially dry. And since it smells so good, I sometimes use it as a lightweight perfume.

Oils are also clutch for breaking down eye makeup, and this one is no different. So if you’re in a situation where said inappropriate bar of soap didn’t get all your eyeliner off, this oil will wick away anything that’s still hanging around. Finally, Tata’s oil can be used in your hair to tame flyaways — yes, even sex hair. It gives your strands some texture in that French girl way, helping amp up those “I just got laid” waves.

So the next time you think you might get some, heed my advice. Plunk down the cash (oh yeah, it costs $78), and pick up Tata’s oil, and stash the bottle in that small purse pocket where you also have a couple condoms. Smooth it through your strands, tap it on your face, smear your makeup off with it, and revel in the fact that you can have sex and good skin — and arrive adequately prepared for both.


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