You’ve done the dozens of roses schtick, and showered your boo in Zales diamonds and forehead kisses. Why not try something a little different to conjure the feels this Valentine’s Day? Why not let the sensory stylings of ASMR ride in on their noble steed, from one of the most fabulously fried corners of the interweb?
If you’re new to ASMR, you’re in for a treat. “Autonomous sensory meridian response” is basically a relaxing tingling sensation that occurs in the head and spine from sensory stimulation. YouTubers love it. Cardi B loves it. And now, it’s so popular as a concept that even the marketing team at Michelob loves it. The spectrum of ASMR content is wide, and typically, the tingle “triggers” are a visual-auditory combo that can come from tapping surfaces, folding laundry, and brushing hair; even actions as tiny as moving a record needle, clinking jewelry, or lighting a match. No, it’s not a sexual thing, although that niche does exist. (So does “Jareth, the very pushy King of the Goblins, [who] is here to persuade you to join him in his kingdom of miniature puppets.” You’re welcome!)
At its core, ASMR is about easing tension, for everyone—and that’s a pretty damn sweet act of love. What could be more giving than offering your significant other, crush, or friend a reprieve from their deluge of daily stress? The majority of ASMR trigger objects naturally correlate to pleasure and wellness, we’re always in need of. Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or your loved ones this Valentine’s Day, let these ASMR-ready gifts titilate you.
Have you tried acupressure mats yet?
Every night, I sip my cup of sleepy blue lotus tea, queue up an ASMR podcast about the history of water towers, and give myself over to my acupressure mat for ten minutes. It doesn’t hurt, but it does work out your demons/tech neck stress with its sentient little prongs. I know Slavoj Žižek said not to fall in love with your ow suffering, but this spiky Fruit Roll-Up is my exception.
A serious scalp massager
Why is it that basic scalp massagers always grip like a lazy arcade claw? We’re here for the prongs of this powerful scalp “masajeador” by Ceremonia instead. The Latinx-owned haircare brand made a palm-sized massager that can feel gentle, or like the touch of a cheeky raptor upon your scalp, exfoliating dead skin, and, ideally (depending on the thickness of your head?), invigorating blood flow.
Have a little more room in the budget? Ceremonia’s scalp massager and scalp remedy oil bundle is a best-seller, because the lightweight oil is rich in anti-inflammatory and soothing ingredients like castor oil and aloe vera, and will add another sensory element to your ASMR gift.
Tender sugar cookie slime time
The slime community is a real and lucrative subset of ASMR, consisting of folks with a passion for finger-shoveling goo, and inventing plasma combos so wild, they rival even the most exhaustive of diner menus; There’s crunchy, slippery, and bubbly slime; slime with sparkle, slime with a pearly finish, and, in this case, waffle- and matcha-inspired slimes?? Yes, daddy.
Mosser Glass’s iconic Bathing Lady dish
The chachki dish to rule them all. Glass-tapping is a staple of ASMR, and Mosser Glass—the beloved go-to of classic V-Day escapes like San Luis Obispo, Calif.’s Madonna Inn—is bar-none in juicy color options (ex. Cobalt Blue [above], Tuscan Pink, Eggplant, and more). This babe is perfect for keys, smokes, jewelry, and any corner that needs more kitsch clinking.
A squishy dumpling
Sometimes you just need to squeeze some dumps, man. “This sensory toy is great for anyone that wants their kid's attention on something other than their phones,” writes one happy reviewer, “it really manages to keep them busy, and the great part is how much wear and tear you can put onto it without it breaking. I've had this for over 2 weeks and it hasn't broken yet.” Damn.
A big old box of caviar
Mukbang is a “digital food phenomenon” that originated in South Korea—and a big ASMR trigger—that involves watching people happily (and often) loudly eat decadent meals. Nothing says, “I love you,” or is quite as indulgent, as eating an entire aquatic family. This seafood bundle comes with a medley of caviars, crème fraîche, blinis, and a tiny mother of pearl spoon, and it would be a huge flex to eat it on camera with a captivated audience.
Aphrodite’s Arrow Oil
Kindred Black is beloved by ASMR content-makers for its bespoke allure, commitment to slow beauty, and high quality. (Somewhere between apothecary and potion closet, the brand’s products always come in hand-blown glass bottles ripe for tapping.) The “Aphrodite’s Arrow” oil is a great gender non-specific scent, “created with pure organic essential oils of seductive Bulgarian rose otto, Japanese ylang ylang, patchouli, and stimulating black pepper.” Honestly, just keep it for yourself.
Light their fire
ASMR match-lighting videos are the coziest thing ever, next to the Calcifer yule log on HBO Max (run, don’t walk). Gift your love a box of these marbled long matches from Wonder Valley to set the mood and get the tingles going.
The best fidget fabrics
People are 3-D printing everything from guns to faux-caviar these days, so it’s kind of refreshing to see the technology optimized through this floppy thingamajig. As far as squares of “fabric” go, it doesn’t have a prescribed, practical purpose. It just slides around your hands, and, you know, feels cool. Makes a lil crunching sound. Invites you to relax, focus, and vibe in 10 different colors. “Over the moon with the purchase,” writes one reviewer of the top-rated toy, “would definitely recommend.”
For all you yeehawsexuals out there, we humbly offer: Fuzzy cow print puzzle piece fidget fabric. Each of the four squares contains a marble inside that you get to roll around—sensory bliss, mate.
A 90s desk sculpture
Have you thrice watched that snake and iguana scene in Planet Earth II? Do you have a special place in your heart for the set dressing of Sabrina the Teenage Witch? Then this moons and stars desk sculpture is for you and your fidgety little fingers.
Bring the spa to them
We don’t know how to feel about Trisha Paytas’ ASMR spa video, but we sure do feel some type of way when she busts out the facial ice globes. These smooth, bulbous wands are designed to roll over your forehead and temples after being chilled in the fridge, and Amazon reviewers say they help ease headaches and calm skin. Plus, as one fan writes, “the sensation [lingers for] 10-15 minutes after using the globes.”
Secret (or not) freaky, fuzzy slippers
We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all: We love to wear trompe l'oeil gluten on our feet. There are a million different avenues you can take when it comes to your house slippers, so why not choose a cross-sensory experience?
One of those smol iPhone mics on TikTok
The cutest thing on this list, hands down. The mini mic is perfect for your boo’s TikTok rants on why all public drinking fountains should include a carbonated option (it’s not that hard??), or for filming a music video with your pet rat.
Earth’s most iconic hairbrush
Hairbrushing and ASMR go way back, yielding about 1,530,000 search results on Google, and we’re declaring the Mason Pearson hairbrush as the leader of the pack. “This is the lamborghini of hairbrushes,” writes one reviewer of the legacy (LEGACY!) luxury brush, “Considering how much I spend on shampoo, conditioner, products, hair cuts, and color in a given year, this brush is easily worth the investment.” It’s super gentle, made of boar bristle, and is designed to reduce breakage in even the most stubborn of hair.
Massage and bon voyage!
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.