Hi, friends! I’m Sammi, the College Beauty Buff, and today I’d like to share with you my back-to-school beauty essentials. These are the products that have saved me, time and time again, from looking like a frumpy mess on my way to class. Over my past few years at school, I’ve learned that these are my must-haves for making me look presentable and awake on a busy schedule. Without further ado, here is my Back-to-School Checklist: Beauty Edition!
Dry Shampoo: for the times you don’t roll out of bed until 7:45 for a 8am class
Splurge: Amika Obliphica Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($21 for 5.3oz)
My hair is straight and blonde, so second day hair is very noticeable, if you catch my drift. I like to apply a little dry shampoo to my roots in the morning to make my hair look fresh and clean, and to give it a bit more volume. I received a free sample of this dry shampoo at last year’s HerConference in NYC, and I really like it! It’s easy, doesn’t weigh down your hair, and doesn’t leave a white residue. My hair looks great, and no one in class has to know it only took me a few seconds!
Save: Johnson’s Baby Powder
For some of us, thinking of spending $21 on a hair product seems ludicrous. That’s why most of the time I always come back to ol’ faithful: Johnson’s Baby Powder. This is the Cornstarch variety, which makes it a little more absorbent, and the lavender scent means it doesn’t scream, “I put dry shampoo in my hair this morning!” This works especially well if you have blonde hair, because once you brush it out, it will be invisible. Those of you with darker hair have to be a little bit more careful, otherwise you might get that white cast. Just make sure not to use too much, and you’ll save yourself some cash by using baby powder. It takes a little bit longer to make sure it’s evenly distributed and not visible, but it leaves you money to spend on makeup instead! ;)
Fragrance: because when you’re sitting in close proximity to other attractive twenty-somethings, you want to smell nice
Splurge: Lancôme Hypnôse Eau de Parfum ($67 for 1.7oz)
Lancôme Hypnôse is the only perfume I’ve ever owned, because it’s the only one I need. When I’m going somewhere for a special occasion, spending a night out, or just want to feel pretty, this is what I wear. It’s light enough that it won’t suffocate your friends, and the mild scent of vanilla and sandalwood has gotten me a lot of compliments. It’s so good, I just want to bathe in it! And I think everyone needs that signature scent that makes them feel ready to tackle anything.
Tip: If you’re interested in buying any perfume, wait until Christmas or Mother’s Day. That’s when the department stores come out with the gift sets, and they’re a way better value. Usually for a few extra dollars, you get a body lotion and shower gel thrown in, and it’s all packed in a pretty box. Treat yourself.
Save: Body Fantasies Japanese Cherry Blossom Body Spray ($6 for 8oz)
I’ll admit, this was an impulse buy, but I’m so happy I picked it up! As the small 1oz size, this was only a dollar at Kmart, and I’ve really been enjoying it lately. It’s no complex fragrance or anything, but it smells really nice, and doesn’t have the overwhelming alcohol smell that a lot of cheap body sprays have. It’s the only dollar body spray that I’ve gotten compliments on, that’s for sure. This is a great no-brainer to have when you’re running out the door and still want to smell nice.
Under-Eye Concealer/Brightener: for of all the homework you put off until 2am
Splurge: Benefit Fake Up ($24 for 3.5g)
If I don’t have time to put a lot of makeup on, I’ll just swipe on some mascara and apply some under-eye concealer. This one by Benefit is great, since it has a hydrating ring around it, so it won’t sink into fine lines and make you look 10 years older. It’s not a full-coverage concealer, but it has a nice brightening effect that makes you look way more awake than you actually are in that 8am class.
Save: Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Ivory ($8)
This is a great drugstore brightener, since it’s a liquid, meaning it won’t get cakey under your eyes. As a fair-skinned gal, I use the Ivory shade, since the yellow undertones help negate any blue undereye circles I’m sporting that morning. Definitely a must-have if you don’t get enough sleep and you’re on a budget.
Brow stuff: because you’re not complete without your brows, and if you don’t have to fill them in, at least put them in their place
Splurge: Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel ($18 for .12 fl oz)
I like to think that your look is not complete unless your eyebrows are done. Call me crazy, but eyebrows need dressing just like our bodies, and people tend to neglect them. If I don’t have time to fill them in with a colored powder, at the very least I like to tame them with some brow gel. This one from Chella works well, doesn’t make your eyebrows feels crunchy, and lasts all day.
Save: ELF Essential Wet Gloss Lash & Brow Clear Mascara
If I had a dollar and had to choose between this brow gel and a candy bar, this would win every time. Not only is it healthier for you than candy, but it also puts those brows in their place! You don’t get as much in the tube as you do with other brow gels, but the clear mascara on the other side of the tube also doubles as brow gel, so it’s still a bargain. It feels a little bit more noticeable once it sets than the Chella, but for only a dollar, anyone can keeps their brows looking neat and clean.
Mascara: because even on days when I don’t have time to put makeup on my face, I have time for mascara
Splurge: Benefit They’re Real ($23)
Mascara takes a minute to apply at best, if you included curling your lashes, so it’s a must-have for me. Like many mascaras, the Benefit They’re Real makes a lot of claims, only this one actually lives up to them! It really does look like you’ve applied false eyelashes or had extensions put in, because holy cow this is dramatic! If you’re going out on the weekends, this is an especially good mascara to have on hand. Just be sure to have a powerful eye makeup remover waiting when you get back!
Save: CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara ($9)
As a beauty blogger, I have tried many mascaras in my time, but this is the one I always come back to. This has a large rubber-bristle brush, which lets it add a ton of volume and length to your lashes. It works for both day and night, depending on how many coats you put on, and it holds a curl like nothing else. I’ve been asked if I was wearing false eyelashes with this on! I think if the drugstore beauty section has one thing done right, it’s the mascara, because this is my holy grail.
What’s on your back-to-school beauty checklist?