Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Back-to-School Beauty Essentials

Hey, friends! I started classes today, so I thought I'd share with you my basic, back-to-school beauty essentials. These are the items that I use the most often during the year, that I feel like almost every college beauty buff could benefit from. I also included my personal favorites of each category, just in case. This obviously doesn't include everything (you don't need me to tell you to pack a toothbrush!) but just a few of the things that might not immediately come to mind.

Dry Shampoo

When I wake up in the morning and realize my hair looks limp, flat, or greasy, I use a little dry shampoo to freshen it up. For the days when I'm in between washes, dry shampoo helps make hair look clean. It's my my saving grace, because I don't know about you, but the showers in my residence hall have pretty low shower pressure--meaning that sometimes the shampoo/conditioner/buildup of product in my hair doesn't always completely wash out. In a nutshell, dry shampoo just makes my hair go from "blah" to not-so-blah, so I always make sure to have some in stock.

Splurge: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($21 ~ 5.3oz) 

I hardly use official "dry shampoo," but this is the one I have on hand right now. I got this sample from the Her Campus Conference  and so far I'm liking it so far. It's a spray, so it's not as messy as powder dry shampoos. I'm still testing it, so I can't say too much about it, but I'm a little obsessed with Amika products right now and I'm excited to explore their line (through free samples, because they're so expensive!). I probably won't repurchase it, just because I'm not wowed enough to justify that price, so I think the Batiste is next on my to-try list. 

Save: Johnson's Baby Powder ($4 ~ 22oz)

This is what I use most of the time as a dry shampoo. Any baby powder will do, but if you have blonde hair, baby powder is a super affordable alternative to dry shampoo. It absorbs any excess grease from your roots, and as long as your hair is light (it might give your hair a white/grey tint if you're a brunette or darker), it'll look natural. The only things I dislike about using baby powder is 1) you have to be really careful about not getting it on your clothes, and 2) it does take a good amount of shine out of your hair. I find that the best way to use baby powder is sparingly, only in the places you really need it, and then brushing it out to prevent any white spots. I usually put my hair in a headband on days when I use this, just to get my bangs out of my face. I prefer buying scented ones the lavender pictured above, just so it doesn't make my hair smell blatantly like baby powder (aka a baby's bottom). 

Under-eye concealer: 

I'm sure many of you, like me, don't get enough sleep. To hide those dark under-eye circles, I like to use a brightening concealer to make me not look like I'm dying.

My recommendation: Physician's Formula Circle RX in Natural Light, $9

I bought this concealer during one of CVS' $6-off-Physician's Formula-sales, and I'm really happy with it! It's not the heaviest concealer so it doesn't cover them completely, but I really like the lightening effect under my eyes. It does have a habit of creasing on me if I don't use a setting powder, so just be warned. I'm on the search for the ultimate under-eye concealer from the drugstore, so if anyone has any recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Eyeshadow Primer

My days are very long, going from class to work to rehearsal, so I need whatever I put on my eyes to last all day. I find that when I use a primer, my eyeshadow lasts so much longer, and doesn't crease. Because who wants all of their hard work to go to waste?

Splurge: Mirabella Prime for Face and Eyes ($29 ~ .45oz)

I talked about this in my August favorites, but I was pleasantly surprised by this product. Even though I try to stay away from silicones in my beauty routine, I received this product in an Ipsy bag months ago and it really does work! I never have much of a problem with eyeshadow creasing on my lid, so I can't attest to that too much, but I can tell you that it certainly does make the colors pop! 

Save: Revlon Colorstay Smoky Shadow Stick in Torch ($9)

I recently purchased this when CVS was having an Extrabucks deal, which made it come out to about $3. I'm really impressed with it! This is a cream eyeshadow in stick-form, as part of Revlon's Colorstay line. On days when I'm feeling lazy, I'll just use the light side (on the left) as an all-over shadow, but it also works very well for creating a base for your eyeshadow and making it last all day. It doesn't crease on me (though again, my eyelids are not very oily) and it makes the colors stand out better. If you're looking for an eyeshadow primer without shelling out the big bucks, I recommend this! I'm not as crazy about the right side, so I'm still searching for a purpose for that. To be continued! 

Eyelash Curler and Mascara

To wake up your eyes and make them look perky and alert, the easiest thing you can do is curl your lashes and apply mascara. It only takes a minute, and I think it makes the biggest difference out of anything in my makeup routine. If you find yourself with a minute to spare, this is my #1 essential in my makeup routine!

My recommendations: Revlon Eyelash Curler ($6)

This was a monthly favorite back in April, but I still use it all the time! The shape of this one allows me to get at the base of my lashes, and I like the fact that it's spring-activated. It's not sketchy like some of the super-cheap eyelash curler (ex. E.L.F.) that cut your lashes off, but it works and it's very affordable. I don't think I'll ever purchase a designer one. There's no need. 

This was also an April favorite. As a whole, the drugstore has some really great mascaras out there, but I especially I love CoverGirl's. This one is more on the drier side (I'm not a huge fan of wet mascaras) and I find that it really does give me nice volume. Armed with this mascara and an eyelash curler, my eyes look ready and awake in no time! When I run out of this (and my multiple samples from various subscription boxes), I think I want to try their Clump Crusher next. If you would like to see my full review, click here.

Easy Lip Products

When you're on the go, sitting down and applying red lipstick with a mirror isn't always an option. I like to keep some easy, effortless lip products in my bag/backpack so I can reapply between classes.

 Splurge: Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon in Fuchsia Flirt (Not available for individual purchase, but all six come in a set for $24)

I received this in my July Ipsy bag and I really like it! It's pigmented enough to make a difference, without being so bright that you need to take care when you apply it. It contains petroleum in it, which I'm not a fan of, but it does make my lips feel soft. It's a cute color without being too bold. 

I received this in my Influenster Spring Fever VoxBox and I like it for a quick tint of color. It adds that I-just-ate-a-cherry-popsicle effect when you put it on your lips, but it's not so pigmented that you need to apply it carefully in front of a mirror. Plus, it smells and tastes like apple! 

Light Fragrance

When I want to feel pretty and put-together, I always mist on some kind of perfume/body splash. I like to smell good (who doesn't?) but I don't like to apply anything too heavy for daytime, especially I'm in class. We've all been there, where you're standing or sitting next to someone who's wearing too much perfume or cologne. You don't want to be that person. But smelling nice and fresh is always a plus! 

My current scent: Bath & Body Works Country Chic Body Mist ($14)

This smells like lemon, wildflowers, and springtime, but I think it's a great summer-to-fall scent for daytime. It just has a very clean scent to it, without being overpowering or harsh. A lot of strong perfumes give me a headache, so I prefer to use body splash unless I'm going out someplace special. 

Matching body lotion: Bath & Body Works Country Chic Body Lotion ($11)

To help make my scent last longer (while simultaneously moisturizing my body), I like to pair it with the matching body lotion. I don't always do this, but I received the three piece set (including the shower gel) as a birthday gift from a friend, and layering on scents keeps them going strong a little bit longer throughout the day. And who doesn't love lotion? Also, is it just me, or did Bath & Body Works hike up their prices, again? 

Well, these are a few of my back-to-school essentials. If I posted every single one, it would be a very long list, but these are the ones I consider my most important. 

What are your back-to-school must-haves?

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