Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

Back-to-School Must-Have Makeup

Heading back to class? Here are my recommendations for products to keep tucked in a makeup bag with you during the day or stashed together to make that early morning routine a little more streamlined! I also tried to keep my recommendations with a student’s budget in mind! :)

  1. Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Trios ($2.99) are extremely affordable but still pack a good punch of color and offer plenty of options from bold to neutral. They wear best over an eyeshadow primer, but if you’re spending eight hours at school, you’ll probably want to opt for an eyeshadow primer anyway!  The price point is so palatable, it’s feasible to keep your favorite (or a go-to trio) at home and in your bag.
  2. MAC Blot Powder ($23.00) will help minimize shine and oiliness throughout the day. It’ll mattify your face, giving the illusion of a fresher face, even if it took just fifteen seconds. If you’re on a tighter budget, you could also try Neutrogena Healthy Skin Oil Control Powder ($10.23), which should work well, but I like the inclusion of a mirror and more robust packaging of MAC’s when it comes to a makeup bag staple. If you have very dry skin, this is a product you could skip.
  3. Makeup Remover Wipes are nice to have on hand in case of any makeup mishaps or post-gym sessions. There are a ton of brands that make them. My advice is to find a brand that offers both bulk as well as travel-sized options–buy in bulk and then re-fill the travel size to keep with you. You can also store a couple of them in a zippered plastic bag. Keep a lookout for trial sizes of eye makeup removers and take along cotton swabs (kept in a plastic bag, so they don’t get dirty). It’s a little less convenient, but on the upside, it can be a more precise way to fix mistakes.
  4. Jack Black Lip Balm ($7.50) is something I can’t recommend enough. It’s not cheap compared to a lot of lip balm options, but it’s so much more effective than the many other balms and sticks I’ve tried over the years. I have at least five in my bathroom cabinet right now and always have one at my desk, pocket, night stand, and purse!
  5. Milani Liquif’Eye Eyeliner ($6.49) is one of my favorites for budget-friendly eyeliners. I like to keep a black or brown one for longer days, in case the lower lash line needs a touch-up. It’s also a good way to add more definition if you went makeup-free that day and have an impromptu afterschool event. You might also consider a tube of your favorite mascara!
  6. Your Favorite Lipstick/Lipgloss so you can reapply as necessary. I like to keep a go-to gloss in my bag (for me, it’s Cle de Peau #2, which is not a recommendation for this post–it’s just my favorite), but I’ll often start off with a different lipstick (or even lipstick + lipgloss combination).

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

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38 thoughts on “Back-to-School Must-Have Makeup

  1. I think you hit the nail on the head there. Great recommendations! I’d like to add Wet n’ Wild’s Creme Liner works exceptionally well on the lash and waterline, too, so if you want color on your waterline that will stay put all day, give it a try.

  2. Maybelline Falsies Mascara in the “Flared” Waterproof version. This particular version does not clump like the original, holds a curl, gives volume and length, and will stay on during high heat and sweat, like a gym glass.

    Covergirl Amazemint Wetslicks lipglosses give anywhere from sheer to opaque color payoff and has a shade for everyone but this has a minty flavor for those times you want to doll up your lips AND avoid a bad breath situation (hello cute new boy at school!)

    Also, I cannot rave enough about GWP (gift with purchase) packages. Estee Lauder, Clinique, and Lancome frequently have these and it’s a great way to get travel-sized items that easily fit into a bag or backpack.

  3. Angelic Mariposa Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

    I get the $1.99 eyeshadow for back to school but a $47.00 gloss not so much!!

    • I wasn’t recommending it – I was stating what I personally used in anticipation of getting asked if I hadn’t specified.

    • Angelic, if you want a cheap lip gloss, NYX glosses are fairly good, and N.Y.C came out with Extreme Lip Gliders, which are really amazing.

    • Wen

      Jeez! Christine clearly said it was not a recommendation for this post, but rather simply just there to indicate her personal favorite. I knew the moment I read that someone wouldn’t understand. I don’t know why people don’t read!

  4. Sandy

    I’m not going back to school, but I LOVED this post!

  5. Dana

    Well I am not in school anymore, but I always have a liquid concealer with me, it’s good for mid-day touch ups. Also, a travel hairbrush or comb usually comes in handy. Sephora makes pop-out brushes with a little mirror which are fantastic

  6. I think for going back to school one must prepare:

    1. Everday Mineral Base
    2. Natural Peach/Coral Blush (my favorite is MAC Peachykeen)
    3. Clean & Clear Oil Control Film
    4. Rosebud Salve Balm
    5. Make Up For Ever Aqua Eyes in 1L or Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black
    6. Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler + Maybelline Cat Eyes Mascara


  7. Cherokee

    Christine great recommendations especially for college students. Thanks to your past post on Jack Black lip balm, I ordered one from Nordstrom and I should receive my package today. So excited.

    • I hope it works well for you, Cherokee!

    • beachgal

      It’s a great product. I found a site on line that charges no shipping, no tax and sells them for $7.50 each. It’s a reputable site – so do a search. They were out of one flavor last time I ordered…but I keep ’em around all over too. I also give them as just because gifts. Folks (both sexes) really love them when I gift them.

  8. Lip balm (Jack Black, yes!) and sunscreen. I don’t want to bother with makeup in the morning when I have school to look forward to.

  9. Amy

    I heard the NYX Slide on pencils are just like the UD one and has tons of colors too! That could be a good thing to have :)

  10. Lila_pixavue

    lol, im not going back to school , but definitely a good mascara can bust the spirit and spark the eyes a little bit :)
    also a sheer lipstik , a bit more discret, will do the job. good products btw!!

  11. Mel

    Even though I’m currently fresh faced. My staples are the Naked Palette, MAC Select Coverup Concealer and Murad Lip protector. I also keep a tube of MAC Nymphette Lipglass in my purse for whenever.

  12. Eleanore

    If I’m an NW-15 skintone, which blot powder would be best for me? My nearest MAC counter is 30 miles away, so I can’t get matched. :(

  13. Lee

    It’s only tangentially related to make-up but keep a little pack of kleenex in your backpack to take with you to classes. There are always a ton of times when you need a napkin or something and you don’t have anything handy (and there’s nothing worse than being stuck in a class with a runny nose and having to use your sleeve which doesn’t do your make-up any favors either. :)

  14. Katie

    My list is really similar:

    Blotting papers – I like Palladio’s Rice Paper Blotting Tissues. It’s double-sided, where one side is rice powder. It costs about $3-4, so I stocked up several before heading to university. Can’t live without these.

    Q-tips & cheap moisturizer or eye cream – makeup remover can get messy, so if I make mistakes with my eye makeup, I dab a little moisturizer over the messed-up area, then easily clean it up with the Q-tip!

    Jack Black Lip Balm and the Milani Liquif’eyes are amazing. I would also recommend concealer and mascara.

  15. Maureen

    When I was in high school, I started with Clinique because that’s what my mom wore. I actually did the smoky eye every day for about a year. If I could go back and change my makeup stuff, I would get these things: thick, trustworthy under-eye concealer; highlighter/illuminator; some sort of Stila palette (the colors are cute, feminine, and very “daytime.” I don’t have use for Stila products NOW, but I’d buy them for a teenager starting out); a good (SPF!) moisturizer (I didn’t have acne at all, but my skin was very dry and the lighting in that stupid building did not help me one bit). Also, get a tubule mascara so it doesn’t budge when you fall asleep in class. :)

  16. Hope

    Thanks for the suggestions! I’m off to college (will be a freshman) in about a month, and have to cut back on the pricey beauty items I usually indulge in. Wet n Wild shadows will be a must! Do you have any recommendations for a good, affordable black eyeliner?

  17. This really depends on your personal style and makeup priorities, in my opinion. I usually don’t have a lot of time to do my make up in the morning, so usually I just apply spot treatment and moisturizer and contour my face, perhaps apply some very reddish bronzer as blush, haha 😛 And maybe some Lip Tar, lip gloss or something like that. I should get more make up and either make sure to have time in the morning or bring make up to school. It would be nice to have people think you have perfect glowly skin, haha!
    Personally I don’t have a tight budget, but maybe that’s because I don’t have a student budget – I’m in ninth grade, not quite there yet…

  18. Leslie

    JUST started my first year of college. So this is really helpful! I would add Clean & Clear oil blotting sheets(:

  19. Angie

    Great post!

    I like to have some kind of moisturising face spritz with me, especially if I’m going to be spending all day in the library, studying in airconditioning. It prevents dryness and a cool spray wakes you up!

    • Rachael

      Just wanted to second this! I keep a large Avene thermal spring water spray on my desk at home and spritz myself with it whenever I start feeling drowsy. It’s especially great when you need to pull an all-nighter!

  20. Carrie Ann

    I would also recommend one of those eye shadow palettes that are designed to complement your eye color, particularly the ones from Physicians Formula. I think they take a lot of the guess work out of doing your eye makeup & the Physicians Formula shadows can also be used as eye liners. For drugstore lip products, I’d recommend Revlon. Their lip glosses are fantastic & you can often find those buy one, get one 50% off deals at drugstores. Revlon Illuminance Creme Shadow palettes are also very good, easy to use & inexpensive. A pretty, sheer lip gloss & neutral eye palette should be perfect for a teenager. You can also find great blushes, powders & mascaras at the drugstore. There’s no need to spend your money on department store brands when you’re in high school or a college student short on cash. Ask for high-end makeup for your birthday or X-mas. :)

  21. beachgal

    Get a gym locker each semester/quarter and keep a stash of things there even if you are not taking a gym class. That way if you are late to class first thing in AM and want to fix your hair, wash your face etc later on, you have a little stash there on campus. Put in a toothbrush, paste, deodorant. Horrible to suddenly realize you forgot your deodorant that AM and have to go all day without it if you really need it – and who needs to carry that around in their pack???

  22. Amanda L

    I always carry a Bobbi Brown foundation stick with me for touch ups during the day – it’s better than have just a small thing of concealer, which is what I used to carry, because the formula works better on other areas of the face (but can also go under the eye if needed!)

  23. Victoria

    Creamy, gel-like blush. I have it in 3 incarnations- MAC blushcreme in Hush, Nars Multiple in Orgasm, and sonia kashuk creme blush in Rosey. They go on so easy, and you can put them on so quickly without really thinking about it. With powders and stains, it can be easy to accidentally put just a little too much on, and then you look ridiculous. With the creamy types, you can easily blend away over-applied product, and if you have a night out after classes, it’s super easy to just dab a little more on. Plus, it gives a crazy sexy dewy look that is natural and perfect.

  24. I would recommend some moisturizer, a touch of bronzer for an overall glow, a compact powder for touch up with a mirror. The Milani eyeliners are great for the price. But I like Loreal Hip Chrome eyeliners better.

  25. I love your recommendations. One powder that I would suggest is maybelline dream matte powder. Its amazing a its a HG product for me! It’s cheap too which is great for people who are on a student budget :)

  26. artemis

    so depressing :( ugghhhh, i don’t wanna go to school :((((((

  27. Violet

    Lip Tars. You won’t need to reapply them!

    And a hairbrush, lol.

  28. Sarah

    Aren’t the WnW trios $2.99 a pop? Or is California just a buck more than other places? (I could see that—my CVS is charging $7.99 for the Liquif’Eye pencils.)