Back to School Beauty Guide: Must-Have Products for a Flawless Look

School has just begun, and getting back into the swing of things can be tough. The days are growing shorter instead of longer, and our schedules start filling up more and more as we try to balance school, work, life, and the upcoming holiday season. The increase in stress means we all need a little more shut eye to look and feel our best, but having to get up early to get ready can interfere with the best laid plans for a full 8 hours snooze session.


I’ve put together this mini-guide to offer some tips, tricks, and products that will allow you to hit snooze as many times as you need, and still look amazing, whether you have 5 minutes or 30.

Flawless Skin:

For mornings when time is of the essence (or just very late nights when you can’t be bothered), combine your entire skin routine into one step using these handy 7 Second Morning Sheets by Skin Factory. Many people I know swear by these sheets, most of them claiming it is just as effective (if not better) than their actual routine.

Keep your nose clean and clear with blackhead removing sheets. There are numerous reputable brands that offer everything from simple peel off strips ranging from 1-3 steps to more elaborate extraction kits. Use them 2-3 times a week for best results.
There are also peel-off mask options that may be better depending on your time and tastes. Elizavecca’s Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask is one of my personal favorites.
A fresh face starts with a clean face; nothing feels more invigorating than a good morning cleansing session. CosRX makes a very appropriately named low pH Good Morning Cleanser that is perfect for getting your day off to a glowy start. If you tend to struggle with acne, try this salicylic cleanser by CosRX or Skinfood’s Tea Tree cleanser to keep spots at bay.

Make sure to put hydrocolloid bandages on your shopping list to make pimples literally disappear overnight. There are many different options at many different prices. There are these by Nexcare, and, of course, a CosRX version.

Investing in and regularly using a sleeping pack or two will help keep your skin healthy and hydrated while you sleep-not to mention, give you a literal I-woke-up-like-this glow when you wake up. When you are pressed for time and/or can’t bring yourself to apply an army of skincare products, having one or two trusty sleeping packs will ensure your skin doesn’t get too neglected. There are many options, but here are my top three picks:

  1. CosRX Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask (light enough for daily use, but doesn’t slack on moisture in the slightest)
  2. Dear By Enprani Bounce Cheese Cream (not an actual sleeping pack, but it is thick and moisturizing enough to be used as one)
  3. Scinic Snail Matrix Cream (again, not a real sleeping pack, but a perfect alternative to one for those with oily skin as I know many of my readers struggle with this)

(And just because this is so perfect for fall and this post, a bonus one: Too Cool for School’s Pumpkin Sleeping Pack)

And don’t forget to relax with some sheet masks! Try the Its Real Line by Innisfree for natural moisture, or any of the coconut+fruit-infused line by Leader’s. My personal favorite is the mask with coconut and orange. If skin is looking dull, brighten it up with SNP’s diamond and pearl masks. For acne-fighting power, try Leader’s Pore Scaling Black Aqua Mask or some wash off options like Scinic’s All Day Fine Pore Mask.

Fake it Till You Make It: Make up

Cushion compacts provide natural, flawless coverage in no time at all. They combine the coverage of a makeup sponge with convenience of a portable powder compact. It’s amazingly quick to apply, and you can even make your own! Tuck one in your bag for quick touch-ups on the go.

For mornings when you are especially pressed for time, it’s good to have a few lipsticks that can multitask as not just lip color, but blush and even shadow as well. After swiping some color on your lips, using clean fingers, pick up some color off the tip and apply to the cheek, and then some on the eyelid for quick pops of color and awake-ness. Hot poured tinted glosses make blending even easier.

If you have more than 3 seconds to spare, investing in a eyeshadow quad or a small palette with natural, simple  colors makes pulling off “I woke up like this” a breeze.

Have absolute zero time? There are options of cute palettes that include concealer, BB cream, and a colored tint, all in one convenient package. If you continually find yourself running late enough to need to apply makeup in the bus, car, or bathroom, a product like this will be a saving grace. But even with snooze-button-hitting habits aside, this is great for on-the-go touch-ups as well. Try this super-cute one by Dinoplatz.

Create a Pimple Survival Kit. Carrying around a small bottle of eye redness remover drops, some Q-tips, and a waxy concealer like the dark circle concealer from Skinfood (it works on pimples just as well as circles!) will help neutralize any sudden spots that may crop up as you walk across campus (or from the break room back to the office). Keeping an ice pack or spoon in the freezer at home is wonderful for not only taking down the swelling of large zits, but can also be used to depuff eyebags and cheeks.

A brightening concealer can help fake a killer inner-glow. Try the Naked Skin Weightless Concealer from Urban Decay. It works as a highlighter in a pinch and can help you fake awake when applied around the eyes.

Healthy Hair is Good Hair

Keeping your hair as healthy as possible is the best way to live bad hair-day free. Finding ways to avoid heat styling such as overnight styling methods like rag curls, pin curls, braids, etc keep damage at bay. To find out more about these methods, please see this post for my rag curling and braid tutorials, and this post for my pin curl tutorial.

Sleeping on a satin pillow case helps keep static at bay (not to mention keeping your skin looking younger) as does running a dryer sheet over your mane.

Regular conditioning treatments are crucial to maintaining healthy, manageable hair. L’ador makes many fantastic products that will honestly make everyday a good hair day. For regular conditioning, try their Tea Tree Scalp Clinic Hair Pack for silky soft strands. For more luxurious once or twice a week conditioning treatments, try their 10 minute Hydro LPP Double-Collagen Treatment or their Perfect Hair Fill-Up Ampoule (see my review on it here). This brand also makes a shampoo as well that helps protect color treated hair. It is very gentle and great for thin-haired gals too. Looking for a sulfate-free shampoo formulation means less damage for your hair (the less suds, the better).

For severely damaged hair, there is the famous and pricey Olaplex-a hair treatment designed by scientists that actually repairs the broken bonds of damaged hair. While I had this treatment done in a salon, post-bleach/balayage job, it is available for home use both to mix with color/bleach and also as a post color/bleach treatment. In my experience, the results were mind-blowingly smooth and it honestly felt like my hair had not gone through any processing at all. It actually felt healthier than it ever had in my life! If you want visual proof, Guy Tang uses it in almost all of his Youtube videos and you can see how (and how well) it works from those. Here is a link to his channel if you would like to watch and see for yourself.

With these tips under your belt, you’ll be able to get the sleep you need while literally “waking up like this” every morning, with minimal effort.

Disclaimer: These links are simply here for your convenience. At the time of writing this post, I am not affiliated with any of these links.

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