Back to School: Must-Have Beauty Products

Aug 16, 2022

When I was in high school, I would spend the weeks before my return to school prepping — teeth whitening, hair color, haircut, new makeup, the works.  Because when you head back to school, you want to look your best.  And here are a few products that I wish I had had in high school.

I’ve talked about K18’s Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask before, but it’s just so good.  I use it twice per week, and for five days after any hair-coloring treatments.  The mask leaves my hair feeling so soft, shiny, and smooth.  The key is to let your hair dry as much as possible before applying the mask, focusing on the most damaged areas first.

Need help getting your hair dry in a snap without heat?  The Aquis hair-drying turban zaps water out in a hurry.  With or without my hair extensions in it cuts my dry time in half.

A great foundation brush can turn any makeup product — whether a light tinted moisturizer or a full-coverage option — into the perfect foundation for you.  This brush from Sonia Kashuk is phenomenal.  The bristles are soft, tightly packed together, and give you a near flawless application.  And did I mention it’s just $10?

It’s difficult to find great skincare products that you can use during pregnancy.  So when I located this Gentle Actives Clarity Serum, I was instantly smitten.  The product is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, hydrating, and exfoliating.  It’s the perfect thing for treating acne, wrinkles, uneven tone, and uneven texture.  It’s so good, I intend to keep using it after pregnancy as well.

I don’t have the patience for teeth whitening strips, so I tend to buy teeth whitening pens instead.  You can toss one in your bag, keep it in your bathroom, or at your desk.  I really like this Auraglow pen because it allows you to get to those hard to reach places, and whiten without having to wear strips around for a half-hour at a time.

Sometimes the product you’ve loved for years is still the best.  This Bobbi Brown Under-Eye Corrector (I wear Bisque) has a peachy undertone to conceal under-eye circles beautifully.  I put a brightening product under my foundation, then layer this corrector over it and set it with powder.

Need to treat under-eye circles?  Origins GinZing Under-Eye Treatment has a bit of bright-pinky color to it to help tone down your under-eye darkness.

And what return to school would be complete without the must-have nail color of the fall?  This year, the trend is green nail polish. Some women like it bright or muted, but for me, it’s all about dark nails.  Smith & Cult has this gorgeous Darjeeling shade that caught my eye.  I also like Essie’s Off Tropic, which is a more affordable deep jungle hue.

Not enamored with green tips?  Another hot trend is adding a pearly topcoat to your favorite polish (thank, Haley Bieber for this one).  Essie has a great option called Going Steady, but my favorite is What the Shell? from Nails Inc.

Any makeup and beauty must haves to share with the class?  Leave them in the comments.

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  1. Linda says:

    Oh how I wish decent skincare advice was easily available in my high school age! Instead I was desperately rubbing on Proactive (no good did it do for my acne, and now I know why https://youtu.be/NUVE4h04m7A) and then caking on maybelline!
    Here here for the internet that democratized access to the good (and bad) advice. If I had a daughter heading into high school today, I would show her a simple clean/moisturize/spf routine to stick to for long term skin health

  2. EMM says:

    I purchased that foundation brush, based on your previous rec, and now use it daily! SO good.

  3. caitlin says:

    How has the Auraglow pen worked for you? Have you seen any change? I’m getting married in 6 months and everyone always says “your face hurts from smiling so much!” so now I’m self-conscious about my teeth.

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