By the time you get to college, you pretty much have your going-out makeup routine down to a science. However, I think most of us can agree that 8am is not the time to break out a contour palette and smoky eye. When it comes to looking like you aren’t literally the walking dead, less is often more. If you can wake up early enough to do a 12-step routine every morning, more power to you. Or, if you literally couldn’t give less of a f*ck how you look in class or at work, go you.
I, however, am a Libra who craves attention and affirmation from strangers. Thus, I’ve spent the last three years of my college career perfecting an effortlessly “pretty” look so that I can sit in a dark lecture hall every morning. For all of the wisdom I have developed through three years of simultaneously being a hot mess and somehow not looking like sh*t at 8am, keep reading.
In the most advanced scientific terms, serums really are THAT b*tch. The best way to both feel and look alive in the morning is to start with a solid, hydrated canvas. (I’m talking about your face.) Dull, dry skin just does not look as good as hydrated skin, no matter how much makeup you put on it. With better hydrated skin comes easier application for the rest of your makeup—or at the very least, higher confidence as you roll out of bed and run to class/work.
I read a sh*t ton of Sephora reviews and also follow Dr. Shereene Idriss (my Glossier, Allure, and American Board of Dermatology-endorsed queen) on Insta, so I am legally allowed to say this: go out and buy yourself a f*cking vitamin C serum. It has done wonders for me in terms of brightening my skin, helping with texture problems, and recurring acne spots. For the best results that will help give your skin that “dewy and effortless” look, be sure to look for ascorbic acid, the most stable and effective form of vitamin C, according to dermatologists.
My vitamin C serum of choice is the Pearlessence Radiance Perfecting Serum, because Jonathan Van Ness said to use it. This serum has both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, another ingredient that aids in plumping and soothing the skin. The Ordinary is also a great place to shop for serums, as they use high-quality, pure ingredients but do not mark up their items as heavily as other companies—meaning most of their serums are around $10.
The thing to keep in mind is that the more you prep your skin for each day with various serums or concentrated ingredients, the more refreshed and hydrated you will both look and feel.
Is this 2018? No. But am I still jade rolling my face? Absolutely. I have terribly puffy under eyes, and this is often what makes you look the most tired after an all-nighter, or what can be a dead giveaway that you spent a few hours crying after an exam. The quickest and most effective way to help your eyes look a bit less puffy is to keep the jade roller in your fridge or freezer, and quickly roll upwards around the eye area and cheeks in the morning. The coolness helps eliminate swelling, and nothing really wakes you up quite like rubbing a cold rock on your face for a few minutes.
This is also a good hack to use on your neck when you get a little sore from studying or staring at a laptop for too long. Do not, however, let Gwyneth Paltrow scam you into spending a ton of money on one of these claiming it is “rose quartz” or whatever.
Tinted Sunscreen (Or Moisturizer)
I know I sound like a mom telling you to put on sunscreen, but if you want to avoid looking like Yzma in 20 years, just f*cking use it! To kill two birds with one stone in the morning, buy a tinted one. Boom! You literally smear it all over your face for 20 seconds and have a slightly more uniform complexion, while also protecting yourself from sun damage.
My go-to is the Elta MD tinted sunscreen SPF 46 because I read once that Kendall Jenner uses it and it also has a full five stars on Ulta’s website. As you can see, the standards for what I put on my face are really high. My favorite part about this sunscreen is the tint, as adding a light coloration really quickly in the morning can do wonders for making your complexion look a little smoother and glowy. You also don’t have to worry about harsh lines or patchy spots as you rush to put it on. A lighter, more transparent coat of color will not create the caked-on or streaky look that foundation often does if not applied carefully.
When my idiot sister tried to show me this trick, I thought she was legit insane, but now I absolutely swear by it. In the morning, after applying your tinted moisturizer/sunscreen, take a cream blush, and LIGHTLY dab it above the apples of your cheeks and then down and on the tip of your nose. By applying it slightly above the apples of your cheeks, you draw the eyes up, which can provide a nice contrast to the exhausted eye bags almost all college students and people over the age of 23 are cursed with.
The key word here, however, is “lightly.” If you try and recreate this with too much blush you will look like an absolute clown. I recommend using Glossier’s Cloud Paint for this. It is super lightweight, comes in a bunch of beautiful shades, and you only need to use a tiny bit for max effectiveness, making your $18 investment last ages.
Taking five seconds to dab on a bit of highlighter can give you a natural glow. The Wet n’ Wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder is literally $6, and surprisingly good quality for a product you can find in a drugstore. Put it at the top of the cheekbones, the top of the nose, and a little on the center of your eyelid. Keep in mind that if you aren’t wearing a lot of other makeup, too much highlighter will look crazy. It’ll likely look less like a glow and more like you were snorting glitter. Remember the highlighter craze à la Jeffree Star? The one about blinding the nearest driver with the reflection coming off of the side of your face? Yeah, this is not that.
I live and die by these products. However, you need to research various products to find what works for you. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough. Not every product will work the same on everyone. Regardless, these products should take you less than 10-15 minutes to apply in the morning before class. Hopefully, you’ll feel more confident as you integrate them into your morning routine. Now when you show up 20 minutes late to class with an iced coffee, you’ll look good doing it.
Images: @iyunmai / Unsplash; Wet n’ Wild; Glossier; Dermstore; Amazon; Sephora
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