College Student Beauty Hacks

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Whether you’re finalizing your class schedule, pulling all-nighters, or prepping for homecoming, college days can be overwhelming. With less time to care for yourself and a strict budget to follow, how can you maintain the brains and the beauty? Welcome to your first day of Beauty Hacks 101. We compiled a cheat sheet on how to maintain your glamorous look, all while being resourceful with your money and time. Effortless beauty is the one subject you will definitely ace this semester.

Top 10 Easy And Practical Beauty Hacks

1. Toothpaste Beyond Your Teeth

Toothbrush with toothpaste on it.

Toothpaste is for more than just your teeth.

The only thing worse than a new pimple is realizing that you ran out of skin product to treat it. Which is where toothpaste beyond your teeth comes in. In a pinch, toothpaste has cleansing and drying-out qualities that can lower inflammation. Apply the paste to the pimple for about 30 minutes, wash it off with warm water, and repeat this procedure 3 times a week.

Beware of gel-based pastes, as they have a different formulary makeup and may lack the key ingredients needed to dry out the pimple. The main ingredients necessary for treating pimples are baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and triclosan. Toothpaste loaded with artificial color should be avoided as well, since they may cause further irritation. In addition, avoid whitening toothpaste, as they have bleaching agents which can bleach or burn the skin, resulting in patchy spots. Although it is a quick beauty hack, toothpaste shouldn’t be used as a regular acne treatment, since over time it can irritate and dry out the skin.

Your safest bet is organic toothpaste. These pastes are formulated with no fluoride, growth hormones, pesticides or additional chemicals. Instead, they’re made with tea tree oil, which has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory qualities. This reduces current acne, prevents further acne from developing, and produces smooth skin.   

Toothpaste can act as a concealer in other ways as well. Late-night studying can leave you with dark spots under your eyes, but toothpaste can cover up the evidence. Combine a tablespoon of toothpaste and 2 drops of lemon juice until it forms a creamy consistency. Place this mixture on your face for 15 minutes for about 2 weeks for best results.

To remove unwanted hairs and contribute to smooth skin, toothpaste is your solution. Combine a tablespoon of toothpaste, a tablespoon of sugar, and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Scrub this mixture in the opposite direction of the hair you wish to remove. Continue to rub it in for about 3 minutes and the hair will become weak and slowly fall out. It’s a magical paste.

2. Dry Shampoo To Keep It Fresh

On mornings when there’s no thought of showering (hello midterms), or when you’ve hiked across campus to get to your first class, dry shampoo will save the day. And the hair. 

Dry shampoo won’t replace proper hair washing. But it will enhance hair volume, add texture and decrease greasiness. Dry shampoo is a kind of shampoo that minimizes oily hair without the use of water. It has a powder consistency and is usually stored in an aerosol can. The most effective way to apply dry shampoo is through the roots. Separate your hair into 2-inch sections and spray at each part. To prevent over-saturation, spray at least 3 inches away from your hair, and then massage the dry shampoo into your scalp. Wait a full two minutes before you brush your hair out to allow time for the dry shampoo to work its magic. 

Dry shampoo can be sprayed in areas where you place bobby pins. A bit of dry shampoo will hold the pins in their spot and keep your hairstyle in place. If you find your bangs are sticking to your forehead on a muggy day, spritz a bit of dry shampoo on the underside of your bangs to prevent the clinging.

To find the most natural dry shampoos with minimal harmful chemicals, pick products without sulfates, synthetic dyes, phthalates, GMOs, or triclosan.

If you prefer to go natural and you have a convenience store nearby, you can make dry shampoo yourself. Combine a ¼ cup cornstarch with 1 tablespoon baking soda and shake them together in a container. (For dark hair, add 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture.) Next, place a small amount of the powder on your hands, rub them together, and run your hands through your hair.  Make sure to evenly spread the powder around, and then brush out any remaining parts with powder. Your hair will have a clean feel. Goodbye waiting in line for the shower. Use dry shampoo to keep it fresh.

3. Coconut Oil For Beauty

Woman with hair in towel wiping face with cotton pad.

Woman removing her makeup.

Coconut oil can help your hair and your nails. When in doubt, the answer is likely all of the above. Or coconut oil. For everything. Among its many functions, coconut oil rejuvenates your hair, strengthens your nails, and hydrates your skin.

Due to coconut oil’s fatty acid structure and low molecular weight, it effectively seeps deep into the hair shaft and nourishes the scalp. After rehydrating dry hair strands, it strengthens and protects them from damage. This lowers the protein loss from hair and further harm that comes from styling and coloring treatments. 

The best way to apply coconut oil is by warming it to a liquid consistency and then brushing it through your hair. Let it remain in your hair at least 20-30 minutes to properly settle in. You can wrap your hair with a shower cap and a hot towel so the hair cuticle can open and the oil can further penetrate. For best results, perform this procedure at nighttime.

Transforming your dorm room into a nail salon only takes a bottle of coconut oil. Massage your nail beds in a circular pattern prior to going to sleep. The coconut oil will moisturize your fingers and keep your nails healthy. This incredible lotion will maintain a moist, soft feel on your fingers and nails. For extra TLC to dry cuticles, place coconut oil on top of your fingers and allow it to seep in for about 30 minutes. 

Coconut oil is made from medium-chain fatty acids, which contain antimicrobial qualities. This is helpful in warding off unhealthy microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi. Thus, when coconut oil is massaged onto the skin it can prevent the development of skin infections, acne, cellulitis, and athletes’ foot. Studies show that lauric acid, a component in coconut oil, can prevent acne from advancing.

Coconut oil is packed with vitamin E and healthy fats, which contribute to silky-smooth skin that remains hydrated. Vitamin E and other antioxidants that are found in coconut oil have anti-aging benefits and provide protection from sun damage. When it absorbs into your skin, coconut oil keeps your connective tissues strong and resilient, which reduces the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles. Coconut oil exfoliates the outer layer of dead skin cells, making your skin look smooth and young. Thirty going on thirteen.

4. Everlasting Perfume

The scent you create can make (or break) your date night. After contemplating which perfume fits the night’s vibes, how can you make it last beyond your dormitory lobby? First, store your fragrances in a cool, dry place (i.e., not a bathroom or other damp room). Humidity breaks down the elements in the perfume and reduces its potency. 

The timing of when you apply perfume matters. The optimal point to apply perfume is following a shower, prior to getting dressed. At this time your skin is moisturized, which will help lock in the perfume. Before you spray, place a small amount of Vaseline or an unscented lotion on your skin to allow the perfume to securely adhere to your skin.

After spraying, resist dabbing the fragrance on your wrists if you want everlasting perfume. Brushing your wrists together causes the top notes to dissipate quickly, limiting its smell life.

Your hair can also benefit from perfume. Spray your hairbrush with a few squirts of perfume and brush it through your hair. By indirectly spraying your hair, it will enhance the scent of the fragrance throughout the day, without causing damage and dryness. A breath of fresh hair. 

5. Baking Soda For Beauty

There’s one kind of soda worth adding to your shopping list this semester. Baking soda is unstoppable. It has many uses in your beauty routine, including whitening your teeth and cleansing your face.

Due to baking soda’s chemical makeup, it acts as a mild abrasive. This property allows baking soda to eliminate surface stains from your teeth and contributes to a whiter finish. For a quick fix, combine a mashed strawberry with a spoonful of baking soda, place the solution on your teeth for a few minutes, and then rinse out your mouth.  

Another natural solution is baking soda with lime juice. Lime juice contains citric acid, which is another effective bleaching agent. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with half a teaspoon of lime juice and brush your teeth with it. Allow the solution to sit on your teeth for a minute before rinsing it out.

Although these natural methods will lead to whiter teeth, they should be used moderately. Overuse can damage the enamel that coats your teeth. 

Baking soda can do wonders on facial skin. You can get rid of blackheads by mixing lemon juice and baking soda, applying it to your face and allowing it to harden. Then rinse with cold water to cover the pores. 

With limited sleep, dark circles under your eyes are bound to surface. Prepare a cup of chamomile tea and add one tablespoon of baking soda. Place a piece of cotton in the solution, place it under your eyes and let it remain there for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off. 

6. Mascara Comes First

Mascara wand on table.

Mascara can be all you need.

For mornings when you have no time to spare, mascara is the one product you need. Even if you have great natural eyelashes, mascara comes first since it highlights your eyes and rejuvenates your look. 

Before applying mascara, use a blow dryer to heat up your lash curler. This provides a better curl to your lashes and results in maximum volume. Let it cool down a bit before applying the lash curler to your face.

To avoid the dark clumps, there’s a three-step method for the perfect application. First, clamp your lash curler at the root of your lashes for 15 seconds. Then clamp in the middle and the end of the lash. You can repeat a few times to enhance the look.

Although it’s tempting to keep pumping your mascara wand into the tube, it causes the mascara to dry out faster by forcing air in. One time in the tube will do the trick. If you find your mascara is dried out, squirt in a few drops of lens solution to revive mascara back to life. However, after 3 months of using the same tube, it’s time for a new one. Old mascara can lead to crusty lashes and eye infections. Not a classy look.

7. Makeup Remover

Woman removing makeup from her face

You can use various oils in place of makeup remover.

This is a pretty obvious beauty hack. Before you hit the sack, it’s highly recommended to take off your daily makeup. Otherwise, it can cause major damage to your skin overnight. If you run out of makeup remover, there are a few natural alternatives to do the job.

Since makeup is loaded with fatty substances (i.e. oils), you need a similar substance to dissolve it. One option is petroleum jelly (Vaseline), which can remove heavy eye makeup and long-lasting lipsticks. Place Vaseline on a cotton pad or on the desired skin spot, allow it some time to break down the makeup, and then wipe it away. 

You can also use olive, coconut, sweet almond, or baby oil as a makeup remover. Apply the oils by massaging them directly into your skin and removing them with a cotton pad. These oils have beneficial qualities; they enhance complexion, moisturize the skin, and delay signs of aging. Just be sure to wash your skin after with face wash to remove the oils.

In a pinch, avocados are a great natural makeup remover. They are chock-full of antioxidants, omega-3, and vitamins.  When using avocado pulp, massage the solution into your skin, let it settle in for a few seconds, and then use a washcloth to remove it. This fruit is ideal for removing eye, lip, and face makeup, with a bonus of moisturizing your skin.

8. Keep The Coffee Brewing

After brewing your daily dose of coffee to wake you up, the extra coffee grounds can be put to many beauty uses. So keep the coffee brewing! The caffeine in coffee grounds is full of antioxidants, which can easily soak into the skin. Coffee also narrows blood vessels and extracts water content, which reduces puffy eyes. To clear away the dark circles, let the coffee grounds cool down and place them under your eye area and around your eyelids. Let it soak in for about 20 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.

Trying to avoid the freshman fifteen? Coffee scrubs can relieve cellulite, which is when the skin looks lumpy as a result of extra fat pushing through connective tissue under the skin. The mixture of exfoliating and massaging the skin assists in circulating blood flow and tightening the skin. To make a natural scrub, combine a ½ cup ground coffee with ½ cup brown sugar. Then add ½ cup coconut oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix well until all ingredients are combined, then gently rub it on your body.

If you’re finding campus a bit too spread out with nonstop walking, coffee can help soothe rough, dry feet. Simply combine 1 cup coconut oil, ½ cup ground coffee, 2 teaspoons of vanilla and blend. Make a tub of soapy, warm water, soak your feet for 10 minutes, then place 1 teaspoon of the scrub on your feet in a circular motion. This procedure will exfoliate the dead skin and create a smooth effect. Coffee relieves all stress.

9. Let Your Nails Sparkle

Woman applying nail polish to her nails.

Apply petroleum jelly to your skin before doing your own nails.

If you thought choosing the color was hard, making the polish stay pristine is no easier. Here are some resourceful ways to maintain intact nails and let your nails sparkle.

To avoid getting dents in the polish and to promote strong nails, olive oil is key. Place a drop of olive oil in a bowl and soak each hand for 10 minutes. Rub the oil around your nail beds and cuticles to stimulate the blood flow. For a full, moisturizing effect, soak your nails at night and sleep in gloves to lock it in.

When switching between nail colors, you may find a tint of your previous color lingering around. An easy solution to remove the tinge is teeth whitener. Cover your nails with toothpaste and let it settle in for 10 minutes. Then use an old toothbrush to scrub the toothpaste around your nails for about 2 minutes. Finally, rinse your hands with warm water until no toothpaste remains.

It may be more convenient and cheaper to apply nail polish yourself, but how can you avoid the extra polish on your skin? Prior to putting on the polish, apply petroleum jelly to the edges of your nails when doing a mani or pedi. This will keep the polish where you want it.

If you like your polish to match your mood, you might find yourself changing up the color often. To maintain a shiny nail polish effect, try rubbing your nails with lemon slices routinely. You can also mix one tablespoon baking soda, one teaspoon lemon juice and one teaspoon of olive oil until a thick paste forms. Rub the mixture on your nails and wash it off with water. 

10. Pucker Up

Avoid chapped lips when puckering up during the dry winter months and attain an alluring, soft feel.

Exfoliating your lips can be a simple and natural beauty hack. Combine 1 teaspoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of sugar. In a separate bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Mix everything together until a thick paste forms. Gently rub this solution on your lips for 2-3 minutes, then rinse off the scrub. 

There are many ways to keep your lips smooth and soft while using ingredients you already have. Honey is a great choice, due to its antiseptic/antibacterial qualities and high content of vitamin C. These elements allow honey to rejuvenate injured and damaged cells. Honey combined with lemon juice is a particularly effective way to eliminate chapped lips. An additional perk? These two substances have lightening properties, which contributes to a pink tinge. Pink lips are not limited to Wednesdays. 


This semester, you can spend the time you need with your books- we’ll take care of your looks. On a tight budget with limited time, you can still maintain your glamorous side without investing too much effort. Make sure to stock up your dorm room with some staple natural ingredients such as coconut oil, petroleum jelly, and lemon juice. Wake up to smooth skin, supple hair, and a refreshed look with simple, natural hacks. Mastering flawless beauty is easy as Pi.


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