12 College Beauty Essentials You Don’t Want To Forget

College can be very stressful. The anticipation of getting to the campus can leave your mind a little frayed, which may make you forget some very important beauty products. Even the basics could fail to make it into your bag.  With that in mind, I have curated a checklist of sorts to make sure you remember to pack the most essential beauty products for any college student. Keep these in a small makeup bag in your backpack for those busy days you’re running late (if you’re anything like me, then always!)

College Beauty Essentials I Can't Live Without

These products are absolutely necessary to ensure you maintain a good look and a clean appearance. Good hygiene is SO important. It isn’t just about ‘looking good.’

Making sure that you have these items in your medicine cabinet and college backpack will help you keep up with your routines.

Not to mention, it will help you be prepared for any beauty emergency that may come up.

Facial Wash

One of the most important routines to maintain while stressed out over exams is your face care. The very basics of that is a good face wash. You may not have a lot of free time to go out and grab a face wash, so making sure your favorite is packed in your bag is a must. Make sure to choose one that matches your skin type and any skin issues you suffer from. Use this wash in the morning and at night to freshen your face and keep it moist. I have been loving this face wash for the past year and highly recommend it if you have acne-prone skin. But you can’t go wrong with any of these as they’re amazing, budget-friendly, and available at your local drugstore or Target.


Another important (if not the MOST important) aspect of skin care is protection from the harmful rays of the sun. That means having a good sunscreen on hand. Apply frequently and carry it with you as you stroll from class to class. Finding one that also has natural moisturizers may be a good idea, as well. There are even foundations you can use that come with SPF, so that may be a good way to go as well. This is my holy-grail facial sunscreen that I am obsessed with. It’s a tad pricier but you won’t regret it. However, since this is a college beauty essentials list, I want to provide some amazing (budget-friendly) dupes as well, like this one (which I have and also love! It has a tint, so I don’t need foundation when I use it, win-win).

Nail Clippers

Nail clippers are a must to ensure both your toenails and fingernails are kept at the right length and in good shape. There really is no need to get manicures and pedicures. They are a huge drain on your budget and you can do it yourself easily. Maintaining well-groomed feet can help with a lot of issues, from sore feet to bad odor. You should definitely pack a pair of clippers, preferably one that comes with a nail file. Choosing one that has this addition will give you access to fixing any of those hangnails you may get. Get a full manicure/pedicure kit to save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year.

Lip Balm

Lip balm is a good thing to have whether you’re a guy or a gal.

When the weather begins to change, your lips will get drier. This means you should always be prepared to rehydrate your lips, and nothing does that better than a good lip balm.

You can also find lip balms that come with SPF, which will help you protect your skin from sun damage as well.

Makeup Removing Wipes

These wipes can be used for more than just removing makeup. They are good tools to clean up after a hard workout or after a night dancing away at that frat party. If you are like me and tend to break out after a good sweat-sesh, you need wipes in your gym bag at all times! They can also help keep your face fresh after a full day of classes. Find wipes that don’t dry out your skin and add them to your skincare routine. I have been using these for the last couple of years and love them.

Dry Shampoo

Time management is a crucial skill when dealing with everything you have to do at college. That is why investing in a good dry shampoo was one of the best choices I made (I know I sound dramatic, but it’s true). When you get a little busy and your hair gets a little greasy, you can take care of the problem with a few simple steps, instead of spending 2+ hours washing and styling it. Apply the dry shampoo, but don’t rely on just that alone for long periods of time. After a while, you will need to wash your hair traditionally. Use it as a time-saver in between washes, but (regardless of the name) it’s not meant to replace your actual hair-hygiene routine.

Hair Ties

This ones a no-brainer, but you need a bunch of hair ties. Especially since 98% of them will go missing mysteriously. When you have those long study sessions, there is nothing like tying your hair up and hitting those books hard. Keeping a hair tie with you at all times will allow you to get down to business at any time. It is also great on those hot and humid days while walking across the quad, so buy a pack and keep one handy. These transparent no-crease ones are also great to have in your beauty arsenal.

Q-tips/Cotton Balls

This is one of the absolute basics that every college student should have. You can use them to clean around your ears (not inside!), which is the core reason for them, but they have so many more ways to be used. You can use Q-tips to apply makeup quickly and with precision. They can also be used to clean scrapes and cuts to keep them from getting infected. Plus, they can help you clean up after using other beauty products.

Nail Polish

Nail polish is always a good thing to have available.

Even when you are unable to do your face completely, making sure your nails are nice and colorful will help you feel better (or is that just me?!).

It is a great way to show your personality without having to worry about your wardrobe or your makeup.

I love OPI polishes but have found some great budget friendly ones like these as well.


You don’t have to focus on makeup, but having a few key pieces can help you maintain a natural look.

One of these pieces is a good eyeliner. This is a quick product to apply and can change your whole look with just a few swipes.

It can also be inexpensive and doesn’t take up a lot of room. 


The other key makeup item to have is a good waterproof mascara.

Like the eyeliner, the application of this makeup is quick and easy. It also brings with it a dramatic effect that makes even the simplest makeup routine look like you put time and effort into it.

Find one that can go from day to night so you can go straight from class to that coffee date.

In fact, if there was one piece of makeup that I say is essential, it would be a high quality mascara like this one.

This waterproof one from Covergirl is also a great pick (and won’t hurt your purse strings).

Facial Mist

Okay, so this one isn’t an absolute necessity per-say, but it has made such a difference in my skin and beauty routine that I’d be remiss if I didn’t include it.

They are hydrating, help in the absorption of your moisturizer, and even lead to more radiant skin.

The basic b*tch in me lives and dies by Mario Badescu Facial Spray and I recommend them to literally everyone.


School can be stressful, scary and overwhelming, but being prepared can help alleviate some of that. It’s not just about being prepared for class, but maintaining your hygiene and beauty routine are just as important. 

When packing for school, you should definitely include these simple items. They are very basic and essential to maintaining good skincare on a regular basis.

With the addition of these few, very easy and small beauty products, you will be set for success.

Don’t forget to pin me, like me, and share me!

23 of the best college dorm room beauty essentials. I loved these beauty products for fast, organized college mornings! #beauty #college #essentials #dorm

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