While some people might argue you learn the most in the classroom, when it comes to beauty, you definitely don’t (unless it’s beautician school). Speaking from my experience as a recent college graduate, I didn’t learn about which moisturizer to use or find out how to cut-crease from my professor teaching Human Philosophy— although, maybe, since beauty is a key to happiness, I could finesse my way into saying Aristotle considered beauty when theorizing the pursuit of happiness.
But, frankly, I didn’t do that. Instead, the knowledge came from practice, growing up, talking to friends (a lot), and learning the fundamentals to beauty that every college grad should know. I’m not just talking about how to apply lipstick, but all-around beauty: health, skin care, budgeting products, the whole nine yards. So, scroll through to see the top nine beauty habits everyone should know or have down pat, before college graduation to ensure a life of happiness— like Aristotle said.
Always Apply Sunscreen
You probably apply sunscreen when the sun is glaring and you’re going to be sitting out for a while, but unfortunately, that’s not enough. Sunscreen application needs to happen every day— no matter the weather or season. Even though you can’t see it, UV rays are constantly penetrating the atmosphere, meaning they’re constantly hitting your skin. Sunscreen does more than protect from sunburn, too; it aids in premature aging signs like wrinkles, sunspots and supports overall skin health. It’s best to apply sunscreen underneath foundation and once again on top of moisturizer. Plus, don’t get down that your makeup is going to go to waste, because there are tons of primers, BB creams, tinted moisturizers, and lightweight formulas that all have SPF.
Try: Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen
$25 at Glossier
Learn When to Splurge
It can be easy to run to the drugstore, pick up makeup, skin care, hair care, or anything else all for less than $20. But there comes a time when buying something a little more pricey actually pays off. It’s about investing in your everyday needed products. So, if you wear foundation every day, opt for one that truly matches your skin tone, doesn’t clog you up, and you actually like. Even if it costs more than $30, it’s worth it for the amount of use it’s going to have. I know it seems scary at first to drop large sums on one or two products, but it makes a difference to have a few key good items surrounding your lower-end products.
Don’t Go to Sleep with Wet Hair
This is a hard one, but going to bed with wet hair isn’t good for your scalp. It clogs up pores and allows for major buildup of the oils trying to get out, which can lead to dandruff or a dry scalp. Plus, rolling around in bed with wet hair can lead to strand damage. The best thing is to let your hair naturally dry before crawling into bed (and putting it up in a loose bun) or washing in the morning. And we all know bed-head can be a look, but the older you get, the harder it is to style messy, blown-out, matted-down hair.
Switch Up Your Exercise Routine
The older we get, the harder it is to lose and maintain weight. By switching up your workout routine regularly, your body doesn’t get used to the exercise motions and is constantly working new muscles. Thankfully, it’s not a hard process with the help of apps like Nike Training Club and Qinetic (both free on iTunes) who design workouts for you and give tons of options. Going to classes is also a great way to learn new workouts that you can bring home with you. Although you might be thinking you’re still in prime shape post-grad, it’s best to have this habit down before your body starts slowing down.
Know Your Facial Structure and Features
There are YouTube tutorials, articles, reviews, and Instagrams all dedicated to teaching you how to do makeup. And while tons of that information is helpful, it’s not all going to work for you. It’s about learning what’s best for your face. How one person contours their cheeks by going directly under the cheekbone might not work for you because you have a different cheekbone structure or face shape. The same goes for eyeshadow and blush. To really nail your look, you have to find out what flatters your face shape and features the best even if it doesn’t align with standard rules.
Moisturizer Is Your Best Friend
Just like sunscreen, a moisturizer needs to be applied every day. Adding moisture to your skin after washing it ensures hydration, suppleness, and healthy cells. Even if you have oily skin, moisturizer is necessary. If you let your skin go dry, it will produce even more oil to overcompensate. You want your skin hydrated and soft, not tight and dry or over-oily. The thing about moisturizer is finding the right one. I suggest researching, finding out what kind of skin you have, and seeing what best caters to that. From there it’s all about trial and error. It might seem stressful, but a go-to moisturizer is key.
Try: Biossance Squalane + Probiotic Gel Moisturizer
$52 at Biossance
Seriously, Take Off Your Makeup Before Bed
This rule sounds basic, and it’s been said 100 times, but it’s true. College is the perfect time to get into the habit of taking off your makeup every night because when else are you going to have as hectic a schedule? Late night partying? Late night studying? Late night anything? Force yourself to wash your face. Even if you think your face can handle it, at some point down the line, it won’t. Sleeping with a face full of makeup can clog pores, cause acne, and flare up rashes (aka no-nos). Trust me, it’ll make the nightly task so much easier when you’re working a more steady job.
Routinely Wash Your Makeup Brushes/Sponges
So, you wash your face every night, but you don’t wash your brushes or sponges. A classic recipe for disaster. Even if you can’t see the product piling up, I assure you, it is. The tools harbor loads of bacteria, dirt, oil, and other buildup that can cause breakouts and aggravate skin. Plus, your makeup will glide on much easier and hold more product with a clean tool. Check out this hack for cleaning sponges and these five different ways for cleaning brushes; easy as that.
Face-Mask the Right Way
Masks are tons of fun, relaxing, and do great work for the skin, but they all do different things and are necessary for specific times. Using a rough, exfoliating mask when your skin is sensitive or breaking out isn’t always best—even though it feels like you want to strip everything away. Find out what your skin is going through at that moment— too much oil, dry, acne, sensitive, hyperpigmentation, polluted, needs refreshing, hydration— and cater to it. That means looking at what your face masks say they do and using them when necessary. There’s no saying how many times you can mask in a week, but you want to make sure you’re treating your skin instead of overloading it. Putting on a mask every night might seem relaxing and oh-so millennial, but it might not be doing any good, and it might even be making it worse. Supplement when necessary with masks, not just for the Instagram photo.
Try: Dr. Jart+ Shake & Shot Rubber Masks
$12 at Sephora