Natural & Fabulous Back-to-School Makeup Essentials


As the summer holidays draw to a close, it’s time to think about your back-to-school makeup strategy. You’re probably looking forward to reuniting with friends and teachers, and you want to make a dazzling yet comfortable impression. The key is to aim for a natural and fabulous look that’s perfect for teenagers and college students – something quick, lightweight, and won’t make you feel overdone during your day.

Natural & Fabulous Back-to-School Makeup Essentials

1. Prioritizing Skincare

First things first, let’s talk about skincare. It’s the foundation of any great makeup look. With all the outdoor activities and exposure to elements like the sun, your skin might have taken a bit of a beating during the holidays. Dehydration and sun damage, like sunspots, can be common issues. It’s important to address these early on, as they can worsen over time if left untreated.

Consider incorporating chemical peels into your skincare routine at least once a week. These peels work wonders in removing dull, dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin, contributing to uneven skin tone and texture. Ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid are common in these products and are effective in rejuvenating the skin.

For your daily skincare, look into medical-grade products, often referred to as cosmeceuticals. These are formulated to be skin-friendly and contain active ingredients that penetrate deep into the skin to address various skin concerns. Ingredients like topical retinoids (Retin-A) and hydroquinones are great for lightening skin pigmentation.

Moisturizing is an essential step you shouldn’t skip. It helps to hydrate and revitalize your skin, giving it a plump and healthy appearance. It’s a bonus if your moisturizer contains anti-aging ingredients like vitamins C and E, which are known for enhancing the skin’s natural healing process. However, as a teenager, it’s crucial to use these age-defying elements in moderation to avoid potential side effects. Your young skin doesn’t require high concentrations of these ingredients just yet.

By starting with a solid skincare routine, you’ll ensure your skin is healthy and glowing, setting a perfect canvas for your natural back-to-school makeup look.

2. Selecting the Right Primer for Back-to-School Makeup

Why Primer is Crucial: A good primer can be a game-changer for your makeup routine. It helps in refining pores and controlling sebum (oil) production, which is particularly beneficial for acne-prone skin. Not only does it hydrate the skin under your makeup, but it also creates a barrier that prevents makeup from being absorbed too deeply into the skin, protecting it from potential irritants.
Choosing the Right Type of Primer:

  • For very oily and blemish-prone skin: Consider a primer with BHA (salicylic acid). This ingredient is effective in managing oily skin and keeping it clear.
  • If you have skin that tends to be dull or dry: Look for a primer that hydrates and brightens without being overly shiny. Matte finish primers are generally a safe bet.
  • For sensitive skin or skin affected by environmental factors: Choose primers with soothing ingredients rather than harsh chemicals. These will help calm your skin and reduce the likelihood of irritation.
  • To combat redness or dark spots: Primers with a green tint are excellent for neutralizing these issues, giving your skin a more even tone.

Back-to-School Makeup idea

Product Recommendations:

  • For controlling oil: Rimmel London Stay Matte Primer is a good option. It’s effective in reducing sebum production. Remember to apply a moisturizer before the primer to keep your skin hydrated.
  • For covering redness and providing smooth texture: Nuance Salma Hayek Color and Correct CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF20 is suitable for teenagers and young adults. It not only covers redness but also offers a smooth, dreamy texture to your skin, making it a great choice for a natural, back-to-school look.

By choosing the right primer, you can significantly enhance your makeup’s appearance and longevity, ensuring that your skin looks fabulous throughout the school day.

3. Embracing BB and CC Creams for a Natural School Look

When it comes to creating a flawless yet natural makeup look for school, the choice between foundation, BB cream, or CC cream is crucial. While foundation is a go-to for more professional or full-coverage looks, BB and CC creams, as well as tinted moisturizers, are often more suitable for high schoolers and college students. They offer a lighter touch, focusing on skincare benefits like hydration and soothing properties, while providing sheer to medium coverage.

Why Choose BB and CC Creams:

  • Natural Coverage: BB and CC creams are designed to offer less coverage than traditional foundations, making them ideal for a more natural, breathable look, especially for delicate young skin.
  • Skin Concerns: Many young adults struggle with dark spots or acne scars. CC creams are particularly beneficial for their color-correcting properties, helping to even out skin tone.
  • Matching Skin Tone: It’s essential to choose a shade that matches your skin tone closely. The goal is to ensure that your face and body are the same color, avoiding any mismatch in lighter or darker shades.

Foundation vs. BB/CC Creams:

  • Foundation: Generally, foundations provide thicker coverage and may feel heavy on the skin, potentially clogging pores. It’s important to select non-acnegenic and oil-free formulas if opting for foundation.
  • BB/CC Creams for Oily Skin: When I was in university with oily skin, I preferred products like Laneige BB Cushion Pore Control or IOPE Air Cushion Matte Longwear. Both offered lightweight coverage, evened out my skin tone, and provided good sun protection without triggering breakouts. They also delivered a semi-matte finish, enhancing the skin’s natural radiance.

Other Alternatives:

  • For those who prefer a minimal makeup look, products like Covergirl Smoothers BB Cream offer a blend of tinted moisturizer and sun protection. This particular cream is excellent for teenagers looking for weightless coverage and a seamless, “no-makeup” appearance.

By choosing the right type of BB or CC cream, or even a light foundation, you can achieve a beautiful, natural look that’s perfect for back-to-school, keeping your skin healthy and radiant.

4. Mastering Concealer for a Flawless School Look

Concealer is a vital tool in your makeup arsenal, especially when you’re dealing with stubborn imperfections. Rather than covering your entire face with full-coverage foundation, which can feel heavy and clog pores, strategic use of concealer can effectively hide specific problem areas. This includes blemishes, zits, or dark under-eye circles.
Choosing the Right Shade and Application:

  • Opt for a concealer that is two shades lighter than your skin tone for the best effect.
  • Before applying concealer under your eyes, gently pat on some eye cream. This step will smooth out the skin and help prevent the concealer from creasing during the day.

Concealer as a Highlighting Tool:

  • While I generally advise against high schoolers using too much concealer daily, it can be exceptionally effective for hiding specific imperfections without overdoing it.
  • For a perfect, stunning appearance on the first day of school, consider using a concealer stick to brighten and lift certain areas of your face. Apply it in a triangle form under your eyes to brighten dark areas and even out discoloration around your nose. Adding a few strokes to the forehead, upper lips, and chin can also enhance your facial features. Ensure to blend thoroughly for a natural look.

Back-to-School Makeup idea

Product Recommendations:

  • ColourPop’s No Filter Concealer: A new release this year, known for its high pigmentation and long-wearing formula. It comes in an array of shades, catering to various skin tones.
  • Clinique Line Smoothing Concealer: Infused with moisturizing and brightening properties, this concealer is great for diminishing redness or dark spots. Its formula is beneficial for those who need a little extra help in achieving an even skin tone.

Using concealer effectively can elevate your back-to-school makeup, helping you achieve a natural yet polished look that’s perfect for the classroom.

5. Mastering the Use of Contour Powder for a School-Ready Look

When it comes to finalizing your back-to-school makeup, setting or finishing powder plays a crucial role. However, I usually recommend that high school and young college students approach powder application with caution. We’ve already applied a mattifying primer, and adding too much powder can lead to a cakey appearance, stripping away the skin’s natural glow. Instead, focus on contouring powder, which offers a range of light and dark shades for a more natural finish.

How to Use Contour Powder Effectively:

  • Setting Highlighted Areas: With a fluffy powder brush, gently blend a light shade of contour powder over areas where you’ve applied concealer. This step helps set the highlight and ensures its longevity.
  • Contouring Cheekbones and Temples: Use a medium, slanted brush to apply a darker shade, like deep brown, to contour your cheekbones. Extend it slightly into your hairline near the temples to create a natural, sun-kissed look.
  • Sculpting the Nose and Jawline: For a more defined nose, draw two lines down the sides with the contour powder, and round out the tip to make it appear less pronounced. Add a touch of contour along your jawline to enhance its definition.

Remember, less is more, especially at a young age. A natural, healthy look should be the goal, rather than heavy contouring. Products like the Contour Diaries Palette by Pur Cosmetics offer a 6-shade range that can help achieve a subtly sculpted look without overdoing it.

By using contour powder judiciously, you can enhance your natural features subtly and tastefully, making it a perfect addition to your natural and fabulous back-to-school makeup essentials.

6. Adding a Touch of Color with Blush and Bronzer

Blush and bronzer are essential for adding a fresh, vibrant touch to your back-to-school makeup look. They bring warmth and dimension to your face, enhancing your natural beauty.

The Charm of Blush:

  • A pink or peachy blush can instantly brighten your cheeks, giving you an adorable and lively appearance.
  • Products like Covergirl Instant Cheekbones Contouring Blush are an excellent choice. They’re budget-friendly and offer a lovely peachy-pink hue with a subtle shimmer, perfect for creating a youthful glow.

Incorporating Bronzer:

  • To add a bit more allure and radiance, consider using a bronzer or metallic highlighter.
  • Apply it gently with your fingertips to the highest points of your cheekbones. This technique enhances the natural contours of your face, giving it a sun-kissed look.
  • Don’t forget to add a little to the tip of your nose and cupid’s bow. These small touches can create an astonishing shine that really makes your face stand out.
  • A product like Rimmel London 3 in 1 Shimmering Bronzer, available in two shades, is ideal for achieving soft luminosity without overdoing it.

By incorporating these blush and bronzer tips into your makeup routine, you can achieve a natural, fabulous look that’s perfect for the school environment. It’s all about enhancing your features subtly and embracing a look that makes you feel confident and ready to take on the school year.

7. Eyeshadow Choices for a Youthful, School-Ready Look

Selecting the right eyeshadow shades is crucial for a back-to-school makeup look that’s youthful and vibrant. Shades like reddish-brown, champagne, and coral pink are excellent choices for young adults. These colors enhance the eyes, add a lively touch, and help to shake off any signs of tiredness. It’s important to avoid overly complicated or dark eyeshadow, which might make you look older and out of place in a school setting.

How to do eyeshadow for back to school makeup

Application Tips for a Natural Eyeshadow Look:

  • Base Shade: Start by applying a satin champagne shade across your eyelid, extending up to the brows. This light, reflective color lays a great foundation and brightens the eye area.
  • Crease Definition: Choose a warm, medium brown for the crease. Blend it out using a windscreen wiper motion to define your eye socket subtly.
  • Adding Dimension: To give more depth, apply a deep copper-brown shade to the outer half of the lid, blending upwards in a V shape into the crease. Also, sweep this shade along the lower lash line.
  • Center Lid Highlight: Press a shimmering gold shade into the center and inner half of the lid. This step adds a beautiful sparkle and makes your eyes pop.
  • Alternative Shades: For a slight variation, consider using a dark, matte green shade in the outer crease and along the lower lash lines, blending it out smoothly. NYX Hot Single Eyeshadow in Kush is a great option for this. Complement this with a light coral pink in the center of the lid and a glittery gold in the inner corner for a fresh and unique look.

By following these eyeshadow tips, you can achieve a look that’s perfectly suited for school – natural, but with just enough color to highlight your features and showcase your personality. Remember, the key is to keep it simple and let your natural beauty shine through.

8. Perfecting Your Look with Eyeliner and Mascara

Eyeliner can be a teenage fascination, but it often comes with a learning curve. The key to a school-appropriate look is to keep it simple and neat. Start by drawing a thin, black line from the inner corner of your eye, gradually increasing the intensity towards the outer corner. A small flick or a mini-wing at the end can add a subtle, playful touch, but remember to keep it understated. For high schoolers, false eyelashes might be a bit much for everyday wear. Instead, a good mascara can beautifully enhance your lashes, giving them a full and sculpted appearance without overdoing it.

9. Natural Eyebrow Styling

When it comes to eyebrows, the natural look reigns supreme, especially at a younger age. There’s no need for excessive plucking or reshaping. Allowing your eyebrows to grow naturally is the way to go. To refine and define your brows, use a brow pencil to create light, hair-like strokes, filling in any sparse areas. This technique adds definition without looking overdone. Follow up with a tinted brow gel to comb your brows upwards, adding both definition and a hint of color.

A product like the Instant Brow Pencil from Benefit Cosmetics can be particularly useful. It provides a seamless texture that mimics real hair, creating a beautifully natural look that’s perfect for school.

These eyeliner, mascara, and eyebrow tips will help you achieve a natural and fabulous look for back-to-school, enhancing your features in a subtle yet effective way. Remember, the goal is to complement your natural beauty, not overshadow it.

10. The Finishing Touch: Choosing the Right Lipstick

The final step in crafting your natural and fabulous back-to-school makeup look is selecting the perfect lipstick. For a school setting, light and sweet colors are your best bet. Shades like coral pink or a subtle nude can add an elegant and charming touch to your overall look, complementing the natural makeup style.

Lipstick Options for School:

  • If you already have a favorite everyday lipstick, feel free to stick with it. Familiar shades that you feel comfortable in can boost your confidence, especially on the first day back.
  • For those looking for new options, Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss in shades No.101, 102, and 103 are excellent choices. These shades are well-suited for a school environment, offering just enough color to enhance your lips naturally.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to natural and fabulous back-to-school makeup essentials. If you have any questions or would like to share your own back-to-school makeup tips, I would love to hear them. Your feedback and insights are invaluable. Don’t forget to follow for more interesting posts on beauty and makeup. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us!


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