With my first semester of graduate school under way, I’m still learning my way around a new campus — and getting the hang of these new items in my fall repertoire.
I graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in May 2009 — go Terps, duh! — and, ready to make my mark on the world, got a full-time job, moved out of my parents’ house and was determined to take the world by storm. However, nerd that I am, I missed school too much. Getting up for 8 a.m. classes? That I didn’t mind leaving in the past. But bookstores, class discussions and the generally invigorating feel of being on campus drew me back to school, and I started Aug. 29 at American University, in the school’s Master of Arts program in literature.
So yeah, now I’m drowning in reading. And I moved back in with my parents. To help myself feel better about the next two years of papers, classes, papers and more classes (and the surreal quality of living in my childhood bedroom again), the easiest solution was to compile a solid list of various beauty, bath and hair items that have helped going back to school feel a bit smoother. From playful body washes to help wake me up for class in the morning to pick-me-up products that will help a day of lectures seem less stressful, here are my essentials for this first semester:
(First photo, items from left to right): Rosebud Perfume Company Medley of Lip Balm Tubes; Clark’s Botanicals’ Ultra Rich Lip Balm; Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm with Kokum Butter; Barista Bath and Body Froth Lip Balm; Hard Candy World Balmination – Glossy Tinted Lip Balm in Fishnet; Bath & Body Works PocketBac in Lunch Box flavors Honey Pretzel and PB & J; Tata Harper Aromatic Irritability Treatment; Flirt! Big Flirt Sheer and Shiny Lipgloss in Berry Bombshell and Coral-Me Fabulous; John Masters Organics Cacao & Cupuacu Hand & Body Butter; Secret Fresh Effects Body Mist in Fresh Water Orchid; and U by Kotex pad and tampon holder.
(Second photo, top items from left to right): Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser/Mask; Clearasil Rapid Action Seal-to-Clear Gel; Clean & Clear Morning Burst Skin Brightening Facial Scrub; and DERMAdoctor MED e TaTE Sweat Wipes. (Bottom items, from left to right): Ouidad Sun Shield Sun & Sport Leave-In Spray; Philip B Chocolate Milk Body Wash & Bubble Bath; 100% Pure Strawberry Lemonade Hydrating Body Wash; Barista Bath and Body Triple Shot 3-in-1 Coffee Shower Gel; Dove Men+Care™ Active Clean Dual Sided Shower Tool; Barista Bath and Body Make Mine Black Bar Soap; LuLu Organics Travel Size Hair Powder in Jasmine; and John Frieda Volume Curls Brush.
I commute to campus two days a week for four hours of class each day, and though it doesn’t seem like a lot, the process of getting on the Metro, waiting for the shuttle bus and schlepping around campus definitely gets tiring. Maybe I’m getting older? Maybe I’m just lazy? But I feel more ready for class when everything seems put together, so it was easy to try out some new products when I divided them into various categories to keep things fun. I separated them like this:
+ Stay moisturized. Walking around campus in the winter gave me frostbite and super-chapped lips during my freshman year at UMD, so now I stock up in lip balms and hand lotions before the weather starts turning frigid. I especially like Rosebud Perfume Company’s trio of lip salves in original, mocha rose and strawberry flavors ($16, Beauty of a Site), since they’re super-portable and the tin becomes a nice jewelry box; Clark’s Botanicals Ultra Rich Lip Balm, which goes on slick but absorbs quickly ($19, Clark’s Botanicals); Burt’s Bees Ultra Conditioning Lip Balm, which feels luxurious thanks to kokum butter from the fruit of the Garcinia Indica tree in India ($3.99, at your local Target); and Barista Bath and Body Froth Lip Balm, which tastes like coffee and is way cheaper than constantly hitting up Starbucks ($4.50, Barista Bath and Body).
For easy color when I’m on the go, Hard Candy World Balmination – Glossy Tinted Lip Balm in Fishnet is a pleasantly sheer neon pink ($3, Walmart), and Flirt! Big Flirt Sheer and Shiny Lipgloss, in colors like Berry Bombshell and Coral-Me Fabulous, has an extra-large applicator, so one swipe means you’re ready to go ($15.50 each, Kohl’s).
And for my hands, John Masters Organics Cacao & Cupuacu Hand & Body Butter is especially awesome. It’s pricey at more than $30 for 4 fl oz, but a penny-sized dot each day seriously goes a long way ($32, John Masters Organics).
+ Be prepared. I go from my house to the Metro to the train to the bus stop to the shuttle to campus to class, and anything could go wrong during that route, couldn’t it? I could get attacked by zombies. I could fall in a puddle. Anything mundane or inexplicable could happen, resulting in sweat, germs and other gross stuff. Ugh.
To battle dreaded B.O., I rely on DERMAdoctor MED e TaTE Sweat Wipes, which use peptides and botanicals to prevent sweat ($48 for 30, DERMAdoctor), and Secret Fresh Effects Body Mist in Fresh Water Orchid, a tropical floral scent ($4.99, Drugstore.com). In case that time of the month unexpectedly arrives, it’s nice to have U by Kotex products on hand; the multicolored holder and brightly designed pads and tampons are especially cute (prices vary at stores like CVS and Target). And lastly, I like to personally think that whenever I douse my hands in Bath & Body Works PocketBac in Lunch Box flavors Honey Pretzel and PB & J (75 cents to $1.50, Bath & Body Works), I’m killing thousands of little viruses. Die, you disease-carrying evil beings, DIE.
+ Wake up already! I hate my alarm clock. It’s a terrible invention created by our modern society to oppress my happiness. The only thing that can snap me to attention in the morning is a viciously cold shower and some wonderful-smelling cleansers, like Philip B Chocolate Milk Body Wash & Bubble Bath ($8-$35, Philip B); 100% Pure Strawberry Lemonade Hydrating Body Wash ($15, 100% Pure); Barista Bath and Body Triple Shot 3-in-1 Coffee Shower Gel ($15, Barista Bath and Body); and Barista Bath and Body Make Mine Black Bar Soap ($12.50, Barista Bath and Body). And though it wasn’t made for my gender, I always turn to the Dove Men+Care™ Active Clean Dual Sided Shower Tool ($3.89, Target): Its gritty side exfoliates like none other.
+ Don’t let things get too hairy. Complex hairstyles are not my thing, but just because I don’t have the patience to straight-iron my hair every day does not mean I want to look like a complete schmuck. If I’m blow-drying before I go somewhere, the John Frieda Volume Curls Brush ($14.99, soon to be at Ulta) has silicone strips that help reduce pesky frizz. And always in my bag are Ouidad Sun Shield Sun & Sport Leave-In Spray ($20-$60, Ouidad), which works to condition curly hair anytime you’re outside, and LuLu Organics Travel Size Hair Powder in Jasmine ($9.50, LuLu Organics) which dries up excess moisture in case I haven’t had time to shower that morning. Unfortunately, thanks to all the homework … that no-showering-thing happens way too often.
+ Remember to unwind. After a long day of book-reading and test-taking, washing my face seems like I’m scrubbing all the day’s griminess away. On particularly bad days, Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Cleanser/Mask ($6.49, Neutrogena) doubles as a mask to really get into my pores, and Tata Harper Aromatic Irritability Treatment ($65, Tata Harper) smells like apples, roses and lemons, like I’m strolling through a garden instead of stuck inside, reading a huge book about Shakespeare. The next morning, Clean & Clear Morning Burst Skin Brightening Facial Scrub ($5.99, Drugstore.com) smells fruity and bright, and Clearasil Rapid Action Seal-to-Clear Gel ($9.83, Drugstore.com) targets any potential breakouts … of which there are more than I’d like to admit.
VERDICT: As, As, As. Like last week’s About Face list of fall nail polish colors, this collection is another where I’ve tried to gather items I really trust into one place so readers can peruse a variety of items and options. These are items I use practically every day, and they’ve really helped make the going-back-to-school process a little more soothing and comforting. Sigh — if only they could do my homework for me, too.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The product/s reviewed in this post were provided to Chesapeake Family’s About Face blog by the manufacturer or their public relations company for review. Chesapeake Family’s reviews are inspired by personal experience and opinion, and are not paid for or influenced by the manufacturer, PR company or any other organization unless mentioned.
Product photos by Adam Fried.
In middle school, Roxana Hadadi was a cosmetics-scorning tomboy; in high school, a glitter eye shadow- and black nail polish-loving trend kid; in college, obsessively committed to dying her hair unruly colors that upset her mom. Now a bit older and a bit more mature, she’s trying to figure out what hair, body and cosmetics products will work for her, you and your family in About Face, Chesapeake Family’s new beauty blog – and she’ll leave the sparkle makeup and neon highlights in the past. Roxana also writes movie reviews for Chesapeake Family’s Popcorn Parents blog.