Chances are if you’re a female undergraduate (or graduate student in my case), you are BUSY! There are meetings, classes, work, homework, obligations… most of us women are on the go constantly! When I entered East Tennessee State University in the fall of 2012 as a commuting student, I had no idea that I’d be bouncing around campus from daylight to dark multiple times a week. Because I was a very active undergraduate student, I’d often leave my house at 7:30 a.m. looking put together and come home around 8:00 p.m. looking like a wreck! I envied all the girls who had dorms they could go to and freshen up in. After about three months, I realized I’d have to start carrying some beauty and hygiene essentials with me if I wanted to keep up my appearance for so many hours a day.
Initially, I tried carrying all my makeup with me (what female college freshman isn’t self-conscious like that?), but that was a total FAIL! as it was too heavy and had a negative impact on my morning makeup routine. Next, I tried carrying as little as possible – a hairband on my wrist, chapstick in my pocket, and hand sanitizer in my backpack but that was a FAIL! too because I was constantly losing items! After struggling for several months, I finally settled on an option that worked for me: a beauty bag that I could easily carry in my backpack.
To this day, I carry my beauty bag with me in my backpack or carryall bag (it’s actually sitting under my school work desk right now!) because as a working, school-going woman on the go, there’s just no telling when I’ll need something from it! Below you’ll find a list of everything I keep in my beauty bag for those little touch ups or unexpected mini-emergencies that pop up throughout the school and work day!
The Basics: Beauty
As you can see from the image above, I keep several basic beauty products in my beauty bag at all times. Let me clarify that my beauty bag was designed to carry ONLY the essentials… no mascara, perfume, or “extra” products. Note: If I know I have an important meeting or evening event that I’ll have to go to straight from work or school, I’ll pack a separate bag with more makeup products.
- Hair Ties and Bobby Pins: Unlike a hairbrush (which isn’t an essential for me), hair ties and bobby pins are must-haves in my beauty bag! Most days, I’ll start with my hair down and curled, but if I’m on campus from daylight to dark, often times my hair ends up in a ponytail or pulled back away from my face with a couple pins. Fun Fact: One of my male classmates actually asked for a hair tie out of my beauty bag once so that he could pin his shoulder-length hair up!
- Chapstick and Lipgloss: While I reach for my chapstick more than my lipgloss, I think both lip products are essentials to carry in my beauty bag. For meetings or class presentations, I love popping on a little lipgloss if my lip color or product has faded – it just gives me an added boost! – and in the winter, chapstick really helps my lips stay healthy. Note: I don’t keep a lipstick in my beauty bag because I typically wear different colors of lipstick throughout the week depending on my outfits.
- Face Powder: Because I’m on campus for lengthy amounts of time, my face often needs touched up. In all honesty, I always find myself applying a little extra powder to my forehead, chin, and nose areas during those long school and work days. I feel more confident when I know I’m not shiny.
- Lotion: Out of all my beauty and hygiene essentials, lotion is probably the most “extra” product in my beauty bag. While in the spring and fall I don’t really need it, lotion becomes a necessity for me during those winter months of school! My hands and elbows can get so dry that they crack and ache if I don’t apply lotion.
The Basics: Hygiene
I actually keep more hygiene products in my beauty bag than beauty products because while I can live with my makeup fading throughout the school day, I can’t live with feeling or smelling bad!
- Deodorant: Even though I apply deodorant in the morning before leaving for school or work, I always end up having to reapply deodorant by the afternoon (mainly because I’m paranoid!), especially in the months of April, May, August, and September.
- Tissues: Unlike high school classrooms, most college classrooms and bathrooms do not have tissues! The winter of my freshman year, I actually rubbed my nose raw using those brown paper towels in the college bathrooms. It didn’t take me long to decide enough was enough, and I purchased a travel pack of tissues to carry around.
- Band-Aids: Believe it or not, I mainly keep band-aids in my beauty bag for my heels. Sometimes when I wear flats for an extended amount of time on campus, I’ll start to get a blister on my heel. I slap on a band-aid to prevent too much damage. I’ve never fallen or cut myself on campus, but if I ever did, having band-aids within my reach would be helpful. Tip: I like to keep a couple different sizes of band-aids in my bag
- Hand Sanitizer: Hand sanitizer is a must-have on a college campus, especially in the winter! My freshman year of college, I got really sick with mono (so sick I couldn’t drive myself to college for two months!), and I found out later that the student I had been sitting next to in my math class had had mono and passed it to me via his sneezes! Since then, I’ve always carried hand sanitizer around campus. I’m not saying having hand sanitizer will stop you from getting ill, but it couldn’t hurt! Personally, I prefer Bath and Body Works’s PocketBac Hand Sanitizers.
- Feminine Care Pads: Besides my husband and dad, I don’t know too many men that read my blog so I decided to leave this essential in my post. I’m going to be honest, even though birth control helps me track my period pretty well, I still get “surprised” on occasion. While I know most public places have dispensers with products (not all college bathrooms do!), I feel more comfortable knowing I have my preferred feminine care product in my beauty bag. I can reach for it if I need to or I can give one to a girl in need.
- Tide To Go Pen: Since I’ve gotten married, my Tide To Go Pens constantly disappear from my beauty bag! My husband is always getting food or drink on his clothing, and he typically reaches for mine! Hands up if you think men should carry handsome bags!?! For any girl (or guy) who is a clumsy eater but likes to keep their clothes clean, invest in a couple Tide To Go Pens!
- Tablets of Tylenol: While you can get medicine on campus at the bookstore, I love having access to my own at a fraction of the cost! Because I read books and stare at screens A LOT, I get A LOT of headaches both on and off campus. I try to pop a Tylenol at school any time I’m feeling bad just until I can get through the day, get home, and better assess my health.
Closing the Bag on this Post
While each of us want and need different beauty and hygiene items, I hope the list above is a great example of just what all you can put in a beauty bag for back for school! Because I reach for something in my bag almost daily, I’ll typically check and restock my bag on Sundays before the week begins again. Luckily, most of these items can be found at the Dollar Tree or your local Walmart or Target, so making a beauty bag for college won’t break the bank!
I’d love to hear in the comment section below if there are any other beauty or hygiene products you think are essential for a college beauty bag! As always, feel free to connect with me on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.
Until next time my darlin’,