Beauty on a Budget: The Best Drugstore Products for College Students

Robert Hundley

As most college students have realized by now, everything costs money. It’s a grim realization of growing up and entering adulthood. Money might be an issue for a lot of students going through tough times. We may all feel stressed about life recently, but we shouldn’t have to look like it too.

Here are the best beauty products that are cheap, accessible and life-changing:

1. Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Washable Mascara – $8.99

Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Washable Mascara ($8.99) is a non damaging and extremely lengthening mascara.
Avery Nixon | The Montclarion

As someone who constantly gets complimented on their eyelashes and asked if I have eyelash extensions on, take my word on this one.

This mascara works wonders, making my lashes look super long and without looking clumpy. A pro tip is to never wear waterproof mascara because I’ve found it to be super damaging.

After a long day, I come home and remove the mascara with a soft cotton pad and Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water Rose Cleansing Water ($6.99).

To keep them long and healthy, once my eyelashes are clean, I take an old mascara wand and scrub it with antibacterial hand soap, run it under warm water and dip it into Vaseline. I then squeeze any excess Vaseline off and apply a little bit to my eyelashes for the night. In the morning, I simply wipe it off with the Micellar water. Your lashes will look like extensions in no time.

2. Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Polish – $7.99

Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Polish ($7.99) works wonders for damaged and brittle nails. Photo courtesy of Avery Nixon

Sally Hansen Nailgrowth Miracle Polish ($7.99) works wonders for damaged and brittle nails.
Avery Nixon | The Montclarion

Acrylic nails are all the rage right now, but they can cause your actual nail to grow brittle and damaged. That’s where Sally Hansen’s Nailgrowth Miracle Polish comes in handy.

Once a week, I clean off my nails, use the Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream ($6.99) and paint on the Nailgrowth polish as either a clear polish or the base coat for a color.

3. SheaMoisture’s African Black Soap Bar – $4.99

SheaMoisture's African Black Soap Bar ($4.99) gives insane skin improvement results after just a few uses. Photo courtesy of Avery Nixon

SheaMoisture’s African Black Soap Bar ($4.99) gives insane skin improvement results after just a few uses.
Avery Nixon | The Montclarion

When I discovered this soap, I was immediately obsessed. From the first use, I instantly felt a difference. As someone who’s struggled with acne and other skin conditions, this is the soap I will praise for as long as I live.

If you’re also someone with troubled skin, wet your skin and soap bar with warm water, take the bar and gently rub it on your skin in circular motions. After a couple of seconds, I put the bar down and rub it gently into my skin once again and rinse off with cooler water. It’s a must-use with moisturizer after rinsing, as you should with any facial soap.

4. Marc Anthony Strictly Curls 3X Moisture Deep Treatment Mask – $7.99

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls 3X Moisture Deep Treatment Mask ($7.99) that is perfect for anyone with damaged hair. Photo courtesy of Avery Nixon

Marc Anthony Strictly Curls 3X Moisture Deep Treatment Mask ($7.99) that is perfect for anyone with damaged hair.
Avery Nixon | The Montclarion

For anyone with damaged hair, this is the mask for you. I have extremely dry, curly hair that I am constantly straightening, and this hair mask has made my curls come back from the dead. Not only that, but it even comes with a cap so you can have it for more than one use.

After I use a hydrating shampoo, I apply the mask all over my hair but tend to focus more on the ends. I then comb out my hair with the mask still in. After the shower, I let it sit in a bun for 15 to 20 minutes while I do a face mask. After the time is up, I hop back in and rinse with cold water.

5. Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfector – $8.99

Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfecter ($8.99) is a perfect lightweight and clean alternative to foundation. Photo courtesy of Avery Nixon

Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfecter ($8.99) is a perfect lightweight and clean alternative to foundation.
Avery Nixon | The Montclarion

After I cleared up my acne, a full coverage foundation didn’t appeal to me anymore. I hated the feel and look of heavy makeup before, but now it was pointless because my skin cleared up.

I tried out the Dream Fresh BB Cream 8-In-1 Skin Perfector and was wowed. It helped me maintain my natural glow by covering color imperfections while still feeling weightless and clean.

For foundation applying, I follow a strict routine. First, I clean skin with my rose water Micellar water before moisturizing. Next, I apply the BB Cream. After the BB cream, I apply my translucent Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Powder ($7.99) with a powder brush and I’m all good to go.

All the prices stated are subject to vary at each store. Most of the time, I find the cheapest prices at Rite Aid, so that’s where I go for all my beauty needs. These products however can be found at most drugstores like Target, Walmart and the companies’ websites.

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