Although makeup may seem like a complicated task, the good news is that college students don't need shelves of products to create their looks. These 8 versatile essentials will have you covered from day to night, giving you all you need to get truly creative with your makeup. 


1) A Primer

Before you even begin applying any makeup to your face, a primer is a must. Many often underestimate the importance of a primer, but this makeup essential has a few major benefits: 

  • It will minimize any imperfections and smooth out your complexion, giving you a blank canvas to work from 
  • It will mattify your skin, preventing shine from building up 
  • It will help your makeup last for so much longer, preventing fading, smudging and smearing 

If you don’t plan on wearing a foundation often, then an all-in-one BB cream and primer, would work well for you. This formula in particular is perfectly lightweight, but still manages to prime, soothe and smooth the face, giving you a flawless finish. 

2) Foundation 


Let’s move on to one of the most important makeup products you will own…

A foundation that matches your exact skin tone. This is harder than it may seem at first, because your natural shade will likely change with the seasons. Many opt to have a separate foundation for summer and winter, although these will still need to be updated over the years. 

It's also wise to carefully consider the foundation's formula. Try out both liquids and powders so that you know which suits your skin type better. While liquid foundations work well on all skin types, and are great for giving the skin a smooth and glowing finish, powdered foundations are convenient when on-the-go, and offer up a gorgeous matte quality. 

3) Concealer

Are all-nighters giving you dark circles under your eyes? Is the stress from college exams causing breakouts on your face? These are just a few of the many skin concerns that college students face on a regular basis, making quality concealer a must. 

A concealer can be used in so many different ways. Try to ensure that the shade of your concealer matches the shade of your foundation. The only exception is if you plan on using your concealer underneath your eyes - in this case, going for a shade or two lighter than your natural skin tone would be best. 


4) A Versatile Eyeshadow Palette 

Eyeshadow Palette

Now that you have everything you need for your face, let’s move on to your eyes. Whether you’re going for subtle or show-stopping, eyeshadows will always be useful. 

A versatile palette that features a wide range of different shades, and preferably different finishes too, would be your best bet. The Ultimate Matte palette from BH Cosmetics is ideal for college students who may not want to fill up their space with multiple different sets. It contains mattes, satins and shimmers in 42 different shades, offering you everything from pale pastels to dramatic jewel tones.

5) A Black Eyeliner Pencil

Ok, so chances are you will probably want more than one eyeliner pencil, along with a liquid liner or two, but, if you’re only going to be taking one eyeliner to college, make it a black eyeliner pencil.

You can create so many different styles with just this one product. From bold and smoky to just a subtle touch of definition, an eyeliner pencil can truly transform your entire look, even when worn alone.

6) A Volumizing Mascara

Volumizing Mascara

A mascara is a must at college. You will likely have many rushed mornings where you simply don’t have the time to apply a full face of makeup, and will need to make do with a few swipes of mascara instead. Fortunately, even when used on its own, mascara can really open up and define the eyes while enhancing other facial features too. 

Mascaras come in many different formulas, but a volumizing mascara is a great choice to give your face a quick and refreshing update. The Stellar Lash Volumizing Mascara from BH Cosmetics lifts, lengthens and separates each lash, without any smudging or flaking. This formula is extra long-lasting, making it perfect for those busy days when makeup touch-ups aren’t possible. 

7) A Tinted Lip Balm

You can keep things pretty simple with your lips, especially if you are spending more time on your eyes and face. While lipsticks always make a statement, they aren’t necessarily an essential. Instead, you want something that can provide a slight pop of color while keeping your lips soft, plump and smooth all at the same time. 

Tinted lip balms do all of this and more. Look for a shade that complements your skin tone and don’t worry if you make a mistake when applying it - compared to lipsticks, lip balm errors are so easy to fix! 


8) A Set of Makeup Brushes

Set of Makeup Brushes

You may have the very best of makeup products, but, unless you also have some well-designed brushes, you won’t be able to apply those products in a way that brings out their full potential. Yes, you can purchase individual brushes, but brush sets tend to be much more cost-effective and will give you so much more choice when creating your looks.

The BH Signature Rose Gold brush set is a great one for college students with space limitations. The set features 13 brushes (with vegan, synthetic bristles) along with an angled brush holder to make storage and organization a breeze. 

There you have it! These 8 makeup essentials will serve you well throughout your college years and beyond for any and every look you may want to try.