How to look pretty without makeup: Back-to-school edition
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  • Writer's pictureBrenda

How to look pretty without makeup: Back-to-school edition

Whether you're in Middle School, High School, College or even in the work force, every woman wants to feel pretty every day. With or without makeup.

We don't even need to hear it from someone else necessarily; we want to feel it ourselves and believe it.

As cliché as it sounds, beauty does indeed begin from the inside.


Summer is coming to an end and that means school will soon be in session. This transition does not have to cause you anxiety and the least of your worries should be wondering if you look pretty on your first day.

Preparing for school (or work) in the morning does not have to take much time if you take care of yourself on the daily. If you're still considered a youth, this is the time to start taking care of your body so that decades from now, it is still performing optimally.

In this post, I will share some important tips and simple hacks on how to look pretty without makeup, especially in school. I have split my beauty tips into the 3 most important categories: skin, hair and nutrition.

Some of your favorite celebrities without makeup.

1) Skin

Our skin is the largest organ on our body yet it is taken for granted on the daily. It goes for hours in the sun without sunscreen when we forget to rub some on, it gets all types of scrapes when we go hiking or bike riding and it keeps us warm during the winter months thanks to the hairs all over it.

When our skin is not properly cared for, it shows on the outside. This could be the appearance of fine lines or spots on the skin from sun damage, razor bumps from poor exfoliation or some types of acne.

We all want healthy looking skin and that starts from your teenage years. You need to develop a good skincare routine based on your skin type.

Do you want to be able to go for dinners and any special occasion without a full face of makeup like Alicia Keys? Then keep reading!

The first thing you need to know in order to take care of your skin is your skin type. Your facial skin type can be different from the rest of your body and that's okay. Most people do not use the same products on their face, boy and hair.

There are 3 main skin types: dry, oily and combination.

Dry skin products tend to have more oils thank for example products made for oily skin - which tend to be oil free but full or moisturizers. Combination skin means there are areas of your skin which are oily and others which are dry.

Your skin tone refers more to your shade and texture: darker or lighter, smoother or rougher.

A dermatologist or skin care specialist can also help you determine where you fall if you are unsure.

Great skin gives you a natural glow and typically starts with a good diet but in order to compliment that, you need to combine this with the right skin care products. Nowadays, it is safer to go with vegan, cruelty-free skin care lines not only because the products are less harsh, making them great for sensitive skin, but also because they are more environmentally friendly - and hey the animals get to be left alone!

First things first, everyone needs a good facial cleanser, a toner, exfoliant, moisturizer and face masks as part of their skin care routine.

Your facial cleanser or face wash is to be used twice a day to keep your skin clean - you would be amazed how much dirt accumulates on your face during the day, even if you're just sitting at home.

After cleansing your face, you use a cotton pad to apply toner on your face and neck. Did I forget to mention that your facial routine should always include your neck?! Avoid getting this around your eye and allow this to dry.

A toning device is great to travel with stimulate the muscles of your face and provide a mini face lift!

Lastly, you moisturize your face to replace the oils you just took out of it. Even if you have oily skin, you need to moisturize otherwise your skin may over produce oils in order to replace the ones you took out and then your face would become even more shiny! If you have dry skin, you may want to apply a facial oil after moisturising.

Kiehl's facial oil (which can be used as a moisturizer)

I have included some great beauty products by highly recommended skin care brands to help you in your selection of the best products for you. These are all recommendations and you should always consult with a dermatologist for a more customised skin care solution, especially if you have acne.

Your exfoliator is to be used once or twice a week because it is a little more harsh. This helps to get excess dead skin cells and open up your pores. St Ives scrub or a microdermabrasion does the trick.

Exfoliation is also an important step during your shaving routine and ingrown hairs can make you feel subconscious in the locker room. This razor bum serum is one of the most highly rated out there.

Your face masks are a great way to relax during your self care routine. These are typically used once a day. Just make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging.

Target has a great selection of face masks such as these and this relaxing lavender one.

For acne prone skin, I do recommend Paula's Choices line of products specifically for that. They even have a whole acne body spray.

Always follow the instructions and recommended amount of product usage when it comes to skin care.

I suffered from terrible acne as a teenager and I remember getting so frustrated that I used more than triple the recommended daily use of a facial peel.

My skin burned and peeled off very painfully for weeks after!

As for dark circles and under-eye shadows, this eye-cream comes highly recommended or you could give this eye mask a try as well.

As someone who has suffered from chest acne and back acne (bacne), as mentioned in this post, HERE are the products that cleared mine up.

The best tips I can give you to take care of your skin are: drink lots of water, get your beauty sleep, avoid being under hot sun for extended periods of time to avoid sun damage, take your makeup off at the end of that day and maintain clean skin.

*If you do want to look done up without any makeup (and can't be bothered with an eyelash curler), I suggest getting lash extensions. They immediately make it look like you're wearing eye makeup. Just ensure you go to a licensed aesthetician and take care of the lashes when they're done.

2) Hair

The beauty industry and social media are a scam. They would have you hating your natural hair color and texture. Curly heads want bone-straight hair while those with straight hair wish their hair could go all curly in the shower.

No matter your hair texture and length, if you want to look pretty everyday, your hair needs to be healthy and then you can style it however you want.

Be sure you have a great shampoo and conditioner duo - like the highly popular and highly reviewed Tresemme combo. I only recommend using dry shampoo once in a while if you're in a time crunch or not in a position to properly wash your hair.

How often you wash and deep condition is subjective but I think once a week or so is good. For my afro queens, we know wigs and braids can keep us from achieving this and so I say between each hairstyle, get a proper wash and deep condition. Wash and condition your hair on a regular basis.

Another thing you may want to check with your esthetician is how to style (either straighten or curl) your hair on your own. They could recommend any oils or sprays for your particular hair type to prevent hair damage and hair loss.

An easy way to make you feel pretty in the morning is to switch up your hair. If you always wear it up, try wearing it down. If you've always worn your hair plain, add some beads or hair clips. If you know how to braid, try a French braid.

It's amazing how your face can change with a different hairstyle. You could even take a bigger step and play around with your hair color; if your hair is jet black, try brown hair. After all, it's just hair and can usually be regrown or dyed back.

No matter the hairstyle you're rocking, an easy way to prevent hair breakage and dryness is to replace your pillowcases with satin ones. These allow you to sleep peacefully knowing your hair is protected even if you forget to wrap it before bed.

If you're tired of having braids all academic year, look into wigs. Wigs are a great way to switch up your look drastically without damaging your own hair. You could try a wide range of colors and lengths.

3) Nutrition

This is the third and easily the most important tip for looking pretty without even a stitch of makeup on because what goes on inside your body determines how it would look on the outside.

At the end of the day, healthy eating, getting enough sleep and drinking at least 2 litres of water/day will always outrank any skin care routine and having great skin and feeling good about yourself is the best makeup you could ever wear.

If you want to be that pretty girl with healthy looking skin, take care of your body better. Eating junk foods all the time not only clog your pores but also clog your blood vessels. The key is to look good forever, not just in high school.

If you struggle with your diet or do not know what to eat, you can look into consulting with a nutritionist but here are some tips:

- Limit fried foods

-avoid sodas and juices; learn to blend your own smoothies

-limit processed foods (so anything that comes in a box, can or package that needs to be opened

- Drink enough water (most doctors recommend 8 glass per day minimum)

-Eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables

-Learn simple yet tasty recipes using fresh veggies and whole grains

-Avoid eating out or takeout - that includes Uber Eats; unless you're getting a healthy meal or snack

-Learn how to make healthy snacks you can refrigerate or freeze such as popsicles with real fruit, chocolate chip & oats bites etc.

-Limit your consumption of red meat

A healthy diet should be at the core of any good skincare routine. Incorporate as much physical activity as your body permits, especially when you're younger. Your body will thank you in your older years.

Don't forget to practice good hygiene overall while you're at it. Shower/bath daily, get those sugar scrubs, use deodorant, brush your teeth and floss twice a day (during your facial routines) etc. You feel more confident when you feel good in your clean skin.

If you want to be able to just brush your teeth (gotta take care of those pearly whites), wash your face, brush your hair, apply some lip balm and then step out feeling pretty, you need to take your skin, hair and diet seriously. Remember, being a natural beauty is a forever thing, not a high school thing.

You don't want to be that girl at the high school reunion for whom people go 'but she was so pretty back then.'

I really hope this post helps. This post was very personal to me because I was that obese kid in high school with a face full of acne and just wanting to feel pretty.

I got bullied for my weight and had notes left under my form room saying I smelt and should go back to Africa.

I wish someone had taken the time to explain all of this to me back then :)




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