13 Beauty Products We Loved In College & Still Use As Adults

Most people associate their college years with long days in the classroom and even longer nights playing beer pong. However, we associate college with, well, creamy moisturizers and cult classic eyeshadow palettes. Yes, some of our best memories were made throughout those four (or, uhh, four and a half) years as an undergrad, but some of our favorite beauty products were found during that time as well. We may have left the hallowed halls of our beloved alma maters with memories, along with a mountain of debt, but the products ahead will stay with us forever. Or, at least until one of our loans is paid off.

“I couldn’t afford anything but drugstore makeup in college, so I used to steal a swipe of this bronzer from my roommate before she’d wake up for class. She was not happy when she caught me redhanded one morning, but 10 years later, I’m the one sending Bobbi Brown bronzers to her.” — Cat Quinn, R29 beauty director

Bobbi Brown, $44, available at Sephora

“You wouldn’t believe it if you met me now, but there was a period of time when I exclusively wore tinted lip balms and Burt’s Bees’ makes some of my favorites. The deeper shades (Rose is my favorite) are pretty pigmented but can still be applied easier without a mirror. I still use them to this day, in fact I have one in my purse as we speak.” — Mi-Anne Chan, R29 beauty writer

Burts Bees, $5, available at Burt’s Bees®

“Mascara has been my ride-or-die beauty product since I stole a tube of my mom’s back in the sixth grade, but it wasn’t until college — when I discovered this gem from Covergirl — that I learned the true potential of my lashes. The pigment is dark, the plastic bristle brush is thick, and it rakes through every last lash, which means I could apply 8,072 coats before a frat party without ever having to worry about clumps. So while I’ve become a bigger fan of regular bristle brushes since graduation, this OG formula will forever remain my exception.” — Kelsey Castañon, R29 senior beauty writer

COVERGIRL, $6.94, available at Walmart

“When I was a wee intern, I’d covet beauty sale days. I couldn’t afford prestige products at their actual prices, and would make an entire list of goods to keep an eye out for when the editors cleaned out their closets. I somehow managed to snag this matte red that magically just… worked. Reds have always been hard for me to find, but this blue-based matte made me feel like an editor-in-chief. It’s still my favorite to use when I need to boss up.” — Khalea Underwood, R29 beauty writer

Urban Decay, $18, available at Sephora

“I was in a sorority for three out of the four years of school. And during that entire time there was an abundance of Urban Decay Naked palettes scattered throughout our house (with Buck, the medium brown fifth in line, completely used up) because everyone bought this. Even if I don’t wear it as often today (I prefer the Heat iteration), it’s the one shadow kit I’ll never toss.” — Samantha Sasso, R29 beauty writer

Urban Decay, $54, available at Sephora

“I’m doing a lot better these days, but in undergrad, my beauty routine was light on trial and heavy on the error. I went through an embarrassing number of brow pencils while I was learning how to fill my brows, but this one always stuck. It’s thick and doesn’t slip in my hand, and glides on waxy as it’s made of vegetable, coconut, and soy bean oils.” — Underwood

NYX, $4.75, available at Nyx Cosmetics

“I once kept my first NARS blush for over five years. Although it looked like it was on its last leg months before I even declared my major, I kept this shimmery, cult classic around until I finally had to bid it farewell. Still, I’ve got a fresh one in my vanity for those days I’m feeling nostalgic.” — Sasso

NARS, $30, available at Sephora

“The first thing I learned going to school in Missouri was how to tease my hair. We’d spray so much of this stuff on the floors of our sorority, you’d see a cloud coming out of the hall bathroom. It’s a great hairspray, though, so I still use it to hold my loose waves — not a midwest bouffant.” — Quinn

Tresemmé, $4.88, available at Target

“Not sure which rock I was under, but I had no idea what highlighting was back in the day. However, I did know that a few brushes of this gorgeous bronzer (another score from a random beauty sale) made me glow like J.Lo — and I can’t complain about that. Now, I use it on the apples of my cheeks when my complexion’s a little drab… and I’ll top it off with a gold highlight on my cheekbones, too, when I really want to sparkle.” — Underwood

COVERGIRL, $9.31, available at Walmart

“I also discovered this thanks to a roommate who’d let me borrow a spritz before sorority date parties. It takes me back to fall nights with cheap wine, flannel, and hayrides, which in hindsight was a very odd choice for a summery citrus fragrance inspired by Capri.” — Quinn

Dolce & Gabbana, $78, available at Sephora

“Clinique has been a mainstay in my abuela’s makeup stash for as long as I can remember, so I was proud to make this pretty green compact my first Big Girl beauty purchase out of high school. Eleven years later (oh god, did I just say that out loud?) and the powder is still an old faithful that leaves behind a semi-matte finish, which looks just like skin.” — Castañon

Clinique, $29, available at Clinique

“This became my ‘special occasion’ fragrance far before I even had any real, special occasions to go to. Thankfully, I had an intuitive ex who bought me this bottle that smells like sexy witches brew. The woody, vanilla, sandalwood scent was my go-to up until I graduated. Now, I keep it safe at my parents’ house back in Connecticut so I can savor the last few drops that remain.” — Sasso

Elizabeth and James, $68, available at Sephora

“I have eczema, so I like to keep a cream in my purse that doubles as a hand cream and an eczema balm in a pinch. This dermatologist-tested cream is one of the only non-steroids that has made a difference in my flare-ups. It contains colloidal oatmeal, allantoin, aloe vera juice, and shea butter to keep me from scratching. I recommend it to anyone who will listen.” — Chan

Skinfix, $9.99, available at Target

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