How College Changed My Morning Beauty Routine

by Katherine Tsang   |  Mar 5, 2017
Image: Liza Soberano |
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One of the biggest adjustments I had to make when I entered college was my morning beauty routine. And I don't mean just tweaking it, I mean actually having a morning beauty routine. In high school, my beauty routine was totally non-existent. After all, it was so easy not to care too much about what other people thought—especially since I went to an all-girls school, where periods were synced, nobody cared about diets, and where we came to school with a bedhead and nobody would care. But college became a different ball game altogether. I wanted to reinvent myself. As they say, out with the old and in with the new right? And so, my morning beauty routine was born. What first started out as a way to impress people ended up becoming one of the things I did for myself. 

When I started my college beauty routine, nothing came easily. Even something as simple as putting concealer on was a challenge. And don't even get me started on applying eyeliner and mascara! It was tough creating a routine and discovering what works for me. After all, what's a clueless girl got to do apart from watching YouTube tutorials and get confused by all the makeup terms? Bronzing? Strobing? Baking?


For me, makeup became a complicated world—one that went beyond pressed powder and lip balms.

Makeup was absolutely as foreign to me as Mars is to Venus. The only time I touched a beauty product during high school was for prom, so you could imagine my frustration when I couldn't understand why we had to put on foundation and concealer when they were basically the same thing or so I thought. My inexperience contributed to a lot of beauty blunders and mistakes. To name a few, I've been out and about with enough blush to make me look like a clown. I've had my eye makeup smudged and ended up with panda eyes without me noticing the whole day, and I've worn foundation and BB creams way too light for my face and neck. The worst part was that people definitely noticed these blunders. But you know what?

After the initial embarrassment, I ended up being okay with my mistakes because experimenting brought me closer to knowing what looked good on me and what I liked on myself the most.

No makeup newbie will have the skills down pat—it's really a process of knowing what works for you and what doesn't. It took me a while to realize that I didn't have to follow everything the YouTube beauty gurus said. It's a messy process of discovering what products you like, what features of yours you want or need to emphasize, and so much more. At this point, my morning routine really felt like a giant chore. I wasn't enjoying spending an hour in the morning doing my makeup, which back then consisted of a full face (and neck) of BB cream, concealer, blush, an eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, and a lippie. When I started out, I really went heavy-handed on the makeup. But practice makes perfect, and eventually I did get the hang of it, made less mistakes, and wasted less makeup remover in the process.

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But just when I figured out what look worked best on me, I had to work doubly fast to cut down my routine in 30 minutes or less (because sleep > everything else, right?) College really teaches you to be efficient with your time and that includes your beauty time.

As classes started getting earlier and busier, it became really hard to spend an hour on makeup alone. College taught me to balance my time—even if that meant applying makeup in a moving car. I don't recommend this, but it's a skill that saved me tons of time. After all, why can't I use the Manila morning traffic to my advantage? Apart from learning how to apply makeup flawlessly in moving cars, I became better at applying makeup in general. Once you get the hang of it, you'll surely get better at applying products and make less mistakes. In the interest of time, I sometime ditched a whole face of makeup in favor of some must-have products and steps only.


By cutting down on my beauty routine, I started to realize what my non-negotiables are.

For me, those happened to be my eyebrows and lips. Right now, my current routine is perfect for the college girl on the go. A good ten minutes is enough for my morning beauty routine, which consists of filling in my brows, concealing some spots, and applying my favorite lippie. Gone are the days when I'd spend a whole hour applying a full face of makeup, which I learned the hard way would only melt under the heat of the sun—totally not cute. Routines take a lot of work to perfect, but when you do, it'll be worth all the work!

But the best news of all? I get to spend the extra 50 minutes I saved catching up on beauty sleep instead!

So what's the point of all this? Despite the stresses of figuring out an effective and efficient morning beauty routine—from none to having one—it's  actually all worth it in the end because it’s really all about self-discovery.

From picking out what colors you like to your non-negotiables, figuring out a routine is ultimately you getting to know yourself better.

So don't try to force yourself to be something you are not, Candy Girls! Let your beauty routine be a reflection and extension of who you are. Once that happens, it certainly won't feel like a chore because you won't feel like you're doing it for someone else.


Ultimately, figuring out your college morning beauty routine is a journey of discovering what you like, what works for you, and what you can and can't do without.

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Katherine Tsang
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