8 Beauty Products You Shouldn't Use--Or Even Own!--After College

August 25, 2015 by Lisa Fogarty
shefinds | beauty

College is the ideal time to experiment with different makeup and looks. If you’re feeling black lipstick for your 8 a.m. history lecture, but are back to your old romantic boho self by lunch, no one is going to judge you.

But there is a time and a place for everything–including certain beauty and hair products that reach their expiration date somewhere between college graduation and your September job hunt. We all know beauty and fashion rules should be taken with a grain of salt, but you should probably leave these 8 products in your dorm–or be charitable and donate them to an incoming freshman.

1. Fruity perfumes and body spray. We all want to smell lovely and delicious, but the point is not to fool everyone on your morning commute into thinking someone left a barrel of peaches behind. If you can’t stand the thought of parting ways with your coconut cream pie-scented spray, have an extremely light touch when you apply to your wrists only and then take a trip to Sephora to try out a more modern, classic, mature scent–something like Estée Lauder Modern Muse–that might very well become your signature 20s perfume.

2. Travel-size blow dryer. Dorm rooms are small, so naturally, you got you the tiniest blow dryer on sale at your local drugstore before your freshman year and you’ve been using it ever since. Once you graduate, though, t’s time to upgrade to a hairdryer that contains both ionic heat and nonionic heat. Harry Josh’s Pro Tools 2000 Pro Dryer is a $300 investment, but it will save you an incredible amount of time each morning and limits frizz and heat damage.

3. SPF-free moisturizers. Now that you’ll no longer be spending all of your waking hours in lecture halls, you’re going to want to begin protecting your skin from the sun, which means taking another look at all of the inexpensive SPF-free moisturizers you’ve purchased at drugstores over the past four years. A daytime cream that doesn’t contain SPF 15 or higher isn’t going to cut it anymore–it’s time to upgrade your regimen by incorporating a product like Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture With Sunscreen SPF 15 into your daily skincare routine.

4. 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner. A hair product that kills two birds with one stone seemed like a great idea when you were moving into your dorm, but now that you have more than an inch of shelf space in your shower, you can and should purchase a separate shampoo and conditioner. “Don’t bargain hunt and penny scrimp by using 2-in-1 shampoo,” says Emily O’Kelly, owner of Memo Salon in the North Hollywood Arts District in Los Angeles. “Treat your hair with respect and it will respect you back and make you life a lot easier when it comes to blowing out and styling.”

5. Single-blade razors. There’s no faster way to leave your legs looking like they belong on the set of The Walking Dead than by using a single or double-blade razor while shaving. They may be cheap and readily available, but these flimsy razors aren’t going to remove hair effectively, nor will they protect your skin from nicks and cuts. Spend a few extra dollars and purchase a five-blade razor with a moisturizing strip, like Venus Embrace Razor.

6. Boxed hair color. My obsession with boxed hair color began when I was 15 and decided to dye my hair jet black. It took years and several hairstylists to return my hair to its natural state of some shade of brown. The the lesson learned? Your hair will never look as good as it can if you’re relying on an $8 box of hair color, especially if you’re risky enough to attempt to master highlights or ombré at home.

7. Harsh cleansers. We’re so used to treating our skin the way we did at 16 when acne was more of a concern and our faces could handle the harshest of cleansers without drying out. At 20 or 21, your skin is no longer your enemy. Show it the love it deserves by switching to a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil.

8. Glittery makeup. You’re still young enough to experiment with fun, interesting makeup colors, but it’s time to toss out anything that contains glitter. “Move away from glitter body lotions, roll-ons, hair gel and eyeshadow,” says Henry Vasquez, director of artistry for Hot Makeup Professional. “Glitter eyeshadows can actually age you by emphasizing fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. Opt for a fine shimmer to bring light instead. And if you want to shine bright like a diamond, try strobing with a fine highlighter.” One to try: Wander Beauty On-the-Glow Blush and Illuminator.

For more beauty tips, check out Dull hair 101: What causes it, how to treat it and ways to prevent it from happening again and 5 Reasons you need to join MakeUp Alley today.


Lisa Fogarty is a lifestyle writer and reporter based in New York who covers health, wellness, relationships, sex, beauty, and parenting.

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...

From Our Partners

Learn more about RevenueStripe...


Psst! This $10 Eyeshadow Palette Is *So* Good

Is there anything worse than buying an eyeshadow palette only ...


This Body Wash Leaves Your Skin Softer And More Moisturized After Just One Shower

Choosing your favorite Bath & Body Works fragrance ...