Everything you need for back-to-school

Tick your beauty routine off your to-do list in preparation for the return to school with our complete grooming guide.

Hair & Beauty

Whatever you were doing during the summer months - whether it was dancing the night away at festivals, chilling with friends, or jetting off to a green list country - feeling the post-summer holiday blues is completely normal. Adding to that, a year of studying from home and stepping in and out of the classroom between lockdowns has been enough to throw off any student’s routine.

The Mental Health Foundation says that ‘emerging evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK suggests similar trends that young people, in particular teenagers, in the UK are feeling more anxious than they did before the outbreak, a trend which is up to 10% higher for black and mixed race participants.’ 

While the pandemic continues and as the school year begins, it’s obvious that a simple beauty and wellness overhaul will unlikely be enough to quell anxiety about the year ahead. However, we’ve also learned about the importance of self-care this year more than ever, and how even the small things that we do for ourselves each day can allow us to keep a level head. 

So kick off the new term with a self care revamp, working in an updated hair, skin and make-up routine to complete the equation. Skip the influencer trends and browse our back to school guide right here, filled with affordable products and handy apps to help you step into the classroom feeling like the best version of yourself.


Whether you love to try out new styles for a new term, or you prefer to keep it simple, what matters is hair health. Treat your tresses to a deep cleanse and nourish before term begins, then keep up a regular routine throughout the year, adjusting as you need to.

Goddess Select hair extensions, from £16.75

1. Cleanse

Summer is a lot of fun, but it can take its toll on your hair and scalp, especially through the build up of natural oils and products. Clear away any unwanted residue and give your locks a refresh with the Twisted Sista Luxurious Clarifying Shampoo, available at SpellBeauty.com. This sulfate-free shampoo cleanses without stripping, leaving you with that fresh feeling up until your next wash. 

Ivy Wild Scalp Soother Therapy Oil
Ivy Wild Scalp Soother Therapy Oil, £10.95

2. Nourish

For healthy-looking hair, hydration is key. Stave off dryness and lock in the moisture with the Twisted Sista Intensive Leave-In Conditioner - its avocado, coconut and silk amino acids will leave you with soft, manageable texture. Follow up with Sunny Isle’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil throughout your scalp and strands to promote growth, thickness, strength and shine.

3. Style

With the first day of school comes the opportunity to make a splash with a new hairstyle. However, if you don’t want to commit to something permanent, try Spell Beauty’s Big Beautiful Hair Clip-in extensions for big volume. These can be installed or removed in seconds and are available in a range of natural colours to adhere to your school’s appearance rules.


Skin & Tonic Calm Balm
Skin & Tonic Calm Balm, £13

Problem skin is a worry for teens of all ages - so just know that you’re not alone! However, if you’re struggling with skin issues, there are many products designed to help you get out of a complexion rut and on your way to getting straight A’s in skincare.

Problem #1: Acne

An important part of caring for skin with acne is to keep it clean in order to avoid the build-up of bacteria. Cleanse your skin morning and night with CeraVe’s Foaming Facial Cleanser (£9.50), which deeply cleanses and removes impurities without disrupting the protective skin barrier of the face. Follow this with a non-comedogenic moisturiser such as Face Theory’s Supergel Moisturiser (£13.99) to stop your skin from drying out.

Nip+Fab Salicylic Fix Night Pads
Nip+Fab Salicylic Fix Night Pads, £14.95

Problem #2: Oily skin

Although acne and oily can go hand in hand, one can also exist without the other. Lightweight and oil-free products are your best friends, as heavy formulas can make oily skin worse. Nip + Fab’s Teen Skin Fix Zero Shine Moisturiser (£9.99) is specifically designed for preventing oil build-up on adolescent skin, keeping you shine-free throughout the day. In addition, the brand’s Salicylic Fix Night Pads (£14.95) draw on the potent powers of salicylic acid to reduce breakouts while moisturising and hydrating the skin.

Problem #3: Eczema

Skin with eczema feels dry, cracked, itchy and sore. It can also result in patches on the skin, which can make the condition more obvious. Although eczema is nothing to be embarrassed about, the symptoms may be distracting and cause you discomfort. Choose products designed for very sensitive skin types, such as Aveeno Dermexa Anti-Itch Balm (£12) which moisturises the skin and relieves itching for up to six hours. For cleansing, micellar water is a gentle alternative to more abrasive cleansers; use Simple’s Kind to Skin Micellar Water (£4.95) to wash away the day.


Great basics will keep you covered all year, whether you’re getting your glow on for photo day or evening out any unexpected blemishes that pop up overnight. Once you’ve figured out your make-up bag staples, it’s time to experiment with the trends!

NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation
NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation, £15


Just in case of any unexpected hot weather this September, invest in a foundation that will hold its own when dealing with perspiration - especially if you’re working up a sweat during P.E.! NYX Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Foundation (£15) is full coverage and waterproof without feeling thick or heavy. If you prefer a powder, or want to layer a powder on top of your liquid foundation for higher coverage, the L'Oréal True Match Pressed Powder Foundation (£6.99) is ultra soft and lightweight on the skin.

Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner Micro Tip


This season’s trends indicate that long lashes and a cat eye flick are back. Coat your lashes using Maybelline Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara (£9.99), the viral mascara that made the rounds on TikTok for its lengthening capabilities. Then, perfect that super sharp cat eye effect with the Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner Micro Tip (£16).


Save a tonne on your make-up by utilising products that can be used for more than one purpose. For example, find a lipstick that also doubles up as a blusher. The Stila Complete Harmony Lip and Cheek Stick (£19) is the perfect combo that comes in a range of natural shades.


Although it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of exams, late night studying and meeting homework deadlines, there is more emphasis than ever on maintaining your mental health during term time. When at home, take some time to yourself each day where you don’t have to think about schoolwork, and be sure to engage in hobbies that bring you joy and enrich skills that you may not be able to develop at school. 

If you’re the type of person whose phone is always within arms reach, then it’s a no brainer to get ‘appy’ with your wellness this year! Here are three apps that will help you chill out while you’re not trying to wrap your head around algebra.


Exhale is the first emotional wellbeing app for and by black, indigenous women of colour. Packed full of guided meditations, breath work and affirmations, Exhale is free to use on iPhone and Android, and has no ads!

Sleep cycle
Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle

While it’s tempting to stay up late on a Netflix binge, Sleep Cycle will help you get on track to maintaining a good sleeping pattern without having to wear any monitors like a fitness band. It analyses your movements and wakes you up while you’re in a light sleep, which means that you’ll feel less groggy in the mornings.


Want to read more? Practice an instrument? Walk for 10 minutes every day? Streaks will help you do it. It’s a good habit tracker that encourages you to track a task each day in order to build a streak. 

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