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College Girl: Beauty Products With A Caffeine Kick

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.

Life before college included lots of chocolate milk and very few caffeinated beverages, but a month into freshman year, my iced coffee-addicted friend Cara got me completely hooked. Though I haven’t reached her level of two large Dunkin Donuts’s coffees a day, I completely understand how essential these pick-me-ups are to make it through long nights of studying.

Lately, I’ve been hearing a ton of buzz about caffeinated beauty products. After a bit of digging around, I discovered that this isn’t exactly a new trend—beauty companies have been incorporating caffeine into their offerings for years because of its beneficial effects on the skin like depuffing, tightening, and smoothing. The best part: unlike your morning cup, the caffeine in these products doesn’t make them addicting—so lather up rather than drink up. Here are my favorites:

Befine Night Cream: Your homework won’t get done while you sleep, but with this overnight product, you can cross glowy skin off your to-do list. The potent cocoa and caffeine will heal and hydrate skin while you focus on getting your eight hours.

Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer: Waking up is especially hard after a long night. Swipe this stick over your eyes to reduce puffiness and cover up all evidence of exhaustion.

Bliss Love Handler: Slacking at the gym is completely understandable. Because you can’t always hide under baggy sweatpants, the caffeine in this will help smooth and tighten problem spots.

—Shana

There are plenty of other products worth waking up for in our Birchbox Shop.

College Girl: Nail Biters Anonymous, A Solution Awaits

“You’re never going to get a boyfriend with nails like that,” my roommate Melissa’s psychology professor used to tell her. Ridiculous, I know. But living with hera chronic nail biterthis summer has shown me that if there’s any appropriate time to kick a bad habit to the curb, it’s while you’re still in school and before heading out into the real word.

Melissa has been biting for as long as she can remember, and she was once even hospitalized for a cuticle infection. She’s tried a million different things to stop, including once wearing winter gloves year round. Needless to say, that did not work. I’m sure all other biters out there understand how frustrating and time-consuming it is to quit, so read on for classic solutions as well as a new method that’s proven to be quite effective.

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College Girl: Gym-ing Between Classes

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.

I’ll admit that last semester, I had the freedom of starting class after 10 A.M. every day, and Fridays were completely commitment-free. However, there are still those awkward breaks between classes that could be turned into useful time spent at the gym. The problem is, there’s the constant fear of being uncomfortably un-showered for your next class. I asked Birchbox’s content team, who all happen to be exercise fiends, what they do to quickly freshen up after the gym. Here’s what they said:

Meredith: “Recently, I did an interview with professional runner Sarah Bowman. She keeps anti-acne wipes in her track bag, so now I’ve gone out and bought Clearasil Acne Fighting Cleansing Wipes. I use these super strong pre-soaked towelettes on my face, chest, and back after a workout before I head home to shower.”

Lorelei: “After the gym when I’m sweaty, I use a powder dry shampoolike Blow Faux Dry Shampooalong my hair line. Then I’m ready to run to the office or wherever I need to go! My hair will probably have a funky wave in it, so after I put the product in then I’ll throw it up in a bun.”

Mollie: “I always have Herban Essentials Towelettes in my bag—they’re zesty and refreshing, and I can use them on my face without any stinging when I don’t have time for a full shower.”

—Shana

Is running outdoors more your thing? Don’t forget to grab the perfect sunscreen from our Birchbox Shop. 

College Girl: Don’t Be Bad To Your Brows

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.


Scene: That bubble we live in, also know as college.

Crime: Beauty on the run.

Victim: Your eyebrows.

Witnesses: All of your friends and professors that have started to confuse you with the Grinch.

Solution: Luckily, there is one! At college, it’s hard to access the things we take for granted while at home, like your rockstar eyebrow girl plucks your brows to perfection. But don’t fret — there are plenty of ways to maintain unruly hairs on your own. First, you need the ultimate pair of tweezers, like these cute ones from Japonesque, as well asa mirror and good lighting. My strategy is to go and get my brows done once by a pro (the ladies of Birchbox are newly excited about Browhaus here in NYC) just to make sure I start with the right shape. Then I just consistently pluck stray hairs as they pop up.

Rachel, our brand marketing and merchandising manager (and chic office comedian), convinced me that everybody benefits from a good eyebrow pencil. I was hesitant at first, but the moment Rachel filled in one of my brows and left the other bare (she got distracted), I truly saw a major difference. Watch Rachel’s amazing how-to video for using our favorite tool, ybf beauty’s Automatic Universal Taupe Eyebrow Pencil. Lastly, for quick touch ups when I don’t have time to fill in my brows, I brush hairs lightly into place with a brow gel. Voilà, your Frida Kahlo days are a thing of the the past. 

—Shana

Showcase your tamed brows with pretty shadow from our Birchbox Shop.

College Girl: Countdown To Fall Semester

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.


It’s easy to lose track of time in the summer, but wake up and look at a calendar because it’s nearly August. With these late-summer months comes the much-anticipated start to the next semester. Some of you may have forgotten to start the daily gym grind or complete the second half of your summer bucket list, but now is the perfect moment to begin a beauty countdown towards your best self. Here’s five easy ways to start prepping now:

Colorize yourself 5 weeks before: It’s time to try out all those bright fun summer colors you’ve been thinking about! Pick up that bright Stila shadow and pink Deborah Lippmann polish before deep fall colors invade.

Plan Your Hair 4 weeks before: Your hair can get pretty out of control during the summer. Highlights and layers grow out, and hippie-chic is only in for so long, so start thinking about what you want your new ‘do to be. The beginning of the year is a chance to reinvent yourself, so shock everyone with an edgy cut.

Stock up 3 weeks before: It’s sometimes hard to find your favorite beauty products near school. Order everything you need now and keep it tucked away under your bed for when you need it. I’m spending next semester in London and I’ll definitely be hauling a ton of my necessities with me.

Whiten 2 weeks before: It’s all smiles once you get back to school and reunite with friends. Brush with Crest 3D White Advanced Vivid Enamel Renewal Toothpaste to get brighter teeth in 14 days, and enhance with the 3D White 2-Hour Express Whitestrips the day before you leave for an extra boost.

Eyebrows and spray tan 1 week before: Go get your eyebrows done or touch up with ybf’s brow pencil for a fresh look. And if you haven’t had your beach fill for the summer, get a spray tan a week before going back to school to show everyone what a fabulous summer vacation you had. Throw in some stories about all the male lifeguards you met and you’re golden.

—Shana

Save yourself the trouble and order all your favorites at once from our Birchbox Shop.

The Beauty of Froyo: College Girl

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.

It’s easy to get caught piling on extra toppings at your favorite frozen yogurt joint—a danger of self-service. Personally I have an unhealthy obsession with the Red Mango right by my summer dorm, and my brother’s endless supply of gift cards has really fueled my addiction. If you’re a topping hoarder like me, read on for a few healthy yet delicious options that should always make the cut. All of these natural ingredients will also benefit your skin, so I’ve also included product recommendations that will help you incorporate them into your skincare routine as well.

Blueberries: I’ve been known to pop one of these in my mouth and the next thing you know, the entire container is gone. But with this fruit, you shouldn’t worry about holding back. Blueberries are a high source of antioxidants, and work specifically to help reverse damage to skin cells and maintain youthful-looking skin. The blueberries in Alchimie’s Kantik Mask actually work to reduce redness in your skin, so you’ll ave a flawless complexion in no time.

Almonds: Another tasty and portable treat, almonds filled with fat-burning fibers, their antioxidants are great for skin health, and they have a reputation for being a great brain food. Plus, they’re packed with Vitamin B, which promotes hair and nail growth. Befine Exfoliating Cleanser is rich with almonds that will sooth and hydrate your skin, leaving you with a fresh palate before you apply any makeup.

Cranberries: Like blueberries, cranberries are full of protective antioxidants. Infections don’t stand a chance against this healthy treat, and research indicates that your gums can benefit as well. Cranberries work their magic on your skin in Pangea Organics Facial Scrub as they dissolve dead skin cells during exfoliation.

Honey: No need for an energy drink, honey will give you a boost when you need it and also protect your immune system. The sticky-sweet substance can also help heal small cuts, wounds, and burns. Nuxe Honey Reve de Miel Lip Balm is infused with honey to moisturize, soften, and heal your lips. So next time you’re reaching for the chocolate syrup, opt for honey instead.

—Shana

Scope out more healthy products in our Birchbox Shop.

College Girl: 4 Affordable Pairs of Designer-worthy Shades

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl.

Accessories can jazz up even the most boring of outfits and in the summer, no one should be without a great pair of sunglasses. From retro to open temple, I’ve noticed that almost every major designer has developed some glorious new styles—but they all come with sky-high prices. So I decided to round up some affordable alternatives—here are four pairs that will help you keep up with the trends without maxing out your credit card.

Oversize Flat Top: Top: Celine Extra Large Sunglasses Havana, $375, Bergdorf Goodman in stores only, 212.872.8700; Bottom: Lisa’s Leopard Flat Tops, $14, urbanoutfitters.com

Retro: Top: Tom Ford Astrid, $255, iloveglasses.com; Bottom: Cheap Monday Cryokinesis Shades, $30, shopnastygal.com

Cat Eye: Top: Marc Jacobs Extreme Cat Eye Sunglasses, $275, bloomingdales.com; Extreme Cat Eye Sunglasses, $16, urbanoutfitters.com

Open Temple: Top: Roberto Cavalli Open Temple Sunglasses, $350, nordstom.com; Bottom: Forever 21 F7121 Sunglasses, $5.80, forever21.com

—Shana 

Store your new shades in our Birchbox Travel Pouch, free with your next $50 purchase.

Save Your Shave: College Girl

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl. 

I learned a lot my first couple years of college—don’t wear expensive shoes to a frat party, earplugs are a must-have, oh and it snows in May in upstate New York. Because of that last tidbit, I’ve vowed to take full advantage of the sparse warm weather by wearing shorts, skirts, and anything that will expose my ghostly white skin to some UV rays. Only one downfall—all that skin bearing typically requires using a razor on a daily basis, so here are some tips for making the most out of your shave.

The Right Direction: Always shave from ankle to knee, the opposite of hair’s growth pattern. If using water, make sure it is warm to relax the hair follicles. The best technique to use is long, gliding strokes to avoid tracing the same spot twice and if you’re shaving in the shower, apply lotion immediately after you step out so your moist skin can absorb the product more efficiently.

Choose the Right Razor: I used to have a reusable razor with built-in soap until I realized that this wasn’t allowing me to get a close enough shave. Now I prefer a disposable razor with four to five blades so I can throw it out the second I notice any dullness. This also helps to prevent buildup of hair and debris that could attract germs.

Opt for Lotion: Shaving is typically part of my shower routine, but when I want to make it last or if I don’t have the time to hop in the shower, I shave sans water using Bath & Body Works Sweet Pea Lotion. It’s light so it doesn’t clog up your razor excessively (plus, you’ll be moisturizing at the same time) and you can easily see which parts of your legs you’ve already gone over. I’ve never experienced razor burn with this method—just make sure you let the lotion settle into your skin for a few seconds before you begin.

—Shana

To find a lotion that works best for you, check out our Birchbox shop

Three Steps To Prevent The Makeup Pileup: College Girl

This summer, Birchbox’s content team is extremely lucky to have awesome intern Shana in the office. She’s a student at Syracuse University (the smarty pants is a dual major in magazine journalism and psychology) and she’ll be helping with researching, writing, product testing and, of course, blogging. In addition to daily beauty news posts, she’ll be writing a weekly column called College Girl. First up: keeping it together.

Last week I decided to give spring cleaning a new meaning. First, I did it when spring was essentially over (oops), and second, instead of just cleaning out old clothes and shoes I hadn’t worn all year, I added my makeup to the mix. While endeavoring in this arduous task, I discovered I had let my makeup collection get completely out of hand, leaving me with products I hadn’t touched in years and half-used products that were now ruined. To prevent this from happening, here are a few ways to preserve your beauty essentials.

1) I used to store my makeup in several different places, leaving me with multiples of the same product. I advise that you invest in a great makeup case; I am crazy about Caboodles En Vogue box. With a case like this, you can organize your products onto different shelves to ensure that your favorites never vanish. Store your makeup in a dry environment away from sunlight, and keep it clean to prevent bacteria from spreading.

2) Makeup can get expensive, and when treat yourself a product you love, you want to make sure that it lasts. Invest in a tube wringer to use every last drop of what you’ve got. I also like to take advantage of miniature sizes that are sold. Especially with mascara, you should renew your bottle every few months, so smaller sizes save a whole lot of money (like these Sephora minis). Also, on hot summer days like today, keep your eye liner pencil in the fridge so it doesn’t turn to mush the second you apply.

3) As a nail polish addict, a frequent problem I encounter is a clumped up polish and top coat. Prevent this by making sure the top is screwed on tightly and cleaning off the rim of the bottle after each use. If this falls through, add a few drops of polish remover to the bottle to thin it out!

—Shana

With the money you’ll be saving, check out one of my new favorites—Jouer’s Tinted Lip Enhancersand more at the Birchbox Shop.