Quick, Simple, and Fun: Back to School Makeup Ideas to Try This Fall

As the days grow colder, soon fallen leaves will replace long leisurely walks at the beach. But while it’s sad to see summer go, now is the perfect time to revamp your look from last year with fresh back-to-school makeup ideas.

Whether you’re just starting high school or continuing on to college, all that last-minute school shopping – from used books to a brand new wardrobe – can get you antsy. Before you bury yourself in coursework, consider the impression you’ll make this fall season.

Do you have that eyeshadow palette figured out? How will you put your best face forward?

It’s hard to fit in a full face of makeup in the midst of irritating alarm clocks and early morning commutes. Here are some fun options to do your makeup quickly and without hassle.

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We’ll help you save time with back-to-school makeup ideas that’ll have you looking classy and sophisticated.

Sound good? Let’s get started!

Flawless Face Forward: Back to School Makeup Ideas for Your Complexion

You won’t have much time in the morning, so let’s keep these back-to-school makeup ideas simple. Freshen up your look with light makeup that stays put during classes.

Here’s what we suggest:

Make Foundation Last Through Class

  • Ever try a makeup primer? You should if you have oily or combination skin! Not only does it create a smooth surface for foundation, but a face primer helps your back to school makeup stay in place. When you’re stuck in class, it’s not uncommon for foundation to slip or fade away after long hours behind a desk. A makeup primer acts as a foundation base – so makeup lasts throughout the school day.
  • Your olive complexion has likely been darkened a couple shades over the summer. Make sure your foundation matches! What worked over the winter might not look the hottest right now. Save that pale ghost look for Halloween and grab a foundation that complements your summer tan (we like NARS Sheer Glow and Make Up For Ever HD foundations).
  • Only have 5 minutes to prep? When you’re in a hurry, have a tinted moisturizer to hand. Instead of moisturizing and then applying foundation, tinted moisturizers do both jobs at once with buildable coverage light enough for school. They can even replace your favorite serum, primer, and sunblock! Talk about multitasking.
  • All that homework is troubling enough. Don’t worry about your makeup’s staying power too! If you’re sick of frequent touchups in the bathroom, start setting back to school makeup with translucent face powder or a makeup setting spray. Your makeup will stay fresh throughout class (and those fun extracurricular activities after school). For double the lasting power, use both a setting powder and spray (just dust the setting powder on first!).

Conceal Last Night’s Stress

  • You might’ve stayed up late last night, but your face doesn’t have to show it! Even a little bit of this concealer will help camouflage the aftermath of long sleepless nights spent studying (or partying it up) – the dark circles anyway.
  • If you have olive skin that’s acne prone, try a color-correcting concealer. A green-tinted concealer (like Maybelline’s Green Cover Stick Concealer) should help cover embarrassing breakouts and redness. Just dab your normal concealer on top and you’re set.

Highlight Your Best Features

  • You might have had a late summer growth spurt, but that’s no excuse to neglect your skin. Instead of slathering on oil after school, try using some bronzer on the apples of your cheeks to give yourself some extra color while also brightening up your complexion.
  • If you have eyes feeling tired after staring at text books all night? Wake them up before class! Apply concealer (that’s a touch lighter than your skin tone) right underneath your eyes to brighten them.

Revitalize Your Blush

  • Feeling like a zombie each morning? There’s nothing like flush cheeks to fake an energetic complexion. Liven up your face with coral pink, rose pink, or slightly peach-toned blush (these colors look lovely on olive skin!).
  • Apply blush with a light hand and you’ll avoid that heavy-makeup look before school. Just barely tap your brush into your powder or cream blush compact and lightly pat the pigment onto your cheekbones. Done right, your flush should look naturally subtle.
  • If you’re short on time before classes start, you can still give your cheeks a healthy glow by replacing blush with bronzer. After bronzing your cheekbones, hairline, and bottom chin, just sweep a little bit of bronzer onto the apples of your cheeks. Believe it or not, this looks very natural on medium to dark olive skin tones. Just make sure to use bronzer with golden undertones like the Maybelline Master Contour Blush in Bronze Booster (instead of orange-toned bronzer).

Impress with a Glance: Back to School Makeup Ideas for Your Eyes

Don’t be afraid to dabble a bit with different eyeliner colors, shadow textures, and brow pencils when you’re getting ready for school. You just might discover new ways to apply your makeup… and impress your friends.

Heavier eye makeup can look very sexy, but it’s probably not the best for school. Use a few eyeliner pencils that darken as they sharpen (like L’Oreal Precision Eyeliner Pencil) to trace some delicate lines instead of just smudging kohl all over your eyelid. This will prevent a panda-eyed look from creeping up on you during class.

If you want to keep your makeup light but still add some drama, use a pencil that’s slightly darker than your skin tone to outline lightly above your upper lash line and extend the line to create an almond shape eye.

Get inspired with these eye makeup tips.

Rock Neutral Shadow

  • Start with an eye primer (seriously). Eye primers keep your shadow in place, so you can avoid eyeshadow creasing after a long school day. Not only will your back to school makeup last longer, but a tinted primer reduces redness and discoloration around the eye area. Best of all, concealer can double as an eyelid primer (saving an extra step in the morning).
  • Want to polish up your eye a bit? A neutral eyeshadow palette is perfect for school. Choose natural shadow pigments, similar in color to your olive skin. Dust a nude base shadow onto the lid and beneath the brow (a light beige color works great) and blend a slightly darker contour shade in the crease (like taupe, or even your bronzer). Finally, sweep your highlight color beneath the brows and on your inner corners. You can even spice things up by dabbing a slightly shimmering nude eyeshadow on the centers of your lids.
  • Powder shadow too routine? Play around with different eyeshadow textures and finishes! Try a cream shadow as your base color or, if you have the time, apply baked shadows with a damp brush. Never worked with baked eyeshadows before? The e.l.f. Studio Baked Eyeshadow Palette is a good place to start (these colors are also very flattering on olive skin!).
  • Sometimes you want to make a statement without going overboard. And the best way to do that? Add pops of color – in small amounts. Instead of distracting your peers with bright shadow combinations (a little over-the-top for school), pat a touch of shimmery copper or soft gold shadow on your inner corners. These back to school makeup ideas will perk your eyes right up!
  • Feeling adventurous? Put that blending brush to work and try your hand at a neutral smokey eye. Soft, natural colors (with brown or rose tones) are great choices early in the morning.

Line ‘Em Up, Gorgeous

  • Black liquid eyeliner can look a bit much under harsh school lighting. But you can still rock black liner! Try a pencil eyeliner instead. Starting from your inner corners, draw a very thin line against the roots of your lashes, following the shape of your top eyelid. Blend away any crisp edges for a quick, soft look great for daytime. Or swap black with more-wearable shades, like brown or charcoal.
  • You can’t go wrong with basic, but when it comes to liner, you might need a little extra help in the not-looking-like-a-geek department. Use an eyeliner brush (or even better yet, an eyeliner pen) that fits easily into the contours of your eye.
  • Kick eye makeup up a notch with a subtle cat eye (winged liner works too!). When you’re in a rush, liquid liner isn’t always the best option. Under pressure, an eyeliner pencil is much easier to use. Start with a simple line across your top eyelid, staying as close to your lashes as possible. Then extend the liner slightly outward from the outer corner of your eye. The trick is keeping the line thin so it’s not too dramatic for classes.
  • Incorporate some fall color into your eyeliner! Atop neutral eyeshadow, rose or plum liner is just subtle enough for a day at school. And what’s the easiest way to finish off your pencil? A coat of mascara! Not only will it blend everything seamlessly (especially when you’re in a rush), but this makeup tip makes your lashes look longer and fuller.

Boost Your Lash Appeal

  • Curled lashes help make any back to school makeup look sophisticated (and who doesn’t want longer lashes?). But did you know curling your lashes can help you appear wider awake too? It’s true! Invest in a good eyelash curler and remember to curl your lashes before you apply mascara (or you risk lash damage).
  • Shopping for the perfect mascara for school? Stick to the natural color of your eyelashes. If you have dark hair, you’ll want black or dark brown mascara. Light hair? Try lighter brown or even beige.
  • When you’re pressed for time, throw on a coat of mascara and head out the door! When there isn’t time to complete your makeup (and still look put together), this full-coverage beauty essential is the only back to school makeup you need. Just remember to curl your lashes beforehand.
  • Avoid overly dramatizing or clumping up your lashes. Apply one or two coats of mascara. I find a sheer layer looks very natural for school. And if you do accidentally clump your lashes, an eyelash comb helps tease them apart.

Full Brows, Please

  • Bold fuller brows are making a comeback this fall, according to Cosmopolitan. To quickly fill in sparse hairs before a busy school day, use a brow pencil. Focus on defining brows with short light strokes, mimicking the direction of your natural hair.
  • You’ll attend a lot of classes, so you want your brows to look groomed the whole day. Set your brow hairs in place with a clear brow gel and spoolie brush. The gel prevents brows from losing shape and the spoolie brush blends color evenly throughout.
  • Only have a couple minutes to spare? Try a tinted brow gel instead, a great tool for those really rushed mornings. Tinted brow gel shapes your brows with a touch of color, essentially doing all the work of a brow pencil and clear brow gel at once.

Warm Up Your Smile: Back to School Makeup Ideas for Your Lips

Back-to-school makeup wouldn’t be complete without lip color. And don’t worry-this makeup idea is quick and easy!

So you should tie everything together with a stunning grin and these lip-smacking tips:

  • Nude lip color is great and easy to pull off but sometimes you need a little bit of color. While fire-engine red may be too harsh for school, a deep brown-toned pink can help you look more approachable in classes.
  • No time to carefully apply lipstick in the morning? A tinted lip balm might be in order. Not only are they easy to apply, but tinted lip balm and gloss help keep your pout moisturized while still adding a subtle hint of color. Plus, you won’t even need a mirror – just grab your favorite tube and go!
  • You can get away with a bright lip stain if paired with neutral, understated eyes. Lip stain markers are great when you want something a little longer wearing than traditional lipsticks. And if you have a dry pout, just apply lip stain over your lips to trap in moisture!When you have the time to go the extra mile, apply a natural lip balm instead of your favorite tinted gloss. Next, top it off with your favorite lipstick!

If you’re in need of some last-minute inspiration for back-to-school makeup ideas, ask yourself these questions: What do I love most about my hair? What’s my best feature and how can I highlight it? Do I want to look more approachable, or mysterious?

Once you find your answer, use these quick back-to-school makeup ideas. Everyone loves complimenting other people on their hair color-so why not have others gushing about your eyes instead?

How Will You Reinvent Your Look This Fall?

Amidst juggling homework, studying for tests, and getting to classes on time, it’s easy to leave skincare on the back burner. But don’t fall behind! Always remember to cleanse, moisturize, and protect your complexion (with SPF) before applying any back-to-school makeup – and certainly before stepping out the front door.

Routine skincare will keep your complexion beautiful, healthy, and glowing!

And if you’re short on time, you can always take a few makeup essentials with you to school. Need to quickly touch up your lips in the cafeteria? Have your favorite lip gloss ready and waiting. Are those stuffy classroom lectures turning your skin into an oily mess? Keep shine in check with a few blotting papers.

You don’t need your entire makeup bag – just bring enough to maintain your look throughout the school day. And remember that if you’re always on the run, back-to-school makeup is all about quick fixes. With these tips and tricks, your busy-school-day beauty routine can’t go wrong!