I Tried This New Skincare Launch Specifically for College Students, & Wow

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% our own.

I had perfect skin in high school—sorry, but it’s true. I washed my face with hand soap (cringe) morning and night, ate Chic-Fil-A at least three times a week, and somehow managed to make it through with just one pimple all four years. True story! 

But when I got to college, things were just a *little* different. The stress of moving away from my family, starting classes, and trying to live my life within the confines of a glorified closet triggered a jawline breakout that could rival the Hawaiian Islands. I tried every clarifying mask, acne treatment, and face wash on the market (spending anywhere from $10-$100 on a single product), but to no avail. Absolutely nothing worked for my skin, and in some cases, I even made matters worse. That’s when a trip to the dermatologist revealed I was doing waayyyy too much (Me? Extra? What?). Per my derm, all of those lotions and potions were drying me out, inflaming my acne, and messing with my skin’s natural pH levels. The fix? A simple skincare routine made for someone like me: a young college woman facing obscene amounts of stress and dining hall food. 

After a little trial and error, I’ve finally found a morning and nighttime skincare routine that delivers clear skin...without clearing out my wallet. After two weeks using only Higher Education Skincare—a science-backed brand made specifically for college women—my skin is clearer, brighter, and makes me feel like a shiny, invincible ~queen~.

Morning Routine 

Wash with Pre Req Foaming Face Wash 

Oil + bacteria=breakouts, but neither stand a chance against Pre Req. The foaming formula gently dissolves all traces of sebum without stripping you of your natural moisture barrier. Pro tip: rinse your face for 5-10 seconds after use to aid Pre Req in its mission to rebalance your gorgeous skin’s important pH balance. 

Treat acne & mattify with Rush Clear Complexion Pads 

If you’re oily or acne-prone, these are a game changer. I use Rush Clear Complexion Pads in place of a toner to treat breakouts and mattify my skin after cleansing. Each treatment pad is a soaked cotton round containing 2 percent Salicylic Acid (the maximum potency allowed over the counter), which makes them super powerful and extremely portable—just throw a few into a Ziploc bag when you’re headed home for the weekend. 

Moisturize & nourish with Cram Session Vitamin Infused Hydrating Lotion 

When you’re cramming for an exam, you’re basically absorbing an impossible amount of information in a short amount of time. It’s the same concept with Cram Session—this vitamin infused hydrating lotion gives your skin a hearty dose of nourishment in the AM to help protect from blue light damage and free-radicals all day long. 

Protect with Spring Break SPF 30

Last (and for me, the most important) step! In case you haven’t heard, you need to wear SPF every single day. Even when it’s cloudy, even if it’s cold, even if you have deep skin. Apply it to your face, under-eyes, neck, and chest. If that seems like a lot, just keep Spring Break (SPF 30) in your backpack and apply while you walk to class. Do it now, thank me later! 

Night Routine 

Wash with Pre Req Foaming Face Wash

Pre Req works double duty, just like you. Use morning and night to wash away oil and dissolve your makeup, SPF, and sweat. 

Chemically exfoliate with Easy A Gentle Resurfacing Pads 

I know, I know, the word “chemical” makes this step sound kinda scary. But chemical exfoliation is actually gentler on your skin than physical exfoliation (i.e. those abrasive scrubs you haven’t let go of since middle school). Easy A Gentle Resurfacing Pads buff away dead skin cells to reveal smoother skin, smaller pores, and more even texture. This is the one product in my lineup that delivered results almost instantaneously. 

Damage-prevention with MBA Night Renewing Serum (with 0.5 percent Retinol) 

When it comes to skincare, Retinol is the closest thing we have to a miracle. It's anti-aging, helps fight acne, and boosts elasticity. But the catch 22 is that a lot of retinol formulas have drying effects on sensitive skin (hello, it's me). I’ve tried Retinol serums upwards of $200, and MBA Night Renewing Serum is the first one that’s actually gentle enough for me to use around my delicate eye area (where I’m especially proactive about wrinkle protection). 

Moisturize with Double Major 

Since Retinol is *so* important, I always let my MBA serum dry completely before I move on to moisturizing. But once I’m ready, this is my absolute favorite skincare step of the day. I keep Double Major Moisture Relief Gel in my refrigerator for the ultimate cooling effect. The formula itself helps facilitate collagen and hyaluronic acid (the ultimate moisturizing ingredient) production, while storing it in the fridge helps with inflammation and puffiness. 

Under-eye care with Night Owl Eye Cream 

You’re almost in bed! In fact, that’s where I keep my Night Owl Eye Cream. As a last step, I pat this gently around my under-eye area using my ring finger (it’s your weakest finger, so it’s less likely to pull or drag your skin down). Just keep it on your night stand and you’ll never forget to apply. 

As-Needed 

Physical exfoliation with Grinding Away 

Every once in awhile, my skin texture needs a little extra help. That's when I turn to Grinding Away Skin Polishing Scrub. For special occasions (or just when I’m feeling a little bumpy), it helps polish my skin to *chef’s kiss* perfection, for a radiant, even glow. It's not gritty, it doesn’t turn my shower floor into a beach, and my makeup always goes on so smoothly after I’ve used it. Store it in your shower caddy and use it 1-2 times a week in conjunction with daily chemical exfoliation. 

Face mask & chill with Study Buddy 

The math here is easy—natural clay absorbs toxins and removes impurities for clearer, brighter skin. Use this mask once a week on self-care Sunday with your favorite study buddy. 

Hassle-free makeup removal with Cheat Sheet 

You caught me, I’m not perfect. When I can’t fathom getting up to complete my full skincare routine, I cheat with Cheat Sheet Makeup Remover Cleansing Wipes. These are on my bedside table and in my bag at ALL times—they wipe away all traces of skin impurities (even stubborn waterproof makeup). They’re a must-have for anyone lazy or on-the-go. Case closed. 

Make Out Ready Moisturizing Lip Balm (SPF 15) 

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but your lip balm is worthless unless it has SPF. It’s easy to forget, but your lips are *skin* and should be protected the same way you protect your face. Apply & reapply Make Out Ready Moisturizing Lip Balm all day, every day. 

Still with me? That means you’re a serious skincare junkie! To learn more about Higher Education Skincare (& to shop the entire line), check out their website and follow @HigherEducationSkincare on Instagram to catch the products in action.