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6 Ways to Update Your Look Without Doing Anything Drastic

If there’s ever a perfect time to figure out your look, it’s in college. Everywhere you turn, there are students expressing themselves through their hair, makeup, style and even their skin. There is never a more accepting time to express yourself through your physical appearance than in college, but sometimes you don’t want to make drastic changes in case they don’t work out (nobody wants a tattoo they regret). So here’s a list of six things you can do to subtly update your look—and none of them will break the bank!

1. Try clip-in hair extensions

The clip-in hair extensions of 2018 are far more natural than the ones we all tried out in middle school. Some of our favorite celebs, like Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, use extensions to amp up the volume of their hair. While extensions are on the pricier side of our list, if you buy quality locks made out of real human hair, they’ll last a long time. All you need to do is find extensions that match your hair color, and you’re set to wow your campus with your new mane.

2. Change your part

Yes, changing up your look can be as simple as switching your part. Most of us have gotten into the habit of parting our hair the same way for years. Try moving your part to one side or the other, or go for a middle part. Middle parts have become trendy again in recent years, so now is the perfect time to try it out. The results can actually make a big change in your overall appearance!

3. Treat yo’self to an acrylic manicure

Sometimes all it takes to feel like a *new woman* is a fresh set of nails. If you need inspiration, check out Instagram or Pinterest for the latest trends. Acrylic nails are more expensive than a basic manicure, but they’ll last longer and usually you can pick adorable add-on’s like rhinestones or even fur (we aren’t sure how we feel about the last one though). “Whenever I need a nail refresher, I change the shape, go for a color I wouldn’t normally go for and sometimes add rhinestones or some sort of unexpected accent nail,” says Marisa Pieper, a sophomore at Arizona State University. “If someone is looking for an edgier look, I would go for a pointed tip on the nail with some sort of texturized finish and if they want a more modern look, the coffin shape with a matte finish. Nails can make us feel so confident!” Your new mani will last around two weeks, making it the perfect subtle (or not, if you go the furry-nail route) change to your look.

Related: 6 Beauty Essentials You Need to Go Green This Fall

4. Try bold new makeup looks

These days, makeup artists are all over the place. There are thousands of YouTube tutorials for fun new makeup trends to try. Chances are if you wear makeup already, you have most of the things you’ll need at home. Makeup bloggers like I Covet Thee are also a great resource for finding dupes for luxury makeup brands like Lorac and M.A.C. Plus, Sephora has its own version of Reddit for makeup lovers everywhere to ask questions and give feedback and advice. Have a classic go-to makeup look? Switch up your lip color or go for a cat-eye. “If you normally don’t bother with lipstick, try a bold color,” says Claire Biggerstaff, a junior at Davidson College. “Deep berries/plums are gorgeous for fall. And if you’re normally a bold lip kind of gal, try going nude for a day. You’d be surprised at how big a difference it can make in your whole look!” Just a simple change can give you a major confidence boost, and that’s what really matters.

5. Try out a fake piercing

Remember when we all wore clip-on or stick-on earrings before our parents allowed us to get our ears pierced? The trend hasn’t died! Faux piercings are still available on sites like Etsy. “I bought fake nose hoops on Etsy and they were super cheap and so cute,” says Sarah, a junior at Temple University. “I never had the guts to get a real piercing, and in the industry I work in, face piercings aren’t really acceptable, so this was the perfect trade-off.” Nose rings and ear cuffs are the most popular fake piercings online, so they’re a great option if you’re trying out an edgier look or are just curious. And if you fall in love with it, then you can decide to go for the real thing.

6. Do a wardrobe swap with your roommate/BFF

We all have that one friend/roomie with impeccable style. She just seems to wake up and walk to class like she’s a runway model for Balenciaga, while you struggle to remember pants for your 10 a.m. lecture. To switch up your look, just ask your stylish friend if you can borrow some pieces from her closet. You don’t need to buy new clothes to get a new look. If your other friends are looking for the same kind of wardrobe change, have a day where you trade pieces from each others’ closets. It’s like shopping, but without money!

It doesn’t take much to make a huge impact on your look. Don’t be scared of change, especially since you know that it doesn’t cost too much or do much damage. No regrettable haircuts or piercings here!

Temple University, 2019. Magazine journalist and editor, fitness instructor, health and wellness enthusiast. Proponent of lists, Jesus, and the Oxford comma. Will do anything for an iced oatmilk latte. Follow my journey: Twitter + Instagram: @sarah_madaus