32 Beauty Products You'll Wish Existed When You Were In Middle School
Think of all the painful breakouts, shaved eyebrows, and dull, damaged hair we could've avoided.
We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.
1. A volcanic stone face roller to soak up excess face oil between classes, even if you have makeup on! Unlike blotting papers, this roller is able to be washed and reused, reducing waste and saving you $$$.
Promising review: "I am so extremely oily. Have been dealing with my oily skin since I was in high school and still dealing with my oily skin in my mid-thirties. The roller worked better than I could have expected and exceeded my expectations. This is life-changing for me!" —Wow
Get it from Amazon for $9.98.
2. A pack of 40 acne patches for stopping that yearbook photo-ruining zit dead in its tracks with gunk-absorbing powers that speed up the pimple-healing process and help prevent you from picking or popping.
Promising review: "I ordered these on a whim after a long day of isolation and internet browsing and because I have a terrible habit of picking at spots on my face and making them into something much much worse. These magical spots are life-changing!!! Put them on before bed (or before work) on clean skin and FORGET about them. You don't notice they're there — unless you go to pick at something and then YOU STOP!! Leave them in place for at least six hours and then peel them off. They come off easily (but not so easy that they come off while sleeping) and the amount of 'bleck' they suck out is amazing!!! So a spot that was going to erupt into Mount Vesuvius ends up being NOTHING!!!! I've purchased six packages and will keep buying them. An amazing value!" —Jennifer Nothdurft
3. A gluten- and cruelty-free lengthening mascara if past you wasted too much allowance money on tubes of mascara that didn't live up to the hype. This one is different — or at least according to the 180,000+ 5-star ratings.
Promising review: "After using Lights, Camera, Lashes by Tarte for the past year, I got tired of breaking the bank over mascara. My sister suggested Essence Lash Princess False Lash Effect and I IMMEDIATELY fell in love. It provides dramatic length and great volume. I can honestly say I can’t stop looking at my eyelashes in the mirror every single day because of how awesome they look. Also, it is very long wearing. I go from an eight-hour work day right to the gym and sweat a lot..and this stuff doesn’t budge! I love it!!" —Carrie E Miller
Get it from Amazon for $4.99.
4. A pack of multipurpose dermaplaning razors because then maybe you wouldn't have shaved off half your eyebrow right before the first day of school. These teeny tiny blades safely remove peach fuzz, exfoliate skin, and include a precision cover for worry-free eyebrow maintenance.
Promising review: "Took me a little while to figure out the right angle to use this effectively but once I did it worked like a charm. I’ve used it for shaping eyebrows and managing the little bit of blonde peach fuzz I have on my upper lip. I haven’t tried it anywhere else but no bad reactions or pain, and relatively easy to maneuver with a bit of practice." —Kelly G.
Get a three-pack from Amazon for $4.99.
5. A black eyeliner stamp that would've made the cat-eye look you tried to do for the school dance A LOT easier. `
The set comes with two double-ended pens. Each pen has one side with the wing stamp, and the other with a traditional liquid eyeliner tip.
Promising review: "Actual holy grail! This eyeliner has changed my life. I know that sounds suuuper dramatic (and it is), but it’s true! I have been doing cat eyeliner for the past six years and I’m somehow STILL horrible at it. I also recently had a baby, so my daily 10–20 minutes of attempting a passable cat-eye was chucked out the window and replaced with a sad, under-five-minute routine. I ordered this on a whim thinking it might help and after the first application, I knew I had found my answer! This stuff is SO easy to apply and actually looks really good. Now I get to feel a little more like myself even if all I’m doing that day is changing diapers." —Katelyn
Get it from Amazon for $14.97 (available in three sizes).
6. This mega-popular CeraVe foaming cleanser so you can keep your skin clean and clear with one simple product that won't leaving your face feeling stripped and dry afterward. It also doubles as a body wash if you're struggling with bacne, chestne, or buttne.
Promising review: "I’m 30 years old and have fought bad acne my entire life so I’ve tried many different cleansers from the super gentle ones like Cetaphil to prescription ones with harsh chemicals. This is a good middle of the road cleanser. I really feel like it does a good job getting my face clean and removing dirt and makeup (unlike Cetaphil) without drying out my face completely (like the harsh chemical ones). I typically have pretty oily skin and this does a good job of removing the oil without over drying my skin." —CBAKERD3
Get it from Amazon for $15.99+ (available in two sizes).
7. An oil-free moisturizer with SPF 30 to keep your face feeling soft and supple and kickstarting that oh-so vital sun protection habit sooner rather than later.
Promising review: "FINALLY, a sunscreen that leaves no white/purple cast!! I am an African American girl with very dark skin, and this stuff blended in flawlessly. At first it'll seem like it won't blend in but if you give it a minute, it completely disappears without any streaking. I have DRY, SENSITIVE skin as well and this sunscreen got the job done, absolutely no irritation and moisturized my face very well! I'm definitely gonna buy more once I'm done with mine :)" —Briana
Get it from Amazon for $19.99.
8. Or, this invisible Supergoop sunscreen with SPF 40 for top-notch sun protection that's scentless, weightless, and goes on clear meaning you won't have to deal with any pesky white cast.
9. A silicone-free L'Oreal moisturizing treatment if you want visibly healthier-looking hair fast — like, eight seconds fast. This rinse-out formula works on any hair texture or length, delivering the proteins and amino acids necessary for a shiny, flippable mane, even if you spent all of sixth grade frying it with a flat iron.
10. This anti-dandruff shampoo that'll help reduce scalp flaking and itching thanks to a little clinically proven ingredient called ketoconazole, which kills the fungus that causes dandruff. Now you and your favorite black turtleneck can reunite without fear!
Promising review: "This stuff is absolutely amazing. I was one step away from going to the dermatologist. I had severe dandruff that was so bad, I could shake my head and it would come off. With just a few uses per week, I got rid of all my flakes. My scalp also stopped burning from dryness. My hair has never been healthier." —Moo Moo
Get it from Amazon for $9.22.
11. A tube of Differin acne treatment gel so you can jumpstart your skincare routine with one of the strongest spot treatments available without a prescription. Reviewers warn some patience is required (but it's worth it), so give this retinoid cream a chance to work its pore-penetrating, inflammation-reducing magic.
This is *very* strong and reviewers say that while it works, it might make your skin sensitive and dry while it adjusts (much like Accutane). They recommend that you always moisturize after using this, and to use it at night while you're out of the sun.
Promising review: "It definitely works. I was on a prescription retinoid and benzoyl peroxide combo cream (it’s double the price) + spironolactone pill for my hormonal acne before and it worked. I had to stop both for a while for personal reasons, after several months my hormones started acting up again. I had a really bad breakout, so I asked my doctor if I can at least get back on the cream, my doctor advised me to try this instead. Any active pimples heal very fast, scarring and texture is also improving. And I don’t even have to bother with prescriptions anymore." —LC
Get it from Amazon for $12.26.
12. A bottle of nail and cuticle care oil you apply like a clear coat of polish to give your nails all the cuticle-softening, nail-strengthening nourishment they need to recover from your test-time nail-biting habit.
Promising review: "I had peeling, weak nails for years. Tried everything. I bought this in February. This size bottle lasted a bit more than a month with me religiously applying it two to three times a day. I was really seeing great improvement, so I bought another bottle in late March. By May, all the peeling had grown out and my nails were getting stronger every day. I then bought the big 4-ounce refill bottle because I never want to run out of it again! Cannot recommend this stuff enough!" —Diana
Get it from Amazon for $8.50+ (available in three sizes).
13. A tube of Glossier Boy Brow for instantly filling and fluffing brows with just a couple of swipes, and erasing any trace that you absolutely over plucked your eyebrows the moment you discovered tweezers as a tween.
BuzzFeed editor AnaMaria Glavan (pictured above) swears by this stuff:
"This magic bottle is proof that not all heroes wear capes. The creamy formula, which comes in blond, black, clear, and brown (which is what I used!), goes on smoothly and doesn’t require a lot of product to do the job. I used the wand to brush baby hairs in the beginning/middle of my brow upwards, and then brushed the longer, toddler-like hairs at the end of my eyebrows, sideways. And one coat was more than enough! Boy Brow does what exactly what the Glossier brand claims to do; it gives me a filled-in eyebrow that doesn’t look filled in. The finish looks natural, which is exactly what I wanted — my facial caterpillars have never looked better."
Get it from Glossier for $16 (available in five shades).
14. A hydrating lifter gloss if you've long dreamed of a high-shine lip treatment that your hair won't stick to when you try to flip your ponytail and ~smize~ at your crush.
Promising review: "I think I love this shade better than the others I have purchased, plus the benefits of the emollients and plumping power it has made this brand of lip gloss my favorite. It feels wonderful on my lips and I can tell a difference after using it for two days. I would definitely recommend this brand of lip gloss to a friend. I will be purchasing more when needed." —Izzybell
Get it from Amazon for $6.98 (available in 15 colors).
15. A bottle of Tend Skin Solution because you thought ingrown hairs and razor bumps were just another part of this whole shaving thing. This little blue bottle is here to show that you thought wrong.
Promising review: "I was very surprised by how well this product works. I’ve been using it once a day every day for the past month and it really has made a difference. Exfoliating wasn’t enough for my skin and I don’t like to sit there pulling out my ingrown hairs. It smells like alcohol but I was very surprised by how it leaves my skin. It does not dry it out but leaves it moisturized instead, and my ingrowns have been reducing." —Krystle
Get it from Amazon for $24.99.
16. A hair finishing stick for making your 7 a.m. messy bun look a little less messy by smoothing flyaway hairs up and away in seconds.
Promising review: "I was skeptical of products like this, but I figured it was cheap enough to try. I'm SO glad I did! I always have what I call 'fluh fluhs' coming out of the part on my head and no matter how many times I wet them down they stick straight up again. This product sticks them down and they stay down! The only caution I would give is that there's a little learning curve of how hard to press the wand to your hair. I find that I need a very light touch or I get too much of the product in my hair, which then looks a little greasy. If you wipe the brush as you pull it out you should be OK — just like mascara! Great buy!" —tinyntuff
Get it from Amazon for $7.98.
17. Or an edge control gel that'll help smooth edges and baby hairs without any greasiness or flaky residue. Just sleek styles for days.
BUT we want to add that no one should feel pressure to lay their edges, unless they way want to! Check out, "Just A Friendly PSA That You Don't HAVE To Lay Your Edges Down If You Don't Wanna."
Promising review: "Hands down! The best edge control I have ever used and I have used a lot of them. Stayed all day! No flakes and non greasy! And this one is not even the strongest in the line. Love this product!" —Seabea2013
Get it from Amazon for $4.99+ (available in four sizes).
18. A lightweight skin tint so you can straddle the line between bare skin and makeup with an ultra-thin formula that feels weightless and provides natural looking coverage.
Promising review: "I had terrible cystic acne in my early teen years but hate the feeling of heavy foundation or concealer to cover my scars but this…it makes my scarring look way less intense but i don't feel it and you cant see it, its like magic. my best makeup buy literally ever i could not recommend it more." —emily
Get it from Glossier for $26 (available in 12 shades).
19. The renowned Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay to deep-clean pores and combat the ghosts of breakouts past and present without stripping your skin of its much-needed, natural moisture.
This cruelty-free mask is made from 100% bentonite clay, that can also be used for body wraps, clay baths, foot soaks, hair masks, and more. One reviewer has found success washing her 4c hair with it!
BuzzFeed writer Jasmin Suknanan has seen great results with this mask. In her own words:
"I've actually been using this mask for the last five months or so, and it's helped so much that I can definitely see a difference even when I'm NOT using this mask at least twice a week. My face feels squeaky clean after I use this mask; angry, cystic breakouts are less inflamed the next day; and some of my post-acne marks have also faded. Though you can mix the mask with water, I, like many other customers, mix it with apple cider vinegar instead for best results."
Get it from Amazon for $14.95+ (available in two sizes).
20. Some adhesive tortoiseshell nail wraps for getting a bold salon-quality manicure at home without shelling out the big bucks. If applied correctly, they should last for around a week (or more!) and all you have to do is peel, stick, file, and finish with a topcoat.
Pretty Fab Nails is a Florida-based Etsy shop creating bright and bold nail wraps to upgrade your at-home manicure game.
Promising review: "These are fantastic!! So cute and stylish. I’m a disaster who can’t keep nail polish on. It’s impossible. These are wonderful!!!!! I’ve had them on for two weeks and counting. The picture was taken today. This is after doing dishes every day, camping, cleaning, etc. I will be ordering again! I used Seche Vite as a topcoat." —Serena Carter
21. Or a clear gel-effect top coat to give your at-home manicure a professional finish — both in staying power and shine!
22. A top-selling acne oil if you're tired of acne treatments that leave your skin dull and dry. This breakout-busting formula is packed with hydrating oils that fight breakouts (not cause them). Use it as a spot treatment or mix it with your moisturizer for full-face coverage.
Blume is a POC-owned small biz co-founded by sisters Taran and Bunny, who wanted to create a line of transparent, eco-conscious self-care products that de-stigmatize and de-mystify the shame-centered talk around periods and puberty.
Promising review: "ABSOLUTE HOLY GRAIL!!!!! It cleared up my acne within two weeks. Clears up the redness overnight, it’s amazing! I am so so glad I gave this a try bc nothing else was helping me clear my acne. It’s truly life changing. This will always be a part of my skincare routine. If you’re hesitant, don’t be. Buy it!" —Michelle F.
Get it from Blume for $28+ (available in two sizes; save 20% when you subscribe).
23. This wildly popular Bio-Oil because real-life magic (aka science) has gifted us this powerful blend of nourishing oils and vitamins to help fade the scars left behind by overzealous pimple popping.
Promising review: "I NEVER ever leave review for products but damn this product has changed my life. Literally. I am scar-free!! My skin looks like my sister's, who had to endure years of Accutane to get glowy, clear skin. Don’t hesitate to purchase this item, trust me. It will be your new fave!!" —Fary
Get it from Amazon for $8.92+ (available in three sizes).
24. A hot-air brush that'll cut down on styling time by combining the heat of a blowdryer with the shape and bristles of a round brush. So you can say goodbye to juggling both at once, and maybe hit the snooze button just one more time.
Fellow BuzzFeed writer Rachel Dunkel (looking adorable in the pictures above) has had major success styling with this brush:
"I'd heard a TON of great things about the hot air brush but admittedly didn't fully believe it until I got one for myself. I was thrilled to have a dramatically short bob until I remembered just how hard they are to style. I'm nearly useless with a round brush and hairdryer. The hot-air brush combines two unwieldy tools into one light, easy-to-manage one that's simple to use and greatly cuts down on my morning styling time. I recommend letting your hair air dry most of the way before finishing with this. Even a pass over dry hair helps get my bedhead into shape. Amazing. I have short hair and the 1-inch version is perfect."
Get it from Amazon for $39.99 (available in two sizes).
25. An affordable Maybelline cream blush so you're always stocked with one powerhouse product that can add natural-looking color to your lips *and* cheeks. It's oil-free and beautifully buildable, so you can customize the color intensity for the perfect, long-lasting flushed look.
Promising review: "YES! Listen I am a blush snob. I don’t like matte. I don’t like sparkles. I like sheer, but I like color. I like dewey but I want it to stay. Ok, this stuff hits all the marks. I bought in nude burn and rose flush. I love both of them. The color is buildable. It doesn’t take much if you want a sheer look. But even when you add more pigment it still looks fresh and soft, natural. It’s exactly what I wanted. And what a bargain!!!" —Grace
Get it from Amazon for $5.98 (available in six colors).
26. A plant-powered vitamin C serum with over 83,000+ 5-star ratings that's a multi-tasking powerhouse for anyone (even skincare novices) looking to lessen dark circles, sun spots, redness, and breakouts.
Check out out TruSkin Vitamin C Serum deep dive for more info!
Promising review: "This product changed my life. I now leave the house without makeup but feel confident because this serum gives me such glowing skin with an even complexion. This is must for me every morning after my cleanser and before my moisturizer. They use a good stabilizer because the vitamin C doesn't oxidate over time in the bottle. I'm now on my second bottle and plan to keep buying. I have normal to dry skin type for the record!" —Kaitlyn Evangelista
Get it from Amazon for $19.99+ (available in two sizes).
27. A milky glow serum so you can get luminous, dewy skin with the pure power of nature, not highlighter. It's cruelty-free, absorbs quickly, and doesn't leave behind any sticky residue so your skin looks *and* feels touchably soft.
Launched in, WLDKAT is a small biz founded by Amy Zunzunegui, the woman behind some of your favorite Urban Decay products. Her latest venture is a tight line of CBD-infused skincare that's cruelty-free, vegan, and beautifully transparent about what is and isn't in their products. All of their products are made in the USA at factories powered by renewable energy.
A skincare product has never so quickly impressed me like this serum did. One pump, day and night, and within a few days I was catching a makeup-less cheekbone glow in the mirror that *definitely* never was happening before. But then I started taking my new juicy skin for granted. When I ran out I debated if I needed to order more, but my skin quickly told me that wasn't an option. Within a week I was looking dry, dull, and my cheeks started feeling more textured. I ran back to this serum and it welcomed me back with open arms. Now, I plan to never be apart ever again.
Get it from Credo Clean Beauty for $39.
28. A purple shampoo to keep your blonde dye job looking less brassy and...well...more blondey. Your mom would've probably loved to know about this when the highlights she let your get for your birthday turned into straw-colored streaks all too soon.
Promising review: "This stuff is a godsend! I used to have red hair and decided to get a blonde balayage. It took two visits to get my hair lightened to where it looked blonde and not gold, but it still had lots of gold in it. Now my hair is finally blonde and not gold! I’m so happy! Plus, this stuff smells amazing and makes my hair so soft and shiny and voluminous, with lots of body!" —KatEd
Get it from Amazon for $10.74+ (available in three sizes).
29. A powerful hair mask infused with Australian Kakadu plum and starflower oil for helping you embrace your natural texture. Your 3a–4c curls will be left looking and feeling happy and hydrated without weighing them down.
Bread Beauty Supply is a Black woman-owned small biz founded by Maeva Heim that's creating simple-yet-effective curly hair care basics that aim to take the stress out of wash day.
BuzzFeed Shopping editor Kayla Boyd has recently started using this mask to moisturize her luscious locks:
"I recently started using Bread products and I really love how lightweight and easy they are to use. Since I have mixed textured hair that's been frequently dyed, it tends to get very dry. After using this deep conditioner my hair felt so much better and softer. In addition to that, the smell is A-MA-ZING. Definitely one of my new favorite wash day products."
Get it from Bread Beauty Supply for $28.
30. A powerful 2% BHA salicylic acid exfoliant if harsh scrubs haven't done your skin any favors. It helps to clear skin and unclogs pores by gently sloughing away dead skin to reveal the texture-free glow hiding underneath.
Promising review: "This product helped clear my skin after I struggled with many other products. I was struggling with what I thought was milia on my forehead. I have tried exfoliating with all sorts of different products. I read a review on reddit and though I wou