5 Ways Being Unemployed After College Will Actually Improve Your Beauty Routine, So Look On The Bright Side

Exactly one month ago I graduated college. It was awesome, went by way too quickly, and cost me entirely too much money. There were times when I didn't think I would survive another semester, and times when I didn't want to come back after holidays, but somehow I trudged through (with the help of a solid group of journalism school friends and plenty of time to gossip together).

Beauty and beauty products are super important to me. I don't know what it is about skin care, makeup or hair care, but walking into an Ulta or Sephora sets off something that makes me feel instantly at home. When I was staying up until 3 a.m. doing homework and only sleeping in until 7 a.m. five days a week, I still managed to get up each morning with enough time to straighten my hair, go through my whole skincare routine and put on a full face of makeup. I worked almost every weekend, so my routine had little to no break, even on my days off from class.

But something changed when I graduated. Sure, I don't have a full-time job, and I'm not quite sure what my next step will be, but I'm actively interning, freelancing and (finally) reading books for fun, but not having a set routine each and every day has opened up a whole new side of my beauty habits. I've broken some bad habits, adopted some new ones, and overall I'm happy with the effect that this new part of my life has had on me, aesthetically.

1. I stopped biting my nails.

I know. Ew. But as someone who dives in headfirst and doesn't hesitate to add a million things to her proverbial plate, I was always on edge. Deadline coming up? Bites nails. Studying for a huge test? Bites nails. The list goes on and on. Sure, I'm definitely still stressed. I'm not going into full freakout mode nearly as often, though — between having a comfortable place to stay (thanks mom and dad) and enough involvement in my internship, job applications and freelancing opportunities, I'm just busy enough.

2. I only wear makeup one or two days a week.

This might not be something I keep up with for the rest of my life, but it sure feels good now. I'm not hugely into wearing makeup when the temperature creeps above 85, so not formally working in an office or going to class leaves me even more likely to go bare-faced. It's a win-win situation. I can sleep in later, my skin can breathe, and as a result my complexion is clear and healthy. The only beauty product I'm dedicated to this summer is sunscreen.

3. I let my nail polish dry completely

This one might seem stupid, but it actually makes a huge difference. I never cared for nail polish. I couldn't make mine look good, and the only time I truly wore it was when I splurged on a professional manicure, which was a very rare occassion. My polish would smudge, dent, and bubble up, no matter how long I thought I was waiting. Now that I have significantly more free moments, I'm aware of how valuable drying time is. My nails have been not only healthier, but also so much better looking with my smooth, shiny, bubble-free polish.

4. I've let my hair do its thing

My hair has been through a lot. I've dyed it, regularly chemically straightened it, and generally spent a lot of my life trying to get it to do what it wasn't meant to do. I'm currently transitioning my hair from chemically straightened to natural, so I'm at a difficult time in my hair life. When I was at school, I was stressed with meetings, work, and more that forced me to feel like I had to either straighten my hair or maintain a perfect curly look. When my hair didn't turn out like I had hoped (which it still doesn't do very often) I would use a flat iron or pull it tightly into a bun. Now that I'm free of those obligations, I've had so much more time to care for my hair. Instead of using heat styling tools, I've been deep conditioning and doing low manipulation styles like twists and braids — and my hair is certainly thanking me for the freedom. Since I'm no longer worried about anyone else's opinions on my hair, and I'm letting it flourish naturally.

5. I'm exercising regularly

There are students who successfully go to class, go to work, hang out with their friends and still have the motivation to go to the gym afterwards. I was never that student. Having additional time to myself has given me the chance to get moving, something my body, mind and overall health is thanking me for. Even just walking with a friend or doing an hour of yoga gets your blood flowing, which is a super natural way to improve your beauty routine.

Images: Tumblr (4); andPOP.com