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The student lifestyle can’t be all play. It can’t just all be about cracking open bottles of wine, spending your reading list budget on clothes, and staying out til sunrise. Can it?

Well, actually…

If we base the week we’re all preparing for on a survey conducted by The Telegraph in 2014, we’re apparently going to spend £200 each during Freshers’ on outfits, societies, nights out, food, and alcohol – that’s just one week.

Although I believe that is a bit of an exaggeration, it’s easy to see how a night out with your bank card can quickly turn into a nightmare the next morning.

Meanwhile, our parents can’t imagine what’s so stressful about Netflix-binging, and if our working friends hear about our lie-in until 5pm one more time, they’re going to delete us from social media.

It’s clear that student life is incredible for socialising – it’s all about being able to feel immersed in a family-like community, and quickly. It’s easy to see why so much money is spent on drinks, as it’s hard to turn down plans with other students when there’s the prospect of feeling lonely in halls instead (don’t worry, every student is feeling like this too). Psychologies magazine reported recently that Saamah Abdallah, senior researcher at NEF’s Centre for Wellbeing, believes that students by nature should be happiest,  because of the sense of autonomy that is built from the learning that happens in groups, and feeling connected to those in our classes. Our self-esteem should be being boosted by learning alongside other people.

Why, then, are we still so stressed?

It’s thought that the average Fresher will gain about 15 pounds in their first year at university, with the U.S. actually terming this the “Freshman 15”! You might assume that it’s pizzas and drinking too much that’s taking its toll, but in fact, there are many underlying psychological reasons behind why we’re suddenly feeling sluggish and inactive.

Worrying is a major factor. Who feels like going for a run when they can sense a library fine, four upcoming deadlines, a phone-bill and an anxious parent call approaching on the horizon? And who can afford to go shopping after such a heavy Freshers’ week, or having no loan at all after their rent payment?

And after a few days of ignoring your liver that’s crying out for a rest, dismissing that feeling that you probably should go to bed, really, and utterly dehydrating yourself with alcohol and salty food, your skin probably isn’t happy, but don’t worry. This autumn, you can make sure you get all of the nutrients your skin needs to feel moisturised (such as petrolatum, mineral oil or glycerine) by shopping online, on places like Amazon. Why not swap the price of a few drinks, or one night out, for some essential body products instead?

These beauty products are my go-to for when my skin is feeling dry, and here’s a quick review of them:

Dove Indulgent Nourishment Body Lotion
Price: ONE drink.

I actually can’t fault this moisturiser, at all.
This is a product I have been using for about four years now, and I only swap about between the range itself a bit. The price is amazing, as it’s usually about £3 max in Boots, but most of the time it’s half-price in Tesco for something silly like £1.50. It comes in a tall bottle, and it really soaks into your skin – the texture is really nice, and leaves skin a little ‘shimmery’ which is great before a night out (I always use this before fake-tanning). Its nourishing qualities are great, especially for winter, and with such a wide range to choose from, you can’t go wrong with Dove. Definitely a good buy for Freshers’ Week, when your skin will appreciate it!

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No. 7 Intensive Body Butter
Price-range: A couple of drinks and taxi-fare

 This tub can be bought online or from Boots. Although it’s not cheap at £13.50, the No. 7 range in-store is always on a  ‘3 for 2’ offer, so you could essentially spend around £20 on three good-quality skincare products, such as an exfoliator as well. This could be used perhaps two or three times a week when your skin is feeling tired or dry, as the benefits of moisturising just before bed, after exfoliating, are really noticeable. It leaves skin really soft and supple, as it’s really easily absorbed, and I do agree that my skin felt smooth for the whole of the next day.  I would definitely recommend this as a great product to have for when you want your skin to feel extra-soft, such as just before a night out, and because its effects are long-lasting, you don’t have to use it every day.

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Elizabeth Arden Visible Difference Cream
Price-range: Two or three drinks
Lots of celebrities swear by Elizabeth Arden, and I found this bottle for £10 on Amazon – £10 for 300ml! Considering that would cost around £22 in House of Fraser, it’s definitely worth shopping around online a bit. I was really excited to use this for the first time, and I found that it slides on really silkily. However, I would never pay the full price for this, as although it did the job, I found myself using a lot because its consistency is quite thin, if that makes sense. I didn’t find it any better than a usual Dove moisturising cream – in fact, I found this skincare product to be quite similar in texture to skin lotions that come in a bath-and-shower set. So although it’s not bad, it’s not great for its price either, and I wouldn’t buy it for everyday use anyway.

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Skin Blossom: Hydrate and Nurture Body Lotion
Price Range: Entry-fee only!
First of all, I would like to pat myself on the back for finding this on Amazon and deciding to give this organic product a try on a whim, as I’m so glad I did.
This stuff is gorgeous, and it only costs between around £5 to £7 – I found it much better than the lotion above. Not only does it have a creamy, thick texture that doesn’t feel too greasy or runny; it smells amazing. I did think it was a bit weird to smell so citrus-y at first, but then I got used to it and it’s honestly one of my favourite products.  This cream also has argan oil in it for its reparative qualities, and cocoa butter to soften. I use this the most frequently of all these products.

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Aveeno Moisturising Cream
Price-Range: One drink
This product is great for eczema-sufferers and it’s not greasy at all – anybody who doesn’t like products with a chemical smell to them would like this. Unfortunately that’s the only fault I have with this, as I don’t like the ‘oat’ smell it leaves on skin, but its moisturising qualities are definitely great for daily use. There are lots of Aveeno reviews online that compliment the brand on how great its natural soothing properties are. It’s also only around £3.00, and it’s usually half-price or on some sort of offer in supermarkets and Boots/Superdrug.

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The Body Shop Spa of the World Japanese Camellia Cream
Price-Range: The whole night out 🙁
If you are fine with the price, and want to invest in the Body Shop’s new Spa of the World range, this product is amazing. The rest of the creams in-store didn’t have the same smell that this has (amazing!!!), and they also didn’t have the same consistency. I don’t know how to describe how soft and velvety it is, except to say that it actually feels like a cloud. It’s really puffy, too.  I feel like an excited kid every time I decide I can use it, so I don’t want it to run out :(. Also, it comes in a huge tub that will last a long time, because you don’t have to use a lot of it to feel its properties. I don’t think I can buy this again once term starts, especially not as a regular product, but if you want something special to replenish your skin every now and then, I would definitely recommend this, because its moisturising properties are amazing. However, it is £23.00 at the moment, so it’s obviously not practical, except to treat yourself – I haven’t found it online just yet, but we shall see.

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Posted by Elizabeth Gough

Lifestyle Editor, English Literature and Creative Writing student, feminist, friend and tea-lover. Contact me to appear in the Lifestyle section: smilellie@live.com

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