9 Back-to-School Essentials You Won’t Find On Your Supplies List

By Kennadi Harris

That thing we’ve all been dreading since the first day of summer? The end of summer. And it’s coming up.

School’s about to be back on deck, and while you’re shopping for some cute new additions to your wardrobe and stocking up on pencils, pens, and a binder or two, don’t sleep on these other things that help make the school day all the more bearable: 

1. Peppermint Gum
Yes girl, gum is essential for almost anytime. You don’t want to get caught slippin’ with some funky morning breath when your crush since forever is assigned to the seat next to you in first block. Not a fan of all that chewing? Substitute gum with peppermint candy. True story: Studies have shown that the fresh, powerful scent of peppermint can actually help you focus more. 

2. Lip Balm
Chillin’ with Dwight (AKA “Da white” on your lips) is not a good look, so make sure you always carry a moisturizing lip balm with you. Keeping lips moisturized and crack-free is extra important for chillier days because the lower the temperatures, the higher the chances of you getting chapped lips. The best balms are high in emollients, such as petrolatum, shea butter, lanolin, cocoa butter, beeswax, and glycerin. Our picks: Alima Pure Lip Tint or Burt’s Bee’s Lip Balm.

3. Makeup Pouch
If you don’t already have this, make sure you invest in a cute, little pouch (like this one) to store some of your favorite beauty products. You never know when you’ll need to touch up your lipstick or redo your eyeliner. It’s also the perfect carrying case to keep an emergency stash of pads and tampons. 

4. Body Butter
Don’t get caught in the halls looking like Ashy Larry’s sister — keep a tube of your fave, nourishing body cream in your backpack at all times. Our pick: Bath and Body Works’s Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin.

5. Ponytail Holders
The ultimate survival tool for those high-humidity days when your once-on-fleek twist-out has been hit with the frizz. It’s also perfect for simply keeping your hair out of your face when it starts to get in your way. 

6. Snacks
For real tho, who can concentrate on an empty stomach? Your best bet is to grab at least one healthy snack (like some nuts or an apple) before you leave the house in the morning to help you stay awake and feel more focused. Go ‘head and throw in some chips or cookies, too, we’re not gonna judge. 

7. Reusable Water Bottle
You’ve got to have something to wash the snacks down with, and those vending machines will have you strapped for cash. Just pick up a trendy, reusable water bottle and fill it with your favorite drink from the house. Check out this one.

8. Headphones
Save these for study hall, the bus ride home, or that little bit of time before school starts when you’re finishing up last night’s homework in the cafeteria. (Don’t front like you don’t. 😉 ) With a good set of these, you can easily tune out everything — and everyone — around you and let your fav song chill you out, so you can focus on finishing those algebra problems. 

9. Mirrors
And yes, we’re talking multiple. Well, at least two. You’re not always going to have access to the restroom mirror to make sure your hair and makeup are still slaying, so it’s always good to keep a compact in your purse and a magnetic mirror in your locker to catch any little slip ups. Got to make sure you’re looking flawless at all times, right?

What’s on your list of first day essentials? Tell us in the comments below!



Quarterly print teen magazine for Black girls ages 13 to 19. Covering The Black Girl's Mainstream™

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