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Surviving Freshers': Health and Beauty

Avoid freshers' flu like the plague with this one-stop guide

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When setting off for University, it's tempting not to think about things like staying healthy when there's so much other exciting stuff going on. It's guaranteed that you'll be on the go day and night, and your liver is going to take a bashing. Even if you don't drink alcohol, being away from home cooked food and family members who will remind you to eat your five a day and wash behind your ears occasionally will take its toll.

There's no need to rush out and buy yourself expensive lotions and potions or put yourself on a ridiculous fitness regime; just follow these few top tips to help you start your Uni career looking radiant (or at least, not looking like an extra from The Walking Dead).


Don't go crazy and put yourself on some insane detox; you'll only make things worse for yourself once you reach the £1 tequila shots in the Willow. Make sure you get a lot of sleep to rest up and supplement your diet with lots of fruit and vegetables.

Life affirmation in a little fabric bag
Life affirmation in a little fabric bag

If you really can't resist the urge to pay silly money for supposedly miracle-working super foods, then you can't go wrong with Teapigs Organic Matcha super power green tea powder. The tin may seem alarmingly small (30g) for £25, but you get a lot of bag for your buck, and it promises oodles of antioxidant benefits. Simply add hot water to a teaspoon each day and drink like normal green tea, for energy boosting results.

If you're into that sort of thing but your student loan hasn't come in yet, then you could do a lot worse than Tullivers Herbs & Wholefoods. It might not be Wholefoods, but this establishment tucked away on Colliergate, and is a veritable Aladdin's cave of herbal teas, supplements manuka honey and other hippy favourites.

Now is the time to get yourself into a good cleansing routine for your skin, because you certainly won't have time once term starts. If you have money to throw at it, get thee to a Clinique counter for a personally tailored three-step skincare approach.

For the girls, Liz Earle's hot cloth cleansing set is the ultimate in luxury on a budget. There's no need for harsh, gritty scrubs; simply massage the cleanser on and wipe off with the provided muslin clothe soaked in warm water. Boys - real men scrub. Get your mitts on Bulldog Original Face Scrub and use once daily for glowing results.

To make sure you look your best for the invariable onslaught of Freshers' Facebook albums, book yourself (boys and girls) in for a hair appointment at Samurai. Conveniently located above Browns (a.k.a. purveyors of the finest sandwiches in York, maybe even the world) in Heslington Village, this unisex hairdresser offers a student discount and does a fantastic job with highlights.

For hair maintenance...elsewhere, the best beautician in York hands down has to be Katie's Health and Beauty. She's recently moved to a new studio at 52 Clarence Street and her friendly and efficient service will have you primped and pampered in no time. A bikini wax starts at £10, costing £15 for a Brazilian and £25 if you go the whole way with a Hollywood.


The most important thing to keep doing during Freshers' week is drinking. Drinking water, that is. Keep yourself hydrated at all times with Bobble bottles. They come with an in built filter so you can simply refill from the tap. Just don't drink the lake water.

Girls (and guys, there's always Slag 'N' Drag), if it's at all possible try not to sleep in your makeup. We're all guilty of doing it at some point, but it really does damage your skin in the long run. Make sure you keep a packet of these Simple cleansing wipes by your bedside, right next to those other Freshers' essentials: Condoms. The campus Heath Centre and the YUSU Student Centre (by James College) has an unlimited supply of these for free, so there really is no excuse.

These made us laugh... Don't fuck about being woken up by needy housemates (although ducks make ear plugs a must too)
These made us laugh... Don't mess around being woken up by needy housemates (ducks make ear plugs a must too)

The morning after the night before you're going to want to lie in. Unfortunately, whilst Halls of Residence are notorious for many things, but peace and quite is not one of them. If you're a light sleeper, make sure you bring along a pair of ear plugs. Your curtains are likely to be pretty thin, so you might want to pick up an eye mask; Urban Outfitters stocks this cute, irreverent pair to give your blackout added glamour.

Make sure you have an Original Source shower gel - I recommend the Lime version - ready in your wash bag for when it's your turn in the shower (or put it in pride if you're lucky enough to have an en suite). I can't guarantee the zingy scent will snap you out of your hangover, but at least you won't smell like a liquor cabinet.

If you're desperate to cover up any dark circles, equip yourself with Maybelline Dream Touch Lumi Concealer. Available at most Boots stores, it's a steal at £6.99 and just as good as YSL's Touch Eclat (but if you want to pimp your make-up back, it's £25 and also available from Boots).

Keep yourself going throughout the week with these healthy, energy giving snack balls from Bounce. Although they're pricier than the tempting vending machine chocolate bars they'll keep you going for longer and won't tempt the dreaded Freshers' Fifteen*. Go easy on the late-night take-outs, but treat yourself at least once to Cheesy Chips (Mr Oki's van is the classic - be sure to ask them to microwave the cheese so it's perfectly melted). The next day, your best friend will be a Berocca, so stock up.


Post Freshers' Week it's time to atone for your sins against your body. Sign up at one of the University's two gyms. There's the flash new Sports Village on Hes East that opened only last year, which boasts fantastic equipment, an Olympic sized pool, and all sorts of classes LINK. The Gym on Hes West is much cheaper but it's the original, and still has plenty of exercise machines and weights LINK. Alternatively, join Aerobics Soc for just £5 and enjoy their brilliant classes every week at just £1 a pop.

Get into town and grab a some Xing of your own
Get into town and grab a some Xing of your own

Finally, the best supermarket by far when it comes to price, freshness, and variety is Morrison's. It's a 15-minute walk from Campus, located on X Road, and it has a recently revamped Fruit and Veg section that is second to none. If you really want to give yourself a serious health kick, head down to Xing. This shop/kitchen at the edge of the picturesque Shambles is a hipster mecca, and has fresh, healthy food prepared on site daily. They even offers a 5 or 7-day juice detox diet prepared daily on site for the committed.

So there you have it, the ultimate guide to staying as fit and fresh as humanely possible during what will be one of the most hectic, yet fun, weeks of your life.

*Freshers' Fifteen: Colloquial term for the weight put on some students in their first term of University. See also: Alcohol Weight.

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