Please, stop judging me for doing my makeup on the bus

Do you do your make-up on your commute? For some women the answer is a resounding ‘YES’. For me, it’s a 'sometimes'; that sometimes being when I’ve woken up late and am frantically applying mascara on the DART. For the vast majority, putting some slap on whilst getting from A to B doesn’t seem like an issue, even if it’s not something they do themselves. However, over the past year there have been some negative conversations cropping up online about the topic, earlier sparked by an article on the BBC and a subsequent debate on Good Morning Britain.

Related: Why don't social rules apply in
the public transport bubble?

Most of the objections seem to be based around the idea that women who do their makeup en route are ‘lazy' or ‘unorganised’, with lots of tweets supporting this claim. For example, "just get up five minutes earlier."

Using your time wisely

Personally, I have a one-hour commute to and from work every day, and doing my makeup is a sensible way to spend time that would otherwise be wasted.


There are many other reasons, besides waking up late. If you're a mum-of-three, aren't those twenty minutes in the morning better spent having breakfast with your kids? Or maybe you spent your morning in the gym and the thirty minutes on the bus is the only chunk of time left?

For most men, it's a simple hop, skip and jump into the shower and they’re out the door; their time for grooming and upkeep is so minimal. Now, I’m sure some would go on to say that wearing makeup is a choice, but considering the statistics shared in a recent IMAGE article that women who wear makeup earn 30% more than those that don’t, I’d say in some instances there is a real reason why many of us do.

The so-called 'illusion' of beauty

Another common argument is that some things are better done in a personal or private space; as if somehow makeup is a big secret. This is some archaic thinking; the same idea as dashing off to the loo to powder your nose. Anyone who has a partner is under no illusion that our eyebrows can be more Wolverine than Cara Delevingne most of the time, or that our 'glow from within' actually comes from a bottle. So what 'illusion', exactly, are we breaking?

The argument for some is that we apply makeup to make ourselves more attractive, more desirable; so by seeing it applied in public shatters this illusion. The reality is most women I know wear makeup a plethora of reasons. For me, it’s about confidence. I won’t leave the house without foundation as I have a lot of acne scarring. It can completely change how I feel; some days I want to feel powerful so a dark lip and contouring is key, other days I want to be more ladylike so I opt for a red lip and classic cat-eye.

The question of male grooming

A favourite comeback online is, "men don’t shave on the train so why are women doing their makeup?" Of course, men don’t shave on the train. The logistics of it are a nightmare; it’s unhygienic and where would all the hair go?! It is bizarre that anyone would attempt to compare this to applying some eyebrow gel or mascara.


Drawing the line

There are, however, some boundaries. An absolute no-no is using loose setting-powders that unavoidably get all over the person sitting next to you. I’m also not a fan of using the train as a personal dressing table, with products strewn all over the tables and seats. Encroaching on someones else's personal space is disrespectful, but it also has nothing to do with makeup. Doing any of the above is akin to the guy man-spreading on the seat beside you, or eating an egg mayonnaise sandwich on the packed 5 pm commuter.


Personally, I love seeing women make up their faces on my way to work. I am always intrigued as to what products they’re using, their techniques, which colours they go for. It’s also never been easier to do your makeup on the go with the rise of beauty brands designed for busy women.

Glossier advocate the use of your hands as tools, so no need for a bag full of brushes. They have a range of creamy eyeshadows, blushers and highlighters that can all be blended seamlessly with fingers (just make sure to use some hand sanitiser). Same goes for Trinny Woodall’s range of makeup; all designed to fit into identical pots that can be stacked on top of each other and chucked into a handbag. Genius.

Lastly, it’s not easy applying products on the move;  it takes some amount of practice. I have often contemplated adding ‘can apply liquid eyeliner on a moving train’ to my CV, as I honestly think it's such a life skill. So next time you’re getting dirty looks mid-way through your eyeshadow blending, just assume they’re jealous of your multi-tasking skills; because as women, this is just one more thing we’re really good at.

Photo: Unsplash


The image newsletter