Doing your make-up on public transport is one of those things that gets us debating. So should we be doing it during our morning commutes? Two SL team members go head to head on the topic…
YES, It Saves So Much Time
Rosy Cherrington, Features Editor
I’m very rude. According to the manners experts at Debretts, that is, who claim putting on your face on the tube can jeopardise that all-important first impression by making you seem “disorganised”. But when I’m most likely never going to see any of the strangers in a tube carriage again, I couldn’t give two hoots if I come across as a shambles. I’ll look groomed and professional by the time I get to the office, and I refuse to pretend to be a fully functioning adult for any longer than I absolutely have to.
As long as I’m not causing any harm – spraying perfume and painting your nails are definite no-nos in enclosed public places – then what’s the bother? I don’t think my make-up application has affected anyone else in any way (except for the man I spilt loose powder all over that one time, but it was kind of his fault for manspreading so much); to me, it’s as inoffensive as someone reading a book.
The average UK commute is 54 minutes, with London dwellers facing 74 minutes of unadulterated sweaty-armpits-in-your-face-hell. So, for the parts of my journey I get a seat, it’s only logical to use the time wisely – 12 extra minutes in the morning may not seem like much, but when you spend so long commuting, those minutes are precious.
Yes, there are disapproving glares to contend with (you need a skin thicker than concealer sometimes), but there’s another side too – the stares of admiration. And I’m not just talking nods of solidarity from fellow female passengers with their make-up bags out.
It takes a certain level of expertise to apply a smoothly drawn flick of liquid eyeliner in a bumpy carriage, so much so that I once got a round of applause from a packed table on a Brighton to London Southern service. I’ve had men and women stop to tell me what a great job I’ve done (although these could be thinly veiled attempts of saying how terrible I look without makeup), and I’m pretty sure people have come away having learned a thing or two about contouring.
The point is, applying make-up in a moving vehicle is a real skill, and one that’s served me well – after enough practice I can now apply eyeliner absolutely anywhere; invaluable in this time-poor, fast-paced life we lead. Oh, and if you’re worried about hygiene, just use some hand sanitising gel or, do as I do and just don’t touch anything (fyi, practicing not holding onto those poles on the tube is also really good for your core).
NO, It’s A Cardinal Skin
Tor Cardona, Beauty Editor
If you happen to be on the Victoria line between 8:16am and 8:35am each morning, there’s a very real chance you’ll spot my beauty nemesis. I assume she gets on a stop or two before me because by the time I’ve squeezed onto the train, she’s normally about mid-Touche Éclat application. While a glance around the carriage confirms plenty of commuters (men included) are rapt with fascination at her highlighting prowess, I’m well aware my resting-bitch-face is proof of my staunch disapproval.
I know plenty of beauty editors who do their make-up on the way to work, I’m just not one of them. For me, applying make-up is an intimate act and one I don’t want to share with every commuter in south London.
Perhaps it’s the TMI that’s my gripe. Yes, commutes are getting longer and are full of otherwise unproductive time, but where do you draw the line? Before we know it, we’ll be picking our spots and plucking our eyebrows in public – no thank you. Just get up a bit earlier (sorry to break it to you, but those extra minutes don’t make a difference, you’re just being lazy) and do your face, leaving your commute free for podcasts, books and catching up on the news.
I’m sure many of you will agree that getting ready before a night out can be just as fun as the night itself. In the same vein, those 12 minutes in the morning, when I can indulge in some me-time in the comfort of my perfectly lit bathroom (can you say the same for a dingy train carriage?), is a moment of self-care that shouldn’t be underestimated.
And don’t even get me started on the hygiene front. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that public transport – tube carriages in particular – aren’t the most hygienic of environments. They’re hot, stuffy, airless cans in which millions of people cough, sneeze and pick (and worse) every day. A recent study found more than one in four commuters has bacteria from faeces on their hands, with the Victoria line the dirtiest of them all; harbouring traces of four of the world’s most dangerous superbugs. Wondering why you’re always breaking out? There’s your answer.
Call me old-fashioned, but if you want to come across as groomed, organised and a true professional, keep your make-up bag at home, even if the whole of London already knows you’re a master in the feline flick. And just for the record? I am too.