From the Beauty Closet

The Subway Smoky Eye

8 years ago by

How do you feel about applying makeup in public?

I’ve seen just about every step of the possible makeup application process take place on the subway. I’ve see brows tweezed, nails painted, foundation patted on, smoky eyes perfected and walked through clouds of bronzer.

It’s not for me. I don’t have the talent required to apply mascara on a moving vehicle. That’s an accident waiting to happen. And then there is the chance (which for me is about 100%) that I will drop something on that subway floor. A brush, a palette, and then what? You’ve only completed one smoky eye on your way to work (why do you have a smoky eye at 8am?) and there goes your eye shadow brush under your seat. You find it next to a stack of week-old copies of AM New York and a Dunkin’ Donuts bag. I don’t believe the 5 second rule applies to anything on the subway.

I do apply lipstick in public. I wear a lot of red lipstick and with great lipstick comes great responsibility. I try to reapply in bathrooms but inevitably at some point I grab the pencil from my bag and do it on the corner of Mott and Prince. Like Alice said, there can be something sexy about taking out a glamorous tube of lipstick and reapplying it on the street.

I asked Garance about it and she said one of her concerns with putting makeup on in public is that everyone is watching you. “You feel totally self-conscious doing that in front of everybody!”

What do you think? Is a smoky eye on the D train sexy? Or is it unhygienic? And for those of you in Paris, do you see this happen on the metro or is it just a New York City public transit phenomenon?


Add yours
  • Christine October, 18 2013, 3:23 / Reply

    It’s not just a New York phenomenon! I used to take the train into Toronto, ON for work and every day I saw the same girl apply her entire makeup routine on route. It would take her about 25 minutes, and was incredibly annoying to watch. A swipe of lipstick is one thing, but usually it’s just unnecessary in public.

  • Hey Christine, you and I must have seen the same girl. I’m all for saving time in the mornings but I agree, it was a bit much.

  • i live in bucharest, romania: you don’t really see make up application in public here.
    but in japan, because of the long commuting, they have special make up mirrors in shinkansen. and power outlets for hair irons! civilized :)

  • Encore hier matin je voyais une fille appliquer son fond de teint poudre et son Khôl dans le bus (je vis à Paris)…. Moi vraiment je ne pourrai pas. Faire ça devant tout le monde …C’est juste pas possible, ça casse un peu “la magie” de l’illusion ;)

  • It happens aaaall the time in the parisian subway! Every single day, at every single hour of the day!
    But I can’t… I have like a psychological something that makes it totally imposible for me!

  • The fear of dropping something on the subway floor is enough for me to avoid the process but I’ve always envied the people that can apply eyeliner on the moving train, with no re-dos!

  • I try to avoid it as much as possible! Definitely against doing it on the subway… It looks vulgar. Takes the mystery out of the whole process of getting ready to go out.

  • confidential October, 18 2013, 3:45 / Reply

    Lifelong NYer and I think its gross. I don’t eat the train either.

  • “with great lipstick comes great responsibility” Hahaha :) It does!

    I do apply make-up on the train (not the metro, an actual train, we have them loads in the Netherlands, even for relatively short distances) and they have a fold out table, which makes it a lot easier. I do try to avoid it, because it makes me feel better to step out of the house already finished (but when I oversleep… I just put on sunglasses and fix myself up on the train).
    But touch-ups I do anywhere, just as discrete as possible.

  • I live in the Netherlands too, and there are a lot of girls who do it on the train or in the metro. I only do it when I overslept, just like Suze, I prefer my look to be finished when I step outside. Make up is something that is supposed to happen in private, just as putting on clothes, no one dresses in public either!
    But, if you really have to put on make up in a moving vehicle: try to touch as little of the vehicle as possible, that way you will not feel the bumps as much. For eye liner, rest your hand who holds the brush/pencil against your face if possible, that way if your head moves so does your hand and you don’t get a sudden strange eye liner line across your face…

    She Wears: Fashion Illustration Blog

  • I hate it when girls give you dirty looks when you apply your make-up on a train. If I leave the house at six in the morning and will be sitting in a train for the next hour, why not use that hour to apply mak-up? I really don’t know why people should be bothered just because I apply my make-up. Unless stuf is stinky like nailpolish or something, but putting on some eyeliner never hurted anyones nose in the prosses.

  • C’est vrai que des fois je suis un peu gênée de me re-maquiller en public (je fais une drôle de grimace), alors je me cache dans les toilettes les plus proches pour le faire!

  • TOTALLY agree. a touch up on the ole lippie is the only thing i will do. powder needs to be re-touched in private. i would gouge an eye if i tried to apply anything on a moving transit. who are these day time smokey eye women? i just wear my lavish lashes and am done with it. night time i swipe on some eyeliner or a neutral shadow. less is more girls!

  • Ca arrive de temps en temps à Paris, mais pas si souvent que ça, je trouve !
    Je ne pourrais jamais le faire à cause du manque d’hygiène dans le métro.
    Mais ça m’attirel’oeil : lorsque je vois quelqu’un se maquiller dans le métro, j’ai toujours envie de regarder, surtout depuis le jour où j’ai vu une fille se maquiller tellement bien qu’elle se métamorphosait au fur et à mesure !

  • Ah voilà LA question. Cool :)

  • Not for me either… the worst is when your sitting in an eatery and the lady at the next table just reaches in her bag whips out her hair brush and gives her mane a brush through! disgusting!…. lip gloss or lip stick in public is ok… but tweezing?…. applying full make-up??….. not for me.x

  • In Paris it happens any minute of the day! It’s insane haha! I’ve seen it in Madrid (while living there). Once I even saw it on the bus going back home haha! A girl going through all the process sitting the other side of the aisle. And now that I’m here I see it even more often. More in the RER (train) than in the metro but still…

    I’d rather do it at home or in bathrooms if (very very very) necessary. And in the street or so just lipstick =)

  • I do apply every morning while on my way, though I do it in car not in subway. But as I am dancer I think I have applieed make up and tried to dress up in every possible place. I don’t see anything wrong about it but it does not look as good as applying a hint of lipstick :)

  • This article is fantastic! As a commuter (taking the train from New Jersey to NYC each day), I’ve seen so many people attending to their grooming habits in public. I myself apply a bit of makeup before arriving at work – but it’s very simple and minimal. No more than a 5minute routine. A quick swipe of mascara, a bit of blush and lipstick to finish a quick morning look. With that being said, I can’t even begin to tell you the number of unsightly things I have seen while taking the train – tweezing brows, complicated makeup applications 30min+ and yes, even someone clipping their toenails and tweezing the peach fuzz on their chin.

  • Ca se fait à Paris aussi, ça se fait dans tous les métros du monde je pense! Je ne ferais jamais ça, et je comprend pas les filles qui font ça! Je préfère prendre 10 minutes avant de partir pour faire le minimum plutôt que faire dans le métro, devant tout le monde, ça bouge, … non merci!

  • I have no idea how women do it – it’s truly a skill (that I don’t possess). What’s even more impressing is women who can apply their make-up while driving… I mean… crazy! Crazy dangerous, too.

    I agree that applying your lipstick in public can be sexy and feminine (obviously), however I haven’t tried it myself. Much like actually wearing a decent red lipstick. But I am working on it!

    Alex – great read as always!

  • Yeah, applying makeup while driving is just stupid. There is no way you can look at your face and the road at the same time. If you’re truly driving with your full attention (well, you wouldn’t be applying makeup then would you?), your makeup would come out horrid. It’s best to get to your destination in one piece and without hurting anyone else, and do your makeup in the parking lot. You can touch it up in the bathroom once you get inside. It’s just careless and extremely selfish to do it while driving. I’m not aiming this at the person who wrote the comment, btw, just at anyone who does this. Would you really want to look someone in the eye and tell them their son or daughter is on longer on this planet because your mascara was more important? Not worth it.

    On the other hand, car makeup if you are not driving is certainly ok. My mother is perpetually late and had to drop my siblings and I off at two different schools, so I got to be a pro at car makeup. Honestly, I think I do my makeup better when I’m in the passenger seat than I do at my vanity. The annoying things about car makeup, though, are when the driver swerves (my parents don’t take their turns very well) and the entire contents of your bag go flying around the car and under the seats, and also the people who think it’s ok to stare at you while you’re at red lights. It’s not really that strange, hairy old dude, and also eyes on the road.

  • Benedicte October, 18 2013, 4:42 / Reply

    Que de jugements portés ….ce qui est bien en France (et aux US!) c’est qu’on est dans un pays libre. Je me maquille entièrment dans le métro le matin (yes 15 min de sommeil en plus!) et je ne vois pas oú est le problème! On voit pire dans le metro non? !
    Et en quoi est ce si embarassant de se remaquiller en public? Concrètement on ne se met pas a poil non plus. Que celles que ça offusquent tant que ça regardent ailleurs:-)
    Ah et en plus je fais un smokey dés le matin (Bobbi Brown je t’aime) . Na.

  • I don’t see a problem here – I am always, always late because I just do not know what to wear most of the time and usually leave the house only with foundation and mascara on, eyeliner and lipstick are applied on the tram or bus if needed. It’s a great way not to waste time on public transport, I couldn’t do anything more productive in the early morning…


  • Margaret October, 20 2013, 7:35

    Oh, I wish I could say “No – this is not for me!” In theory I agree that grooming should be done at home before one leaves, and I aspire to that every night – but every morning my reality is the same. There never is enough time. When I had a 9-5 office job I finally got my routine efficient enough to wake up, exercise, groom in private, and get to work. Then I switched to teaching high school. It is hard enough to get up, exercise, shower, dress, and be in my classroom by 7:30 a.m. – if I have to curl my eyelashes or apply massacre on the subway, so be it. I guess at the end of the day I’d rather be kind to myself and get my exercise in than worry about what strangers on the subway think. Apologies to any strangers who have ever been grossed out if they saw me apply concealer!

  • This is a thread that goes on on many blogs and always generates a lot of comments ! And each time there is a “‘war” between the “pro” and “against” :-)
    What I really want to do, is to ask Christine, the 1st comment, why she relates to the woman putting on her make-up as annoying ??
    I don’t know how it can annoy anyone. Annoying people are the ones who listen to music too loud, smell or cough in your face… But putting on your own make up ???

  • HappyLilly October, 18 2013, 5:02 / Reply

    Se maquiller en public, pourquoi pas, ça reste un geste féminin. C’est même assez joli quand les objets sont beaux et qu’il s’agit de certains gestes (rouge à lèvres, poudrier sur le nez).
    Ce qui m’est insupportable (et qui me dégoute): les gens qui considèrent les transports en commun comme l’annexe de leur salle de bain (coupe-ongle et lime) dans le métro/RER. Idem pour les gens qui se brossent les cheveux.

  • Ah oui, moi aussi je trouve ça horrible les gens qui se coupent les ongles dans les transports publics, avec leur coupe-ongle qui fait un bruit sec à chaque fois! La lime aussi, c’est terrible.
    Quand au fait de se coiffer les cheveux dans le métro, j’ai longtemps eu la hantise d’y attraper des poux… On a tous nos phobies!
    Le maquillage, oui pourquoi pas… mais appliquer du fond de teint avec des mains pas très propres, je ne sais pas, je préfère ne pas me maquiller du tout. On n’est pas obligée de se maquiller pour sortir de chez soi, si?

  • I do it all the time!! No shame whatsoever.

  • Tizzylish October, 18 2013, 5:39 / Reply

    I was in the Paris Metro…This guy sits next to me. He starts shaking a deodorant can and then lifts his shirt to spray his arm pits with the deodorant….I was so shocked because I have never, ever seen someone do this on the metro…It was funny to say the least…

  • Hey, live and let live. And as far as I am concerned, any man using deodorant should be rewarded at least with a smile (too many people seemed to have skipped this step of their morning routines during the last hot summer in Europe). Of course such a laissez faire attitude does not apply if you are in the aerosol orbit of said deodorant user …

  • I did see a guy cutting his TOEs, can you believe? In the Train of course and putting on make-up in busses and trains is half-common

  • It happens on the metro here in DC, but not too often. I’ve had to do it a few times and felt SO self-conscious…but that might have been because my train went past the Pentagon and always had respectable men and women in uniform on it :)

  • amy serpa October, 18 2013, 7:07 / Reply

    Get up 10 minutes earlier ladies!

  • I’ve never commented here before, but I just had to share this!
    I once saw a girl on the L train applying mascara WITHOUT using a mirror. Applied flawlessly. Did not a make a single mistake. I stared in amazement and had to tell her that I admired her skill.

  • I never do it, but if I saw it I don’t think it would annoy me in the slightest. I would be fascinated!

  • Just the thought of telling the world my beauty process is unnerving. I don’t even apply lip balm in public spaces. Something I like about just walking into the public eye without having to make any adjustments. That being said, I wear a lot of dark lipsticks, so I just stop into random bathrooms to reapply. It’s not so bad, I just make sure to smile at the coffee shop baristas as I leave. They usually seem to nod “ok.”

  • I’ll admit to being guilty of putting on makeup on the train and I know it’s totally awkward and inappropriate but when I’m running late I do it…but I’ve seen people cutting their nails (not just fingers, toes too!!!!) and then I feel better about myself. :)

    I’m not even kidding. I once saw a regular looking business guy in a suit take off his socks and shoes and cut his toenails on the train! During rush hour! I wish I was making this up. Also, I once saw someone pull a weave out on the train, I saw someone shave on the train and….oh gd, my subway stories…. I can go on and on! But yeah, totally guilty of the makeup thing. Eyeliner on the train is not an easy thing. :)

  • People do the same here in Argentina, but generally on the bus.

  • Je suis complètement d’accord avec ton article, je ne me vois pas du tout me maquiller dans le métro. Si je dois le faire, je me lève un peu plus tôt pour pouvoir me maquiller tranquillement chez moi … et pour la petite info, bienheureusement, en France, il y a aussi des métros à Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, etc ( Paris n’est pas la seule à bénéficier de ce fabuleux transport ! ) :-)

  • Hélènulle October, 19 2013, 3:10 / Reply


    je voulais partager avec vous cette vidéo de Timai qui se maquille en 3 stations de métro à Paris :

    Bon Samedi à toutes

  • Oui, ds les métros ou bus parisiens ça se fait aussi, les utilisateurs des lignes 10-11 m’ont vu le faire des tas de fois…mais bon , apres, mon make up est minimal, anticernes pinceau, blush, mascara( au arrêts) … Ce n est pas systématique, mais en tant que retardataire pathologique ca rattrape quelques situations !!!!!!!!!! et mini gel pr les mains of course !!!!!! En revanche ai beaucoup plus de mal avec le RAL, je trouve ça plus personnel, mais c est aussi ss doute car ça ne fait pas partie de ma routine et reste cantonné aux situations exceptionnelles !!!!

  • in HK, I saw so many times women putting on their makeup on train (from primer to lipstick). once I saw a women having her eyeshadow palatte flying away from her hand due to the sudden stop of the train (her eye makeup was only 1/3 done, I felt relief. it’s like an end to a bad comedy (ok, maybe that’s because her eye shadow colour is somwhow only suitable for Halloween costume with a theme of 1980s).
    i only reapply lipstick/ lip balm in public. but one of my friends is an expert curling her hair on train (with a mini curler powered by fuel gas). Somehow I understand why some girl’s handbags can weight over a ton. LOL!

  • This happens all over the world :). Even though I don’t like doing my make-up on the metro/train, I end up doing it every now and then (I’m not a morning person…). On a quiet train, I actually enjoy it because I can take way more time to apply everything and do a double check than I would at home. But it is important that no one can see me!
    By the way: shouldn’t applying nail polish in a public area be forbidden? The smell is awful. Oh, and using a nail file, because of the sound it makes. And biting nails, for the same reason. LOL :)

  • Je crois qu’on peut dire que TOUT se fait dans le métro parisien, le pire comme le meilleur :) Il m’est déjà arrivé de me maquiller dans les transports en commun et effectivement ça peut être acrobatique

  • As a Londoner I see this every day and can’t see a problem with a quick sweep of mascara and a bit of lipstick. However when I see whole transformations taking place on the Tube with foundation, concealer, BB creams, bronzer etc I can’t help but think that just waking up a few minutes earlier would be far easier rather than risking getting your lotions and potions all over the people sitting next to you. I have seen this happen. Seeing a man in his black pinstripe suit suddenly become covered in splodges of cream foundation because the train jolted suddenly and the lady didn’t have a decent grip on the bottle makes for quite an interesting argument.

  • check out this video:

    actually you can check out her whole blog, she has a great way of talking about beauty!

  • I saw one girl applying her makeup on the train the other day in Paris. Having lived in London for a long time, it’s something I was used to witnessing on a daily basis, so not a big deal for me… sometimes one can learn something new :)


  • I loved it!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • je suis parisienne, et oui, ça arrive à Paris, mais pas si souvent, je trouve … (moi perso je ne le fais jamais)
    et oui, on ne peut pas s’empêcher de regarder la fille dans ses cas là … Moi ça me rappelle quand j’étais petite et que je regardais (avec fascination) ma mère qui se maquillait …. C’est à la fois féminin et touchant.

  • Oh hell no, I couldn’t do my make-up in public, no way. Yep, I’d feel like everybody is watching me and I’s surely mess up something – one mascara in the eye, check! :D


  • fraise des bois October, 19 2013, 6:16 / Reply

    Grâce à une fille qui se métamorphosait sous mes yeux dans le RER, j’ai compris comment utiliser correctement un pinceau estompeur :D
    Tuto maquillage en live!

  • A part le rouge à lévres , je ne me remaquille jamais en public ou au cours de la journée …
    J’ai donc choisi mes produits en conséquence et de qualité pour que mon maquillage tienne toute la journée ..

  • I live in Melbourne and I’ve seen it once or twice, but it’s not so common here.

  • A Paris je vois beaucoup de filles se remaquiller dans le train ou dans le métro mais pour moi ça semble impossible. Comme tu le dis, j’ai peur de me crever un oeil.. Mais le rouge à lèvres, oui !


  • I’ve never seen anyone apply their whole make-up in public until I moved to London. and women here do it all the time. I thought this was a London thing but now I see it happens in New York as well. To be honest I find it very weird and also makes me feel a bit awkward. I could never do it as I would be very self-conscious and I believe it’s the kind of thing one should not do in public. It’s a bit tacky. Lipstick on the other hand is a different story. I wear a lot of red lipstick as well and it does need to be re-applied from time to time but as you said re=applying lipstick can be rather sexy while applying foundation is not.

  • Applying makeup in public is something that I will always feel conscious and cautious about, along with combing my hair (in public). I was just raised that way-do it where no one can see you. Not that I haven’t done any of those in public (I have applied full makeup inside the bus and train), but it is something I am just not totally comfortable with–eyes staring, watching your every move. But really, people don’t give much care whether you apply your makeup in front of them or not, it’s just all in our heads :)

  • Oh, hell no. It feels totally wrong to put make-up in public. The exception is lipstick, of course, and I may allow powder in that list. But other than that… no. I think it is actually a bit funny and mysterious to pretend that you don’t use make-up and just perfect that way. Some men can’t see make-up on the face (although I find it absolutely baffling – what? are you blind?) and there were occasions when men asked me if I had any make-ep on. Without hesitation I answered “no”. Because, really, I am a woman, and it’s no ones business what do behind closed doors at home, it’s like a question about age, it is considered to be a bit impolite…

  • Bon alors moi je me lève à 4h45 tous les matins et je me maquille avant de partir mais quand je sors du boulot à 15h, j’aime bien me remaquiller un peu avant d’aller retrouver mon amoureux alors oui je fais ça dans le train, et oui les gens regardent mais je m’en fiche, je me dit toujours que moi je me suis réveillée alors qu’ils finissaient encore leur nuit! Alors les jugements, ils peuvent se les garder ;) Bisous !

  • I usually never thought this would ever bother me.

    But one day i was having a weird bout of nausea while waiting for my plane in Paris’ CDG airport. and a lady sititng next to me at the gate was painting her nails. It was an eye-watering-ly bad moment. And if that was not enough when she was done she doused herself in perfume. It was Chanel perfume but still…i almost threw up.

  • I do think its overrated I saw this girl in Delhi Metro (India) once and she came asked people to shift a little and sat almost in the air and then opened her bag and started putting on make from pressed powder to lip gloss one by one (in weird order). Everyone of us were so annoyed.

  • Il est fréquent que je termine mon maquillage dans le train lorsque je suis en déplacement professionnel. Une fois que je suis installée, j’applique mon mascara. Il paraît que les hommes trouvent cela très sexy et charmant. Ils ont l’impression de se glisser dans l’univers secret féminin. Et leurs regards me le confirment , en effet.
    En revanche, jamais je ne pourrais m’appliquer du fond de teint, du terracotta, de l’anti-cernes ou du blush en public. Là, effectivement, ça casse carrément le mythe. Le mascara, ce n’est pas pareil. On sait qu’une femme n’est pas radicalement différente selon qu’elle porte ou non du mascara. C’est juste la petite touche qui donne de la sophistication et de la profondeur au regard. Mettre du mascara, c’est aussi un geste de coquetterie. Mais le teint, tel qu’il apparaît parfait après qu’on a mis crème, poudre e tutti quanti, est supposé être celui que nous avons en permanence, dès le saut du lit. Donc, hors de question de dévoiler quoi que ce soit. Ca serait comme s’épiler en public. Horrible !
    Le truc, c’est de donner l’impression qu’on ajoute une petite note de féminité et de coquetterie avec son mascara ou son rouge à lèvres, alors, qu’en réalité, on n’en a pas besoin, puisqu’on a le teint absolument parfait et lumineux…
    Bon, en fait, je termine mon maquillage avec le mascara dans le train, parce que, je ne sais pas pourquoi, mais ça me prend toujours un temps fou d’appliquer du mascara. Autant le teint, c’est assez rapide, autant le mascara exige de la précision et de la minutie. Donc, pour ne pas être en retard, je zappe cette étape chez moi pour faire cela dans le train.

  • Katya Charlamow October, 19 2013, 8:51 / Reply

    I’m in France at the moment and I haven’t seen one woman applying make up in public. They all look chic and complete.

  • I really think it is a kinf odf international thing: there are lots of girls in Rome aplying anything on the metro, on the bus (how do you do that?! I mean in rome it is impossible fro the bus not to move fast or unexpectedly and let you ruin all your make up job).
    It’s not for me either.

  • Je reviens de Seoul et j’ai vu quelques nanas se maquiller dans le métro effectivement. Les gens en général, toutes générations confondues, sont sur leur smart phone et ne s’intéressent pas tellement à ce que font leurs voisins. Leurs métros sont vraiment clean, y a pas à dire…

  • Charlotte October, 19 2013, 10:02 / Reply

    ‘I don’t believe the 5 second rule applies to anything on the subway.’ Great line!

    As for applying make up in public…for me it’s a definite no. Like some others stated above: just wake up a few minutes earlier. Same goes for brushing your hair in public. Always gives me the heebie jeebies. Lipstick on the other hand doesn’t bother me, perhaps because it’s similar to applying lip balm.

    Loved this article, Alex!

  • I agree with you that lipstick is ok and even a touch up
    Once I saw a women in the train to the beach pulling her leg hair out. It was utterly disgusting!

  • Applying lipstick in public is sexy and applying full makeup in public is entertaining for those who care to watch:)

  • I saw a woman on the bus once here doing the full make up routine complete with tweezing her chin hairs. I had to look away I was so revolted – but then had to keep looking back to make sure I was actually seeing what I was seeing.

  • I am not a self conscious person, but this is just asking everyone to look at me become more beautiful or I need this to feel beautiful…whichever is not the way to go about it. Applying lipstick especially red requires you do it but with a little more panache than applying your full face. I have seen this on the train and bus and it just makes me wanna say STOP you’re applying too much ever heard of less is more?

  • I want to move into a city with a subway so i can start doing that! I think it looks kind of sexy :)

  • Christina October, 19 2013, 12:00 / Reply

    I cannot relate to women (if you can even call them that) who groom or put on makeup in public. It is so revolting and not very lady like at all. How can they allow men to look at them and see how blah they look and the need to show you have to wear makeup and to look decent/presentable? Why oh why would a person do this? I see this done daily on the train, and it is so revolting. Organize your life and be prepared to be the best you can be. If you ran out of time for makeup, go without. Every woman has lipgloss or lipstick in their purse or pocket to quickly put on.

  • Honestly, I find it pretty disturbing how judgmental some of these comments are, but this is one of the worst. Is it a bit uncouth? Perhaps. But disgusting? And frankly the idea of “not wanting a man to see you so blah” is terrifyingly 18th century.

  • “And for those of you in Paris, do you see this happen on the metro or is it just a New York City public transit phenomenon?” Alex, do you know that metro is not only in NY and Paris right? ;)

  • tripstreasures October, 19 2013, 12:53 / Reply

    I see it here In Berlin quite often on the metro, always curious to see how they do it and which products they use. But personally Id only apply some lipstick in public .

  • I live in Mexico City and women do it all the time. I suppose it’s normal in places where you have to move great distances. I don’t do it because I’m shy and I don’t like being watched, but I actually enjoy watching the women that do it! I feel like I learn how to apply make-up in different ways.

  • I see it every once in a while here in the Netherlands. I only do lipstick re-do’s (I use my i-pod screen when it’s off as a mirror), I wouldn’t do anything else in public. One thing I really dislike is girls painting their nails on the train, the smell is horrendous! Seems very bad manners to me.

  • Oui pour le rpuge à lèvre. Je mets du rouge à lèvre le matin à peu près oú du moment oú c’est nécessaire: dans le reflet de la vitre dans le métro, dans l’ascenseur ou même dans la rue ( merci les rétroviseurs de voiture)

  • Ola, moi non plus en public, juste pas possible ;)

  • The worst is when people use hairspray!!

  • Applying makeup in public looks ridiculous and is bad behavior. What next? Flossing?

  • This happens in Chicago too. To each his/her own, but I find it a little off-putting. I think a lipstick or powder touch-up is one thing, but a full blown morning regimen is another. And I agree with Garance–it attracts too much attention. I’m too shy for that!

  • Ugh, no. It’s one thing to touch up lipstick on a train/bus/subway. It’s another to do anything past that.

    My city doesn’t have a subway/train and the bus system doesn’t go everywhere. So most people, myself included, rely on their own cars to get around. I see the makeup applying while driving now and then and I see men using electric shavers while they drive (!!). But I think the worst is seeing women in curlers while they drive! No scarf over the head or anything! Are they thinking no one sees them in their car, or that it doesn’t matter since you don’t know who they are? For me it would be like leaving the house naked or something!

  • It does happen in Paris too, and i always find it disgusting. I mean, how anti-hygienic is it? AND i find it as disturbing as seeing someone brushing their teeth in the street would be. I think it’s a highly intimate thing, making up. I mean, you wouldn’t do it in your office in front of everyone, so why do it in a metro packed with strangers -and maybe some of your colleagues? Seems so strange to me, people doing this.

  • I have can’t understand at all why anyone would find this offensive! I think it’s more to do with the way someone goes about something. Someone can eat a packet of crisps in an extremely annoying and disgusting way, but eating crisps in public isn’t considered a faux pas. I always apply my make up on the train to work – I cycle to the train station in all weathers and my makeup simply wouldn’t survive the journey. I have to say the train is set up better for this as the seating means you have more privacy, but I’ve done my makeup on the tube in London too. Sometimes people stare, but hey, sometimes people stare regardless! People should just stop staring! Now that is something that I find offensive!

  • J’ai toujours une vision d’horreur.. un freinage brusque et la fille qui se crève l’oeil avec son mascara ou son kohl..
    et ca me refait penser à cette fille l’autre jour qui a fait tomber sa houpette par terre en se mettant du fond de teint poudre ou du blush.. elle a soufflé dessus.. vu la propreté du métro à paris, JAMAIS je n’aurais jamais osé la réutiliser..
    je n’ose déjà pas m’asseoir ni toucher quoi que ce soit…

  • I am not a morning person – I am always struggling to get out the door on time which means lips and eyes get attended to on the quick train trip to work. Foundation and eye brow grooming is kept inside though – I don’t think anyone needs to see that. Plus, I wouldn’t want to bump into anyone looking completely ghastly : ). Oh and by eyes it’s generally just mascara and a quick sweep of liquid liner. No smoky eye sitch needed at 8am. I live in Sydney and its not unseen – I don’t think anyone cares here. Commuters here tend to just look down and mind their own business. I love watching people do their makeup. I find it fascinating. What I do not like is people clipping their nails. And it’s happened more times than I care to remember!

  • In 2011, I read an interview of Tom Ford for, where he was saying that although he believes that a woman should never do her make up in public, he once met a beauty that pulled it off perfectly, just because it was “her thing”. I think that I kind of agree with that. I always finish my make up at home, but there is something sexy in applying your lipstick in public. Especially a red one! I find it empowering and provocative (in a good way!) to stand in the middle of the street, or even in the subway, and get out my mirror and my lipstick, to reapply a perfect shade of red!

  • I’m totally guilty of this. I’ve been putting on makeup in-transit since high school when I’d put it on during the drive to school. Not only can I put on mascara, I can apply eyeliner without incident while in a moving vehicle. When I lived in NYC, there were definitely days I applied or freshened makeup on the subway. I don’t wear heavy makeup and I always made sure not to inconvenience those around me. It never seemed to attract that much attention.

    From reading others responses, it seems like our views on this have a lot to do with our personalities and perspective on putting on makeup. Women who are more reserved or see it as an intimate routine can’t comprehend those of us who are less reserved and have a more casual feeling about it. For me, putting on makeup is an enjoyable part of my day but not a necessity part of my routine(unless I had a really hard night and it’s showing). Most days, I wouldn’t feel naked or unkempt sitting on a train without makeup. I think it’s a pleasure to watch someone else put on their makeup. It is a beautiful and simple art (thus why the YouTube channels of women putting on makeup are popular–come on, we don’t only watch them to learn how to do it ourselves).

  • I live in Paris. Sometimes, I just don’t have enough time to get ready before leaving my apartment (too lazy to get up on time…) so I put my make up on in public. And YES some people are watching you, you are doing a show for them, and especially for men. They are very curious about the way we apply our make up (they watch every step of the process) and they can’t wait to see what we look like right after.
    I find it funny because I have to assume the fact that they are looking at me because I put them into my privacy area without asking them for their permission.
    And it´s time-saving because I put on the make up during my subway time (useless time ever!) and now I know exactly how to apply my make up in a dangerous place full of vibrations!

  • Dans le métro, je ne sais pas… y’a pas ça par chez moi ! Par contre ce qui me met en joie, c’est de regarder les femmes se maquiller dans le rétroviseur de leur voiture. Surtout quand elles ouvrent grand la bouche pour appliquer leur mascara. On voit presque si elles ont subi une amygdalectomie ou pas :D

    Remarquez que c’est toujours mieux que les hommes qui s’arrachent les poils de nez au feu rouge.

    ça pourrait faire l’objet d’un prochain article d’ailleurs : “Est-ce que s’arracher les poils de nez dans sa voiture ou le métro est sexy ou un tue-l’amour ?”

  • It also happens in London! I have previously applied powder, kohl and lipstick but is not something I do often ( only if I am going somewhere after work). The only thing is that you need to make sure you grab a seat!

  • A Londres ça se passe tous les jours!
    Perso impossible de le faire, moment beaucoup trop intime et quand je me maquille je me mets du mascara partout, dans le train c’est donc infaisable!!
    Mais j’aime bien regarder les gens qui se maquillent. Quand j’étais petite j’adorais (et j’adore toujours quand j’en ai l’occasion) regarder ma mère se maquiller et je lui posais une tonne de questions pour comprendre à quoi servait tous ses produits! Et les odeurs des crèmes, des poudres, des blush … mmmh réconfortant!


  • Yesterday I was talking with my friends about putting make up in public and we have the same opinion that it is too intimate to do this in public and you need to have some acrobatic skills to do this on moving vehical ;) and this situation happens not only in New York but also in Edinburgh buses and bus stops. Cheers!!!! :)

  • I feel awkward doing it because either the car is crowded and I can’t do it without elbowing the person next to me, or it’s so empty that people watch me (which is just creepy). I think the general rule needs to be courtesy–how much what you’re doing will affect those around you. Nail polish is absolutely unacceptable; you could spill it all over someone’s clothes, and at the very least everyone has to smell your toxic fumes. There should be a law, seriously. Mascara, concealer, powder, lipstick–those don’t affect anyone, so proceed freely. I was stuck across from someone who was clipping her nails once, letting her disgusting fragments fly everywhere. I was so shocked that someone would be that disgusting (in San Francisco we don’t get quite the level of strange that NYC gets, although clearly some people don’t care), that I didn’t even know what to say. I definitely wanted to slap her, but didn’t feel like getting hit with a flying crusty nail. Filing your nails is different, as long as you’re being discreet. When you chip your nail and it hurts and keeps snagging everything, go ahead and file that sucker down. A full-fledged manicure, on the other hand, is not cool. That nails-on-chalkboard sound is not quite the soundtrack people are hoping for on their commute. General rule, for anyone who somehow isn’t familiar with courtesy (they taught us that in school, but we still had nuns 10 years ago, so I guess that’s why?): if you wouldn’t do it in a classroom, an office, or a restaurant, don’t do it on the bus/train/plane.

  • Carol Fisher October, 20 2013, 6:55 / Reply

    A week ago I was riding the District Line of London Underground, sitting next to a girl with a large Prada bag, open and perched on her lap in front of her. I tried not to notice, but during about the next 10 minutes she removed from her bag and applied makeup from a compact with a brush, mascara, blusher and ultimately lipstick.

    I was expecting her to pull a bottle of perfume from the bag next, but that didn’t happen before she got up and exited the train at her station.

  • Je trouve ça impudique de se maquiller dans le métro, c’est comme si on se retrouvait malgré nous dans la salle de bain de celle qui se maquille ! Par contre je suis d’accord qu’un petit coup de rouge à lèvre rapide et discret peut être sexy… tout comme apercevoir une fille au volant se remaquiller subrepticement devant le pare-brise ;)

  • Elizabeth October, 20 2013, 11:56 / Reply

    I see this in London all the time and it never looks good. Firstly, terrible lighting and a bumpy moving tube train hardly foster excellence in make up application. Secondly, I have seen foundation & powder spilled on the person next to them, so that’s a risk. Thirdly, some things just shouldn’t be done in public, it’s inappropriate. Fourthly, the tube is filthy (as are many of the make up applicators that I have seen).

    Filing nails is particularly disgusting, I don’t need to breathe in other people’s nail filings. Painting nails is just mad (it’s not a smooth ride)

    Re-applying lipstick, yes. Anything more, for everyone’s sake organise yourself to have five minutes at home, wait until you get to work. It’s a public space & we should be considerate of others

  • sooooooooo parisien… :)

  • muswellmummy October, 20 2013, 4:15 / Reply

    I live in London and see full makeup application on the tube frequently! I have to say I am of the old school in that personal grooming should be done in private. It seems to me that making yourself up, hair brushing, etc are private activities we do to face the world looking a certain way and that doing it in public negates that. Why bother with makeup if we’ve all seen you without it anyway? Then that leads me to the thought that these people only do it in front of us because they don’t know us and therefore to them we don’t exist as critical beings. They wouldn’t do it in front of friends or at a party. It’s the anonymity that allows them to act like they are in front of their bathroom mirror while actually sitting on a tube train surrounded by strangers. Therefore they are treating us as if we don’t exist! That’s annoying! Also, brushing your hair and pulling the strands off so they float away and land on my clothes IS disgusting.

  • ça peut m’arriver d’ouvrir un miroir pour voir si je suis “nickel” avant de retrouver un amoureux au débotté, voire en douce remettre une touche d’éponge pour matifier, mais il faut vraiment que ce soit une urgence !
    Je suis mal à l’aise avec l’idée du maquillage dans le métro (ou autres transports), c’est comme si je me trouvais dans la salle de bain de la personne en question, je trouve ça super bizarre. ça donne aussi du coup un sens étrange au maquillage. Pour qui se maquillent ces gens ? visiblement on peut sortir de chez soi peau nue, exposer les passager à sa routine beauté, mais être nickel à la sortie, bizarre non ? pourquoi, si le maquillage est SI important (les filles que je vois se maquiller dans le métro mettent des heures et plein d’étapes) ne pas s’imposer cette importance pour tout le monde ?
    Bon, bref, je suis pas trop pour… sans parler de voir les mains se poser sur la peau dans le métro, ce qui en terme d’hygiène me dérange vraiment.
    Après ça m’arrive de remonter mes collants, ça doit pas être plus chic !!

  • Depuis que je fais régulièrement des aller-retour en train pour voir mon amoureux, je n’hésite plus : c’est préparation du teint à la maison, puis maquillage des yeux 45 minutes avant d’arriver en gare (après l’inévitable gros roupillon sous le plaid…) J’évite ainsi les vilaines bavures de mascara et j’arrive telle une fleur pour rejoindre mon cher et tendre.Bon par contre j’avoue que je me contente du recourbe-cils, crayon, mascara et que je prévoie toujours des lingettes pour me nettoyer les mains avant de commencer.

  • The grossest thing I have ever seen in the way of persinal grooming on public transport is a girl picking nits out of her hair and squashing them between her thumb nails – yes it really happened. It was on a packed, peak hour light rail (cross between train and a tram) in Melbourne. Despite the crush she had empty seats around her

  • I live in Melbourne and though it’s not common, I do see it on occasion. Personally I find it disgusting. I know that’s a strong word but it’s the truth. It revolts me. Especially when it’s foundation being smeared all over the face, globs of mascara, powder… UGH.

    Once, a woman next to me whipped out a compact of pressed foundation (which normally I don’t find so bad, if it’s just a touch up) but here’s the thing, the sponge she was applying it with STANK to high heaven. I’m not kidding. I literally gagged. Ladies, if you’re going to apply makeup on the train at least make sure it doesn’t stink like some type of hot mildewy bog in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

    And another thing, where is the joy in your morning and daily routine if you’re trying to apply makeup on the train?!!!!! I love my morning routine with my coffee and everything set out in my bathroom nicely. Walking out the door all ready to face the world with confidence – good lord I sound like one of those advice columnists from the 50s – but it’s true! I can’t imagine trying to juggle make-up and bag and book and phone etc etc. Just get up early, or don’t wear make-up!

    And another another thing! What the hell do you do if you see someone from work or a guy that you kind of know and like but don’t know that well, and probably your going to see him at a party this Saturday and you’re just in the stage of checking each other out but it could totally be a Thing, gets on the train – and your like – ‘oh, Hi! let me just put down my mascara wand to shake hands or kiss or whatever’ – would you want to see him trimming his beard and nostril hairs? I actually met my, now long term partner on the train so these things do happen!

    I feel very strongly – no personal grooming should happen on trains or public transport.
    Gross things are:
    – Brushing your hair so that the longish, badly bleached strands all float over and land on my black trousers (including the little glob of hair follicle at the very end which I can’t but help focus on with one horrified eye that bulges and throbs out of my skull);
    – Scraping into your ear canal with your finger nail, pulling it out, inspecting it and then flicking or scraping your findings along the seat or your shirt or whatever;
    – Scratching at your scalp. Scratch scratch scratch. Check nails, scraped whitish scalp grease off nails and flick it. Scratch scratch scratch – rinse and repeat.

  • I see in happen almost everyday on the commuter train to Stockholm. Eyelash curler and all. I used to find it annoying, but after a while I realized that it just means you get to steal an extra 10-15 min of sleep at home … and i’m very much in favor of sleep

  • La 1ère fois que j’ai vu des filles se maquiller nonchalamment dans le métro, c’est à Londres. Tout de suite, j’ai trouvé ça abusé, limite un peu vulgaire, comme si on était projeté de force dans leur salle de bains avec elles.
    Et puis un jour, je l’ai fait, et j’ai compris pourquoi elles le faisaient : parce que comme moi, elles sont des grosses loutres, se lèvent à la dernière seconde, et préfèrent tuer le temps du métro à se maquiller dedans plutôt que de perdre 10 minutes de sommeil pour le faire chez elles !!!
    J’ai arrêté de le faire pendant plusieurs années, et puis je m’y suis remise. 10 minutes de sommeil en plus quand on a un bébé, ça compte !
    Par contre je n’aime pas le faire, c’est clair, même si j’ai réussi à dominer mes à-priori du style “oh la la, ça fait vulgaire, tout le monde me regarde, je force les gens à entrer un peu dans mon intimité”. Et puis on n’est pas libre de ses mouvements : chez moi j’ai plus de pinceaux à disposition, je peux m’étaler, je peux me laver les mains entre chaque produit (car je me maquille beaucoup avec les doigts).
    La semaine dernière, j’ai investi pour la 1ère fois dans un fond de teint fluide, j’ai aussi acheté un Beauty Blender pour l’étaler, et là, il va falloir que je me l’applique chez moi, hors de question de faire ça dans le métro, j’aurais, comment dire….l’impression de mettre mes sous-vêtements devant les gens !!

    Voilà Alex, si ça a pu répondre à certaines de tes interrogations…

  • In italian we say “di necessità virtù”
    that is the latin expression “necessitate virtute”.


  • mathilde October, 21 2013, 6:44 / Reply

    Je me maquille peu, sous l’impulsion du regard bienveillant de mon amoureux qui me dit “j’aime ta peau nue”, mais aussi parce que je préfère passer 5min de plus au lit (avec ou sans l’amoureux). Du coup ces 5 minutes sont reportées au temps des transports en commun: anticernes sur l’arcade et sous l’oeil, mascara, feutre à lèvres, et surtout du bon son dans les oreilles (la pèche et la joie ça fait 80% du travail selon moi)

    Timai en parle très très bien sur son blog (notamment dans tous ses post tagués “s’en foutre”):

  • Alex, cet article est tellement vrai!!!!
    et à Paris aussi…les filles se font parfois un ravalement de facade C O M P L E T… serum, base et tutti quanti…
    dernière hallucination en date une filles se maquille de a à z en face de moi dans le metro…elle termine…enfin je pense qu’elle termine…jusqu’à ce qu’elle sorte…une pince à épiler… je me dis ok retouche sourcil…et bon non ma bonne dame…la nana pose sa jambe sur mon siege et se met à se faire les jambes à la pince WTF… a quand les bandes de cires et le maillot ?

  • Caroline October, 21 2013, 6:53 / Reply

    I wouldn’t do it, but mostly because I’d feel like I’d mess up all over – I never carry a mirror with me!
    Also, some of the comments are really harsh and judgemental! Live and let live indeed, the metro/ subway/ underground is disgusting in the first place, so don’t make it any worse, that’s all!
    But the whole speech about “women should keep some sense of mystery/ always be at your best” is very sexist. Why oh why do we force ourselves (and other women, by judging them!) to do things that men wouldn’t even consider thinking about? Why are we so obsessed by appearances when men can just be?

  • Besides from the obvious equilibrist talent required to do your make up in the subsway, and before people staring at you (aka me staring at you), my first concern would be the crowd ! I don’t really now how the metro in NYC gets at peek hours, but here in Paris, you can hardly move, yet try to hold a mirror to fix your make up. So if I’m such in a hurry that I can’t do my make up at thome, I’d rather do it in front (= hiddent behind) my computer with a cup of coffee while scrolling down for the news of the day (and the last Garance post)!

    Oh and let’s get it straight : I’m not staring because I’m judging (I actually think it’s kinda cool people who don’t give a sh*t of what other people think), I’m always fascinated by people doing their make up. No matter how hard you try, you still make faces when you put on mascara. And also I try to look at the products, you never know where you can find your next make up fav’!

  • De plus en plus souvent!
    Au début j’avais peur de me crever un oeil, mais avec l’habitude c’est devenu un petit plaisir et ça me permet de gagner du temps. Je n’ai aucune honte à le faire en public. C’est vrai que les gens regardent, mais ça leur fait quelque chose à regarder comme ça ^^ on voit pire dans les transports en commun!! heurk!!!
    Le plus marrant c’est quand je retrouve des collègues dans le train. Certains matins nous sommes 3 à nous maquiller en papotant, c’est pas génial ça?! :D

  • It’s so common in Japan, and I was guilty of using my morning commute train as my dresser while I was living in Tokyo. The older ladies occasionally gave me a disapproving frown, but the high school girls are such pro at it! Now that I’m in Ottawa, I seldom see people do it that I stick to putting my face on in the comfort of my own room.

  • My position on this is somewhere in the middle … I agree the number of comments that call making up in public “inappropriate” are kind of disturbing; a very 19th century attitude I think. Let’s drop this pretense that “I don’t care how I look/it doesn’t matter how I look/I just rolled out of bed this way”. We all care, because it does matter, and no, you didn’t. Better just admit that last and work with it, because these days there are some circumstances that just about require you to show your unvarnished self to the world (Japanese-style commute, or transatlantic flight, or whatever).

    Unhygienic, though, is a concern I can get behind. Subways are pretty dirty-germy places. Any kind of finger-based application is totally out of the question under such circumstances; hard to get to your seat without touching anything, and then .. it’s microbes in the makeup (or growth medium, as they call it). And, what *if* you drop a brush? Yuck. But I too have seen women who, based on the condition of their makeup applicators, must not worry too much about cleanliness.

    Then there is the question of spilling on others … love the story of the London woman who coated here suit-wearing seat mate with foundation. There’s an excellent reason not to make a habit of it, right there.

    I can’t bear to watch another woman apply mascara or eyeliner on a moving vehicle; not at all judging, I’m just cringing at the thought of an accident. Urgh. And I would **never** do this, personally, because I like having two eyes. A quick nose powder or lipstick re-apply I will do in public, on the train, or on the street corner, or in a coffeehouse, if tucked away in the corner; but not at the table in a nice restaurant. I mean, there’s a powder room for that, and in a posh place, don’t you want to see it?

    Tweezing brows, clipping nails, brushing hair, or doing anything else that inherently sheds little bits of you … should NEVER be done in public, and certainly not at the table. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

  • My friends all do this on the train as well in Calgary! There’s something to be said for it when you have 8am classes and an hour in transport anyways I suppose. And kudos to the ones who get that perfect winged eyeliner while on the bus. I don’t have enough talent to even dare.

    Arielle from Tangled Musings

  • I think whipping out makeup in a metro or bus is a risk for contamination. What if someone closeby sneezes and gets germs all over your precious makeup? It’s bound to happen. And more often now that we’re in the colder seasons.

    I also find some ladies especially selfish when applying makeup in public transit. They sit next to someone, start to rummage through their purse and then to bump into the person seated next to them. Then they elbow the poor neighbour while applying blush, mascara, lipstick, etc.

    Really, there a much more dignified ways to look beautiful. And it starts with having manners.

  • Eh bien les filles ne se maquillent pas souvent en public: il faut entretenir le rêve du “Je me suis réveillée ainsi”.
    To be or not to be a french girl…

  • i ride the paris metro all day long it seems like and i only ever see women putting on lipstick. i think it has to do with the “i woke up like this” look but also the metro is bumpy bumpy bumpy!

  • i live in San Francisco and apply my makeup every day on the bus/metro/subway/corporate shuttle and/or while waiting for any of those transit modes. i’ve never felt judged or gawked at for doing so… but it’s also San Francisco (where even naked people wearing tutus phase no one).

  • Kudos to any girl who can manage to do her makeup in a moving vehicle – however it is not for the clumsy, so it’s not for me!

    I find a quick swipe of lip balm usually does the trick.

  • New York, Paris?? Apparently this situation happens all around the world!!!!! Due to the traffic jams in Bogota you can see the whole process, from removing the make-up!!! I find it absolutely disgusting and as well as you, I do not have the motion skills even for just a glitter. So girls, please wake up 15 minutes earlier and leave home ready!!!!!

  • Interesting discussion. I like the San Francisco approach, not judging. I don’t do it but I can totally understand it happens since it is so early in the morning and we don’t feel like putting on make up at home or simply don’t have time. I find it cool that some trains have a folding table and don’t see why not. If you don’t like it, don’t look at it. It can be weird but we are all weirdoos in a way :)

  • Good grief, people. Being judged is the reality of life. We don’t live in villages anymore where people get to know us, understand us and accept us over a long period of time.

    These days, we have only a few moments to get across who we are, our point of view and our character. A few moments, an interview, a meeting…

    The great dancer and choreographer, Twyla Tharp said (paraphrasing here, I don’t have her book on me – but it’s in her book, ‘The Creative Habit’) she can tell if she’ll hire a dancer just by the way they enter the studio and put down their bag. Obviously, as a choreographer her primary skill is in reading and interpreting movement, so, for her – that action of walking into a room and placing a bag on the ground – essentially a meaningless and mundane to action to someone like me. But for Tharp there is enough impressions that she may as well be reading an autobiographical essay written by the subject.

    We may not be seeking approval from our anonymous travel companions, but at the least, we could refrain from treating them like furniture, be aware of our surroundings and engage in the exchange and flow. It’s about acknowledging the existence of your fellow passengers rather than imagining you exist in an anonymous bubble, unseen and unseeing…

  • Very well said Emma! Thank you

  • It happens in Australia too – though I find it off putting, especially because it’s done often in the morning trains, the early express ones that everyone is catching to work. You know they’re just running late and didn’t have time to put their makeup on, so I find it not a matter of time-saving, (combining public transport with designated self-grooming time) but rather the person being disorganized. Besides, when it’s daytime, makeup should look like it’s not there, in my opinion. Seeing the application process ruins the desired effortless vibe.

  • Clara SF October, 22 2013, 1:45 / Reply

    One day I saw a girl putting some make-up and perfume on in the bus in Paris, after work. I thought that she was going on a date and thought is was touching.

    Then she started SHAVING her UNDERARMS.
    I was disgusted and couldn’t stop laughing at my own naiveté of 2 sec earlier.

    I have never seen that again since, even in the very open-minded San Francisco ;-)
    (where I do some discreet blush/lipsticks touch-ups in public myself, using my iPhone screen in a very geek-chic fashion…)

  • Yes, it happens in Paris as some previous comments already mention. Lipstick and powder it’s ok – but cutting, file the nails or apply the nail polish is totally disrespectful. It smells horrible and some people can be allergic – I even saw it once in a plane .

  • Selon moi le truc dans le metro ou dan le train n’est pas higienique et il est très genant pour les autres…

  • I moved to london a few months ago (after living in paris, berlin, sydney) and so many people apply their makeup on the tube here; something i haven’t seen in the other cities i lived in. I hate it! I find it so unchic and so uncool! I think it is ok to put on some lippie, but a full face?! No!!

  • In Mexico’s City subway I saw girls put on they hole make up every morning. That was very annoying for me, but it seemed everybody else was used to that. However I have to admit that mexican girls are very pro when it comes to mascara.
    I’m from Rio de Janeiro and here you don’t see anyone applying make up on the subway or bus.

  • I have no real objection to it (anything for an extra half-hour sleep), but I can’t bear to look at myself under the unflattering fluorescent lights on public transport.

  • I loved the article, congratulation. I was researching some make up articles and I fell out here. Before see this post I found one in a Brazilian website : It’s in portuguese but it’s a more pictured article, the author teach how to make simple but impacting make up.

    That’s it I’ll come back always here, wonderful blog!

  • since moving to ny (from munich, germany) I have definitely seen more people applying make-up on the subway. I know that some consider it gross… and there is a certain risk to it… but hey, sometimes the day does not have enough hours. a girls got to do what a girls got to do!

From the Archives

  • Friends!
  • Holiday Gifting
  • This or That
  • Happy Holidays!
  • #AtelierDoreDoes
Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Holiday Gift Guide, For Your Girlfriends

Magogodi Makhene, Wayétu Moore, female friendship, dore

How to Make Grown Woman Friendships—A Conversation with Wayétu Moore

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

Curating Copenhagen’s Art Scene: Kunstsalonen

atelier dore clothing renewal

Clothing Renewal

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business - Clare Vivier, Tina Frey and Ellen Marie Bennett garance dore pardon my french

Carte Blanche: Turning a Creative Passion into a Business

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

A Weekend With Disposable Magazine

atelier dore 6 designers on creativity moodboard

7 Designers on When They Feel Most Creative

Sophie On Tour

Sophie On Tour

atelier dore studio visit streicher sisters striiike beauty

Three Sisters on Creative Entrepreneurship