The Do’s and Don’ts of Getting Ready on Your Commute

Shannon Farrell

doing makeup on subway

Photo: Cornelia Schauermann / Getty

We’ve all been there: you’re racing out the door to make it to work on time, and you realize, yikes! No time to fix your bedhead or put on your makeup! On mornings when you just don’t have time for your beauty routine, consider multitasking on your commute. There are many applications for both hair and makeup you can do on the go, all while avoiding glares from your fellow commuters…well, maybe. Follow our expert-approved do’s and don’ts, according to your transportation method of choice.

In A Taxi…

Don’t: Never apply both eye liner and lip liner while in motion. “Both require a lot of precision, and can be tough lines to erase,” says celebrity makeup artist and founder of By Rosie JaneRosie Johnston.

Do: Mascara, cream blush and lipgloss are all easy to apply in a moving taxi, says Johnston. With mascara, just make sure to start swiping when the taxi is fully stopped at a red light. “This way, it’s easier to keep the wand in place even when you start moving again.”

Don’t: Skip the stick concealer. “If you’re going to be using concealer in the backseat of a taxi, choose a concealer with a wand application,” says Johnston. The smaller tip means there’s less room for mistakes, she explains.

Do: Hack your go-to blowout in the backseat. “Throw a few curls in your hair with a curling iron right before you leave the house and allow them to cool on your taxi ride,” says Kelsey Triebes, stylist at George the Salon Chicago. It’s just you and the taxi driver so there’s no need to be embarrassed, right? “Pack a texturizing spray lie Kérastase V.I.P. Volume in Powder Volumizing Texturizing Spray ($37).” Right before you get out, remove the curls, add a little spray and massage your scalp to add natural movement.

On The Train/Subway…

Do: Since a train isn’t bumpy, Johnston says a full face of makeup is doable. “With overhead lighting already taken care of, make sure you have a good hand mirror that you can nestle in one hand.”

Don’t: Because there may be little or no windows open (the subway, of course, doesn’t even have any), skip the hair products. “I would never attempt doing styles that require a lot of hairspray, because putting product in the air could bother those around you,” says Triebes. Even worse: someone may be allergic.

Do: “A small braid is a great choice,” says Triebes. She recommends a low side braid, back braid or small braid along the hairline to keep strands off the face. “Pack a light cream or paste, like White Sands Smudge Weightless Texture Creme ($16), to use on your hands while braiding to calm down baby hair and flyaways.”

On The Bus…

Do: Stick to the basics—lipgloss, blush and highlight. “Just apply a little at a time,” says Johnston. “Use your fingers more than applicators as you have more control.”

Don’t: “The bus is so stop and start, so avoid using any products that will poke or stain,” says Johnston. Reserve the mascara, eyeliner and lipstick for the time you DO have at home.

Do: Keep it simple. “Whether you can snag a seat or are stuck standing and holding on for dear life, a messy bun is a great option,” says Triebes. “Using a hair tie, start creating a ponytail without pulling the ends of your hair all the way through. Then use a couple of bobby pins to spread and pin pieces of hair around the hair tie.”

In A Car…

Don’t: Bottom line: Never do you makeup when you’re driving. Put simply, “this is a recipe for disaster,” says Johnston.

Do: Okay, here’s something you can do: your hair. “Driving to work with your windows down is the perfect way to get a natural blowout,” says Triebes. “Curly girls can scrunch in a little curl gel or cream, while straight-haired ladies can finger through an oil or mousse in wet hair.” Then let the wind do the rest.

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