Commute Friendly Makeup Hacks for Ladies Who Do Their Makeup On the Move

We all have tricks to save us some time off our morning routine, but the journey to work on public transport during your commute can be a real time saver.

There is no shame in busy working women doing their makeup on a morning commute. Yes, it’s never an ideal situation, however, sometimes it is necessary for those who are busy.

woman applying mascara whilst on the train, sat next to a fellow passenger.

It should be noted that jerky journeys can cause it to become difficult to apply your makeup smoothly. You definitely want to avoid any temporary blindness by a mascara wand or smeared lipstick all over your mouth.   So, if you want that extra couple of minutes in bed in the morning, we can show you a few tips for applying makeup on the move.

You just need to make sure that the products you use are quick and easy to apply. All you need are a few compact beauty essentials and steady application techniques for more forgiving mistakes.

Whatever your mode of transport may be, with these hacks, you will be able to achieve a great look every time no matter how much turbulence you experience. So, put your commuting time to good use and say goodbye to any makeup mistakes.

How to Pack to Save Space for Your Commute

Consider that all your necessary makeup products have to fit in your bag. But it’s not practical to be lugging around a huge makeup bag full of products when you are on the move. So, you need to be selective about what and how you pack. You want to keep the number of products you are taking to a bare minimum when commuting. Therefore, we recommend the following:

Travel-sized Products

Choose products that can lend more space in your makeup bag by switching full-sized products for travel-sized onesHowever, if you don’t want to spend on extra products that are travel-sized, transfer your existing products to smaller bottles. This way you can fit more products in your bag without wasting much-needed space.

a pink clear plastic makeup bag with an array of miniature products.

Multi-purpose Products

Try and look out for multi-purpose products that you can get more use out of without taking up more space with extra products. This way, you can pack just one product and double it up for more than a single-use. 

This applies to makeup brushes too! Choose brushes that are designed to perform multiple application and blending techniques without taking up too much space in your bag. For example, try and look out for dual-ended brushes so that one brush can do the job that two separate brushes would do. Or, alternatively, you can try and avoid brushes where you can and use your finger to blend certain products like eyeshadow or cheek tint.

Pack Everything into a Clear Makeup Bag

The last thing you want when on a crowded train is to have to rummage through your makeup bag to find the product you need. To avoid this, pack everything into a clear, see-through makeup bagThis way you will be able to see exactly where everything is without having to delve deep into your bag.

Lady carrying packed clear bag with cosmetics inside

What Non-Makeup Essentials to Pack

Carry Face Wipes

Public transport can be extremely unsanitary and swarming with germs and bacteria. To avoid transferring these to your face, take some wet wipes/makeup remover wipes with you. Give your hands a good clean with the wipes before selecting your makeup products.

Wipes are also great for removing unwanted makeup residue from your hands after application. This way you can move on from one product to the next with clean hands to avoid getting any smears on your clothes. If that isn’t enough, the wipes are also a quick way to get rid of any makeup mistakes or product fall out too.

Pack a Compact Mirror

Ladies on to go can’t be without a good compact mirror. Phone cameras are a good way to do your makeup on your commute if you forget your compact mirror at home. However, the image quality doesn’t have as much clarity as a good mirror. It is the best thing to use for close-up makeup application to ensure everything is blended properly.

You can also avoid any make-up faux pas when on the move so you can be confident that your makeup looks perfect. 

Tip: Try and find a compact powder or blush that already has a mirror to save you even more space in your bag. It’s perfect for touch-ups throughout the day too.

woman applying lipstick on the train platform.

What Type of Makeup Products Should You Use?


An open-topped, liquid foundation on a moving vehicle sounds like a total disaster waiting to happen. Therefore, when choosing a foundation, you should opt for a more practical option without sacrificing on finish or coverage.

You don’t have the luxury of time for time-consuming makeup application. So, stick to formulas that are quick and easy.

Choose a cream or powder finish that comes in compact packaging to avoid any spillage. Then, start applying it in thin layers to your face. This way, you can apply it effortlessly and build up your preferred amount of coverage slowly. This type of application is much simpler than using liquid formulas and ensures minimal mess.

Suggested Article: Find the Perfect Foundation for your Skin Undertone & These are the Best Foundations for Women: Over 40’s Skin in 2020.


Looks such as a smoky eye is simply far too complicated to applicate during a commute. However, if you feel like brightening up your eyes with some colour, opt for an eyeshadow stick rather than a powder formula.

A cream, stick eyeshadow is your best bet on the go. Using this formula ensures that there’s no need to pack extra brushes for the application.  This will glide smoothly onto the lids and can be blended out easily with your fingertips. Just swipe, then gently soften it and layer until you get the vibrancy and finish that you prefer.

woman applying eyeshadow on the tube during her commute.

Suggested Article: How To Wear Bright Eyeshadow With Confidence.


Achieving the perfect brows on the go can seem like a rather daunting task. Your brows are the feature that makes the biggest difference to the face when groomed. But don’t worry, there is a way to do this easily on the go.

To tame and groom your brows, pack a brow gel rather than a brow pencil or powder. This product will allow you to get brow definition without having to worry about messing up your brows.

Just glide it over your brows to cover up any sparse areas. Doing so will instantly make you look more pulled together.

Suggested Article: How To Groom Each Eyebrow Type.


Applying eyeliner on a moving vehicle is almost a recipe for disaster. It requires a lot of attention and is hard enough to get right even when you aren’t in motion.

Any mistakes made can be tough to erase, making it a major no-no for commuting. But if you still want to define your eyes a bit, there’s an easier way to do it. Instead, use an angled brush and some dark brown or black eyeshadow. Pat the brush into the product and apply it in small dabs as close to the lash line as possible until you create a line across the lid. This will give the illusion of more defined eyes without the need for eyeliner, with less room for mistakes. However, if you do make any mistakes, this is a lot easier to correct. Build up the intensity bit by bit by building the pigment of the shadow by layering it on.

woman applying lipstick whilst on a train on her commute.


Blush is essential to give that healthy flush of colour to your cheeks. But, choose a cream blush formula rather than a powder for your commute. This can be easily applied with your fingertips without you having to pack an extra brush to apply it with. Dab the product gently onto the apples of your cheeks and blend it out easily to evenly spread the colour.

So, make sure you choose a seamlessly blendable formula. Doing so ensures more control and allows you to apply it more evenly.

Suggested Article: The Best Blush for Your Skin Tone and Face Shape.


It’s all too easy to fall victim to the injury of a mascara wand on moving transportation. 

But, it is still possible to give your lashes a lift without injuring yourself if you apply it with caution. Opt for travel-sized mascara with a compact comb so you are less likely to end up with mascara on your eyelids. It also gives extra precision, so you are less likely to poke your eyes.

woman applying mascara whilst on the train, during her commute.


There’s nothing worse than smearing a bright lipstick over your face as a moving vehicle comes to a sudden stop. So, go for sheer shades rather than bright shades.

Bright colours tend to show any mistakes whereas more natural shades can be more forgiving in case you hit a bump. It will also be easier to clean up an unruly lipstick smear in a lighter shade.

red haired woman applying makeup on tube during her commute.

When to Apply What

This is arguably the most important thing to know when doing your makeup on a commute. Products such as blushes, eyeshadow, and lipstick can be applied when the vehicle is moving as they don’t need as much precision. However, some products can be a lot harder to apply and also correct if a mistake is made. This includes eyeliner and mascara. So, try and apply these products when the vehicle comes to a halt to ensure you don’t mess up the makeup or hurt yourself.

How to Apply the Products

Apply in Short Strokes

Applying the products in shorter strokes, during a commute, makes it more difficult for you to make a mistake. This will also give you better control against bumps. Remember to layer the products gradually to build colour and definition to avoid applying too much.

Rest Your Arms on a Surface

If you are able to get a seat on the mode of transport you commute on, try and rest your hands on the table or armrest. This will allow you to have better control when applying your makeup and keep your hands steadier in case of a bump or sudden halt.

two women holding makeup products whilst on the tube.

Use Your Fingers

Ensure your hands are nice and clean first, before using your fingers to apply your makeup. When applying makeup on a bumpy commute, your fingers can provide more stability and extra precision compared to a brush.

What to Avoid

Avoid Using Sprays in Public

If you really need a little scent boost, take a little roll on perfume with you. Apply this on your pulse points such as your wrist and neck to keep you smelling nice and fresh. Never spritz a spray in public as there may be people around you who have allergies.

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