Why Do People Care About Women Applying Makeup In Public?

Your alarm goes off at 6.30am but the prospect of getting out of bed seems far too troubling to actually do. You tell yourself five more minutes and you’ll hop in the shower…20 minutes longer in bed and you’ll have to remember to pack your makeup in your bag and you can just do it on the train.

The morning commute to work is never a fun one – no one dares flash a smile at anyone, the scent of coffee lingers around the people holding their travel mugs, and not to mention the daunting prospect of another 10 hours until you can change back into pyjamas and slippers. Anyway, never-mind everyone else because you need to focus on applying your mascara so you don’t poke yourself in the eye (again).

Encountering an on-the-go live makeup tutorial has become common practice on public transport nowadays, much to the dislike of many. If I had a second for every look of disgust I encountered applying my makeup on the train then I’d have enough time to apply a full face before leaving the house.

So why does this divide opinion so much? For many people, makeup is a part of the private process of getting ready that’s done before leaving the house. Some see it as the equivalent of brushing your teeth in public – you just wouldn’t do it. For other naysayers it is the idea of ruining the surprise that they don’t agree with. Applying makeup should be about enhancing your natural features with a little touch up, so if people see this enhancement in the making then does it ruin the point since they’ve seen how you looked before anyway?

Of course no one is willing to actually say this is the reason, instead they opt for the classic ‘that is so unhygienic!’. Understandably it could be a bit risky to apply mascara on a jiggly tube, train or bus when all around you people are coughing, sniffling and just making general disgusting human sounds. If you were to poke yourself in the eye with the sneeze-ful bacteria on the wand then you may regret not doing your makeup in the confines of your own sanitation. However, people are rarely admitted to hospital because they applied blusher on the tube.

In a modern day society we can’t still expect women to wake up looking flawless (despite what Beyonce tells you), so you’ll be quite naive to believe that the pimple-free, bold-eyed women with a perfect complexion have just rolled out of bed looking that way. Most people live fast-paced lives and so they see the 15 minute commute as a chance to spruce up their look – would you be as annoyed if they chose to brush their hair? Or if it was only a quick lipstick touch up, would that be okay?

Women are expected to look gorgeous and perfect, yet people don’t want to see the process of this happening. Is applying makeup shameful? If it bothers you that the woman opposite you is applying her makeup with a small little compact mirror and the steady hand of a surgeon fine, but don’t blame poor hygiene when the phone in your hand carries more bacteria than ten times her entire makeup bag. If you don’t agree with it then just don’t do it, but there’s no need to call other women out for it. There is enough judgement and criticism aimed at women already, we don’t need another one.