How To Apply Your Makeup In A Moving Vehicle Without Getting It Everywhere Other Than The Intended Targets

Get gorgeous results and avoid grabbing strangers' privates with these tips.

There’s always that one woman on the subway, expertly lining her eyes, powdering her face, curling her hair--where did she find an outlet on the R train?! Even though the car is violently shaking back and forth and all the directions in between back and forth, she’s unfazed, making it seem as easy as doing it at the bathroom mirror.

We actually have a good friend like this; she boards her train completely barefaced every morning, and 20 minutes later, she emerges from the murky depths looking like a steady-handed makeup artist took the ride with her.

After years of commuting between Brooklyn and Manhattan, we’ve more or less mastered doing our makeup in vehicles. But it took time. As we’ve learned from several embarrassing experiences (like Runa dropping her mascara on an already grumpy woman’s shoe or accidentally streaking her liner on the subway window--still not sure how that happened), it’s definitely not as easy as those motion-insensitive freaks make it look.

We’ll give you a rundown on how we mastered the moving makeover. But first, Runa, who is clearly the clumsier twin, is going to tell you a story.

It was a cold, bleak, dark, drab, rainy, depressing day.

Ru, STFU and tell them about how you’re a subway groper.

Ugh, fine, Pia. I was squeezed into the train, and despite being barely able to move, I decided I just had to put on eyeliner before I arrived at work. One thing about being an Indian chick: leaving the house without eyeliner on is like forgetting your medication--you think about it all day, itching to put it on, compulsively looking in the mirror feeling everyone’s eyes on yours. Anyway, I reached into my bag and managed to grab my mirror and eye pencil, and I positioned myself in such a way that I felt like I’d be able to draw a quick line on both eyes.

I had one eye down and one to go when all of a sudden the train jerked to a stop. I wasn’t prepared. The next thing I knew, I was falling forward, reaching for something, anything to stop me from eating subway floor. (Do you know where that floor has been?! The subway!) I lost my balance trying not to drop everything, but I failed big-time, and what did I grab?

Some dude’s crotch.

I was so embarrassed that, after mumbling an apology, I took my one lined eye and switched to another car. The guy found it funny (or arousing), but I was mortified.

Moral of the story: master the tips we’re about to tell you before you end up accidentally molesting an innocent bystander. You’re trying to look cute, not get arrested. Secondary moral: If you do have to reach for a pole, make sure it’s the metal kind, not flesh.

And now for those tips.

  • Carry products that have built-in mirrors so you won’t have to juggle too many things. (This was a key element in Runa’s horrifying experience.)
  • If you have the opportunity to apply anything at home, let it be foundation. You’ll have better lighting there, and you’ll avoid spilling skin-colored liquid where someone else recently spilled their urine. If you’ve got to do foundation in a train, bus or backseat, opt for a buildable powder foundation like Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi Use Powder Foundation.
  • Use a shadow pencil to swipe on eye color. We love NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil or Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Shadow Pencil. Just swipe on color and blend with your pinky. For liner, we find that the fatter the stick, the more control you have, and the less likely you are to badly injure yourself. Kohl liner blends easily, so if you make a mistake, all you have to do is smudge it into a smoky eye. Try Sephora’s Smoky Kohl Eyeliner.
  • For lips, start with a clear lip liner like Maybelline Color Sensational. This will help prevent subsequent lip color from moving all over the damn place. Keep a balm-stain combo handy (our fave: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Lip Balm Stain). First, swipe it on, and then tap with your pinky to remove the excess. This gives your lips a sheer tint that, unlike your boobs on a bouncy train, will stay put.
  • And for the grand finale, mascara. We save this for last, mostly because we find it to be the most daunting. How to not get it on a subway window? Stay away from a subway window. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting down, rest your elbow on your knee to give yourself some stability. Then, comb your wand through your lashes, wiggling back and forth from base to tip. If you’re standing, bring one arm across your body and rest the elbow of the hand that you’re applying your mascara with on it. Go for one with a small wand for more control like Benefit They’re Real! Mascara.

Let us know if putting these tips into practice helped prevent you from getting arrested!