Make-up on the move

How to get your glam on the go
Getty Images

Sophie Beresiner

Beauty and style director at Buro 24/7

‘I apply my eyeliner one-handed, using my phone as a mirror’

Sophie Beresiner, 39, lives and works in London, and commutes to the office by train. She’s the beauty and style director at digital fashion/ beauty/lifestyle/culture hub Buro 24/7. Through her stylish mini make-up videos on Instagram Stories (@sophieberesiner), she’s coined the hashtag #makeuponthemove, which has 30,000 followers sharing commuter make-up tricks.

‘#makeuponthemove started off as a time-saving exercise. I’m always rushing in the morning (I’m not one of those people who lays out their clothes the night before). I’d chuck a bunch of beauty basics in my bag and use my phone as a mirror to apply them on the train to work. Then I thought that, as I’m a beauty editor, I’d InstaStories it. People seemed to love it, so now it’s become a regular habit – practical for me and popular with my followers!

I adapt my beauty routine to my journey. There are two train lines from my local station, both taking around 15 minutes to London. One has seats and tables, while the other is crammed, with standing-room only. Most days, I try to aim for the former, but when I don’t catch it, I have to make do on the packed one.

So, I grip my bag between my knees and hold my eyeliner tube in my teeth while I apply it one-handed, my phone in the other hand as a mirror. I try to balance as best as I can and I ignore any looks. Always ignore the looks! If I do manage to get a seat, I never put my make-up on the table for hygiene reasons. As for products, I chop and change all the time, chucking in my bag whatever I feel like using on that day.

My routine is all about speed and ease. I have one concealer buffing brush – IT Cosmetics Heavenly Luxe Dual Retractable Concealer Brush* – which I use for blending eyeshadow. The rest of my kit is made of multi-tasking, foolproof, portable buys. Just before I leave the house, I buff on Bare Minerals BarePro Performance Wear Powder Foundation in Aspen*: it takes seconds and means I can leave the biggest thing in my bag at home.

I don’t pack any other beauty-prep items – I’m a busy woman on the way to work! That said, I sometimes wish I had a tissue to correct eyeliner mistakes and mascara smudges. As for self-grooming, it’s a no-no on the train. I draw the line at tweezing, squeezing spots, brushing your hair and clipping or filing nails.

I can do most looks on the move, although I avoid a liquid lip. It needs to be precise, and can end up being messy when you’re trying to make it work while standing on a packed train. I’ve encountered countless eye-rolling situations and occasional audible sighs, but I’ve never had a direct negative reaction. The only times people have spoken to me is to say hello!’

My standing-room-only kit

Sabrina Etienne
Beauty advisor at Boots

‘I have 45 seconds at the train station to do both eyes’

Sabrina Etienne, 40, takes the train from her home in Upminster, Essex, to Westfield Stratford City, where she’s a majority of my make-up on the train, as most of my morning is spent trying to usher my teenagers out of the door to school and college.

‘I apply my base at home – either No7 Stay Perfect in Chestnut, or Fenty Pro Filt’r in 445* – which means I don’t have to carry large bottles in my bag.

Luckily, I always get a seat with a table on the train to work. My shift at Boots starts after the morning rush, and I have an easy, two-stop journey that takes about 45 minutes. I’m super-organised when it comes to my beauty routine. I keep two make-up bags in my tote: one for brushes and wipes; and the other for make-up (the only items that change are eyeshadow palettes and lipsticks).

Applying liquid eyeliner is my biggest challenge, as it needs a steady hand. I wait until the train stops at the next station, which gives me about 45 seconds to do both eyes. I love Soap & Glory Supercat Liquid Eyeliner Pen in Carbon Black Extreme, as it’s smooth and easy to use.

Most of the comments from fellow commuters are positive. People usually want to know which shade of lipstick I’m wearing and where they can buy it. That’s when I put on my work hat! Occasionally, someone will ask why I don’t get up earlier and do my make-up at home. And my answer is always: “It’s more fun on the train!”’

My on-the-go essentials

Sami-Jo Gittins
Sami-Jo Gittins
Life-coach and long-haul cabin crew for Virgin Atlantic

‘I do my make-up at 35,000 feet!’

Sami-Jo Gittins, 34, divides her time between life-coaching and working for Virgin Atlantic as long-haul cabin crew. She lives in Palma, Mallorca, and commutes to London several times a month.

‘My long-haul flights start at Gatwick, so I usually do my make-up on the short plane journey from my home in Palma to London – at 35,000 feet! This means I’m ready and in full uniform at the airport to crew a flight that can last from 7 to 13 hours.

I always hope for a window seat on my commute, as it gives me more privacy for applying my make-up. Plus, the fresh, bright, natural light makes it easier. Sometimes I feel a bit awkward doing it in front of people, so I wait until I’m in the airport toilets: the cubicles have sinks, which is handy, and some are quite spacious. I usually carry a hand sanitiser, to make sure I have clean hands for applying make-up.

When I’m working, I make time for touch-ups, which are particularly important before landing and stepping off the plane in our famous red heels and uniform. I was once caught out when we hit aggressive turbulence. The captain made an announcement for the crew to sit down immediately, but I was in the toilet cubicle and didn’t make it in time. My make-up spilled everywhere. It taught me to keep the toilet lid closed!

I have two make-up bags. The one with items for home use is very different from the one containing products for my work look (my sons don’t recognise me when I FaceTime them!). My work kit stays in my crew luggage, and I update it in Boots when I’m passing through the airport. I buy non-liquid alternatives to my favourites. For example, I use powder deodorant, powder foundation and pencil eyeliner rather than liquid.

One of my bugbears is that I’m forever losing my lip pencil, because I’m constantly on the move. I’d love it if someone invented a lipstick and lip pencil in one.’

My in-the-air must-haves



*Available in selected stores only.