Sometimes, possibly many times, ten minutes on the top deck of the bus has to take the place of hours perfecting your visage at your dressing table. This presents several challenges: not only are your skills going to have to do battle with those of the overeager driver of the number 8, speeding to get back for their tea, but your make-up routine is also going to have to withstand the scrutiny of your fellow passengers. That means no plucking, no filing and probably no doing that face you usually pull when you're putting on your lipstick. Nobody wants to see that.
Make-up for the bus is almost like make-up for beginners. Well, in that everything is as quick and foolproof to use as possible, rather than you overdo it with your mum's blue eyeshadow. First job is to fix your base. Nothing liquid has a place on a moving vehicle, unless it's the contents of your emergency hipflask, so look for a pressed powder instead. Benefit's Hello Flawless powder foundation will do a good patch-up job if you got round to applying some foundation earlier in the day but also gives decent coverage if you elected for an extra two minutes in bed instead. Plus it has a mirror in the lid – a make-up on public transport essential.
The good folks at Jouer Cosmetics have also chosen to bless us with a mirror in their Cheek & Lip Tint. Available in eight different shades, this is the sophisticated alternative to the dabbing your lipstick on your cheeks trick. The tint is idiot proof: lightweight and easy to apply and, more importantly, it makes it easy to blend away any mistakes incurred when the driver suddenly breaks to avoid a wayward pedestrian.
Applying eye make-up is probably one of the most dangerous things you can do on public transport (yes, more so than not minding that gap). You don't want to be poking yourself in the eyes with sharp implements but neither do you want to find a smashed power shadow at the bottom of your bag. Enter Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes. Rounded for safety purposes (probably Clinique's primary concern), these sticks give a great wash of colour that can be used across your lid, while still being able to fit into your pencil case. Smudge with your fingers for a soft and dreamy look or, if you're on a particularly slow bus and/or feeling extra fancy, add definition with a second colour.
Pulling into a busy bus stop? Good. Here's when you seize the moment and apply the mascara. Eyelash curlers are definitely part of that ‘too much for public' category so you need to find an extra hard working mascara. L'Oreal's new Miss Manga mascara has a fantastically springy wand that can help add a bit of lift without the need for curlers. Plus, should you accidently poke it in your eye, it MIGHT hurt a little less than an inflexible wand (testing this theory not recommended).
Strong lipsticks are way too much hassle for the bus, unless smeared and slightly unstable is the look you are aspiring to. However, if you do want something a little bolder than the Jouer lip tint, try Rimmel's London Colour Rush Balm. It comes in a crayon-like form that makes doing your lips like doing colouring in. Apply one layer if you're the messier type, two layers if you're excellent at staying within the edges. There are eight colours to pick from, ranging from nude to as red as a London bus.
When all else fails, when you're running out the door with no time for all that kit, just make sure you grab a pot of Smith's Rosebud Salve, along with your door keys. This pretty pink-tinted balm is one of those do anything products. It'll add colour to your lips, but you can also try it on your lids for a bit of sheen or on your eyebrows for speedy grooming. Used sparingly, it's also fantastic at smoothing down any flyaway bits of hair and therefore hiding any clues you had to peg it down the road to catch that bloody bus in the first place.