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Scene Stealing: What's With Today's Public Displays of Makeup Application?

From on-the-go lipstick application to far less savoury public-grooming practices, Liza Herz considers beauty etiquette, motivation and ramifications.
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Elizabeth Taylor_lip touch ups

While I was icking out over a certain five-hour flight in which a seat neighbour spent almost the full trip ridding herself of grey hair (and a considerable number of darks), our Liza Herz was working on a thought-provoking beauty story for Fashion Magazine.

Viviane leigh applying lipstick

"Bird-in-hand, a 1950s brass makeup compact inspired by Salvador Dali, is a holy grail among collectors," Liza begins in "Open Door Policy," which appears in the current issue of Fashion. "With its hidden compartments for powder and lipstick, the case recalls an era when applying makeup in public meant displaying a tasteful objet d'art, a ritual designed to attract male attention as one discreetly powdered and primped. Well, those days are gone. Public makeup application has strayed far from its seductive origins."

Lucy retouches lipstick

It's possible I've acquired a reputation for doing my makeup in the back of taxis. I do. A lot. I used to apply makeup on the TTC, but always felt uncomfortable about it -- I prefer the sense of "privacy" I feel in a cab.

As far as any seductive agenda goes, I do my makeup as I'm enroute to an appointment simply because that's usually when I'm not typing something on my laptop. And, although I've featured British makeup artist Lisa Eldridge's in-flight facial routine, I won't go as far as a complex, in-seat skin-primp on a long flight unless the lights are down and most people around me are asleep. Okay, I've done a quick peel in a cab, but I'm unlikely to do that again.

Not that I'm on the defensive after having read Liza's article. *grin*

Along with the PSA video below, our beautygeek mentions several other in-public grooming practices that are bigger infractions of good taste, examines why some of us do what we do, and comes to the unsurprising conclusion that some things are better behind closed doors. Some things.

Pick up the winter issue of Fashion Magazine, have a look at "Open Door Policy," and tell us:

What primping can you live with seeing unfold in public? Do you indulge in beauty PDAs? And what do you think of the above vid?

If you like the black-and-white lipstick-application images in this post, see more here at And yup, I borrowed "public displays of application" from Liza's story in Fashion Magazine.