Subscribe to Style Magazine

Beauty Etiquetter: Applying Makeup In Public; Do, Or Don’t?


Beauty Etiquetter is a new column on Beauty Counter in which we address your beauty protocol predicaments with candid advice from industry experts and those in-the-know. To submit a question, email celia

The Quandary: It is impolite to touch up your lipstick when you’re at dinner or drinks? How can I reapply it discretely?

The Expert In Residence: Jemma Kidd, makeup artist and founder of Jemma Kidd cosmetics

The Advice: “Reapplying makeup in public can be tricky—and the line between acceptable touch-ups and over-the-top applications is a fine one. The safest bet is to
excuse yourself to the ladies room where you have access to a mirror and proper lighting. But if that’s not an option, quickly take out a small compact mirror and swipe on your lipstick followed by a dab of gloss in the center for an easy, polished look. If there’s no mirror in sight, a camera phone can act as a mirror, too. But my preference is to ensure that touch-ups are minimal, or even unnecessary all together. It’s all about the prep work: start by dabbing foundation over smoothly exfoliated lips and outline your mouth with a matching waxy lip liner to prevent any bleeding. Fill in your lips with a pencil, working it into any creases with a small brush, to act as a base to hold your lipstick in place. Then paint on the lip color with a fine brush for precision, starting in one corner and working inward. Blot with a tissue, apply another coat for extra staying power and finish with a touch of gloss.”

Photo: Luca Cannonieri /



  1. venuzbeauty says:

    I just think its rude and disgusting to groom or retouch anything in public. Plus, it destroys the magic. You see women on the train all the time tossing their hair and taking out make-up brushes. The public arena is niether your bedroom or bathroom. Do your prep work, do it well and wear it with confidence and touch up in places that are appropriate.

  2. styleninja123 says:

    I’m in total agreement. It ain’t enough if you got great make-up ladies, get your etiquette right and you’re good to go.

    - Stylists @

  3. disneyrollergirl says:

    Well, sometimes I have no choice but to do my Touche Eclat on the go. Is that wrong??!

Beauty Insider