5 Everyday Habits You Need to Stop Doing in Public

So you’re running out the door and notice you chipped a nail and plan on fixing said nail en route to work in your daily carpool. But before opening the bottle, it’s important to know that the smell of nail polish can be nauseating to some. “Painting nails is part of our grooming and we should not be doing things that pertain to grooming in public,” says Elaine Swann, lifestyle and etiquette expert. “In addition, the smell of the nail polish itself can be offensive to others and we always want to be mindful that we’re not doing something that can offend someone else.” Besides, an hour at the nail salon is so much more relaxing than painting on the go.

Trying on clothes outside of the dressing room

There are certain rules you should follow when it comes to trying on clothes at a store. According to Swann, outer garments like sweaters, coats, and shawls are perfectly fine to try on out in the open, but it gets a little dicey when it comes to say, a pair of shorts or a blouse. If you’re going to wear the garment directly on your skin as your first layer, you’re better off heading to the dressing room to make sure it fits properly. Accidentally flashing the cashier is mortifying and you definitely don’t want to spend $100 on a shirt that you halfway tried on only to get home and realize it’s too big. (Of course, if you’re at a sample sale, all bets are off.)

Putting your purse on the table

Think of all the dirty places that you leave your purse throughout the day like the coffee shop floor, for instance. The bottom of your bag is probably crawling with germs—germs that you certainly don’t want to transfer to your kitchen table, countertops, couch, or even bed. Yes, it’s easy to throw your bag on the kitchen counter or dining room table after walking in the door, but don’t. Sling your purse on the back of a chair, on a hook, or on a designated side table, says Swann.

Clipping your nails

Any grooming activity that involves removing your DNA, i.e. clipping your nails or plucking your eyebrows, should really be done in the privacy of your own home. However, Swann realizes that certain situations arise when you’re on-the-go and just don’t have time to primp yourself in private. Maybe you’re on a red eye cross-country flight and need to pluck a few stray brow hairs before a big business meeting, or perhaps your man forgot to clean up his nails before your grandparent’s 50th anniversary party. If you’re desperate, head to a bathroom. Whatever you do, don’t just go at it in the middle of a mall. “The key is to be mindful of the people around you and to not leave such a huge footprint,” says Swann. “Clean up after yourself once you’re done.”

Picking your nose

“That’s an absolute no,” says Swann. Resist the urge to stick a figure up your nostril and use a tissue instead. It’s not only completely disgusting, but picking your nose can actually be harmful too. And no, there’s no such thing as picking your nose discretely in public.

Re-applying makeup

When and where you apply or re-apply your makeup makes all the difference when it comes to proper etiquette. For example, if you’re waiting for the check at a restaurant, it’s completely fine to re-apply your lipstick or lip gloss, but anything more, like mascara or powder, should be done in the bathroom. If you’re riding on public transportation on your way to work, Swann believes it’s permissible to apply most makeup products like you would at home. “As long as you keep your space contained, then knock yourself out,” she says. “It’s what our world looks likes today.” Just be careful that you don’t accidentally put lipstick on your cheek, or poke out an eye with your mascara wand, should the train or bus come to a sudden stop.

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