There are certain skills in life that you could probably get by without (like learning how to poach an egg or knowing how to do a waterfall braid). But getting your eyeliner straight and even is pretty essential to daily life if you ask us—and also pretty damn tricky. So we polled the women we know who always have impeccably lined eyes for their best tips.

Using Primer
If smudgy or runny liner is a constant issue for you, try starting off with a little primer. Not only will it create a smoother surface for application, but it will also keep things in place as it wears.

Best Formulas for Them
Generally speaking, pencils & gel liners are easier to apply than liquids. So if you’re feeling a bit uncertain about your skills, reach for a more forgiving pencil first, and then you can work your way up to liquid liners.

Steady Their Elbows
Before you go in with your liner, find a flat surface to steady your elbows against and then draw. Stable arms equal steady lines. 

Relying on More Shades
Use a darker shade (like black or brown) along the upper lash line and don’t worry about making it perfect. Next, take a slightly lighter shade (like gray or bronze) and blend it along the top edge of the line you just drew to hide any unevenness. Note: You can also do this with eye shadow.

Work Backward
Instead of lining your eyes from the inner corners out, start with the end point and work your way in for better symmetry. This is especially key if you’re rocking a cat-eye look.

Use of Concealer to Clean Up
Though we instinctively reach for remover to fix mistakes, it tends to bleed into the surrounding makeup (which sometimes means having to start all over again). Use your concealer to do the job instead.

Replace Their Liners Regularly
Most pros recommend swapping out your liners every two months (if it’s a gel pot, as they tend to trap moisture and bacteria the easiest) or four to six months (if it’s liquid because they tend to dry out faster) and every year (if it’s pencil). Again, perhaps we should all just be using pencils.