As I was watching Teen Mom 2 earlier tonight (don’t judge!), I watched one of the young mothers struggling over the decision about whether or not to let her ex back into her and her child’s life. A weighty decision indeed – but I couldn’t focus on that drama at all, because all I could do was stare at the AWFUL daytime smoky eye she had fashioned on herself. The smoky eye is just one of those things, something everyone loves but few wear correctly. And when you’re wearing such a dramatic look it’s even MORE important that you pay attention to the who, what, where, and how of the situation! This beautiful shoot from the January issue of Vogue Italia is a stunning example of a perfect smoky eye. And here are some tips to get you all on the same path:

1. PREP! When wearing a heavy amount of a dark shadow it is imperative that you take measures to allow the product to go on smoothly and stay there. Start with a clean face, follow with either a shadow primer (like Urban Decay’s Shadow Potion) or if you’d prefer to skip the primer – at LEAST swipe a bit of translucent powder across your lid. We all produce some amount of oil on our eyelids, and if you put the shadow directly onto a bare lid the color will go on unevenly. Translucent powder will help to avoid that. Another great use for your translucent powder is as a protective layer underneath the eye. Dust it on quite heavily under the bottom lash area, and it will help to catch the “fallout” of dark shadow without destroying your foundation.

2. PLACEMENT! One of the fatal mistakes of our poor little Teen Mom was the placement of her shadow. I would say 3/4 of the shadow had been placed outside the outer corner of her eye. I understand your logic here ladies, I really do – but trust me, while slightly extending your eye makeup out CAN make your eyes appear larger – doing it to that extreme just makes you look silly (Hello Jerseylicious makeup artist – are you listening??!). If you take a pencil and line it up from your nostril to the corner of your eye, the smoky eye should generally fall within a few millimeters of the outer side of that pencil.

3. TIMING! For the love of Jeebus! PLEASE ladies, DON’T wear a jet black enormous smoky eye before 4pm. It’s just too much. You will look overdone and overzealous. Try a smoky eye in a soft Taupe like MAC’s Charcoal Brown, or soft and subtle gray like DuWop’s Pewter shadow.

4. BLEND! This is by far the most important step in a good smoky eye. Always start your brush in the area where you want the heaviest concentration of color and then blend out. And just when you think you’ve blended enough … take out a clean brush and retrace the perimeter of the eye once more.