Credit: Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

We’ve all been there: Mid-way through a dinner or a night out we find ourselves staring in the bathroom mirror, horrified at the streaky state of the eye makeup that had looked so flawless when we stepped out for the evening. While the hot mess happening on our lids might seem like a lost cause, there is a simple solution to keep shadow in place for the long haul.

Enter eye shadow primer: The oft-overlooked product is an important extra step that’s worth including in your makeup routine. Using a primer will guarantee that a smoky or shimmery eye will stay in place for hours—but only when it’s used correctly. We turned to Urban Decay’s artist-in-residence Amanda Rodriguez for application tips.

Keep the Application Light
With primer, less is always more. Rodriguez recommends using your ring finger to add a thin layer (try bareMinerals Prime Time Eyelid Primer, $18; from your lash line to your brow bone. “Too much primer won’t dry down properly and can cause your eye makeup to slide around,” she explains.

Use it with Every Shadow
Whether you prefer a pressed or cream eye shadow formula, prepping your eyelid with a primer will enhance the product’s finish. Rodriguez also recommends using a primer before applying a shadow pencil like Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide On Pencil ($20; for a sultry, creamy effect.

It Works on More Than Just Eyelids
While shadow primer lives up to its name by priming your eyelids for makeup, its powers extend to under-eyes and brows, too. Rodriguez uses Urban Decay’s Anti-Aging Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($24; beneath concealer to prevent it from turning cakey, and also daubs it on eyebrows before applying a brow pencil or gel.