Makeup is supposed to be a fun form of self-expression.

Makeup should not be stressful.

You know what is stressful? Already running late for a night out on the town and attempting for the first time winged eyeliner that you saw a makeup guru do on YouTube and she made it look so easy and it is NOT easy and now you have eyeliner all over your eyelid and you look like a lopsided pirate and …

Deep breath.

Like anything else, mastering makeup techniques takes practice. Very few of us will be able to rock winged eyeliner or a smoky eye on the first try.

Maybe your life is more exciting than mine, but I don't have occasion to rock dramatic eye makeup on a daily basis. (Though, to be fair, I wear smoky eye makeup whether I have occasion to or not.) And that means it can be hard to get the needed practice to build winged-eyeliner confidence.

The best time to practice a new makeup technique is when you have all the time in the world, and nowhere to be. So, not before work or a date or a night out.

Practice before bed.

Seriously! You're about to wash your face anyway, so who cares if you look like a lopsided pirate when you're done?

Pick the look you'd like to master, and attempt it every night before bed for a week. Not only will you get the technique down pat, you'll be able to execute the look quickly — even better for those times when you're running late.

"But wait!" you say. "I don't want to waste all my good makeup on practice!"

I hear you, friend. My No. 1 eyeliner recommendation is the stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner. It is magical unicorn eyeliner. It is also $22!

So save that for the real night out. For practice sessions, try something like e.l.f. Expert Eyeliner. It isn't as black as the stila, and in my experience it won't stay all day, but it's smooth to apply and great for practicing winged liner. And it's only $2! You won't mind washing it off after only a few minutes.

Alison Smith reminds you to have fun with your makeup! And that practice makes perfect. Got a burning beauty question? Email