BISC Vol. 3: If you could start your blog all over again…

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Beauty Influencer's Sunday Column 3

If you could start your blog all over again, what would you do differently?

RAE | Canada | the Notice: a beauty blog
If I could start my blog all over again, I’d skip the first few years of terrible product photos! And I’d start on WordPress this time, tagging everything extensively, so that none of my old posts would be weighed down by unchangeable Blogger styling and old posts would be easier to find. Day to day, however, I think it would be run much the same as it is right now — it would just have a better archive.

SARA | Germany | Color Me Loud
This is a hard question because I am not blogging for a such long time (less than 2 years). I believe I would invest in a light box a little earlier than later. I am still struggling to find the right lighting for product and portrait photography. Since my lights are not bright enough, it takes longer to edit the photos. I have just installed a new banner this summer. I wish I could have done it before because it changes the website a lot. But the most important of them all, I would write PR of the companies before the first year is over. I always waited for the right moment, the right page hits etc. only to find out much smaller/newer blogs keep the available slots occupied. Another thing I would do would be starting with social media as early as possible, because it takes time to build it up. But whatever you do, do things you like because it is your hobby and not a job.


MELISSA | Switzerland | Kiss & Make-up
I’d probably think things through a lot better. When I started my blog I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. It was so cringe… My lay-out was a nightmare, my photos were embarrassingly bad and I just basically had no idea what having a beauty blog really meant. Of course over the years I learned a lot and I’m very happy with where I stand now with the blog, but if I could do it all over again I’d definitely do more research before launching myself as a beauty blogger and I’d try to approach it all a lot more professionally and less than a hobby.

LAARNI | Philippines | Xoxo Laarni
This is a funny question because I already started my blog all over again. My #1 reason was my old blog’s niche was too broad. It was running for five years but I eventually got tired of it. Also, it was penalized by Google because of sponsored posts so buying a new domain name was my best option.


KRISTEN | USA | Glambunctious
I’d focus on spending money on products that are exciting to me, even if they aren’t new to the market, and not go broke trying to keep up with every new release.  There’s no sense in spending so much money on each new collection when there are already blogs upon blogs that cover these releases that receive the items gratis from PR.  I also started out posting 7 times per week which quickly became exhausting (blogging is not my full-time job).  I decided to only post when I was inspired and that decision has led to 2 years of happiness!

JAA | USA/Thailand | Hello Jaa
I’d start experimenting with portrait studio lighting sooner. My older posts would have been more complete. I’d also make sure to choose a layout that accommodates larger picture size because I believe larger photos create higher impact. Another thing would be to tell myself to not be shy and connect with other bloggers sooner! It is more fun to have someone with the same interest to talk to and you just learn so much from them! Last thing would be to implement a Pin It button on all my photos right away because Pinterest is among the top three social networks that drive traffic to my blog the most.

[ Interested in joining the BISC Network? Send your request to jaa(at) ]

The pros and cons of mobile & responsive sites, themes, and blogs: Love ’em or hate ’em?

Friday, May 31, 2013

theNotice on phone vs laptop

In today’s smartphone-armed world, readership numbers for non-computer devices are going up, up, up. As a blogger, I feel a certain amount of pressure to put together a mobile theme for theNotice; as a reader, however, I really don’t want to.

Have you ever noticed… that if you read theNotice on your phone, the striped background automatically gets cut off? And, if you double-tap the body text (which is also the same width as the images), the text is still totally readable?

Yeah. Designed with me you in mind.

I get the feeling that I’m the exception rather than the norm on this one, but here are a few of the things I love (and hate!) about mobile sites and responsive themes.

MABB vs Beautezine blogs

Makeup and Beauty Blog vs Beautezine: two great beauty blogs with very different responsive themes

Responsive Themes

Responsive themes (which are much, much more common for independently-run blogs) display the same content as the desktop site, but switch over to a different layout depending on what kind of device you’re viewing it from. I have a lot (too many!) thoughts on them, so I’ll leave you to a bit of point-form:

The pros

  • Faster load time
  • Better text scaling
  • Single-column
  • Homepages typically load only the title & featured image of a post

Responsive mobile vs desktop theme

A cross-platform example of a recipe from the BBC’s Food section: Gingerbread Biscuits on a desktop site, a mobile site, and a desktop site as viewed on a mobile device. 

The cons

  • Sites can get “stuck” on one theme 
  • No zooming in on those tiny images!
  • Default themes are boring and (let’s admit it, they totally are) kind of unsightly 
  • Square ads take up a lot of your screen real estate
  • “Sticky” banner ads frequently glitch when scrolling
  • Single-column layout pushes sidebars, search bars, and widgets to the bottom
  • Swipe-happy themes often interpret scrolling as a desire to go forward/back a post… or maybe that’s just me and my short thumbs.

Mobile layouts kind of suck

Awkward ads, bottom-of-the-page search bars, and stuck-on-mobile sites

Mobile Sites

Unlike a responsive layout, a mobile site is separate from a web version — meaning that, for a blog, you’ll often not see recent material until the mobile site gets updated, too.

H&M mobile site example

H&M’s desktop vs. mobile sites

Keep reading! »

Tips for Beauty Bloggers | Don’t forget about colour management!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Did you know that around 35% of computer users browse the internet on Chrome? And in some cases, of that 35%, exactly zero are viewing the same image that you spent so long getting internet-ready: Chrome doesn’t fully colour manage, and there’s no add-on or extension you can download to get it to do so.

Colour profiles

Above image: a Chrome-friendly rendition of YSL’s Spring creme blushers

Below image: what happened the first time I uploaded this image to theNotice!

There’s no perfect fix for this problem, I’m afraid, but it’s a good thing to keep in mind. Colour management lets users see more or less the same colours in an image despite differences in colour profiles, devices, etc., so when a fair few of your readers are seeing something totally different from what you’re seeing —

Well, you might want to double-check your colour settings when you save!

P.S. This is a great page for checking your browser for colour-management!

Bronzed skin & bright summer lids, plus a ramble about reviews vs straight-up editorials

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I did lightly bronzed skin and bright, shimmery lids for this past She Said Beauty look, and I kind of love how the photos turned out – you know those days when the sun’s just right and everything looks really good? It was one of those days, which are kind of fabulous all around. I mean, my face just looks like my face, and the makeup (while I love that Eye Dust) is nothing special, but– the lighting, you guys.

[ //break: momentary pause for photography geeks to have a bit of a flail ]

Of course, since then we’ve had nothing but clouds (literally; it’s been days on end and nada), and I’m getting vaguely concerned about if when the sun’s going to come back. But that’s Edmonton for you, right?

The ramble about editorials

Anyhow; I wanted to share a link to the tutorial & talk a bit about the products used – I don’t like getting really in-depth about them when doing contributor posts elsewhere, because I feel it’s a bit unprofessional (hi, you hired me for a tutorial, but actually I’m just going to use lots of exclamation points about brands that most of your readers won’t be able to buy anyways), so I tend to ramble on about the products on theNotice, instead.

There’s something to be said for reviews, of course, but I like reading stream-of-consciousness posts about products as well. I think it helps to get snapshot takes on different products, and I feel like you often get a better picture of what someone actually uses on a day to day basis after the fact — is (s)he still using it a month after the review? Two? What about a year later?

The products

Okay. Let’s start off with Marcelle LUX Eye Dust in Go-Violet. I haven’t reviewed Go-Violet yet (it’ll happen eventually, I hope), but I’m rather fond of it. It’s on the sheer side; more of a shimmering violet glow than a pigmented, sharp-edged shade. The shade and shimmer make it lovely for summer, if you ask me, and perfect if you’re just starting to integrate colour into your makeup – it’s a great, bright shade; easy to blend and just generally hard to mess up.

Then there’s Senna Eye Color in Arabesque; I’ll more or less hold off on this one because it didn’t really show up on film. Gorgeous in real life, though – just a dot in the inner corners. It’s part of the Mod Muse collection, and it’s sort of peachy with some very cool, almost chunky gold shimmer.

On the cheeks, I was wearing Lise Watier Bronzing Powder in Summer Sunset – and, okay, this is pretty much the entire reason why I’m writing this post. I’m not a huge bronzer fan (not by a long shot), but I think this one has my heart this Summer season. I’ll review it soon, and you can see more photos of it here, but — just, wow. It’s luminous, gorgeous, and just the right shade.

Finally, a quick nod to Clarins Gloss Prodige in Candy. These were launched with the Spring Colour Breeze collection, but I’ve yet to get around to reviewing the glosses – they’re permanent, so I’m not in a huge rush. Candy made me think of something syrupy, like honey or agave nectar, and not just because of the name. The glosses are on the heavy side, with a sweet scent, but I’m not yet sure if those are good things or bad things! The shade definitely gets a huge thumbs-up from the peanut gallery, though; it’s going to be perfect for Spring and Summer this year.

Anyhow – I’ll cut myself off here (five hundred words and quite possibly nothing of note; not exactly a paragon of self-restraint), but I hope you enjoyed the ramble!

{ Read the bronzed + bright post & tutorial here. }

Tips for beauty bloggers: Let’s talk curves.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Photoshop kind, not the body kind. (But hey, if you want to talk humans-with-curves in the comments, you go right ahead. The world could use a little less skinny ’round here! Just keep it PG-13, you hear?)

Long story short, I’ve been working on a Clinique Quickliner Intense review, and I’m halfway done, but I’m really, really tired. So, you’ll have to wait until Tuesday for that, but this: this, you can have now.

A sad, lonely, unedited March snowfall photo.

The basics

This isn’t actually an in-depth curves tutorial; rather, I feel like I need to periodically remind people that they exist. They’re ridiculously easy (and ridiculously handy), and can be used in anything from vignetting, to increasing contrast and brightening up photos, to doing that hipster-faded thing.

Curves – brighter (think of it like a screen layer), darker (think of it like a multiply layer).

Unless you’ve gone and inverted your axes, pulling the curve upwards is going to add brightness, an S curve is going to increase contrast, and pulling the curve downwards will increase shadows. Dragging the endpoints inwards will add a more harsh change; think of it as brightening or darkening the shadows, rather than the midpoints. A curve in which the lower point is farther from the x=y line than the upper point will decrease contrast, doing that old-photograph thing that people seem to be into at the moment.

Curves – more contrast; less.

Keep reading! »

Airbrushing eye looks | taming brows, erasing dark circles, and perfecting your eye makeup

Monday, August 8, 2011

Before you ask, yes, I will eventually get around to discussing how to take eye of the day photos. For now, though, I hope this Photoshop how-to will suffice!

At twelve minutes and a bit, I don’t think it’s too terribly long, but in case you need some persuading to watch, here’s what it covers:

  • How to Photoshop a portfolio-ready eye shot
  • Perfecting brows by hand (and cleaning up stray hairs with the healing brush)
  • Creating depth with the burn tool
  • Erasing dark circles

But I’m sure you didn’t really need that extra convincing, right? ;)

Wait! Before you go – any interest in learning how to draw in false lashes? I’d be more than happy to do a quick (five-minutes-or-less, I promise) tutorial on creating the perfect fringe of lashes, just let me know!

As always, thanks for watching, reading, and commenting :)

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