It’s been a while since I did a behind the scenes post, so I thought I’d share what goes into a beauty blog post.
Why don’t I review more products? Well, putting together a beauty blog is a lot of work! Let’s look at the steps that go into putting together a product review.
Step 1: Deciding What to Buy
Because I am not a beauty influencer and do not have a big enough audience to get on promo lists, I have to buy every piece of makeup I review. That means I try to make intelligent purchases and stick with things that seem really interesting, likely to be good, or completely different from what I already have.
That’s why you’ll basically only see me reviewing things like foundation and concealer when I have to replace something I’ve run out of. I can’t justify trying dozens of different complexion products in a single year!
In order to decide what to buy, I read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and keep an eye on new releases at Sephora or from my favorite brands. Then I choose one or two colors that appeal to me and are either completely different from what I already have, or are similar to something I enjoy wearing but might be a better formula.
Step 2: Buying Products
Now that I live in WA, it’s easier for me to order things online. When I was in AZ I wouldn’t place many online orders during the summer because I didn’t want to get melty lipstick! Even so, when possible I do like to actually go to Sephora and look at things in person, so I can see if it really seems worth purchasing, and swatch a few shades to see what I like best, and see if anything catches my eye that I hadn’t noticed online. Likewise, sometimes I like to cruise through the beauty section of Target or Fred Meyer to see what’s new from the drug store brands.
I get free shipping at Sephora, so it’s easy for me to order just one product. For brands that either don’t offer free shipping, or have a higher minimum to get free shipping, I will often wait either for a sale, or for a big product launch, so I can order several things at once to review and make it more worth my while.
Step 3: Testing Products
Because this is “Beauty Blogging for Belly Dancers”, as much as possible I like to test products under dance conditions, which means either wearing them at a performance or to class. In the past sometimes I would wear them for a long home practice, but I currently practice at 7am and I am NOT getting up early enough to put on a face of makeup for that!
This means that sometimes things don’t get tested as thoroughly as I would like, especially if I’m in a performance slump and/or my classes are on vacation, such as around the holidays.
This is an area I’d like to improve in. If I can be more strategic about what products I wear when I do my makeup, then I can get several reviews worth of material out of one face of makeup. I’d also like to get more thorough by wearing products multiple times — so for instance, trying a lip product with a liner, without a liner, layered over products, eating a meal, wearing all day, instead of just wearing it for one performance and judging it on those conditions.
Step 4: Taking Pictures
So many pictures! There have been times when I’ve been unable to review a product because although I wore it and tested it, I forgot to take any pictures of myself wearing it, or the pictures that I did take were terrible.
An ideal review will have at least one image of the product (sometimes multiples, such as one of a liquid lipstick in the box it comes packaged in, one out of the box, and one showing the applicator), at least one picture of me wearing it, sometimes an “after” picture if I experienced significant wear or it lasted without budging, and a swatch. That’s assuming that I am basing the review on a single wear. And of course, if I’m reviewing a palette, ideally I’ll have photos of multiple eye looks, to demonstrate as many of the colors as possible.
Step 5: Write the blog!
A beauty blog isn’t much good without words, so I have to sit down and do some writing. Sometimes this involves hunting down information such as whether the product is limited edition, vegan, cruelty free, made in USA, etc. If I’ve heard some negative buzz about the company, I may do some research on that as well to see if I feel like there’s something I should warn my readers about.
Step 6: Add Affiliate Links
Hopefully the product is available from a site that gives a MagicLinks commission, so I can try to make a little money from my review. I’ll find the product on the site and link to it. When possible I make sure to get a link to the exact color I purchased to make it easy for my readers to get the same thing.
Note: When a product is limited edition I’ll often look for the link ahead of time, because if it’s sold out everywhere, there’s no real point to reviewing it! But I still add the links as the sixth step, so it’s listed here.
Step 7: Post and Promote!
I either post immediately, or if I’m writing ahead, schedule it to go up on Thursday morning. Then I make sure to share it across my social media — at a minimum, my FB fan page and Twitter, but if I feel like it’s a really awesome product or people had been asking me about it, I’ll also share on my personal FB profile. I’ll also usually tease it on Instagram.
The best beauty blog of the month will go into my newsletter, too.
Step 8: Clean Up
Now it’s time to wash the swatches off of my arms, wipe up the glitter spilled on the sink, and put all my products away.
Now you know what goes into a beauty blog!
So if you’ve ever wondered why I only post these once a week, that’s why. It takes hours to put a post together, plus I have a limited makeup budget to work with.
If there’s any specific products you’d really like my opinion on, especially in the upcoming holiday launches, let me know and I’ll keep an eye out to add them to my collection.