What's a Beauty Swap? / Part I

If you're into blogs at all you've probably heard aboutt a little thing called beauty swapping by now. If you have, go ahead and scroll down to see what items I picked up in NYC to trade for my first swap. If you're still not sure what the hell I'm talking about, just keep reading :)

A swap is when two bloggers (or non-bloggers) agree to exchange cosmetics, candy, fashion, or lifestyle items bought in their respective countries/states, valued at the same price point.

For example, when Sarah from New Jersey makes an agreement with Mayra from Mexico that they will each spend $40 on makeup and candy. After collecting their items, each girl wraps them decoratively and writes a short note or letter to the other. Postage & packaging is paid separately from the agreed upon budget. Once each girl receives her package, she can blog about it and share it on her social media.

Where do you find people to swap with?

Well, you can either suggest a trade with any of your favorite bloggers by emailing them or you can join a Facebook group such as International Box Swap, where there are rules and regulations to the way you swap. 

How do you know what to buy your swap partner?

When it comes to buying things for a person you have never met, you should always do your best to communicate their wants and their style. For example, I just recently sent off my first swap package to a girl in the Netherlands. Before purchasing anything, I made sure to ask her what sort of items she was most interested. She told me she wanted some touristy items from New York, some candy, and cosmetics for a budget of 35 Euros (so, about $38). Another way to get to know the needs and wants of your new friend is to both fill out this form

Some general rules and tips of swapping: 

  • All items for swapping must be new and unused. Used items may only be sent as bonuses and must be approved by your swap partner.
  • The shipping fee is not included in your budget. When sending internationally, be sure to have at least $20 ready to spend for packaging and shipping.
  • Before purchasing/sending, make sure you've looked up the laws of what types of items you can send abroad. For example, you cannot send liquids such as full sized perfumes from USA to Europe. I've tried this twice before and had packages sent back both times.
  • It's a good idea to send a photo of your postage receipt and package to your new friend on the day you agreed to swap. If you're swapping via the Facebook group I mentioned above then this step is mandatory.

So, what did I buy for my new friend in the Netherlands?

From left: Birthday Cake Gourmet Gum $2, High Line Post Card $1.75, NYC Key Chain $5, Greenwich Village Scented Candle from Urban Outfitters $15, NYC nail polish $3.75, Burt's Bees Lip Crayon $9, Paper Straws $1, York Patty $1. Not pictured here: Ghirardelli Chocolates.

From left: Birthday Cake Gourmet Gum $2, High Line Post Card $1.75, NYC Key Chain $5, Greenwich Village Scented Candle from Urban Outfitters $15, NYC nail polish $3.75, Burt's Bees Lip Crayon $9, Paper Straws $1, York Patty $1. Not pictured here: Ghirardelli Chocolates.

Since this was my first swap with the group it's my duty to send the items first. My packaging cost $3 and shipping from California to the Netherlands was exactly $20 with air mail. So far I've had a good time doing the swap, especially because I love shopping for a theme. My partner wanted some really American stuff, so I sent her what I thought was a good representation of my personal American experience. Quirky candy, lots of bright blue colors, a little bit of luxury, and a cheesy but super cute piece of wearable Americana (the keychain, duh!). 

I'm so excited to see what her reaction is and what cool beauty and sweets I'll be getting from the Netherlands! Stay tuned to find out how the swap turned out by subscribing to my email newsletter or following me on Facebook :)

In Part II you'll find out what to do if your swap didn't work out, how to deal with broken items, and more. 

Have you done a swap before? I'd love to hear more about your experience! Let me know in the comments.