Tuesday, 17 February 2015

RIP Makeupalley swaps

Earlier this week I received this email.

I'm in a glass case of emotion here.  Makeupalley closing? Surely not. That's like Boots closing. Or MAC having an end-of-season sale. MUA is one of the constants. It's one of the few things that have stayed the same during my long years of involvement with the online makeup community.

Of course it's not completely closing down - the excellent product reviews are still online and functioning as normal. And the message boards are still up, too.

But those days of carefully swaddling your lightly-used makeup products in bubble wrap and sending them off round the world to other MUAers (in return for a package from them) have gone forever. (What's Swapidu? I don't know. But it won't be the same, damnit.)

I have some great memories of MUA swapping from the early 00's

Once I received a RAOK (Random Act of Kindness) package from someone in the States that was basically a ton weight of American chocolate, including multiple bags of Reese's Pieces, which you could rarely find over here. 

Another time I went and carried out a CP (Custom Purchase) of a bubblegum pink Barry M lipstick for a swapper in the US, trawling multiple branches of Superdrug looking for the right shade. Sounds like a chore but it was in fact a brilliant excuse to go on a cosmetic shopping mission. 

And I had some great fragrance swaps with a woman in Denmark who sent me decants of some niche stuff, each in a lovely brushed-metal travel spray. 

There were all the Milani eyeshadows and depotted MAC pans, the rich secondary economy of MAC pigment samples, each poured into those little screw-top jars and labelled in friendly strangers' handwriting, and the dreaded SWAPLIFTERS (those who agreed a swap but never sent their half of the trade). Most swappers were generous, though, and it was rare to receive a package without a few extras or throw-ins in the form of sample sachets or unexpected drugstore products. 

In those days we didn't have any social media to speak of, so we didn't always know who we were swapping with, what they looked like or how old they were. Your swap tokens told the story of your other swaps and upheld your community reputation. And we just trusted each other - with street addresses, and with our carefully-chosen products, too. Looking back, it feels like a gentler age. Funny how quickly time passes. 
Today's blogging soundtrack is: Aircon noise and the tapping of keys


SarahC. said...

I have such fond memories of MUA swaps too - my enduring love-hate relationship with MAC Naked pigment is down to being sent a pot as a RAOK (love the colour, hate the fact that it's decorated the carpet of about 6 different houses). What a shame they are no more!

Sarah said...

An early fore-runner of Ship Your Enemies Glitter, maybe?