ABOUT MAKEUP ALLEY
"MakeupAlley was launched in 1999 as a small community of beauty consumers. Since then it has grown into one of the largest beauty social networks and information portals on the web. On MakeupAlley you can connect with thousands of other consumers through our message boards, user generated product reviews, MUA mail and other interactive tools."
THE WEBSITE AS A WHOLE
The website layout is over all user friendly. The colour scheme is pink and girly, and this fits in with the theme of makeup / cosmetics / beauty. The tabs along the top will take you to whatever you want to go to, be it your mail, discussion boards, swapping pages, reviews, your profile, your diary, links and favourites. I'll discuss the main sections from here further into the review since there is a lot of detail to some!
The main webpage gives you a selection of all the site has to offer, with some of the top / most recent reviews displayed, a selection of user photos (members of the site sometimes upload photos for their reviews), and a list of the top 'trending' topics from their discussion boards.
With Makeup Alley you have the option of joining the site so you can create a profile, swap items and review items. Or you can use the site as a guest and benefit from reading other member's reviews of products. I wouldn't necessarily recommend signing up as a member if you know you'll only use the site for reading other reviews, but if you feel as though you'd like to get more involved, its quite quick and it's free to sign up.
So far, I haven't experienced any website crashes or had problems with pages taking a long time to upload. I think this is a real positive sign from a website which clearly has such a high number of visitors each day!
THE PRODUCT REVIEWS
Makeup Alley really is your one stop shop for getting a feel of a product when you're unsure whether or not to buy it! Although I love Dooyoo for reviews, which are often way more in depth, Makeup Alley has the benefit of being exclusive to beauty and therefore has a larger selection of beauty products with reviews from a range of members.
It's helpful that above each member review you have the reviewers details such as age group, skin tone, eye colour and so on. This means you can get a feel of whether or not they're similar to you if they like or dislike something. It's no good an 18 year old loving a particular lipstick, if you're 50 years old and are a completely different colouring! You can filter the reviews so, for example, you only see reviews of the particular product, from people in your age bracket.
Members also have the option of uploading pictures with their reviews. For most products you can see some photos which is very useful indeed when trying to decide if a product is right for you!
All the reviews of a certain product go towards giving it an over all rating out of 5 and % rating. Very useful to see at a glance if you don't have time to read too much!
Obviously, if you're a member, you can add your own reviews too. So if you want to have your say about a product, but it's not in the dooyoo catalogue, maybe check here as well!
THE MESSAGE BOARDS
The site gives members the option of participating in group discussions and starting their own discussions. These fall into categories or either Beauty or Lifestyle, and then into subcategories such as makeup, hair, fragrance (for the beauty boards) and fashion, weddings, food (for the lifestyle boards).
The boards seem quite fast paced with new topics forever being added. It seems a little 'clicky' with a lot of members almost knowing each other! For this reason I don't participate, but I can appreciate that posting a question here would guarantee you an answer! For example, if you wanted to know what everyone viewed as 'the best lipstick of all time' you'd quickly get a lot of opinions!
My gripe with the message boards compared to those on similar websites is that they're a bit poorly laid out. New posts are dumped under old posts, and responses to posts not clearly separated from new posts. I may be describing this poorly, so imagine a page of typed font with bullet points, and some of those bullet points having sub points underneath, and some of those sub points with their own sub points underneath... You see what I mean!
The 'MY MAKEUP ALLEY'
This part of the website is pretty much where you can upload any of your own information that you want to share. You can upload photos of anything makeup related. So if you want to show off your recent purchases, your makeup stash, or the perfect smokey eye effect you've just created, then this is the place to do it!
You can include any written information about yourself too. Highly useful if you want to swap things (I'll talk about swapping soon!).
You can do all the usual things here that you'd expect to do in a website where you create an account. So you can change passwords, change email address linked to the site and so on.
I love Makeup Alley for this reason the most! You can create a list of all the makeup items you've bought and don't want any more. It's easy to upload items as you just find the brand and item type from drop down lists, then add the title and a quick description. Items you upload are active straight away, and everyone else around the world can see what you have to offer!
You can view a list of all the swaps people have to offer and do this by looking at the most recently added items and just seeing what you fancy, or by searching for something specific.
You can create a 'wishlist' of items you'd particularly like to receive in a swap, so if anyone has any of these, they can message you and let you know!
It's easy to message someone and ask if they'd like to swap - you just do this from clicking on the item of theirs that catches your interest.
A swap would just get worked out through the Makeup Alley Mail (messaging system) and you'll decide what items you're swapping and exchange addresses. Feedback tokens are left after swaps, and it's not unusual for someone with a lot of these tokens to ask someone with few of these, to post their items first. This helps to minimize stealing (or swaplifting) as it's a case of building up trust and a good reputation.
I've had some lovely swaps through Makeup Alley and exchanged makeup I don't use for some that I've been dying to try for ages. It's a great way to get limited edition items if you missed the particular collections during their time online or in store.
This pretty much ties in with the swapping, although you can message any members for other reasons, such as for more information on a product review or message board discussion.
The messages are pretty instant and you'll get an envelope image flag up next to the 'mail' tab if you have an unread message. You'll also get an email notification which is useful if you don't check the site too often.
I haven't had any problems with the messages, and all the mail I've sent has reached the recipients straight away.
Here you can keep a list of all your recent swaps and purchases. Very useful but I don't tend to use this feature. Something very depressing about seeing how much money you're spending over the months!
But handy to have the feature as a quick point of reference!
You can view other member's diaries so you can see what people are buying on any given day, and work out if you're spending way more than everyone else! :P
Here, there is a list of useful cosmetic and beauty related website addresses. Makeup Alley is primarily a US based website, so some of these may not be relevant to the UK dweller.
The websites are generally charitable or generally working towards the 'greater good'. Links are to sites where you can donate unwanted cosmetics to women's refuges, or to sites where you can buy eco-friendly makeup. All well and good, but like I said, these are all based in the states.
I wouldn't say this section is of any use to a UK resident so I don't tend to ever click here.
Here you can create lists of all your favourite cosmetic and beauty items. As with the diary section, I don't use this, but it seems like a useful feature to offer and is as easy to use as the rest of the site. No harm in having it here I suppose and I may use something like this if I had the time! I imagine it would be useful if you often come across things you like and then promptly forget what they are!
My favourite things about Makeup Alley are the swapping and reviewing features. In some ways it's a shame that there isn't a UK version of this site, but over all there are a lot of UK members to swap with (if you don't like posting overseas), and having the international aspect means that you can read about and potentially swap for things you can't get in this country.
My one stop shop for makeup! I love this site and it's fast becoming one of my favourites! I'd consider marking the site down for the 'messy' message boards, but to be honest, if they weren't there at all, I wouldn't even think of it! To be fair on the website I will give Makeup Alley the 5 out of 5 that it deserves!
What does swapping mean?
Swapping in the makeupalley community basically refers to the exchange of products. Typically it'll be an item of makeup for another item of makeup, which can be either new or used. It's not strict rules that it has to be a beauty/makeup product and you also have the option of swapping a variety of clothing, accessories and various other items. These also range from new to used.
How does it work?
1. First you will need to create an account on the site; makeupalley.com, if you don't have one already.
2. Have a look through your makeup bag and other beauty accessories such as nailvarnish etc and decide which you feel you don't use alot/don't want anymore. Make sure that it's in good condition as items that have bein used a few times and not well used are much more preffered! Although some users may prefer a product that's bein used more frequently so they can give it a try and not have to purchase the full size. Putting a product up that'll only be good for a few uses isn't really reccomended if that's the item you'll be swapping, but if you're going to then make sure it's also not too old, as no one wants an out of date item of makeup that's crumbly and mouldy! I'd say personally that the item should be less than 6 months old since the date you purchased, as you'll only get bad feedback if you send an old gross item!!
3. *Optional but 100% reccomended!* Take a wipe/damp tissue or towel and clean the casing of the product(s). Personally I use anti bacterial wipes to clean any tubes or compacts that i'm swapping. If for example it's a lipstick, give the tip (where it's touched your lips) a little dab with some tissue. Sending cosmetics that are dirty/dusty/stained is tacky and, in my opinion unacceptable!! Once the items are nice and clean, put them into a convenient place, for example a seperate bag to your makeup bag or just somewhere easy to remember so you don't have to go on a mascara hunt after you've agreed to swap with someone! I keep all of my items together in a pencil case.
4. Once you're a member (see above, number 1), log onto the site and click on 'Swap' at the top of the page. Choose the Category (EG lipstick/mascara), Brand (EG No7, MAC), then create a title for your advert and write a brief description* (see more) about the condition of the item etc. The description also includes a HTML box where you can insert links/pictures.
*Writing Your Description..
In your description you need to include the QUANTITY of the product (how much remains), and state if it's new or used. If used, you need to include how many times it was used, eg a handful of times, once, a few/dozen times, etc. If you're not sure how many times you've used it, then take a close look at the product. If it's a lipgloss, compare it to a new one (if you have one), and see how much there is compared to that one. Perhaps there's 3/4 remaining, or 90 percent remaining. Try and include this is the description, for example: "The lipgloss has bein used a handful of times and there's 90% left in the tube." If it's a bronzer, blush, eyeshadow, or any other type of powder, view it from the side and note if it's starting to dip; if so, you need to include this information in your description and include if it's a big or small dip. You also need to mention if the items hetchmarks are still visible. You need to be completely honest; there's no point in lieing. If you're not sure then just use your best judgement. When i'm not 100% positive i always round down, for example if the product has a small dip but i'm not sure if someone else may think it's a large dip, i'll say in the description that there's a medium sized dip, or if there's 90% of the product left but i'm not certian, i'll say 85%. If you're really struggling then it's always an option to simply take a picture of the product & post it into the description box with the caption "The Product" or similair. If it's a gift set item and came in a pack of say 3 but you only have that 1 left, this should also be mentioned as it may be a special edition item.
The CONDITION of the item also needs to be mentioned. Is it in perfect condition? EG: If you have a mascara that has a bent brush or compacted bristles, this needs to be mentioned. If the lipstick slightly slants this also needs to be included in the products description. If the compact doesn't close properly or is dented so does this. As said before, ALWAYS be honest. If you lie and the person who recieves the item isn't happy, it'll damage your reputation on the site and people won't want to swap with you again! Remember to never be embarresed to write the true condition of your item; if you do get slightly worried about the condition of it, ask for a second opinion of a friend and see if they agree that it's still useable and in decent condition. You need to include as much information as you can about the condition because this is what people are most interested in! If your compact has a scratched mirror but the powder is unused and intact, some people won't mind in the slightest, but some people will! You need to include the bad (if there is any), aswell as the good. You need to treat others how you'd like to be treated and there's nothing worse than someone waiting excitedly for the product they've swapped with you, and recieving it and realising the inperfections and bein dissapointed!
In your description mention clearly what you want to swap the item for. State if you are strictly wish list (see below), if you're only interested in swapping for a certain brand or item, and if you're open to swap requests or not.
The picture is optional but i also include a picture in my description box as it shows it how it is and people know excactly what they're getting! Personally i like to have a visual of what i'll be getting and i think most other people do too. If it's an unfamilair brand it's even more important to have a picture; if no one's heard of it how do they know what it looks like?! If you don't have access to a camera then go to an image search website (Google, etc), and type in the product name. Once you've found the image that matches your product simply add it to the description. This is called a stock photo, but i always take my own photos because i prefer people seeing the actual product and not a stock picture. If you don't want to add a picture then state the brand and item clearly so people can google search it for themselves, however most people won't bother and will move onto an item that DOES have a picture. If you don't add a picture or not able to find it on the internet then you need to add a short description. For example, you have an eyeshadow with no brand name, you need to describe the colour, if it's brown then include the details, is it a light brown? dark brown? does it look similar to a milky chocolate brown?
It's not necessary to include pictures for very well know brands. If you have a badgal mascara then it's easy for people to know what it looks like, but ofcourse you can add a picture if you'd like to.
If the product isn't a mainstream product, has bein discontinued or was bought from a discount store (EG poundland), it won't be easy to find online. You will need to take a picture if you have access to a camera and upload it to your computer. Then you will need to find an online picture hosting website, for example tinypic, and upload it. You'll then be provided with a link from the image hosting website. Keep this link safe and post it into your product description. OR you have the option to post the picture into your 'profile pictures'. If you do this then make sure you state clearly the picture can be found in your profile pictures.
Title: Refined Golden
95% left with no visible dip. There are some small scratches on the compact. I'm looking to swap for a different Mac bronzer.
This is an example. As you can see it's short and simple, without any information that's off topic or unnessacary. You don't have to write complete sentences like i have. You could simply write;
95% left. No dip. Small scratches on compact. Will swap for a different mac bronzer.
Makeupalley.com is a fantastic makeup review sites that offers a wealth of information on various products on the market. I have been using this site for about three years now and love it. It has saved me a fair bit of money over the years by steering me away from bad product choices and pushing me towards ones that I am happier with. What's important about this website is that the reviews are written by normal everyday people who have themselves used the product and don't spiel out a whole load of advertising when what you want to know is what is the product *actually* like. In this way, it's similar to Dooyoo, and, like Dooyoo I have whiled away hours checking out what other people think of the products I own or looking at new items I may purchase. Many times I have looked at the clock and discovered that two or three hours have passed.
Makeupalley was started back in 1999, it started off small but now gets millions of hits per day from around the globe. The site is American based (so look out for lots of colors instead of colours and so on) and most of the reviewers are therefore American but you get a fair few people from the UK and Australia and from places ranging from Poland to Singapore.
Although the site is named Makeupalley they do have other things they cover too, including styling tool, fragrances, hair products, mens, skincare, accessories and so on. But it would be fair to say that cosmetics really dominate the site.
It has several different sections. The main one, where I spend pretty much all of my time is the review section. Here you can write and review products. This is done by using the drop-down menus to pick an item and a brand so for example, Maybelline and blushers. It will then take you to the search results screen with a list of products that fit the bill so in this case, it might be Dream Mousse Blush, Powder Blush, Luminous Mineral Blusher and so. If you click on any of these you will be taken to the review page. All the reviews here just run straight on to one another, so you can read loads without having to go back to the reviews page and then choosing another person's review to look at. This is very convenient and makes reading nice and easy.
Alternatively if there was a very specific product you had in mind say the Dream Mousse Blush in Dolly Pink then you would either enter the keywords 'dolly pink' at the start of your search or you can search through on the results page to find that specific item. I find it easiest to get a general overview of the product and then if it sounds promising to find the individual colour I like and see if that has a listing.
If you want to be more than a visitor to the site, e.g. write reviews or do swaps, you must register. This is quite simple and requests things like name, address, D.O.B, email, password which are quite straightfroward. They also ask one or two other things like hair colour and eye colour, skin type and so on. These little bits of information are posted automatically with your review so that a reader may determine whether an item may suit them with a bit of background information in mind. An excellent idea I think.
If you want to write a review on something there are two ways. Either find the product listing and click the link saying 'write your review' or on your homepage go the list of options on the left of the page and click on 'add a review'. Here you type in the name of the product and whilst you type the computer starts guessing what it is you want to find and the more of the product title you type the fewer the choices become until you get to the right one. If you can't find the product you want to write on you can use the add a new product link on that same page and suggest a new product. I have not used this function yet so don't know how quick it is, it may even be instantaneous. You also must write twenty reviews before you are allowed to add new items. Sometimes you can't find a brand and then you have to list it under Unlisted Brand. Bearing in mind this site is US based sometimes I have found that products available in Boots and Superdrug which aren't carried over there, are slow to be added. I wanted to review Simple moisturiser once and it wasn't there. If you specifically want them to add a particular brand name to the website you can request this be done by using the Contact Us link. When you write a review they also ask you to give a rating out of five for the packaging, price, and overall. They also ask you to select yes or no in response to the question 'would you buy this item again'.
Another big section is the swap board. Now I have never used this so can only tell you bits and pieces. Basically this section is for people who want to swap bits of makeup with others without paying or receivng money. It is therefore up to the two individuals to come to an agreement about what is fair. You wouldn't want to swop a Mac pallette for a Miss Sporty one now would you? As such people often swop one pricey item in exchange for two or three cheaper ones. Sometimes, people also include little gifts as a thank you like a perfume sample. You are not allowed to swap any prescriptions medicines and mentioning the retail value anywhere in your swap product details is stictly banned. They give you three months to swop it and then it gets taken off the board but you can probably just re-do it. Unfortunately a lot of the people on the swap board are Americans who restrict swapping to US only which is understandable but may restrict your search. People can also be very fussy about where the product has come from and some won't accept an item for swap even if they like it because it has come from a house where people smoke or keep pets. One of the main reasons I would be wary of using this is the risk that you send out your item and don't get anything back. This is cutely known as 'swaplifting'. There is a way to discourage this by seeing how many people your intended swapee has swapped with before, and asking them to send your item out first if it is a low figure but this doesn't always go to plan as I hear.
There are also the Makeupalley boards which I have posted on once or twice. These cover a wide range of topics. Obviously there are sections for makeup, hair, fragrance, and so on but there are also sections on entertainment, food, home, garden, travel and so on. I found these rather difficult to use though. Once you click on something I expect there to be different threads, so for example if I clicked on the makeup section I would then expect to see threads like which is the best eyeshadow or favourite lipstick and if I was interested I would click on it. But here it's just one long list of posts that may or may not be relevant to the one before and it's hard to find any partciular information. I just found it too disorganised and that rather put me off.
There is also a facility whereby you can send each other private messages which can be useful. There is one other fun feature called Diary whereby members post all the items they have bought, when, and how much it cost them and can leave comments on it, 'like I regretted this', or 'bought as a present' and so on. This can be fun if you're nosy but the amount of makeup some people buy is amazing and I think I spend quite a bit myself but some of these girls are just in a different league...
So what more can I say? It's free, fun to browse and full of fantastic advice and I think it's fabulous!
Makeupalley.com to me is, without doubt, the greatest online website for finding reviews on everything to do with makeup, skincare, haircare, bodycare and even CDs, books and movies on those subjects (though to be honest, I have yet to see a movie review and there is just one review for what appears to be a jazz album). Almost every brand of skincare or makeup range is reviewed from the cheapest drugstore brand to the most ludicrously expensive high end creams. Registration is required to view the site (this is free) but funnily enough, you can view pages directly from a search engine like google (although you cannot browse the site once you are there there). From the homepage, you have the following choices of places to go within the site: SHOPPING DIARY Here, you can keep a diary on your shopping life. Every time you buy a product, you can enter it in here with the price, add comments and keep a track of what you are spending. You also have the option to make your diary viewable to other members and in turn, view their diaries. I've only ever visited this place once and made one entry - it doesn't quite appeal to me but it's an interesting idea. I wonder what shopaholics would make of it. SWAP I haven't ever tried this but from what I gather, this is where you trade products with other members. Be it that you have a sample you don't want or are looking for a particular item, then this is the place to let it be known. Each time a swap is done (whether for another item or payment), you can rate each other on how reliable the swap was and owing to this, certain members will have earned themself a respectable reputation for swapping. As you are only allowed to do swaps and requests here, there is a separate board outside of makeupalley for chatting about swaps. Of course, this is all based on blind trust and I have seen grown women squabbling over whether the other has cheated them out of a lipstick or payment. H
aving said that, this does sound like a good way to sample something without buying the full product first (provided they are unused). MESSAGE BOARDS There are nine message boards in total with the obvious ones being the makeup and skincare board. Clicking on each board will not only display the topics list but also the heading for all related replies. You need to click on the heading to read the whole message which can be a waste of time if it contains nothing. Therefore, there are certain board etiquettes like typing 'n/m' to indicate that there is nothing more to be read apart from the header or 'r/o' to read on. If you are new tot this format it takes a little getting used to but it isn't too bad once you do. Topics tend to drop off the first page quite quickly but there is a handy search function if you want to search on a particular subject. This is a good place to read up on or ask for tips and advice or just to share an experience. PRODUCTVILLE This is what makeupalley is all about - the excellent review section. To date, there are "244,417 reviews of 36,733 products". You can search by brand, category or subcategory or a combination of two. Most reviews are short and to the point, some consisting of just a sentence or two and others contain a few paragraphs, sometimes with an update. Each product gets an average rating of reviews and a percentage of how many would buy again. So you might get a product that scores, say, 4 out of 5 but most reviewers wouldn't repurchase due to the price or preference over another product that does a better job. Popular products like Clinique's Dramatically different moisturiser can get over 300 reviews and the opinions are very divided but the average score and repurchase percentage is normally a very good indicator to go by. Although the reviewers are predominantly US and Canadian based, the good thing is you will still find Boots own brand being reviewed albei
t from very few people. Of course, if you feel there are not enough reviews for something, disagree or feel particularly strongly about a certain shampoo or mascara then you just add your own review!
Makeupalley.com is awesome! There is a nice steady group of people who are really cool to chat with about everything. They have added new boards to reflect the diverse people/topics that come across at Makeupalley.com. There are such great perks to this web site, such as the swap section for those times you really want to love a product, but it doesn't love you. Why keep it in a drawer? Someone else might be looking for just that shade or product. I've gotten so many lovely things from the UK through makeupalley and I've made a few friends along the way.
Its a hard job to find a women in society in this day that wouldn't improve themselves in one way or another. To some of use this doesn't come easy. Shelves stacked with used once miracle creams, impulse buys and latest trends in cosmetics that do not suit can wear you down and your purse feels like it never gets any money in it for more than 10 minutes. So what do you do? Chuck it away, Products like these can cost a lot of money and a much better way to get rid of these is to swap. SWAP?? I can imagine the dismay of some of the women reading this. Makeupalley.com deals in the swapping of gently used or new make-up. Perfect for you impulsive buyers. The basic idea is women from all sides of the globe enter details of what they have to swap - a swaplist and what they want - a wishlist. You can search through these to find products you are interested in. You send them a swap request and talk about postal arrangements. The whole idea is very simple but very effective. Through swapping I have met lots of women who I share interests with, and it is a chance to meet new friends. This is a slight addiction however, (from a former dooyoo and newsgroup addict) and you could find yourself swapping for products you don't need or want. Obviously disadvantages there are lots of people that for some reason adore to steal your used cosmetics (swaplifters) and makeupalley's way of combatting this is by issuing a token scheme. When completing a swap you issue the person you swap with a token, either positive or negative and when you are issued a certain amount of negative tokens you are dismissed from the community. Overall I have had good experiences and bad experiences but I really enjoy makeupalley.
www.makeupalley.com If you want to get together with loads of other women and have a girlie chat about make-up and skincare - look no further! Although this is an American site, women of all ages from all over the world visit every day to talk make-up and cosmetics, skincare, diets. clothes and so on. There's a very busy discussion board and there's also more formal reviews of products as well as a swap board where you can arrange to exchange cosmetics and other goodies. Like a lot of forums you do tend to get jumped on if you break the 'rules' or ask a question that was done to death last week, so it certainly pays to lurk for awhile before posting. This is an invaluable source of information though, whether you're thinking of splashing out on an expensive new skincare regime, wondering how you could use your new eyeshadow or just buying a new eyepencil, someone on the board (and probably dozens of them!) will have been there and have some advice to offer.