Newest Review: ... 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 dif... more
Amazing makeup website! Swapping, reviews, discussions and more!
Member Name: debbie41176
Advantages: Reviews of any products you can think of and a chance to swap items you don't want for ones you do!
Disadvantages: Messy message boards and the fact that it's a US site (lots of talk of items you can't get here!)
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!
Summary: A great website for everything makeup and beauty related!