I have been in two international beauty swaps, both times with Kerry over at Blogger in Wonderland, and since a lot of people showed interest whenever I posted about my swaps, asking me how they could be in a swap, I thought I'd make this helpful post.
Also, you'll have the opportunity to participate in swaps in my commenting section, if you want. More on that is at the end of this post.
Of course, to participate in a swap, you will need, first and foremost, a willing swap participant. When Kerry and I first began swapping, we didn't set a budget, and were pretty clueless about what we wanted from the other person's country. But, of course we were clueless because how would we really know what we don't have from other countries, if we've never heard of them? :-P
So, we just kind of chose things that we thought would look good on the other person, or that the other person would enjoy using. Lol. It was still a lot of fun, though! The second time around, after we've talked more with each other, and got to know each other better, it was much easier to shop. Also, we agreed on a budget to keep things simpler.
Thus, I have the following advice:
- Agree on a budget.
- Decide when you will ship out your package.
- Keep the line of communication open.
- As a blogger, I would make sure that the other person is one, too, just because it'd make me feel that I'm not swapping with some unknown person who will just run away with my stuff. I'm not saying that a blogger wouldn't, but if she is a legitimate blogger, I don't see why she would walk to risk that reputation.
- Have a general idea of the other person's skin tone; trust me, this will come in handy when you're purchasing color products (eyeshadows, blushes, etc.).
- Ask the other person what shades they would never wear (orange-anything in my case, haha).
- Send the other person a link to a store, or two, in your country, that carries a comprehensive list of brands. If you're from the US, I've already compiled a list of brands and stores for you here: drugstore makeup in America.
- Related to number 7, ask the other person to send you a couple links to their local stores, so you could have an idea of what are unavailable in your country. This is also a good way to see what they do not have as well, so that you could surprise them with a few treats.
What about shipping? Here's what you need to know about shipping internationally from the United States:
- As long as you keep the package 4 lbs. or under, you will save more money by sending it regular Air Mail, in your own box, instead of the International Priority box provided by the post office.
- It costs $38-$40 to send a 4 lbs. box from California to England.
- If your package weights more than 4 lbs., then you should use the International Priority box, because it will cost less than Air Mail. For exact rate, ask the USPS employee, but yes, it does cost less to send it Priority at this point.
What you are allowed and not allowed to send from the United States:
- You are not allowed to send perishables (such as fruits and vegetables), but something like a box of Pop Tarts is fine. However, it depends on how knowledgeable of the law the USPS employee who is assisting you is. I have had one telling me that I wasn't allowed to send a bag of bite sized Snickers bars even though, legally, I was actually allowed to. Come on! Thus, I don't even bother to declare the sweet treats on the customs form because I know that I am not sending anything illegal that could get either of us into trouble.
- Liquids aren't allowed, but shower gels are. Yet again, it depends on how knowledgeable of the law the person you are dealing with is. So, instead of writing "bath gel" on the customs form, just write "soap," because you're not lying, as bath gel is soap. You just have to think of ways to declare things on the customs form without causing confusion for anybody. Likewise, lipglosses are allowed, but some people might think, "Eeek, it's a liquid! Confiscate!" In this instance, I would just write "lipstick" instead.
- Most countries charge the recipients customs tax, which means that when someone receives a package, they would have to pay tax on it. However, they typically don't have to pay tax for gifts, so be sure to declare on the custom form that your package is a gift!
How to find an international swap partner:
Well, Kerry contacted me on Twitter and asked if I would like to swap, so you may try that. However, for those of us who are a bit shy (lol), you may participate right below in my comment box! Here's how:
- State where you are from and post a link to your blog.
- Or, look to see if anybody has expressed interest in their comment, and contact them directly.
Guidelines and requirements:
*First and foremost, I take no responsibility if anything goes wrong. I am not actually participating in any swap, nor am I able to at this moment. However, I have created a guideline to provide some security for you. Please use your best judgement when participating in an international swap (or any swap).
- You must have a blog, and have been blogging for at least six months.
- Be at least 18.
- When you see somebody that you are interested in swapping with, please contact that person directly, as they may not check back here often.
Have you ever participated in an international swap? If you have any advice to share, please feel free to leave a comment! As always, if you have a blog, please leave a link, as I would love to visit it! :o)