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Here's An Idea: Host A Beauty Swap For All Your Friends


Every so often, I find myself gazing upon my Top Shelf and muttering under my breath, as Kanye would, "No one man should have all those products." Of course, products are a part of the gig here at ITG. We need to bring them home, test 'em out, and report back on a regular basis. This is how the beauty website sausage gets made. The glitch in the system, however, is this: Not every product is a banger. So, inevitably, some go unused and start to stack up, collecting dust. When I find myself negotiating for bathroom counter, bedside table, and bookshelf space with tubes of moisturizer and jars of body scrub, I know it's time. Time for le Beauty Swap.

The beauty swap concept is very simple: Gather a group of your closest friends (or whomever, really) and ask them to bring a selection of their new or gently used beauty products that aren't getting the love they deserve. (I know this sounds like a big ask, but in my experience, nearly everyone has at least a handful of products they don't love but won't get rid of. The average American has something like 40 beauty products in their bathroom. I'm sure at least one of those products can come to the party.) The goal of the swap is to trade these products with one another until everyone has a new haul that they're excited to try.

Now, how serious you get about the swapping is up to you. I've done it a couple of ways. The easiest (and most efficient) route is the Free For All. Put your products out on a table and let the vultures circle! Zero barrier to entry; maybe a little pushing and shoving.

If your competitive spirit craves more gamification, you're more than welcome to take this in the Dwight Schrute direction. Display your products as you might at a garage sale, alluring and organized. Have everyone take a quick lap around the room, evaluating the goods and planning their courses of action. Then, trade! Each product has a relative value based on how badly your comrades want it. Let's say you're looking to get rid of a Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet (great formula; not your shade). Friend A would love to take the lipstick off your hands, but they don't have anything of interest to you. Friend B has a glycolic toner you'd love to get your hands on, but is tepid about the lipstick. The twist? Friend B is eyeing Friend A's unused scalp scrub and knows they would trade in a heartbeat for that Chanel. You trade your lipstick with Friend B for the glycolic toner. Friend B turns around and swaps the lipstick for the scalp scrub. Everybody wins! (It makes more sense in person.)

Either way you slice it, I find it makes a good excuse to see friends, try out some new products, and cleanse the old. Spring cleaning never felt so competitive. Just the way I like it.

—Emily Ferber

Photo via ITG