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Makeup Swapping Sites Gaining Popularity, But Could Involve Some Risk

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TWC News: Makeup Swapping Sites Gaining Popularity, But Could Involve Some Risk
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When it comes to cosmetics, some women can spend a fortune, but these days many people are turning to the Internet to get products at a discount. But when you do that, you can't discount the risks.

“Sites like eBay, Makeup Alley, even on Amazon, are places where women are going to look for beauty products in an unusual way. These are not sanctioned by the manufactures,” says Andrea Pomerantz Lustig of Glamour Magazine. “It’s not the traditional way of buying cosmetics, so you don't always know what you are going to get.”

But even more than buying makeup from unsanctioned sites, these days a big trend is makeup swapping - sites where people share products with strangers.

“Makeup swapping is a big trend,” says Lustig. “Swapping sites like Makeup Alley and Makeup Talk are two of the biggest ones, and these have thousands of women who are actually trading makeup online. There is no money exchanged. You put up a list of your products and you look at a list of someone else's products and you make a swap.”

Lustig says while these sites might seem tempting, you can't brush off the risks. If you end up with products that are used or expired, it could be unhealthy.

“Bacteria, dirt, infection - think about it. Whose makeup would you really want to share? Maybe your mothers, maybe your sisters, but I don't even know if you’d want to share your best friend’s makeup,” she says.

If you are going to do it, there are some ways to protect yourself. First, stick to products in pumps, like fragrances or lotions. Also, if you get a lipstick, always cut off the top. And if you get an eye shadow, spray it with alcohol before you use it to kill bacteria.

And try and always avoid mascara. Experts say it's just not sanitary.

Before you put anything on your face, you might want to test it out on your hand to make sure you won't have a skin reaction.

Another way to protect yourself is to ask questions. Try and find out exactly what you are getting before hand.

“You want to be sure to ask, ÎIs the product new? Is it sealed? Is it in the box? Has it been used before?’” says Lustig. “These are all things you want to know.”

Also, ask about the size. Some scammers conceal the fact that the products they post are actually mini-samples or gifts with purchase.

So whether you go to an auction or on one of these swapping sites, be a smart swapper, because even if it's a good deal, you may end up with more than you bargained for.

- Jill Scott
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