Beauty box swap with Greek blogger duo: A horrible experience - Cosmetopia Digest Beauty and Makeup Blog

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Beauty box swap with Greek blogger duo: A horrible experience

I like the idea of doing beauty box swaps a couple of times every year. So far, I've done one with the awesome Elle Robson from the UK (blog here), which was brilliant - she painstakingly went out and bought me things which I specifically wanted, and some lovely surprises, including a special gift from Cornwall.
This time, my swap was with Jenny and Gogo Kourakou, the Greece-based sister-bloggers of Our Beauty Wonderland - ourbeautywonderland.blogspot.gr. Their blog is in Greek but you can find a translate button on the top right, below the header.
Jenny/Gogo and I decided on a spending limit of EUR30, apart from postage - we agreed that we would both send by registered post with tracking, to prevent nasty shocks. I had asked for purely Greek/regional brands, provided lip glosses, toners and false eyelashes were avoided. They asked for a mix of Indian and non-Indian brands, as they said several were not available, and asked me to avoid glosses as well. We discussed skin types and so on as well and told each other when we were "going shopping for each other" and when "our shopping" was complete.
They had packed everything in a pouch from Bioplasis cosmetics (posted on their blog), which will come in use for storing shampoos and conditioners. Read on to find out how this beauty box swap went horribly wrong and I was taken for a ride by some clever women.

Their box arrived today and I'm so glad they had used stamps. I am a rather nostalgic and nerdy stamp collector and I'm so glad life hasn't become dreary enough to root the pretty stamps out.
Inside were:
A note
Mastic Spa Cocoa Butter Cream
Panthenols 4 Action Aqua Repair
Golden Rose Diamond Powder
Mesauda Compact
Lavera Concealer
Golden Rose Eyeshadow Duo
Aden Cosmetics Eyeshadow Trio
Aden Cosmetics Baked eyeshadow
Beauty Line Cosmetics Eyeliner duo
Sample sunscreen
Sample sachets of foot and hand creams x 2 each
Sample sachets of serums x 2
Foundation sample sachet
Quite a few foil sachets in there (remember my rants about those?), and I find most items have been reviewed, photographed and mentioned on their blog as PR samples.

The Golden Rose Diamonds Powder has fine shimmer that you just brush on lightly. I'm still at page 7 or so of their blogposts, so I'll update this once I have proof that this was also a freebie.
I'll do an eye-look with the Golden Rose eyeshadow duo. Both greens are matte (shown on their blog in a PR post; also includes the duo pencil).
There are also a couple of baked shadows from Aden Cosmetics, which can be used wet or dry (shown on their blog as PR items sent for review).
There's a concealer stick from Lavera Naturkosmetik, made in Germany. The concealer is the right shade for me and offers light to medium coverage (shown and mentioned as a PR sample among other Lavera items on their blog).
There's a small sample tube of sunscreen from Castalia (shown as a PR sample on their blog).
I first thought the Mesauda was a powder compact - but it was way too dark for me and I mentioned it to Jenny and Gogo - it's listed on their blog as a PR sample and a compact and as being too dark for them as well - the exact shade, so I may be forgiven for my suspicious mind. They've told me it was a matte bronzer. This is an Italian product. I'm using it for contouring. You can see a swatch mark here as well as on the link to the post in their blog.
Panthenols 4-Action Aqua Repair: I did wonder if this was a moisturiser or a repair cream or a sunscreen or anti-ageing. The girls said it was a day cream with UV protection (reviewed as a PR sample, among other Panthenols products, on their blog, with the external packaging).
Mastic Spa Oinostherapy Cocoa Butter Cream in Mastic and Wine: The cream surface looks smoothed out. The cream is pink and there is a fine aroma of red wine - it contains Greek Ariousios Wine. I'll review it in detail once I begin to use it (shown and reviewed as a PR sample on their blog).
Beauty Line Cosmetics Double Cosmetic Pencil: One side is a deep green while the other is a paler green.
Some foil sachets of Lapitak Foot and Hand Care Creams. EDITED on December 1 to add: Expiry date seen to be April 2013. Shameful!
Ditto a couple of Castalia skin care foil sachets.
A matte foundation foil sachet from Biomaris, Germany. I hope the shade is right!
I'm very iffy about the many foil sachets and all the suspected PR samples, given that I went shopping instead of sending freebies, and I can only hope nothing has been used. 
Feel free to check out the blog and, over a few pages, you'll see the same items that I received, reviewed and marked as PR samples. I have purposely not provided back-links to each PR sample review so I don't have contributing to the traffic on my conscience but have added them below as inactive text (not removed as of the time of this posting). I've now seen their previous box swap with a British blogger contained items which have been specified as PR samples on their blog.
Here are the links to each of these products. I hope they are not removed, and am not responsible if the girls are privy to this and have removed them. Please type ourbeautywonderland.blogspot.gr/ in front of each link (don't forget the backslash):
2013/07/dust-cream-beauty-products-and-more.html
2013/09/bioplasis-review.html
2013/07/mesauda-cosmetics.html - Enlarge the picture of the compact here and you'll see the same swatch mark in my photograph above.2013/06/review-castalia.html
2013/07/lavera.review.html
2013/09/we-fell-head-over-heels-for-aden.html
2013/07/mastic-spa-review.html
2013/07/panthenols-products-review.html
I sent Jenny and Gogo full-sized items from a mix of Indian and non-Indian brands - as per their request - including Rimmel (lipstick, mascara), Dirty Works (body wash), NYX (10-shadow palette), Accessorize (baked shadow), Maybelline (blush) and Lakme (lipstick, kajal), VLCC  (lip balm), Nourish Foot Bar, Elle 18 (lipsticks). I had also popped in a couple of fillers after the EUR30-odd, such as a Tresemme sampler kit, a Nair hair remover and so on. I used recycled packaging as always, and let them know beforehand. They're yet to upload their box, but here is the screenshot of the message they sent me once they received the box I sent:
I would love to do another box swap this year for something up to $40 or so, preferably with some from a country/region I haven't swapped with - the far East? Italy? Croatia? Belgium? Korea? Scandinavia? Provided, of course, they agree that we both use registered post only! Sooner, rather than before the Christmas rush, and to get the PR-sample "taste" out of my mouth. Let's see.
A negative tone there, but I'm (okay, have worked as) a journalist and I 1. do not like being lied to about these things and 2. do a lot of digging.
Box swaps, apart from bringing you some pleasant - unpleasant in this case - surprises in the mail, are a way of getting to know beauty products from other countries. It's advisable, if you decide to go for swapping, to pick someone from a different region each time and ask for something that is local/regional for them rather than international brands which you can get at your place or online. Do decide beforehand if you will send each other PR samples, though - it's in bad form to send freebies and make it look like you've spent the money. It is okay to send things from beauty boxes, because you paid for them, but freebies aren't cricket, unless you're not counting the freebie within the budget. I'll do a post on beauty-box swapping for beginners soon, including lessons I've learnt and where you can find swap-buddies. What say?

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