I was one of those girls that was wayyyy too into those tiny Japenese erasers – you know those ones shaped like strawberries and dolphins? Anything that was adorably small was my thing.. Miniature beauty products are just the glow-up version of my obsession, one that inevitably led me to collect (and get overly excited about and hoard) free skincare samples. Free samples are something I used to just throw away, thinking if it was free it was probably not a product worth my time. After buying all new beauty products to return back to school, my free samples started to pile up. My mom, the control-freak she is, organized them in my little makeup display when she was moving me in, and honestly, they looked pretty damn cute. Now that I’m an active part of Sephora’s rewards program and have started reordering my favorite products from Glossier, I’ve learned we should all appreciate free samples a lot more.
So here is my ode to free samples, hopefully you’ll agree with my reasons and join me in my mini-obsession.
Where To Get Them
Sephora is the gold mine of free minis! After you’ve made a Sephora account, Sephora lets you choose a free Birthday gift from that month’s selection of mini products. This month’s best options are a set of Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Creme Lipsticks, Lock-It Setting Powder, and Tattoo Liner, and Drunk Elephant’s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser and Protini Polypeptide Cream. You can either go into Sephora and pick up your free products at the counter, or you can have them shipped to you online.
I’ve also racked up 599 Inside points from my Sephora account from the past purchases I’ve made. These points give me access to Sephora’s Beauty Insider Rewards Bazaar, where your points act like money and you can pick out free products that correspond to your number of points. Right now, I can grab DPHUE’s Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse, or Wander Beauty’s Baggage Claim Gold Eye Masks, but I think for now I’ll hold on to my points a little more until I see a product I’m really excited about.
The Glossier brand sells directly to consumers, i.e. Instagram advertising and pop-ups, which means the customer experience is taken very seriously. Whether in store or online, Glossier sends you home with a few free gifts. With every purchase from Glossier you get to choose a free sample from their skincare or makeup lines, and each sample comes in a little packet attached to a postcard describing the product. The postcards are helpful in explaining what the product’s supposed to do, and they also work as super cute decoration on a bulletin board. Glossier is also infamous for providing a free pink bubble wrap makeup pouch and vinyl sticker, four of which are currently pasted on my laptop.
Reasons Why Free Samples Are The Best
Testing The Mini Before The Full-Size
For my free Birthday gift from Sephora, I chose the mini set of Drunk Elephant’s Beste No.9 Jelly Cleanser and Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer. Normally, this Drunk Elephant face wash and moisturizer would be a combined $100, a price tag that I was not down for, especially because these were the first Drunk Elephant products I had ever tried. The palm-sized products lasted me two months using them sparingly, dotting the moisturizer at night and the face wash to take off makeup.
Trying mini products from a brand on the more expensive side is a great way to test the product out before you splurge on the full size. I loved the face wash and re-ordered it in the full size, and decided to try the Drunk Elephant’s LaLa Retro Whipped Cream instead of re-ordering the Protini Polypeptide because LaLa Retro’s ingredients were chosen to focus on “defending your skin from the effects of everyday stressors”, (something I’m all too familiar with being a Vandy student). The Protini Polypeptide Moisturizer targets your skin’s signs of aging, like wrinkles and skin damage, which is something I’m currently combatting with sunblock, although incorporating this product into my routine down the line couldn’t hurt.
Learning About New Products
Currently I have a little packet of Watermelon Moisturizer, a Milk Makeup Cooling Water ball, and Wash & Co + Love Lather Shampoo and conditioner pair. These free samples are great opportunities to try a few products from the brands you haven’t heard from but have been wanting to try. Sephora’s options change often, so for your next order you’ll have a new set of products to choose from.
Fits Into Your Carry-On
Using free samples when traveling is the ultimate move, especially for shorter trips. How annoying is it when you have to check your bag because your favorite moisturizer or face wash is over the liquid limit? Using free samples when you travel is perfect because you can request or choose free samples of products you already have and love, they’re small enough to come in your carry-on, and can be thrown away at the end of your trip without worrying about leaving them in your hotel bathroom.
Any Sephora, Ulta, or other beauty store will most likely offer free samples of their products if you talk to one of the store’s assistants. When I ordered my foundation from Rihanna’s Fenty line at a Sephora store my shade wasn’t in stock, so the store assistant gave me a free sample from the tester to use until my shade was shipped to me. Store assistants will also offer free samples of products you want to try even without you purchasing anything. Don’t feel guilty for leaving a store with only free samples, because making sure a product works perfectly for you before you buy it is way worth the time it takes to ask a worker for help. Ask for a few samples of different products and see how they interact with your skin, the climate, and if they are worth the price point.