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Rant and
Rave

Tell us what you love and hate about...

Gift with Purchases

It’s pretty rare that I’m excited for one, but I tend to lose really small samples like deluxe sized skincare packets or the like. I probably have enough makeup bags for six or seven generations. I like when they’re larger, more travel-friendly sized versions of products I already love, because then those are useful for traveling by plane. If it’s a single full-sized product, I think that is nice as well.

— Christine

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38 Comments

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Ulta puts together decent ones from their different brands. They’re usually new products/brands so they’re fun to sample. It helps that they always throw a $5 coupon in their little gift pouches. I’m less thrilled by single-brand gifts. I’m thinking about those Clinique ones – I never like the colors they choose, and they’re not the sort of products I’m jumping to try as a new sample.

Profile photo of Nicole

I Like Neiman Mrarcus “Beauty Event”. Not sure if this is the same as GWP or not. But, it’s high dollar. You have to spend $125 minimum. But, the gift is always nice. I think it’s 2x a year. I always get a beach tote out of it and a bunch of deluxe HE samples of things that I actually love or really want to try. The bag I just got is so cute and I was going to buy Tom Ford Spring stuff anyway..so it worked out. The Fall bag was a cute clutch. Other than that, I’ll look for the Sephora deluxe samples or the point offerings. If it’s something I want to try, I will get it. If not, I pass because It got to a point to where I had a huge box of samples and they were not getting used.

I agree with you. I rarely (if ever) get excited about gift with purchase items, unless it’s an accompanying companion to what I am purchasing, for example, the hand cream or shower gel to the particular fragrance I am purchasing. Or a travel size version (not mini, or those horrid tear packets) of the exact item I am purchasing either same shade, or a different shade, a type of bogo. I have enough makeup/tolitery bags, pocket books, etc. and rarely if ever use them, they all eventually end up in a garage sale or goodwill.

I love coloured makeup samples, because it often gives me a chance to try different colours, including that I wouldn’t normally for free. Skincare samples I tend to ignore.

Profile photo of Luisa

So true! I have a billion little samples, and all the intention to use them. And then I just forget. Bring on the bigger and better samples!! 🙂

I’m drowning in samples, so I don’t pay too much attention to GWPs anymore. I’m tired of Estee Lauder and Clinique always including the same lipstick shades in every GWP. Every woman in America must have A Different Grape at this point. Nars only ever offers Orgasm in their GWP and Lancome shadows are poor quality. I guess I’d like to see companies switch it up.

GWP skincare samples tend to be larger and I like those. Obviously, they are from brands I already use, so they present a good chance to see if something new works for me. If the samples are of something I am already using, I use the small (1-5 uses) ones up in the course of my skincare routine, and save the larger ones for travel. Most often if I receive a makeup related GWP (like Clinique’s) I purposely made a purchase because I liked most or all the items offered.

Profile photo of Momo

I really like deluxe size mascaras and primers. I tend to use those a lot more in my makeup application process than their larger counterparts. I’m also totally into getting sample size perfumes. Since I rarely purchase perfumes, I enjoy assessing an array of scents in small quantities.

I usually dislike sample sizes of foundation/concealer (since it’s rare that a shade close to my skin color is even a part of the “select gift” option), lotion/night cream, or hair serum/shampoo/conditioner (since these are products not normally meant for my specific hair type/concerns). I often end up losing them, throwing them away, or tossing them in a small basket I keep that’s completely dedicated to “gift with purchase” products.

*Rave –Yes, I admit, I’ve been sucked into a purchase before due to a nice GWP. Clinique usually has good ones, so I keep a running wish list, then when I see a good GWP, I buy. It’s a nice way to try some new products, and I love to get stuff for “free” even though it’s not really free. And I haven’t bought anything from Estee Lauder for decades, but with their new product offerings, I might take advantage of their generous GWP.
*Rant – sometimes you get weird, unflattering, or repeat colors. I remember when Clinique used to include Tenderheart or Bamboo Pink lipstick in almost every GWP, and those colors made me look dead/washed out. Or the free shadow kits aren’t as good quality as their regular ones, but hey, it’s free. I keep them at my desk for emergency touch ups. The plastic makeup bags are usually hideous, so I just donate them.

Oh and as for those free samples you get with every order–I have a 9 drawer plastic mobile cart that I got from Staples/Office Depot for like $50, but there are cheaper ones out there. Each drawer is labeled ( foundation, face cream, body cream, skin treatments, hair, etc) and it holds hundreds of sample packets, trial size bottles, etc. If I get bored, I dig through that to try new stuff, and those sample packets are great for travel

I have to laugh because the current Clinique GWP that is listed at the top of the home page shows that Bamboo Pink is in this one. I remember Clinique once responded to people saying they use the GWP to get rid of the colors that don’t sell, but they said the colors they choose are among their best sellers. A friend was dating a member of the Lauder family and I told her to tell him to stop putting the same lipsticks in every GWP. I guess he didn’t listen.

Profile photo of Deidre

Love: get a free gift, deluxe size samples are good to take when travelling or keep as backup when you run out of a product, can add items to a gift for friends/auction baskets/cheer up baskets/etc without having to spend extra
Hate: cheap makeup bags, colors that are unflattering, repeat of same items over and over again in every GWP, some are just not exciting GWP’s

Profile photo of Rachel R.

Usually they’re not that great, and they’re just sample sizes, so they don’t motivate me. I usually couldn’t care less about the makeup bags. GWP totally depends on the brand, though. I like mascara samples because I’m often allergic, and I can try brands out. I hate foundation, concealer, and bronzer samples: They’re usually way too dark. Too Faced often has good GWPs on their website, and bhCosmetics usually has good ones. Estee Lauder used to have the best ones, but I haven’t bought EL for more than a year, so I’m not sure if that’s still true.

I love to get GWPs, but some are definitely better than others! I agree with Rachel R that Too Faced does good ones, like samples of their Chocolate bronzers. I like the Clinique sets that you get with two purchased items, they’re often very good. I will often buy a magazine just for the GWP lol, last summer was especially good, I got a mini Clinique Lip Pop in Cherry, a nail varnish and one or two expensive skincare minis. I love getting samples to try out, my favourites are from Naturisimo.com which is a natural beauty site and has a great sample selection. Space NK and L’Occitane also give out good samples too.

Profile photo of Lacey

It really depends on the gift. Some GWPs give you so little it’s hard to really test (especially skincare), but others may be larger sizes of products you just don’t use. I always like when companies give you the option, even if it’s just between two different color palettes or types of product.

Profile photo of Genevieve

Rant: Often the lipsticks in the GWP’s are pinks, which I dislike.
Rave: Just love the GWP because you can sample the brand’s products without committing to a full sized version if you don’t like it/can’t wear it. Anything I don’t use I give away – especially the lipsticks to my daughter in law, who loves pink lipsticks. I also love it when you do get a full sized version of something useful – like a daily moisturiser with SPF in it. The mascaras are great because there is about 3 months worth in the smaller samples and then you can just throw them out. Clinique, EL, Clarins and Elizabeth Arden have great ones.

When I received three full sized lipsticks from the local Bobbi Brown website as GWP recently, I was thrilled. However, two of them were so old that they smelled rancid and the third one wasn’t a keeper either. When I checked their barcode online, I saw that they were already 6 years old! Such a disappointment to have to throw away such gorgeous colours.. In fact, such things ruin the image of the brand among the custoners.

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I save up all my freebies until I am bursting and the seams and overflowing and then cheerfully box them up and hand them over to one of my mail carriers who has a daughter in University. I’m very popular on her floor in her residence. LOL.

Love – trying new colors,products etc.
Hate- unflattering color options/ forced combos ( i.e. Nude Browns and champagne eye combo that I would use is paired with a cool rose pink that I never would use) . Half or more of a GWP bag being useless skin care items. I wish they’d do cosmetic GWP and skincare GWP bag options.

Profile photo of Sarah

I like them. I have few hair/skin brand loyalties, so these little packets live in my gym bag. That way I don’t have to lug around full sized bottles or leaky travel bottles.

Profile photo of Thao

I LOVE gift with purchases, especially it’s a bag of deluxe size samples, I don’t care if it’s skincare or makeup honestly. Shiseido and Clinique always have good GWP, it’s best when you love to try new things.
For me GWP is much better than 3 perfume samples (what Sephora is offering)

Profile photo of Anne

I don’t purchase many things that do gift-with-purchase. I’m more likely to go for something on sale, and also to look for promo codes for deluxe samples or gifts when I shop online. I find the good gift-with-purchases are at places like Nieman Marcus, which I definitely do not have the budget for, and you have to drop mucho dinero to get a gift that would likely be cheaper to buy if you really wanted it. If I did major purchases a lot, it might come up more, but I’ll stick to my sales and promos for now.

Profile photo of fuji

Most of the packets of skincare I have ended up being piled up and not used for a while, since I follow my daily routine and don’t switch very randomly. When I run out of certain type of product in my routine, eg, moisturizer, and I might be on a low-buy or waiting for a sale, then I’ll grab all the moisturizer packets I have and use them one by one till nothing left. That saved me lot of money and allowed me to hold up till there is a deal for the actual product I want.

My only complaint is that if the packet contains more than a single dosage of the product, then it’s hard to keep the active ingredient fresh, thus it diminishes a lot of great anti-aging products’ effect.

I think people in America get a lot more gifts with purchases… I only get one or two tiny sachets with skin care. The ladies at the till always give anti-aging cream for dry skin, come on, I am 23 and still have some acne! Maybe I cover my pimples so well?
I once ordered online from Makeup Revolution and they had a special going on with a free gift. I got a bronzer, a dupe for TF chocolate soleil, and I still use it several times a week! It was a huge sample, haven’t finished it yet! Now that’s what I like!

Profile photo of Fran

I like samples of new color makeup, and I do use mascara samples. I don’t think I’ve ever liked a fragrance sample. The vast majority of skincare samples are unsuitable for my skin because they contain fragrance. So GWPs don’t usually work out all that well for me. The most fun I have with them is usually passing them on to younger friends who don’t have the funds to try many beauty products. However, when my local Ulta has an Urban Decay event, they often have a good GWP bag. Usually the bag itself is actually high quality, attractive and a useful size, and there’s usually at least one full-sized product included with various sizes of samples. That one is sometimes worth it to me.

The best ever gifts with purchase, typically involving full-size or at least medium (non-sample) sizes, come from http://www.beautyhabit.com. They have a really lovely variety of high end, international, natural, boutique etc. brands.

(Oh and the samples they include with each order are amazing too, typically requiring a follow up full-size purchase. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Drugstore.com tends to knock those g.w.p. bags out of the park. It isn’t very often that something like that will convince me to make a purchase that I wasn’t going to make anyway. But since they aren’t strictly an online cosmetic source, I can almost always find enough things I actually want and know I’ll use to qualify. In fact I just scored one a couple weeks ago. And I have already tried a few new products I love, and stocked a few staples in my travel case for a trip coming up next month.

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