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Quite often, yes. I like the opportunity to try something to see if I like it. I do wish some companies would make their samples more realistic…..a one use packet of some skin care product isn’t really going to persuade me that it’s really worth trying but if I can get 3 days to a week of use, that would. I recently got a sample of a Biossance facial oil and the packaging was lovely – a tiny bottle with a dropper – but it had maybe 5 drops of product in the bottle….really not enough, anyway, to get a sense of the product’s efficacy.

Definitely. Full size products I’ve bought after trying samples include perfume, mascara, lipstick, foundation, and various skin products. Sometimes I buy a product I never thought I’d want because I had a chance to try it out first. Other times I saved money on something I thought I’d like, but changed my mind after trying the sample. I really love having a chance to try out a product before spending my money on it.

I discovered all my favorite perfume through samples. Just testing in stores doesn’t do it for me, and sometimes that overwhelming for my nose. With sample I can try a perfume in multiple days and see how to scent evolves during the day or in different contexts.

But then again… those perfume samplers on paper (Sephora used to sent envelopes of 10-12 of them) are the most wasteful useless way of sampling.

I agree, a fragrance. However the Hourglass highlighter stick in champagne did encourage me to buy several colors, but it took so long for the sample to run out it was over a year before I bought the original color.

I think a better question is: has a makeover at a counter ever inspired you to buy something? Is it just me or does everyone else feel like they may know the brand or makeup techniques better than when you go get your makeup done for free at a beauty counter? Then of course you’re expected to buy something and you don’t really like anything they did 🙁

All my MAC makeovers (either mini or full make-up session) made me buy something then or later… I discovered like that some of my WG products, like Diva lipstick, Harmony blush, Prolongwear Waterproof foundation. I do regret purchasing specific brushes (but not 217)… definitely their techniques are different / better than mine.

Maybe Christine will also feature this question soon. 🙂

Makeup and perfume samples, yes. There’s enough to see what a foundation, mascara, lippy, etc will look on you since it only needs one application to test if it’s working. I will ALWAYS get a sample of perfume first.

But lotions, eye creams, cleansers, etc, never. There’s just not enough to be used to show any sort of satisfaction that it’s doing what you want it to do! I toss/give away all those samples and if I want to try something, I buy the smallest size I can at a store I can return to if not satisfied.

yes! i subscribe to a few beauty boxes such as allure and macy’s and they offer deluxe samples. i’ve bought fragrance and makeup such as the too faced primer, clarins lip oil and masks. love good-sized samples that allow you to try out a decent amount. i used to subscribe to sisley but all their samples are either 3 ml or 5 ml tubes and finishes up in three squeezes. not much to see in 3 uses…

If it’s color cosmetics, yes. Lipstick and mascara especially. I don’t like skincare samples and I feel like I don’t get enough product to know for sure if something will work with me or not (and besides, my skincare routine works for me so I’m inflexible when it comes to change). But I love getting a good lipstick sample. If the shades and formula of a makeup sample work for me, I’ll splurge on the full sized product.

It’s hit-or-miss but those little paper plastic envelopy things that you have to squeeze product out of – I won’t even bother. Complete turn off and it makes me feel like the brand is cheap. I have bought quite a few things from sampling deluxe product sample sizes because that’s a good 2 weeks to a month usage and I can really see how a product performs.

It’s the deluxe samples or smaller product versions. Like, I got Sol de Janiro’s Bum Bum Cream in the $20 size as a little gift – I would have never bought the full size on my own without having tried it as that’s a big splurge for me, and I fell in love with it for an AM cream in the summer. Ditto with fragrance rollerballs vs a literal fragrance sample.

It has definitely happened with a fragrance. I’d say it’s happed with some samples definitely but it’s absolutely discouraged me from buying something too. Have gotten excited about a product and the sample completely made me change my mind.

depends on the brand
I find skincare brands like Kiehls, Vichy or La Roche Posay are quite generous with their samples that I ended up rebuying products that I liked.
with makeup, I am mostly a lip product person. I’ve figured out my brows gel, my mascara and my blush a long time ago, so I make use of samples as travel minis, more than anything else.

When I can get a deluxe sample, absolutely, for skincare. I’ve discovered a few sunscreens and face serums/creams I never would have tried due to cost without a deluxe sample. One offs for makeup are fine – I don’t normally need to test a lip color or foundation for multiple days.

Yes, I have found several holy grail products after using samples I received in beauty boxes: Laura Mercier Rose Oil, Benefit brow items, highlighter, makeup remover, toner, etc. I have never purchased a serum after trying a sample, as a small packet doesn’t contain enough product to make an informed purchase. Sample products have also led me to try other products from the same brand.

Deluxe sized samples are more likely to win me over. You actually have enough time with skin care to see if there’s a difference, and with makeup, if I find myself reaching for it a ton and can get through the sample, I know it’ll get good use. Smaller samples are good for color match and making sure a product doesn’t give me a bad reaction, so I find them useful for things like foundation and skincare I’m already interested in.

Yes. Definitely, yes. My Sephora is quite generous with samples. Whenever I buy a full size of anything from a brick and mortar, I always ask for and receive a generous sample of a product I’ve had my eye on. (Many stores are generous when they know you are a serious customer who doesn’t like to buy, try and return.) Samples are the way to go, imo.

Not always but sometimes yes. I cashed in a point perk of the Fenty Pro F’lter Powder in Butter and liked it so much I bought a larger size. Similarly I got a Morrocan Hair Oil set from Sephora and it inspired me to repurchase the hair oil again. One year Sephora had NARS Rikugien as a birthday gift and I repurchased that pencil immediately bc I liked it so much. So point perks, GWP can encourage me to buy a fuller size. Not always but sometimes. Moreso with makeup or hair products. Maybe not skincare bc I’m so picky w that?

For me usually perfume. A few skincare products, I have sensitive skin and mild rosacea so am very cautious with skincare and prefer to try a sample. I will say foundation, I like to take home and try the shade match and how it wears.

Definitely. My skin is so sensitive that I’ve got to get samples of anything I’m interested in. Even if the sample is stingy, I’m able to eliminate those that give my instant reactions.

I believe that Ulta would make more sales if they made it easy to make up samples. It’s nuts that there aren’t sample jars around to make your own (if SAs don’t want to make them). I don’t like having to buy a whole bottle or jar based on just trying once a tester, or in some cases, buying blind because there’s not even one tester out. I think Ulta is short sighted in this regard.

Yes, sometimes they do. Especially when it comes to skincare and foundation products. Occasionally, this may even become an HG product for me, as FAB Ultra Repair Cream, Ole Henrikson Truth Serum, pure Rosehip and Marula oils, and Sunday Riley UFO have.

Sometimes! If I’m in the market for a new skincare product, I definitely get a sample before purchasing the full size, that way I at least know if it will irritate my skin or not. I will never buy a mascara that I’ve never tried before. I prefer not to return things, so the chance to try something out and not commit to it is great for me. I’ve purchased full size fragrances before, just based on samples. I love when Sephora does the gift with purchase of 8-10 fragrance samples. I’ve ended up loving some that I ordinarily would probably never have even considered.

It depends on the product type and sample size. But most time samples encourage me not to buy a product; but the point is that samples can be a good way to get an opinion on a product.

If we are talking about small / single use sample (those 0.5-5 ml packets), I’m rarely convinced; both for make-up and skincare. Personally I need more than 3-5 uses in different days and contexts to gasp if a product works or not for me. And I do feel that products in small foil packets differ in quality (sometimes better, sometimes worse) than the product in bottle/jar (even small / sample sized ones).

If it’s a multi-use sample size and I can get a feel if the product would work for me, sure. I discovered my all time favorite primer (Hourglass Mineral Veil) with those tiny Sephora sample bottles. I discovered multiple favorite mascaras (although with Sephora samples and perks, I’m actually never out of stock of mini / sample mascara, so I don’t purchase full size mascaras), but I would say those tiny-tiny MAC mascara samples never made me purchase full sizes (and MAC has good mascaras). Even favorite eye cream and SPF cream.

They can, but it doesn’t happen very often. The most recent item I bought because I loved the sample is Volition Strawberry-C Serum (it was a generous sized mini-bottle from Sephora). In the past samples have persuaded me to buy Everyday Minerals Base (powder), mascaras, fragrances, and indie loose powder products (eyeshadows, blush, liquid lipsticks). Usually, I don’t buy skincare based on samples, because there isn’t enough in them to give me an idea of whether they’ll work for me.

For some products, definitely. I wouldn’t buy skin care based on a sample, even a deluxe sample because a few days or a week isn’t going to show me anything about the product. Now what I use skin care samples for is to actually rule out a product. The sample size will tell me that I hate the scent, the feel, the formula, etc. For skin care I rely on research and actual reviews rather than samples. I get a lot of ideas for skin care based on answers here on the blog and 2 of my favorite YT channels that deal with a lot of skin health, Angie from HotandFlashy since she is a little closer to my age, I think she is in her mid-50’s and Renee at Gothamista. She is my guru for all things Asian beauty and just beauty in itself. I like her approach to skin care and have actually changed my entire skin care routine based solely on her recommendations. It doesn’t hurt that she is so easy to listen to. She has a very melodic voice that just zaps the stress out of me.
Products I do like samples, perfume, especially the little spray bottles, lipstick, mascara, foundation if it is a big enough sample and pretty much any coloured makeup. The closest full sized Sephora is 3 hours away in Spokane, Washington. They are pretty skimpy with their samples and because we live so far away, my daughter likes to get two or three different shades in foundations she wants to try and there are always at least two or three different brands. They will give you a total of three samples and that is it so I generally get my three which are actually for her. I think it is funny since we have such different skin tones, I always wonder if they realize that medium foundation in the sample is about twenty shades too dark for me! I do understand their policy as people would take advantage of it but when you live so far away, it would be great to be able to get what you want to try. Also, I wish that more brands made foundation and concealer samples with all their shades in a particular range such as very fair, fair, light, medium etc. There are a few who do but would like to see more brands offer that option. Especially in on-line ordering. Again, because I live so far away from any major department store I have to buy a lot of products on-line but I never do with foundation since it is so difficult to get a good match. There are several foundations that I would love to try but can’t get to a counter. If they would make a sample of their four or five lightest shades across undertones I would be happy to purchase those and if I like the product then pick up the full size on-line. I would love to try the Chantecaille, Le Mer, Pat McGrath foundations but they aren’t carried even in the Nordstroms or Sephora in Spokane.
Having said all of that about Sephora, I do get a good amount of product in those little tubs they give you. When I was trying the Dior Forever Glow I used the sample daily for about a week. I purchased the full size on the third day but continued using the sample until it was gone.

Yes! They usually work out if I seek out travel/deluxe sample sizes and not if the samples were randomly included in my purchase.

All the time for many products: foundation, concealer, face and eye primer, color correctors, powders, cleansers, moisturizers, shampoo and conditioner, and mascara samples always lead me to the full size if I like them. Frankly if there were a way to sample eye shadow I probably would have fewer palettes.

Yes, definitely. When it comes to beauty products, the samples come in very handy (liquid highlighters, foundations, concealers, mini cards with different lipstick shades etc.). Same for the fragrance.

For skincare, the samples are useful to test for possible sensitivities, allergies, bad reactions and this regardless of the good ingredients, b/c we may develop bad reactions even to some natural ingredients. Or to see if that serum/cream is really hydrating for my dry skin. I always check the ingredients first and if I see some “bad apples” among them, I won’t choose/try that sample anyway.

With respect to testing the efficiency of that skincare product, it’s almost impossible to do it solely based on samples, as the test period should be of three months for that product to really have a meaningful impact. You can see an improvement after the first 30-40 days as the cell turnover occurs once a month, but three months is usually the standard period, as the cell turnover slows down with age (after 50, it seems to take between 45 and 90 days).

I get samples at Sephora all the time of something I’m interested in and do a ‘wear test’ before I buy it. As far as vendor samples, I think the only time this has happened is with the Elemis cleansing balm. I tried it once from a packaged sample and was hooked.

Definitely! After trying samples I’ve bought fragrance, primers, foundations, mascaras, moisturizers, toners, sunscreens & lipsticks. If a brand offers a sample pack of their top sellers I usually buy that first as an introduction to the brand.

Absolutely samples can make or break a purchase decision for me. I especially like deluxe sized skin care and perfume samples. Because of their generous samples Estee Lauder serums and moisturizers are part of my daily routine . Whenever possible I love getting samples because they help me to avoid buying a perfume or beauty product that wouldn’t have worked out for me. Thus avoiding returns and waste . Samples also expose you to products that you might not have considered before trying.

Absolutely, but it’s almost always products I request (or in the case of Paula’s Choice skincare, specifically purchase) samples of. I almost never buy full sizes of unfamiliar skincare without having gone through a sample without issue, my skin is to reactive to take the gamble. Ditto with hair care, I need several trials to see if it works with my thin but dense wavy hair. I also do samples of fragrance to test whether I want to commit to a larger size and make sure my partner doesn’t hate it.

For color cosmetics it’s rare though. Much less to need to test, usually wearing it once or twice out of store to make sure it feels good and looks nice in different lighting is enough.

Absolutely! Especially if it’s a deluxe sample of a skincare item, so I can see how my skin reacts to it over the course of a week or more. That’s how I’ve come to buy most of my full-size skincare products.

Two years ago I stopped buying new products that cost more than $20 bucks until I’ve tried a trial or sample size. It’s saved me a ton of money and dissatisfaction with trying new stuff. If I really want to try an expensive product I’ll hit up eBay or Poshmark to find samples. They sell for too low for people to bother counterfeiting and with all the gift-with-purchase and subscription services there’s usually a lot of people looking to offload unwanted samples. I’m a huge perfume head but I rarely use whole bottles and they evaporate pretty quick, so I like buying small deluxe or trial samples to throw in my purse.

If something interest me and I have read first the ingredients, I like to try it to see if I like it. I love perfume samples, I feel it is a necessity for me to try a parfum first.

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