Do product samples encourage you to purchase the full-sized product?

I’m fortunate that I test products all the time, so since I’m working through full-sized products to test, I don’t often use sample packets/products. If a product is really interesting, I tend to purchase the full-sized version unless it’s something like fragrance where I’ll purchase the smaller size.

— Christine
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The only times I can think of have been for fragrances where I then immediately rushed to buy a large bottle (most notably Armani Because It’s You, YSL Black Opium, and Clean Reserve Sel Santal).

I realize I almost never use make-up samples. Either the color is off or I just have enough of my own that I’m never moved to use the samples. And a single use of skin care or hair care just isn’t enough for me to determine how effective a product is to move me to buy it over my usual. However, I do find them handy to throw into my bag for weekend trips rather than toting around full size products or decanting into smaller bottles, so I keep those in baskets in my linen closet to grab as needed.

Absolutely – if a product performs well, I’ll almost always buy the full size (Dr. Brandt’s exfoliator is a perfect example – I’d never have tried it or even known about it without getting a sample from Sephora). I have so many products I purchased because the sample was so good. Similarly, a sample will prevent me from buying (and then returning) something that doesn’t work for me (Tatcha’s exfoliating cleanser – I love Tatcha but the sample I got of that – it might have been in the Birthday Gift or in a Points Perk – and after just one use, I knew it didn’t like it all).

Sometimes, but not very often. I like using sample packs of products I routinely use to tuck away for weekends/travel so I seek out those if I have a choice. I also love trial size mascaras but they do not encourage me to buy the full size. I like having a stash of small ‘uns.

Yes, it definitely can. I’ve bought quite a few products after getting a sample size. And I’ve saved money on products I thought I’d like, but found out otherwise by using a sample (this happens mostly with foundation). However, I do not like the one-time use samples, like foundation or blush that’s pressed in a square of foil. I throw those out. But if it’s a decent sample that I can use several times, I’ll usually give it a try. This works especially well with fragrance. I’ll rarely buy a regular size bottle of fragrance without having the ability to wear it for at least several days.

I never managed to use a blush or powder sample from those pressed foils, it’s either too small or I get hard pan instantly, I just can’t manage to pick up product with a brush. 😆

For me fragrance is also always try on first. Even if I can’t get a sample, I have to try it in store a couple of times. I have an odd body chemistry that changes the scent of any fragrance… and I’m also very picky with fragrance, I don’t like some that have similar notes with my favorites.

I’m the same way with fragrance. I can put something on that smells sooo good in the bottle and when I first dab it on…then 20 minutes later I’m scrubbing my wrists with alcohol!

Most of the times yes. I thought I couldn’t use perfume once as the ones I used stopped smelling on me. It was a brand from my country and they had changed their formulas without telling anyone.

Anyway I stopped using any perfume for 5 years because why bother if the perfume was not going to smell. Even the samples I got from Sephora I threw out.

That was until I decided to try the samples I had around. Boooy! Rude awakening ? for formula changes. It is enough to say I have almost 30 perfumes now. ??

Most of everything I have is due to samples I won, including my HG mascara (Guerlain) and eyeliner (Marc Jacobs highliner). I changed my skincare to Biossance products thanks to samples I won.

I’ve definitely purchased both skincare and fragrance after using sample sizes, but the only makeup I can think of might be lip products — discovering that I love the formula might induce me to buy some full sizes in other colors (I went from one deluxe sample YSL glossy stain to five full sizes, for example, and I think the first Bite Beauty lipstick I ever tried was a free mini).

Samples and travel sizes are a great way to see if the full size is worthwhile.

Samples, especially small sachets, are not enough to test the efficiency of some products (like advanced skincare), but are a great way to see if I like the consistency and texture of a product. For me consistency, texture and usage is an important factor, I won’t use a product that I don’t actually enjoy using even if it’s efficient.
With things like cleansers and make-up removers I can tell from the first uses if it works for me or not. One small packet is enough to convince me or not.
For creams, serums, actives, boosters, I prefer travel sizes to test for several days or weeks.
Samples are great for foundation to color match or see how it works in my routine, but I hate small packets or those plastic dots with product Sephora gives. I actually like that more and more brands launch travel sizes of their foundations and concealers, even if the shade range is more limited. Great way to test for weeks before buying full size.

But there are some things I won’t purchase full size even if I like the samples. When it comes to mascara, eye liner, eye primer, I discovered that having and using mini sizes works better for me.

I agree with you on mascara minis. I find them much easier to work with. When I buy my EL foundation or Clinique face wash, I usually wait for the gift-with-purchase promotions so I can get a mini mascara. In between, I use Cover Girl mascara. If brands like Cover Girl would make mini mascaras—like 3 minis per package instead of one big one—I’d prefer to buy that.

I also pick up free (or point perks) mascara minis with Sephora or MAC order, I can live on those with no issues. 😆 With Sephora I do make always sure to check the batch codes, they are notorious of sending out very old samples (beyond 3-5 years from manufacturing dates); they once sent me a foundation sample (small tube/travel size) from Too Faced so old it was rock solid in the packaging instead of liquid.

There are plenty of websites, I personally like , but there’s many others like or even apps .
Most of the big brands actually publish their algorithm for batch code (or you can find them online).
MAC for example is one of the easiest, 3 characters, first is batch (A/B/C), second is month (1 through C), last is year (they recycle codes, so a 5 is either 2009 or 2019, but at this point I do hope nobody is selling 2009 make-up).

I believe there are apps you can look up on Google to do it!!! 😉 I’ve never done a match code, but I did download a UPC checker the other week to match up a discontinued palette I bought on Ebay and make sure it wasn’t a fake…it was extremely overpriced since it was discontinued, my husband bought it for me for my bday cuz my 17 year old daughter’s friend stole mine and I was heartbroken!!! Otherwise, I wouldn’t suggest buying makeup on Ebay or any of those 3rd party sites, lucky for us, though, mine was authentic!!!

I completely agree that “samples and travel sizes are a great way to see if the full size is worthwhile.” Alongside trying out the “consistency, texture and usage,” sample sachets are great for test-driving sensitivity on my eczema-prone skin bc reactions can happen within the first few uses for me. I have several regular full-sized skincare and foundation items that started out as samples–and this has saved me from frustration on constant returns, and wasting money & product.

Fragrance in perfumes and haircare: I most definitely get a sample or at least take a sniff in store bc scents can trigger headaches for me. I have definitely stopped using hair products bc of the scent even if it’s great otherwise. Also, it was through testing over a hundred samples of fragrances that I realized my skin chemistry somehow warps the scent of most fragrances–there’s only a handful I can wear so I now know to NEVER buy a fragrance without getting a sample first.

I actually like purchasing travel sized sets of makeup if they perform exactly the same as the full size. For example, I have 8 mini Becca highlighters–and I would have never purchased the full sizes of these bc I don’t always wear colorful highlighter (and I like to travel for the occasions on when I do so travel-sized is preferred anyway). Same goes for lipstick (if the bullet doesn’t break), cream products, powder pans just big enough for a brush, etc.

I’m going to have to start looking for mini mascaras and eyeliners as soon as I finish what I have. I have hooded eyes and stick-straight lashes so finding a formula that won’t straighten out a curl or smudge everywhere can be difficult.

Occasionally – I’m pretty set with my skin care and makeup preferences so even deluxe sizes I will use up, but typically are just supplemental to my daily routine or staples that I’m already pretty happy with. I have a subscription Box that is really great for introducing new serums or creams and the like that I get about a month’s use out of but it’s rare that it goes on a list and into a cart. If samples come in those little plastic envelopes you get 2 uses out of, I don’t even bother, I just chuck them.

I was introduced to Farmacy make up remover balm, Natasha Denona eye shadows, Laneige water creams (lip, eye), Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant and Herbivore products through my subscription Box and those are now staples and repurchases, so there’s that.

Sometimes! Especially if it is a skincare or haircare sample. However, I also always ask for a sample of whatever foundation I’m either eyeing or one that has been recommended to me by an SA. This way I can test it out over a week’s time to see how it looks in various lighting, how close of a match it is, and whether it causes issues with my rather fussy, breakout prone skin.

Oh, yes. I tend to be very price conscious, so if something costs more than $25-30, I’ll want a sample first. If all you bought was full-sized foundations you could spend a small fortune on it and none of them might work.
If it passed the sample test, I’m willing to buy the travel-size of a product. I love that some perfumes come in rollerballs for the purse. Yes, they are $30, but they give you an excellent opportunity to really find out if that scent works for you. And I’ve discovered I don’t waste product if I buy mascaras in travel-size. Especially the waterproof stuff, which were always drying out before I was anywhere near the end of the tube– it seems to stay fresher in the small quantities.
I agree with Seraphine, samples on foil get tossed. And hair care samples are a waste of time, what is a one-time use supposed to tell you?

With haircare I am totally opposite. I can tell from the first use if I’ll like a shampoo, conditioner or styling product. I have never tried a shampoo or conditioner that didn’t worked from the first use, and I started to like it later. Products I like from the first use might not become my favorites, but they’re always OK enough to enjoy using up.
I’m glad I discovered Verb haircare from samples.
With Briogeo I refused to believe from the samples that it didn’t worked for me (so many people are raving about them), just to be as disappointed (or even more) after purchasing bigger sizes.

Only skincare samples, and only if the samples resulted good. About makeup, I feel very difficult to finish even samples… Basically I fininish only mascara… So no difference for me between saples and full size

I have purchased perfumes and lipsticks based off of a sample but rarely anything else. I do collect samples in products that I know and love, to use when travelling.

Occasionally. I think they’re especially useful for color products. I’ve bought a few lipsticks based on samples. Deluxe samples of skin care can be useful, too. That how discovered Volition Beauty Strawberry-C Serum, which I’ve repurchased three times so far. Fragrance samples have made me purchase a few times, too.

those small packets really don’t give you enough product to make a good, informed decision as to the product’s efficacy unless you’re given several packets to try. And, as for those samples that stores make up for you, yuck! Not only are the products unsanitary, but they have usually been open a long time and are no longer very effective. As for color cosmetic samples, those blobs on cardboard, etc. are basically worthless in my opinion.

All the time. Samples (I really appreciate Sephora making deluxe samples an option for $25+ orders – it’s really allowed me to try so much) are how I’ve found quite a lot of face makeup, haircare, and skincare.

Most recently the Kosas foundation, RMS concealer, Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Sleeping Mask, Benefit Bad Gal Bang, Ren Ultra-Comforting Rescue Mask, Briogeo Curl Charisma Leave-In, Replica Jazz Club, honestly so many more that I’ll just stop here, but if I were to walk in to my bathroom or look in my cosmetics drawers I could probably point out a dozen more.

Yes.. samples are great for travel. I also love the mascara sample box I purchased from Sephora.. that was probably the best. I like them and have discovered several brands of make up that I actually like from using the sample.. most notably “The Balm” I thought they were to gimmicky but I actually love their Thomas Bronzer, Beach Eyeshadow, Rockstar Blush and Highlighters, and I purchased full sizes after receiving samples. I have bought a Chanel foundation from the sample ( color was wrong but I put it on and the finish at the end of the day.. I was convinced I needed it in my life) I have also tried many samples that I disliked and was happy that I could try them and not purchase. I agree.. if the shampoo / conditioner is in the tear open packet.. its only good for your beach bag. You are not going to really get a feel for the product at all but it keep you going in a pinch.
Now I do feel Sephora totally gets over on giving us tiny samples they get for FREE as bonuses we have to PURCHASE with points .. it is a shameful SHAM!

Sometimes! I’ve bought a larger version of Fenty Pro Filter Powder, NARS Rikugien, Amore Pacific Enzyme Peel, Atelier Vanille Insensee perfume and Clinique High Impact Mascara all because I tried and enjoyed the GWP, Deluxe Sample or Point Perk first!

I fell in love with Amorepacific Exfoliating Power Cleanser with a sample and I loved it so much, that prompted me to start trying more of their products, this also happened with Olehenrickson products. I love receiving larger samples to try out new products. From perfume to mascara if you can test it out why wouldn’t you?

It can, especially if I’m looking for that type of product anyway. In my journey to finding my best foundation match, I bought Urban Decay All Nighter 2.5 based off an All Nighter sample pack I received.

The only sample size products we get here in Aus are mostly skincare ones – particularly from brands like Clinique, Estee Lauder etc. I do remember getting a sample size of the Clinique mascara and loved it so much (rare for me), that I bought the full size one.
The skincare samples are often of a size to let you see if the product will work or not, which is handy to know. Of the brands that offer samples, I find their full sized products are far too expensive for me.

As an exception, not as a rule.
It clearly depends on the sample size; blister packs and one-use samples don’t do it for me.
Larger or “deluxe” samples, where I can try it multiple time can definitely influence me. While I have an entire drawer full of samples to take when I travel, I don’t often buy.
The only samples I have received that I have bought full-sized ( with the exception of foundations I have asked for personal samples of) of are: hair treatments, face masks, face cream, lip gloss and one perfume because I don’t wear it enough, I can only where it when I’m not working as it skews my olfactory.

It depends, if the sample is big enough that I can actually TRY it then I’ll get the full size if I like it, but a lot of foundation and high end product samples are barely enough to swatch let alone see if it would work for you. So many foundations are the tiniest smear of product, what am I supposed to do with that? I sometimes wish I lived closer to Sephora for their samples and then other times I think it’s probably a blessing, haha!

I do appreciate when products come in mini sizes, I hope more brands start doing this. I’d happily pay a bit more per ounce for a smaller size because most products expire before I use them completely anyway. Like the Milk bronzer stick mini, that’s perfect for me! I barely dented my full size. The Fenty cream blushes–same thing. I think the size is perfect and I’m glad they didn’t come in bigger pans, it would just be a higher priced object that would eventually go to waste in my opinion.

Definitely. With makeup, it’s lovely to see how something performs before buying full size and for skincare, my sensitive skin lets me know if something will agree with it or not. I kind of worry that with this pandemic samples will no longer be as available at places like Sephora, which would suck for me 🙁

I can say that the samples make me buying more because I can actually use up the product and try a lot more products, but I admit I tend to buy also the full size of products I like most

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