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

A perfume sample would definitely help and encourage me to buy full-size if I loved the scent, but a lot of skincare samples are smaller and not enough for me to know either way so I’m as likely to buy the full-size as I was before (barring the sample didn’t kill the product for me – like highly scented!).

— Christine
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!

38 Comments

Comments that do not adhere to our comment policy may be removed. Discussion and debate are highly encouraged but we expect community members to participate respectfully. Please keep discussion on-topic, and if you have general feedback, a product review request, an off-topic question, or need technical support, please contact us!

Please help us streamline the comments' section and be more efficient: double-check the post above for more basic information like pricing, availability, and so on to make sure your question wasn't answered already. Comments alerting us to typos or small errors in the post are appreciated (!) but will typically be removed after errors are fixed (unless a response is needed).

We appreciate enthusiasm for new releases but ask readers to please hold questions regarding if/when a review will be posted as we can't commit to or guarantee product reviews. We don't want to set expectations and then disappoint readers as even products that are swatched don't always end up being reviewed due to time constraints and changes in priorities! Thank you for understanding!

Comments on this post are closed.
We hope you'll consider supporting Temptalia by shopping through our links below. Thanks!
Erica Avatar

Yes and no. Not necessarily samples but I will buy travel size to test out a brand. I haven’t really bought a full size item based off a sample bc yeah there too small to tell and they can be such random things I wouldn’t buy

Tammy Avatar

I love samples! I actually have a hair mask in right now that is a sample. On the weekend I will have a mini spa day with samples of exfoliants, body washes, body lotions, face masks, face oils, etc.

And yes, I have purchased products because of sampling. I got 5 samples of Amorepacific’s Future Age Response face cream and when they were gone, I had to buy that cream. Other samples I’ve tried that led to full size purchases include Urban Decay lipgloss in Naked, a glamglow cleanser and two of their masks, Guerlain’s Cle de Peau BB cream, Too Faced Born This Way foundation, a limited summer edition of one the Dior Addict fragrances, Jo Malone’s Blush Peony and Suede, Dahlia and Vines and Becca’s Champagne Pop. I know there are more, but that’s just what I can think of off the top of my head. Another good part of trying a sample before purchase is discovering a product does not work for you before purchasing.

I also love samples for the gym and travel. I can fit everything I need for an after gym shower in a Sandwhich Baggie, lol. Small samples take up very little room in my travel bathroom bag and as an added plus, there is no mess in the hotel bathroom from spilled products because they are sealed before I use them and since they are one-time use, I don’t have to put them back in my bag and hope they don’t leak.

Samples are nice too because I get to try products I never would have thought to try on my own. It’s fun to discover new lip colors I didn’t know looked good on me or to realize I LIKE curling mascaras (who knew?).

I like samples because I have a daughter with extremely sensitive skin and I can have her test moisturizers before I purchase them for her.

Tammy Avatar

One last reason I love samples: Free mascara, moisturizer, and Lancome’s eye make up remover. For years I did not buy these products because I could get a year’s supply just by taking advantage of gifts with purchase.

Nancy T Avatar

Sometimes they really do! I may get a regular manufacturer sample, like it, but perhaps need some more time to be certain. In which case, I will get an additional store issue sample from Sephora in order to make certain that there probably won’t be an allergic reaction and that the product actually improves what I’m using it to improve! This is very useful when I’m looking for something skincare related.

kjh Avatar

You might want to become a bit more of a research nerd, to rule out what the culprits are. Compare ingredient lists of products that bothered you, and often, it’s pretty obvious. Add the Paula ingredient dictionary and cosdna, and you will have a great idea of the potential for problems. Cosdna has an acne and sensitivity rating for individual ingredients. It’s a godsend. Paula’s ingredients dictionary can help by rating the ingredient as to beneficiality (is that a word?). And you can see what ingredients are related to the one you suspect, what category they are in. Chemical names are somewhat forbidding, but you def gain general knowledge. It’s a shitton of work, but worth it in the end.

LindaP Avatar

Sure does help. Often it helps me rule things out. Sometimes I’ve sampled a product through Sephora 2-3x before making a decision. Thing is, while I appreciate a generous return policy, I really try not to buy full size if I’m on the fence, then return it. It seems terribly wasteful to me — that’s just my hang up. Not all products can be sampled at home I know, but the ones that can I try to do that first.

I know samples really helps me with fragrance. It’s how I found Atelier’s Mandarine Glaciale. I tried it a few times through Sephora samples and now it’s the only fragrance I have worn over the past two years.

Christina Avatar

Christine – I am with you on small skincare samples; no way I can tell if something will work for me with only one application. Unless it breaks me out or gives me a rash right away and then I suppose it would “work” in the sense that I know the product isn’t something I can use.

Dianne Avatar

Yes, all the time! I’m more likely to purchase a product if I can test it out for a few days to a week and it works out for me, so the bigger the sample, the better! I’m currently planning to buy the BareMinerals Bareskin Sheer Sun Bronzing Serum after getting a sample in my Sephora Play box.

Ashleigh Avatar

Yep 🙂
Fragrances for sure- they always wear differently on the skin than on those paper tester strips. Also some skincare and makeup… mascara minis help me find ones I love as well. Although some brands are overly generous with their samples… I have “deluxe samples” of bronzers, blush, and highlighers than I’m going to take a LONG time to get through, heh.

Rachel Avatar

It depends on the size of the sample for me. I’ve bought quite a few products after trying the “deluxe” size samples, but I’ve never bought a product based only on a foil single-use sample.

DJ Avatar

Same for me. I like the deluxe samples, something I can actually use over the course of a few days, other than a tiny little foil package, with maybe 2 applications. I’m much more apt to buy a product, from a deluxe sample, that I’ve tried for a few days, seeing that it actually works.

Katherine T. Avatar

It depends. If I don’t like the sample product, then no. But if I really like it, then yes. I have a 9 tray rolling cart from Staples, full of samples organized by type (hair, face, sunscreen, lips, body), and if I get bored or curious, I try stuff and find gems. I especially love the samples of expensive products, because no way would I buy without a sample first. And they are great for travel too. If I have to go on a no-buy, I could live off those samples for a while. But I get so many free mascara samples that I’ve only bought 2 full size mascaras in the last 5 years.

Kylie5 Avatar

Yes. For example my new Night cream is from Rodial and costs about 100 $. I would Never have bought it, if I had not had a sample Before. In General I can say that if I have a sample of a product and I like it I will buy the Full size. On the other Hand samples Are very good to Save Money if a product does not work at all.
In Germany it is very hard to get samples, if you ask they nearly always say that they Do not have one and in Germany is not allowed to fill something in a small bottle from a Tester.
I Do not Know if it clever from the companies to Save Money by producing less samples.

Nicole D Avatar

Yes for the makeup samples (lipsticks, concealers, foundations) as I can tell if the color, tone or consistency match my skin type and I can determine how they hold throughout the day.

For the skincare products, the samples might help me with the sensitivity factor. However, I prefer travel sizes or discovery kits in order to asses if they are reliable enough for a longer period of time. It happened with the Korean Laneige brand; I got a sample of one of their creams at Sephora and I was pleased. Then I bought their Hydration Trial Kit; at the beginning it was ok but after two weeks of using it exclusively, my skin dramatically changed for the worse; clogged pores and small bumps all over the face. It can’t be the perfume alone as I tried in the past other products with perfume and nothing happened. So I stopped using their products and it took another couple of weeks for my skin to calm down.

Chacha Avatar

For a makeup product like a foundation,i try to have a sample but if i cant i only read reviews and i buy it in full size.
For a skin care product i feel immediatly if my skin will love it even if the sample are tiny
For a perfume its important because you can try it by different ways and condition for see how the fragance match with you
so definetly,i think samples are important,need more when you purchased,and for sure the sellers are encouraged to ask for free sample in first option,like that we’ll be happy to test something new,no regrets for buying a fail and also proud to be considerate by something else than a money bank 🙂

Tammy Avatar

Yes! A few days ago I got Stila Aqua Glow Serum Foundation after trying a sample I had gotten with a Sephora order and I love it. The sample card had fair and light/medium, but I needed light. I loved the finish on it though and had to get it. It’s so pretty! Another one I bought was Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara. The deluxe size seemed like my Holy Grail macara but the full size has been a little disappointing 🙁

Jane (tumoblog.com) Avatar

Absolutely. I purchased Bite Beauty lip balm after getting a sample as well as Kat Von D foundation. I have also bought skin care and hair care products after using samples. Just this week I got a sample of Neuma hair smoothing cream which I am very impressed with so might buy.

Flaky Avatar

Absolutely!! I’ve had a few subscription boxes over the years & purchased many full sized items after trying the delux sample. I’d I’m less likely to buy based on a foil pack, but I can generally still get an idea if it’s worth investigating at all.

Brenda Lee Avatar

Yes, they do. I recently picked up the 500 point Laura Mercier gift at Sephora and fell in love with the flawless skin oil. The price at first scared me but so far .01 oz has lasted 6 weeks so 1 oz should last 20 months. That I can totally justify! ?

Dawn Avatar

Fragrance and cosmetics, absolutely. Generally not skincare, because usually a sample isn’t enough to really get a good feel for the product, unless it totally wows me right out of the gate, and I try not be influenced by that too much, as it can be misleading. Totally agree with Nancy T., who says you can always get a larger sample from Sephora, if you need more time to evaluate skin care. I absolutely do keep gobs of samples in baggies, of products I know I like, for travelling – hair care especially, as those bottles are almost always big and bulky. And like you said, too, Christine – there have been times when I got a sample of a product I was dying to try, and found I hated it right away – Lancome’s Genefique is one that comes immediately to mind, oh, the eye watering aroma of straight alcohol! – and that sample saved me from a costly mistake. So yeah, samples are helpful in alot of ways. Besides – I’m a straight up beauty addict! Who among our elite group doesn’t like to try new stuff?!?

Mariella Avatar

You too with the fine liner? I got a Points Perk and was angry at first because I thought it was the regular MJ liner. But then I tried it on my upper waterline and was so, so impressed I finally broke down and bought the full sized one even though I’d promised myself at first that I’d wait til the November VIB sale. But I couldn’t wait! It is so amazing – I’ve not come across anything like it.

Aeri Avatar

Yes! (I got mine via a points perk too!) So far it’s the only pencil that stays well when I tightline and doesn’t end up on my bottom waterline. It was one of the only samples I’d ever used regularly and used it up within a couple months!

Sarah Avatar

Oh yeah! I do this a lot with makeup shops on Etsy that have “try three samples” deals or something. If I can get a feel for how well product wears, if it irritates me, if I’ll need a different color, etc. without committing to full size, that makes me like a product or brand more. Same with perfume but for a different reason: I’m kind of a scent virgin! To date I’ve owned three perfumes. If I can get a miniature size of a scent or three (again, usually on Etsy), it makes it easier for me to find what notes like to wear, whether I like solids or rollerballs or sprays, and how much I want to invest in my collection. Samples are basically a student’s best friend–easy access, lower prices, and less commitment!

Genevieve Avatar

I really love sample sized products because it gives you an idea of how the product will work. I have bought the full sized version after trying a sample – Clinique’s black honey mascara. I got the sample as a GWP, loved it and then went and bought the full size.

GK Avatar

Definitely! I know the 1st time I use something if I don’t like it. With skincare I usually have a reaction quickly, samples are enough for me to find out if there’s going to be a problem. That’s why I buy most of my products from Sephora.

Rachel R. Avatar

Yes, especially with fragrances and colored cosmetics. Mascaras usually don’t, because I find sample quality usually doesn’t match the full-sized versions. Sometimes they’re worse; sometimes they’re better. This is across brands, too. With skin care, it depends on how big the sample is. If I can get a few days use out of it and love it, and have no allergic reactions, I might buy the full sized.

Mariella Avatar

Absolutely. I’ve discovered many, many faves (skin care AND makeup) through samples but I honestly wish companies would do more samples that actually give you more than a single use, which is never enough to tell if you like a product. I got a nice sample of Boscia cleanser a few years go (might actually have been a points perk) and it had several weeks’ worth of product. After a week, I was sold on it and got the fully size (and keep the small bottle to refill for travelling). If a product is good, there is a very high chance I’ll buy the full size after trying the sample.

Karen Avatar

Yes. I have purchased at least 4 foundation type products, Clinique CC cream, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua and Lingerie De Peau. Plus, Nars Dual Intensity Blush in Fervor, primers, Dior Dreamskin, DHC Olive Cleansing Oil, Living Proof hair products, and more perfumes than I can recall. The list goes on and on. I get the Sephora Play box plus have ordered samples from Choix. There have been times when I am more excited to receive my samples from Nordstrom than the product(s) I actually ordered! I am definitely the type of consumer that samples were intended! 😉
To be fair though there are also quite a few products I was interested in until I tried a sample so, with me, it works both ways.

Stephanie Avatar

I use any and all samples that don’t cause a reaction, and sometimes they will encourage me to buy the full size product. That’s why I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance – I ended up with several samples of that and UD Primer Potion at about the same time, and decided I liked the Too Faced better. I have also purchased a few UD lipsticks based on samples I’ve tried.

Sample sizes are also a good way of deciding what not to buy. I know I’m not crazy about Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (at least after the first few uses) because I tried a sample.

Tracey E. Avatar

I do enjoy samples, especially skincare to get a feel for the product (and ensure no irritation or strong scent), to introduce me to a line I might not consider or as a treat for one I could not justify buying.

I don’t wear perfume due to my spouse’s sensitivities and now my own, so I wish there were options to substitute for other types of samples.

Mrskel1 Avatar

For me yes 100%. I often buy a full size of many of the samples I receive or I use them once and know to rule them out and move on. I can figure out pretty quick what works for me and what doesn’t.

thirteen Avatar

Yep. I bought Too Faced Shadow Insurance after getting a sample of it with a Sephora order. (Joke’s on them, I got it at Ulta.) I also liked the Nars lip pencil birthday gift from Sephora so much that I bought another one in another color. Now when I want lipstick I sort of gravitate to Nars since I’ve been so impressed with their products. So that definitely worked.

We try to approve comments within 24 hours (and reply to them within 72 hours) but can sometimes get behind and appreciate your patience! 🙂 If you have general feedback, product review requests, off-topic questions, or need technical support, please contact us directly. Thank you for your patience!