What kind of samples do you like to receive with an order?

I like full-sized products or maybe something like a sheet mask where just one makes sense. I tend to avoid samples as they just stack up for me!

— Christine


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.
Anne Avatar

I’ve always liked trying skincare samples and makeup removers. Every now and then I’ll try a fragrance, but when buying from Sephora online and I see nothing I’d like to try or use for travel, then I’ll pass. I never decline a sample in store as I think it would be rude. And, I’m not shy about asking for a sample in store. Skincare is expensive. I like to try before I buy. Plus, I’ve found a few HG winners from samples. I think companies are smart to offer samples. It’s the best advertising they have, imo.

Emily Avatar

Full size/travel size skincare samples or travel size haircare samples. Skincare is expensive so it’s great to be able to try before buying (although I have so many it’s a bit of a problem lol….also have to use them!). Haircare travel sizes are helpful and do get used!

Makeup no. I hate foundation and concealer samples in particular because half the time you can’t choose the shade! What?? Makes zero sense.

AJ Avatar

Right?!? They usually send either one shade, or maybe a range of 3-5 shades from right down the middle, leaving anyone with pale or dark skin out of it. I have fair skin and I don’t think I’ve ever received a foundation or concealer sample that suited my skin tone.

Tara Avatar

I agree. Travel hair samples r great! I too hate betting foundation samples since they r never the right color and i never take the time to really try them out just for texture

Marieke Avatar

I feel like stores in my country don’t like to give out samples or gifts with purchases. When I go in to our biggest high end cosmetics chain stores, I only get a small sachet of some anti-aging cream (I’m in my early twenties!). If I order from their online store, I get to choose two or three samples. I prefer fragrance or foundation, because those are products I want to wear for a whole day before deciding.

Agona Avatar

Deluxe-sized at least! That way I can try a product for a couple to a few weeks to see if it does anything for me. Foil packets tell me nothing, except whether I hate the initial scent/texture upon first impression.

I also love stocking up on deluxe-sized/mini items of my favorites for travel. 🙂

Linda Avatar

I always snap up the shampoo/conditioner samples – love taking those when I travel, hotel shampoos can be sketchy or have too masculine a smell for my taste, I love taking high end stuff with me when I’m away from my holy grails.

Next would be perfume, samples can last a long time and slip in your purse so conveniently.

AB Avatar

I love samples, it’s a way to try out things I might not otherwise. Anything is good for me; except fragrances as I’ve never found one I like enough to keep let alone get full size of. There are many products I’ve bought from liking a sample.

Pearl Avatar

Lately just hair styling products – I like my skin care products and am not open to anything new right now, same for make up. Plus I cannot stand those little tiny packets that you have to tear and squeeze product out of the corner and you get maybe 2 uses out of it.

I like subscription boxes better – at least you get deluxe sample sizes and the packaging is workable.

Eileen Avatar

Skin Care: I’m always happy to receive deluxe size samples of products I already use (like La Mer, Tatcha, etc.) as they are great for travel, but those tiny sample packets we usually get are a total waste. It takes approximately 21-28 day’s for a new set of skin cells to reach the surface which is why dermatologists and estheticians are always telling people to be patient and give the product time to have an effect on the skin. Other than an allergic reaction or other type of immediate contact dermatitis, you have no way of knowing how well a product is going to work based on that tiny sample.

Color cosmetics: I like the little mascaras for short jaunts out of town—use a couple of days then toss. As for the foundations, lipsticks, blushes, etc., I usually toss them or give them to my niece as I find they just aren’t the right colors, textures, or the quality that I am accustomed to using.

Carolann Avatar

I like shampoo and conditioners, mini or deluxe sized makeup products, and fragrances. I don’t like card samples or small skincare samples as they are just so limited in use to know if they’re effective.

AJ Avatar

I like having sample sizes of skincare, especially cleansers. I use a Korean style oil cleanser at home and I just know if I decanted some in to a travel bottle it would end up leaking all over the rest of my liquids bag! So I like to take a sample size of something with me if I’m traveling. My skin isn’t very sensitive so I don’t have to worry about it acting up from a new product. I’ll often take sample-size moisturizers with me too, and maybe a sample mask to revive my skin from the dry airplane air.

I also like sample mascaras, though often I find that I don’t like the formula and I end up throwing it out.

Seraphine Avatar

Love this question, since I’ve been getting so many samples these days. I like multi-use samples rather than the little packets. I hate those one-time use packets!

The only skin care samples I like are the gift-with-purchase samples from Estee Lauder or Clinique. I’ve never purchased eye cream because I always a jar or two on hand from these gifts.

I love perfume spray samples, and I’ve bought full size perfumes that I never would have tried if I hadn’t received the sample. And if one of them turns out to be a scrubber on me (Tom Ford Black Orchid comes to mind), I have friends and coworkers who like getting the ones I don’t want.

I also like getting little mini lipsticks or mascara, but I don’t like getting foundation samples because they’re never the right shade.

Miska Avatar

I agree wholeheartedly with every single point that you made. Well said! I cannot stand when a sample is a one time use. As far as skincare goes, a simgle use isn’t enough time to see any kind of result or if it doesn’t jive with your skin. I personally adore perfume samples. So many scents turn bad on me and the samples save me from buying a full size bottle of what my body amps as cat pee (Lancomes Tressor does it on me and smells delish on my relatives). Lol, skin chemistry is a crazy thing.

Seraphine Avatar

Same here about scents turning bad on me. Lancôme La Vie est Belle turns into a powdery horror on my skin. Tom Ford Black Orchid made me smell like I hadn’t showered in a week. On the other hand, I recently discovered Giorgio Armani Sì and Mon Guerlain through Sephora samples, which both agree with my chemistry very nicely.

Stephanie Avatar

I prefer skin care samples, or sometimes lipsticks, glosses, etc if they are enough to actually apply and wear. I choose the same skin care samples several times, then will incorporate that item into my routine for a few weeks. Then I can see what, if anything the product is doing for me.

Genevieve Avatar

I love skincare samples of cleansers, moisturisers and mascara. They are perfect to try out and decide whether you want to buy the full sized version.
Lipsticks, lip glosses and nail polishes are wasted on me as they are usually not the shades I would use.
It is lovely when you get to choose the samples you would like the best.

Lea Avatar

Generally, skincare would be my preference but that being said I only want deluxe travel versions of things I already use. The small sachets can be fine if I’m doing a lot of work travel, but even then they can be tedious to use up versus a larger travel version. I can’t stand random perfume or foundation samples as others have said – wrong color or scent. The only foundation samples I think I’ve ever used were ones I asked for that gave me a week or two of use. Sephora is getting tedious in that I only picked two skincare samples and they switched one out with a Lancôme perfume. I don’t even need to look at the scent profile to know I won’t like it; Lancôme has never made a scent I’ve cared for. It would be less annoying if they can’t fulfill a request if they would at least swap it for another like item, but this isn’t a Sephora rant.

Elizabeth Avatar

I live off samples, lol! Blister packet cards or tiny packets are worthless. But I have beauty ADHD and love switching up the products I use, and at work I can only bring in a small bag, so I can bring in a full face of makeup in samples and take up as much space as one bottle of foundation. I work at Ulta and we constantly give out really nice GWPs– my favorite to give (and take home) are skincare that’s too expensive to buy full size, mascaras and mini lip products. I don’t like haircare because I so rarely do anything with my hair, I give away haircare from my Sephora play box unless it’s a deep conditioning mask.

Karen Johnston Avatar

I love samples of all kinds, especially of things I am curious about but have not tried yet. If I were to guess I’d say about 20-30% of what I have purchased has been because I tried a sample and wanted the full size, especially perfume and skin care.
This is quite the timely question for me as I just today received two orders from the Sephora sale. I had one from the VIB Rouge days that took 10 days, and another from the second weekend of the sale. I did not receive any samples at all in either box and the 10 day package didn’t include the rewards I had requested. Gotta say I was disappointed and just not loving Sephora right now. 🙁

ShariP Avatar

I love samples, but I want them to be big enough to use 2-3 times so I can get a good idea if it will work for me. I love mascara since their shelf life is short, I love skin care because it’s usually expensive, I love foundation because they tend to oxidize on my skin. I also like to try perfume this way…again, they’re expensive.

Tara Avatar

Funny just a few mins ago i was furious at Sephora for their free gifts. I just went thorugh all my orders from the recent sales and of the 24 samples i selected w my orders. (I bought a lot of gifts no judgements please!) i only got 7 of the ones i selected. Thats not even 30% !!

Pris Avatar

I love getting all kinds of samples. From perfume, to lipstick (my favorite kind of sample), to foundation, etc.

I totally understand how foundation and concealer shades can be hit or miss since shades are limited. To offer another perspective on that, they are usually helpful for me in narrowing down my shade before going to the store or ordering online.

I do have a problem now that I have so many samples, I have to prioritize what I use. I have divided my samples into categories (like cleansers, mascaras, primers) and make it a point to try some at least once a week. I also separate immediately what I don’t want and give away or else they just pile up.

Heather F Avatar

I rarely bother with foil packets or perfume samples, but I do love getting deluxe-sample-size skincare and hair products — and I’ve absolutely bought full sizes after trying them! Foils don’t provide enough of a sample to accurately assess how it will work with my skin, so they never tempt me to buy a full product.

Mini color makeup items can be fun, too, but foundation and concealer samples are usually awful (unless they offer a wide range of choices, and not just a bubble sample of three ‘popular’ shades or something).

Lulu Avatar

I’m all tough love on samples. Drop most of them directly into the trash, esp. fragrance. Just how horrible are those tiny plastic bubbles of dried out lip, brow and foundation?? Rarely even bother choosing Sephora samples because I typically receive nothing I selected. Their mistake; on the rare occasions I’ve gotten something I wanted I’ve ordered the product.


It’s easier to say what I dislike. I don’t like tiny samples that aren’t even a single use like some foundation samples. I dislike fragance samples bc I have my current regulars and don’t wish to change.i have so many mascara samples that I give them away by the handful.
I love “deluxe” sized samples bc i can get a decent feel for the product and love decent sized skin care samples that are appropriate for my skin type. I have fun with lipstick samples and give the very pale and very deep to my 23 yr old granddaughter. She loves them.

DVa Avatar

I travel internationally for work and almost always travel carry-on. That also means my liquids are very restricted, which is nearly impossible to manage, but I’v managed to nail it down.
So, I like face cream samples, I can make two last, generally.
I like the packets of shampoo/conditioner, each of those I can make last 2 days if I’m not moving hotels every night.
Also love: Individual packets of primer (or small samples), cleansing gel
Perfume, never. In my profession you cannot wear it.
I’ve also discovered using the Kopari mini melt as a lotion is great, as it’s not considered a liquid, so I can put it in my suitcase with stick deodorant.

Bonnie Avatar

I really like perfume samples, but only the little spray bottles. I don’t like the single use things, like the packets or scented cloths.

Deluxe size samples are ok too, as I can reseal them and use them more than once. No packets at all please!

Alecto Avatar

I don’t — I don’t use them. I have very sensitive skin and have to be careful about what I apply, and the odds that I’m randomly going to get something that won’t sting or burn are so low as to be not worth my consideration. I’m exceptionally picky about perfumes/scents, and have *never* gotten a sample in that category I actually liked. As for makeup … I have enough, and I actively seek out what I want; random colors, finishes, etc., don’t interest me.

And since we’re on the subject, I despise Sephora’s rewards program. I’m a Rouge; I got there primarily by virtue of skincare (though I haven’t been shy about makeup either), but if I could buy everything I wanted at Ulta, I would absolutely do so. I don’t use my Sephora points for anything. Why on earth would I want small sizes of things I don’t use? Glorified samples,? Really? If I’m curious enough about something, I can get a sample for free in-store.

And in the same vein (though I’ve wandered off the path) I … 1) have no desire to get a makeover 2) am not interested in paying my own money for travel to go to another state and to get what’s probably a soft-sell seminar 3) don’t need vaults or “specially-curated” sets 4) wouldn’t be able to get the latter anyway since they’re gone the instant they’re released.

Um. Samples. We were talking about samples, right? No use for ’em — just one more thing I have to declutter, either immediately or eventually.

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!