While working at a makeup counter, a co-worker asked her customer if she would like to sample any products.  The customer, loudly, replied, “SAMPLES!”  I assume she either a.) became really excited about getting free stuff, or b.) would take whatever she could get, but I literally could not contain my giggles…which quickly turned into uncontrollable laugher…which dissolved into tears. You had to be there.

We all like to get something for nothing, but when it comes to makeup and skincare, I’ve learned through trial-and-error that it’s best to aim for quality over quantity.  Here are some tips accumulated over the years that should help you the good stuff for free.

  1. Sign up for rewards points.  While rewards points programs can be found almost everywhere, my favorite is the Sephora VIB program. It’s free to join, and you are able to get truly decent products to try before you invest in the full-size product – or to use as travel versions of your favorites.
  2. Sample with a purpose.  If shopping at a department store, know that sales people have one objective: to sell.  If you are (or at least seem) generally interested in buying a product, you should be able to get several samples before committing.
  3. Don’t buy something just to get something for free.  Sign up for email alerts and social media updates from your favorite brands and stores to know when they have free shipping, specials, and Gifts-With-Purchase.  Here’s the catch: you have to have a lot of self-discipline.  If you spend $50 just to get the GWP when you only needed $27 worth of product, it’s not a good deal.  Be patient because, especially around holidays, a great opportunity will show up.


Some of my beauty booty:



Malin + Goetz = found holiday free shipping via an email alert


Jouer Cosmetics = sometimes companies just need to unload product – on you

free stuff

Sephora = Purchased the concealer, everything else was free + free shipping