The art of sample giveaway-ing (can I make a verb out of every English noun?) can be quite ambiguous for the buyer. In France, Sephora and the likes offer you relatively small sizes (usually a week amount) when you buy above a certain money. In Korea, they just unleash a tsunami of smaller sized or even full-sized free samples for you to try anytime! You buy two nail lacquers, you leave the house with a box of cotton pads, two mask sheets and a little jar of skin toner – that, is marketing art.
But many customers end up throwing these away, and I will tell you why you should just never do that again. This, is actually QUITE obvious but that’s the paradox between how evident it is and how many people don’t give a shit that got me writing this article. Everyone drinks sample tea at Kusmi (if you ever said no, I think we can’t quite be friends), why wouldn’t everyone use this thumbnail edition of the next Chanel cream?
In order to understand the importance of keeping beauty samples in a dedicated compartment of your vanity, we need to look back at what a sample actually is. Regularly a smaller version of the product they’re trying to sell, the sample is given to customers in order to introduce them to the new or less new items of today and tomorrow. This, my friend, is your way to trying as much luxury beauty as you want without having to consider selling a kidney or two. I would have never spent 477 euros in finding out if YES OR NOT the Sisley’s SUPREMYA YEUX LA NUIT works on me. I would have never. But the little sample that I was once offered helped me figuring things out and now I can make a well-thought decision about spending this rent money on an eye-cream or not.
From a retailer point of view, samples are marketing. I will not try to soften the angles and pretend that they care for your skin – because they certainly don’t. But it’s up to the customer to take advantage of how they’re being used by the retail industry. Because if it was a thing to give a piece of fabric to clothes shoppers in order to make them ‘test’ for a week how good it feels on the body, they would definitely do it. In skincare or makeup, the customer is most likely to repurchase something that they tried and liked because a product’s efficiency is extremely subjective to the user’s skin type and ecosystem (no matter how big the ‘for all skin types’ label was printed). Thus, you can’t be like “Oh Chanel SOLUTION 10 works on 276 strangers that I don’t know anything about, I will spend 80 euros on a 30ml pump and see if it works or not.” And while we’ve all been through this (you can read about my Estée Lauder VS Clinique serum experience here), it’s time to wake up and play it smart.
Your skin, isn’t your neighbor’s. It’s not even your sister’s. And especially not your mom’s. You have something unique covering your body and you need to know and to pick what is good for it, and to exclude what is harmful. Playing the sample game, when you’re looking for a new moisturizer can be quite tricky and it can even break you out. But think about it for a second: would you rather break out on something that was free and little, than on something you invested in and you have a whole jar? Yes, a week or two can be enough to know whether a product works or not as skin cells take 10 to 30 days to regenerate (skin regeneration is primordial to skincare efficiency – old dead skin cells can’t absorb skincare properly they leave it at the surface which creates, in a returning spiral, skin troubles).
For example, let’s do a little math and see that after trying Guerlain’s Orchidée Impériale complete care cream, which retails at 390 euros, I can be sure that it’s not for my skin type and I will not purchase it. However, I once received the sample for the Burberry Fresh Glow base which retails at 41.50 euros and I completely fell in love with it as a highlighter which I will definitely repurchase. If you think the price difference is too extreme here and that it played a big role in me not wanting to repurchase Guerlain’s cream, here’s another example of a product I would certainly not buy: Lancôme’s Advanced Genifique retails at 88.90 euros and I will still never get it. The serum totally broke me out, it was a disaster on my skin and it is obviously because they don’t match (also I may be a little young for it hence the bad results).
If you’re someone who, like me, enjoys trying various beauty products, and (unfortunately) spending tons of money in quality skincare, you’d better start thinking of opening a ‘sample case’ in your vanity. It will not only save you time, and money, and will definitely help you figure out what your skin wants and what it will never accept. Or you can move to Korea and go buy nail lacquers every other day to test all the products of the shop one by one. You choose.
Do you usually use samples? What product did you try as a sample then repurchased? Let me know in the comment section below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog by entering you e-mail address below for more beauty studies. You can also connect with me on Instagram.