What do you do with cosmetic samples?

beauty samples

I was clearing my cosmetic storage the other day and found a stash of cosmetic samples that dated back to at least a year ago.  I never tried them, even though I had initially wanted to.  Actually, come to think of it, if the samples are not in containers or bottles, I’m less likely to try them out.  

I find it very messy to open up these packages because most of the time, I am unable to use them all in one go and leaving them in an open packet just does not seem hygenic to me.  At the same time, the sample is so little, it does not justify my effort to find a small container to hold the remaining contents.  So most of the time, whatever is left just ends up in the bin.

I guess it is good to get samples to try the texture and check out the smell and if the lotion or cream will sit well on our skin.  But that can also be achieved if there are product testers at the counter.  I may find more use for sample packs of shampoo, but with other skin care products, I don’t really fancy the idea of samples.  Afterall, how can I determine if they work well on my skin just after one or two trials?   But having said that, I sometimes find them great to carry around for times when I need them for one-time usage like after swimming or maybe during a short trip.

As for makeup, I hardly get samples but I recently received some 3D highlight lip glosses and lipsticks in a pretty pack.  Again, I didn’t try them.  I mean some of these sample packs really look very cute and lovely and sometimes, I just don’t have the heart to rip them apart.

So what about you?  Do you like to receive cosmetic samples?  How useful are they to you?


  1. pf1123 says:

    I don’t like to use samples too. I think they are pretty messy once ripped opened. And I’m not that crazy about trying new stuff.

    In addition, my skin is already crazy when I travel due to the weather and climate. It doesn’t help at all if I change my skin care.

    So, I sell them cheap on ebay. Business is not bad. ?

  2. stella says:

    i love samples!

    i always try to get my hands on some if i’m considering a product first, it’s important to me to at least check out the texture of the product on my skin before buying – now you can’t do that at a counter, not for a face product anyway, imagine putting it on your skin there and then; you might be wearing makeup and it may not be that hygienic! i agree that you can’t tell efficacy by using a product once but i’ve met some really good SAs who gave me 2-3 samples, enough for 5 days of usage

    i also love sample sizes for short trips. on a recent trip, i just packed all my sample sachets and used lots of them, even if i haven’t tried the product before. i don’t have sensitive skin so whatever is convenient for travelling is good for me!

    and well yeah, samples can get messy, but it’s better than parting with money for a full-sized item that may just end up in the bin!

  3. Amanda says:

    I have to agree with you that samples can be messy, and usually what’s left ends up in the bin.

    I don’t mind receiving them and giving them a go, especially if it’s a product I’m interested in. Then again I can’t tell if the product works after just 1 trial. If they’re not for my skin type, I just pass them on =).

  4. Sherry says:

    sample which I got usually able to use once. Even they mention can use like twice but once is finished.

  5. Rosemary says:

    I’m very wary of trying new things on my face, but to waste not, I will use them as on the rest of my body (hands, feet and body)

  6. Ms Lips says:

    I like samples and usually keep them for when I go on trips. I usually try and clear my cosmetic stuff at least once a year so samples that are not used by then would get trashed.

  7. BT says:

    I love receive free sample. At the counter, we normally test on hand, but sample allows us to test on face/eyes contour. But I prefer it comes with container instead of pack, pack is quite messy and not enough to justify if it really beneficial.

  8. Blovet Beauty says:

    i like skin samples cause I find them very useful as I don’t want to end up with a bottle I won’t ever touch. makeup samples are less useful in my opinion and handy to have around especially when u are bringing a small purse out to a dinner or function. i like to be prepared!

  9. Vonvon says:

    Most of the samples I have are usually skincare samples, very rarely do I get cosmetic samples, except may be pigments, ‘decanted’ foundations.

    I like collecting samples as I find it’s a good way to try out new products, as messy as they get at times. Like you, I always prefer to get samples in tubes/bottles than in sachets, due to practicality.

  10. sesame says:

    You’re right that it’s not a good idea to change skin care unnecessarily. While I like to experiment, I think it’s also not a good idea to test every one of these products on our skin. Maybe okay for the hands or body.

  11. sesame says:

    Yup, I don’t mind trying too if it’s something I already have in mind to get.

  12. aichaku says:

    i will try those that i am interested in getting or are appropriate for my skin, but usually i give them away, i have enough stuff to use already.

  13. sesame says:

    Yes, some of them can last a few application and for these…usually they come in a small container and I would try cos it’s more convenient.

  14. sesame says:

    That’s a good idea. A lot of the lotions and creams can double up for the hands or even neck region.

  15. sesame says:

    I was horrified to see a stash of old Jurlique samples in my drawer. Sachets already turned brown! Into the bin they went…

  16. sesame says:

    Yes, I like them in container and will test if so. Don’t like the packs…unless it’s a product I’ve been dying to try or planning to get.

  17. sesame says:

    Yes, it’s good to test prior to getting but I usually don’t end up trying if they’re in packs.

  18. sesame says:

    Yup, I rarely get makeup samples. The Maquillage ones were rather interesting.

  19. Cass says:

    I enjoy collecting samples, however I hardly use it on my face as it is not that good to change products often as it will cause my face to be sensitive. Most of the time, i will give away or use it on my neck.

  20. sesame says:

    Yeah, not too good to test directly on your face if your skin is sensitive.

  21. pf1123 says:

    I think the only sample I would really appreciate is foundation samples. Coz the colour match can be difficult to determine under artifical light in department stores.

    I was at BHG Bugis Junction just now. I wanted to buy the Paul & Joe powder foundation and my friend wanted to buy the Coffret D’or powder foundation.

    When I looked at the counters…OH MY GOODNESS…they are SO DIRTY!!! I cringed when the SA used a very dirty sponge to swipe some powder at my under jaw area to test for colour match. I don’t think that it is very hygenic. I probably would not try out the foundation testers in Singapore anymore.

    I find that the SAs in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan are nicer. They will use cotton pads/buds to help customers with the testers or apply makeup on the face for customers, instead of letting the customers play themselves. At first, I don’t like them tailing me around. But now I find that they are doing the right thing.

    Oops! Sorry for the long comment…just feel like venting a little.

  22. Ms. Blacklace says:

    samples will go straight to a patch test for me.

    I nearly bought the shisedo(spell wrong) moisturiser. But I got a sample and did a patch test on my wrist. i just rubbed a tiny amount on my wrist. after almost a week the skin got red and itchy and it peeled.

  23. eliza says:

    samples are useful to me especially when my skin is sensitive to certain stuffs and i need a small amount to try it out for a day.

    i don’t really like using testers as many ppl have dipped their fingers into it and tried it. Unhygienic =3=

  24. Dee says:

    I don’t usually try skin care samples since I’m scared my skin might have some kind of reaction to it, but if its a make up sample, I might try it out or give it to some one who wants to try it.

  25. Peggy Gorman says:

    I love samples and I always try to get them but I do something different .
    I send them and coupons that are good and expired to a charity that sends them to 8 different Military bases overseas. They cannot get the samples so they love it when they do get to get them and the coupons are good up to 6 months after they have expired here!! So ladies if you have samples and coupons that you don’t need or want email me

  26. sesame says:

    Now that you mentioned good SAs…I remember those at Sasa used to be generous and gave me samples that lasted 2 weeks. Quite good!

    Yeah, you’re right…better to have samples to try even if they’re messy than throwing money away. I certainly would do so for those I’ve been eyeing even if they’re in sachets.

  27. sesame says:

    Haha…some of the SAs look surprised when I said no to their samples. I find that in the end, I hoard them and they’re useless to me when I don’t try. I rarely give away unless someone expressed interest.

  28. sesame says:

    I seldom visit Bugis so not sure about the counters. The P&G one at Taka is clean…that was where I bought my first P&G stuff. But no way I want to try if the counter looks dirty too…eek!

    I still don’t like the idea of being tailed but some SAs just have the gift and they can handle customers very well. Those, I appreciate. Perhaps those overseas are like that. I never buy much cosmetics when I travel…usually reserve the money for apparel so can’t comment much on their service standards.

    Yeah, foundation is useful to test but samples are not so readily available. Only ones I know are those online.

  29. sesame says:

    Wow…your skin must be pretty sensitive. In this case, samples are definitely very useful for those with sensitive skin even though it is said that patch test outside the face may not be entirely accurate.

  30. sesame says:

    If the testers are in containers, yes, not hygenic..can smell it. Those from tubes and bottles are not a problem though.

  31. sesame says:

    I know what you mean…sometimes I’m also worried that the one-time application is going to wreak havoc for my skin especially since it’s more sensitized these days…

  32. sesame says:

    Oh that’s interesting! It’s good you pass them on to people who love them and have a use for them. Certainly not something that has crossed my mind.

  33. Jyoan says:

    I always like to finish up my samples. Simply because I don’t like seeing them placed on my desk.

    I also can’t finish everything at one go, but I will just leave whatever is left in the sachet, then use it the next day. Just lean them standing against something, in a location that I wouldn’t accidentally touch them.

  34. sesame says:

    I used to do that but with the natural/organic stuff, they spoil quicker so I keep them in the fridge if I really want to use them again. Troublesome to me…

  35. Ms. Blacklace says:

    certain products work fine, others are like hell.

    i just didn’t know why that one didn’t work for me. usually i will do a wrist test first, if it’s ok, i will test a little on my jaw line.

  36. chenyze says:

    if they’re still usable, maybe you can give them away at sgfreecycle? (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SgFreecycle/)

  37. sesame says:

    I was under the impression that they only want big items like electronic or household stuff…never crossed my mind to check them out.

  38. chenyze says:

    hmm i haven’t been looking at the posts for about a year already but i doubt it has changed too much in terms of what can be offered. ppl gave away vouchers they couldn’t use, and half/just-opened products too. maybe you can offer a whole bunch of the cosmetic samples together so that it’s not such a waste of time for you to do meetups? as opposed to individual items…

  39. Xiuzhen says:

    I love to try samples :)! It gives me a chance to try expensive products which i may not be able to try because i do not want to pay that much money for a product that later i find not suitable for me. Sometimes i encounter tester products that are not well kept and look so dirty and messy. It really put me off trying it. Sample makeup are great too because i only makeup once or twice a week, it ensure that the makeup is freshly opened when i use it because i can use it up in a few applications. I alway have problem not able to use up my makeup fast enough. Ended up throwing away half used product because they have been kept for too long, what a waste :/.

  40. Jyoan says:

    Oh yeah, true. I forgot you are using all the organic things… =)

  41. sesame says:

    I’ll take a look…never gone in to check any of the postings before.

  42. sesame says:

    That’s a good point…samples are good in terms of the hygiene factor as opposed to testing at some of these counters, especially if they’re not clean.

  43. Jadetive says:

    Skin care samples in those tiny aluminium sachets are a bit of a pain to use. But I will use those that comes in proper containers.

    Oh yes, and I especially love lipstick samples because it’s a way for me to try new lipstick colors that I would usually not consider at all. Brights pinks and corals for instance. Adds a little more variety to the rose/red colors I tend to own.

  44. sesame says:

    I don’t get much lipstick samples. Maybe this is the first I’ve received.

  45. Tine says:

    Unless I use the sample products, I normally keep them and then give them away at a later stage.

  46. Lyn says:

    I LOVE samples! It gives me a chance to try new products on my own time before deciding if I want to purchase them. Also, the skincare line I use (Dior) can get expensive, so I always ask for extra skincare samples when I purchase an item from them. It saves me money, as 8 tiny 2ml eye cream samples are worth the same as a full jar of eye cream (15ml). Then I just squeeze the contents of the little sachets into the original big jar if I run out. I have saved up enough samples now that they equal 3 jars worth of eye cream and 1 jar of face cream. College student budget ?

  47. sesame says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! But eye cream samples are good cos they last a long time. It’s a good idea to keep them in a jar!

  48. Pu N. says:

    Meh! If you get more than 2 satchets worth of samples, just go down to Daiso and buy 1-2 sets of cosmetic refill bottles and/or plastic cream jars. (S$2.00 gets you 2 bottles/jars most of the time.) Transfer the contents of the samples into your new refill bottles. Once you used them up, these bottles can be cleaned, dried and re-used again.

    I recently got a 7-day trial samples for Kiehl’s and Estee Lauder, just transferred them to the refill bottles I mentioned. And I ended up being able to use my 7-day trials a little bit longer than the 7-days intended.
    Pu N. last post is: Product Testing & Reviewing

  49. Sesame says:

    That’s a cool idea. I usually recycle those small containers from oil products.

  50. Cynthia says:

    I like giving samples away to friends and relatives who might not be able to afford the products. Like someone commented, a little goes a long way #k8SjZc9Dxk#k8SjZc9Dxk Also when I get a 2 ml sample of something like say the La Prairie Cellular Cream Platinum Rare, which costs $680 for 30 ml, that’s worth $45! Sometimes I use samples if my products run out earlier than expected because I used too much (I do that a lot!)

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