What Products Have You Purchased From Samples You Loved?

January 3, 2010

I rarely need an incentive to purchase something pretty, but I am always thrilled to get extra samples whether it’s with a gift-with-purchase or a voluntary throw-in from a friendly sales associate. It allows me to try something out before purchasing to see if it works for me and also opens me up to a number of lines and products I never would have given a second thought.

My favorite discovery was for Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Mascara. I have tried a few other GA mascaras in the past and was not at all impressed. After a few pricey splurges with mediocre results I thought I had sworn off buying any mascara launched by the brand. This was until I got a mini size from a GWP at Neimans and I was immediately smitten. I’ve also come to love Diorshow’s Mascara as well because of a mini size. I just got a YSL Faux Cils miniature and am excited to try that one out as well since it seems to have been very difficult to come by.

I made a list of my favorite items that I’ve purchased from an actual sample I received and was surprised to find how many there were (in alphabetical order, not necessarily included in the photo above):

  • Armani Eyes To Kill Mascara
  • Chanel Imaginaire Glossimer
  • Clinique Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser
  • Dior Diorshow Mascara
  • Kiehl’s Shower Gel (Grapefruit, Cucumber, Mango) & Body Scrubs
  • Laura Mercier Brown Copper Kohl Eye Pencil
  • Laura Mercier Pink Champagne Lipstick
  • Laura Mercier Secret Concealer
  • Nars Mud Mask
  • Paul & Joe Refreshing Skin Toner

Sometimes I find a sample isn’t large enough to test the actual results. I am still on the hunt for a good eye cream – but at this point in my life, no sample will be large enough to see the “full effect.” I’m in my late 20’s and am lucky to not have any wrinkles yet, so I can’t really see what difference an eye cream makes since at this point it’s more of a preventative treatment than a corrective one. I have been told by just about every woman over 30 that they wish they had started using eye cream sooner – sales associates put on the heavy-duty sales tactics when trying to sell me scientific eye creams and being the skeptic I am, I’m convinced they are simply trying to get me hooked for life.

Given this perspective, I find it both understandable and somewhat justified that so many bloggers receive free “press samples” from a number of cosmetic companies. It opens up doors to new products and lines that don’t get much press and allows people to try new things and tell others about their thoughts and experiences.

I still find the whole concept of free press samples a bit touchy and controversial at times. I have my own personal concerns and thoughts about this issue, but I think it’s an ingenious way of advertising socially, and blogging or showing things on YouTube in any form is hard work and time consuming. I personally don’t always need a review of a product to find a post or article interesting, sometimes just the info is enough to make me happy to have something to look forward to.

To get back on subject of samples/freebies/GWPs:

Tell me what samples or product minis have you loved so much it made you go out and purchase the full size?

You Might Also Like

  • Wow, that's quite a list! I am not sure I've really received many samples that have gotten me hooked onto the actual product… I make it a policy to ask for samples in Sephora before I buy but I think I rarely actually try out the random samples that I receive if I'm not interested in that particular type of product (which is most) or if I'm afraid of falling in love with it LOL.

  • I feel like here in Finland yo get freebies quite rarely, but one thing I got and have loved so much that I'm prolly going to have to get the fullsize (though the price is killin me) is Sensais two step clensing system, specially the second step in Milky Soap. Finally a cleanser that doesn't like my face itching and super dry! The price is very high for a student (about 50€), but it seems to last a long time and does ti job really well.

  • Several Clinique items (I love their GWP samples): High Impact Mascara, High Definition Mascara, and the Superbalm Lipgloss. Not sure.. I usually don't even remember to use the smaller samples. The ones from Clinique have a decent size.

  • I LOVE Armani's Crema Nera… but it's too expensive to go buy the full size. >_<

    It was also a Sephora extra that turned me onto Dior's Hydraction Sorbet Creme (another wonderful night moisturizer). I did buy that one.

    I also found out about Nude Cleansing Oil (haven't repurchased on account of price), and L'Occitane's Immortelle face wash (still using my mini size) through GWPs…

    Apparently I learn about all my skincare through GWP. Hmm.

  • I usually get perfume samples! I have like never got actual beauty product samples! I did get the laura geller lip scrub and it's AMAZING! I totally reccomended it! Where did you get the La Mer sample?

  • great post! i agree, samples def help to open lots of doors to that particular brand.

    i haven't really had lots of luck with samples..except this moisturizer i got from dr brandt. i used the moisturizer for 3 yrs after that until it got discontinued

  • My most recent sample-turned-beauty purchase is Phyto 7. In the past I've also bought Nars Oil-Free foundation, and plan on getting the newish Nars Sheer Matte after using a sample.

  • Anonymous

    I got armani's crema nera serum as a sample from the armani website. When Armani had 20% off, I bought it. So far, I'm very pleased. In general, I find most samples useless. The ones I like the best are from the armani cosmetics website and bobbi brown. Love your blog. Yours is now my favorite site.

  • I use the entire Paul and Joe skincare line now due to the generous samples I've received at the Bergdorf sample. I've been completely converted!

    Also, most of my perfume loves have been created due to samples I've received. My HG FlowerbyKenzo started off as a sample I was sent by Cavewoman on MUA =)

    In terms of makeup, a mini Bobbi Brown Metallic eyeshadow converted me to the line – I have 4 or 5 of them now!

    I'm hoping to get a sample of Eyes to Kill this weekend when I visit an Armani counter.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting topic. Back in the day, I bought Clinique's tinted moisturizer with physical sunscreen (I forget the exact name of the product) after using up a generous GWP sample. I also bought Clarins Natural Brown lipliner after using up a sample. I rather think my purchase of EL Advanced Night Repair was prompted by a sample as well. I think that is about it.

  • I loved this post! Ahh… these little samples, hehe… I'm very fond of mascara samples as well! πŸ˜‰

  • Hey!! I try and get samples from Sephora if the product is available there but some of the samples that convinced me to buy the full size are:
    Exceptionnel de Chanel mascara, Shiseido extra gentle cleansing foam and Lancome hypnose mascara

  • I agree with pixie, Clinique samples are huge! I'm all about their "moisture surge" moisturizer now. my cheek feels like a baby's butt. n_n

  • Eileen

    I got Anastasia's eyebrow powder as a sample from Sephora and fell in love with it. I also got a sample of Diorshow Iconic mascara which works well on my deep set eyes (no mascara smudges on eyelids). I've purchased full size versions of these products and will continue to do so until something better comes along.

  • To be honest I don't remember all the products that I got because I loved the sample but the latest one was Estee Lauder Doub with SPF 10.

    I can see that you've got a lot of Laura Mercier products and what are your favourite products by this brand?

  • I got hooked on Sisley Confort Extreme Night Care after getting a few samples, It's expensive but I love it.

  • Anonymous

    GA's Crema Nera
    La Mer's conc. eye cream