I spend too much money on clothes. And too much on hair products. And faaaar too much on make-up. That’s in my mum’s opinion, anyway. You can never have too many lipsticks, right? So, when I began to get free samples and testers it put a smile on not just my own face. When I say ‘began’, I mean when I became brave enough. Alongside my other make-up addicted friend, we set out to get ourselves testers and we returned home laden with gifts and, probably the greatest treasure of all, knowledge.
After a discussion of tactics over a delicious Nando’s, we threw ourselves into the deep end and headed straight for MAC. We browsed. We made the expected ‘mmm’ noises. We spoke loudly of how delightful we thought the eye shadows were, and the lip glosses, and the brushes, and the brush cleaner, and the tissues, and the mirror. It was time. My courageous friend loudly pondered, “Hmm, I wonder what colour we are in the Face and Body Foundation?”. They took the bait. A very friendly assistant came over and asked us if we needed any help, and we asked her to colour match our skin with the foundation. Being new to all this sampling malarkey, I expected her to hold the bottle to our face and use her judgement, or at very most put a drop on our hand to check the colour. However, we were lead over to where they perform miracles to people’s faces: the mirror and the stool. She removed our current make-up from our jaw line and, using the most beautiful brush I have ever felt (MAC 187 Duo Fibre Brush), began to apply the foundation. She checked the colour and then offered to apply it to our whole face. OUR WHOLE FACE. A MAC foundation all over my face for free. AHHH!
The assistant told us our shade and then asked if we would like to purchase the product – here was the biggest challenge. We explained to her that we have sensitive skin (which is true,) and that we were worried we might react to the product, and then asked if it was possible for a sample. Right away, the kind girl led us to the counter and decanted some of the foundation into small MAC pots for us to take home. MAC is great for this too because if you sign up for a profile with them, they will make a note of any products you sample/try/buy so you can know what you have used next time you go in – very useful!
Immediately we felt far more confident asking for samples and you could tell they get asked often. The assistant was so kind and helpful that I definitely won’t be anxious next time.
We next ventured to Chanel in Debenhams, where they were just as ready to lend a hand. Our interest was in the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. They matched our colour, applied on our jaw and gave us samples – WIN.
Our next mission was to try out the YSL Touche Eclat Foundation, but found no one on the counter. Opposite Yves Saint Laurent was Dior and we were offered a foundation colour match there. However, instead of just matching our colour, she applied the foundation all over our face and used concealer, blusher, bronzer, highlighter and their new Fluid Sticks! We couldn’t believe our luck – and how much we had been missing out on! Unfortunately, Dior didn’t give out testers but after a whole makeover we didn’t mind one bit.
Feeling very chuffed with ourselves, we made our way to LUSH and took a look at all their cleansers. As I’m sure you know, LUSH assistants are always extremely friendly and helpful. We chatted to one lovely lady and explained our skin type and our dilemma between the different cleansers. Without skipping a beat, she offered to make pots of each cleanser for us to take home – clearly, they’re very generous with their testing. The pots are perfect too; they give you a good size sample and you can definitely re-use the pots once you’re finished with them. I picked up the Aqua Marina cleanser and the Ultra Bland cleanser – apparently great for sensitive skin like mine!
Here are a few tips I learnt throughout the day:
- Be polite and interested, after all, you are!
- The assistants don’t bite! Have a chat with them about the products – I’m sure it lightens up their day.
- Most make-up counters have samples and are willing to hand them out – Chanel had drawers and drawers full!
- Always get your foundation colour matched first, it makes a huge difference.
- Get yourself a free makeover at Dior
So, in conclusion, I have a new way to shop without spending and to try before I buy – and its definitely not a crime! I just wish I could do it with all high-street make up stores too! Where do you find is really helpful and offer good samples?