Monday, 5 September 2016

Sample Woes At The Beauty Counter

Hi, everyone!

Now before I begin, I just want to point out that I am in no way bashing our beauty consultants. They only do what they've been instructed to do.... It's the brands themselves I'm a little frustrated with! 

Finding the right foundation is one of the most difficult and challenging process us beauty consumers face when it comes to wearing makeup; and would also argue one of the biggest splurges we make as well! Skin suitability, as well as that all important shade play an important role when it comes to creating your look.

However, if you're anything like me and have found on too many occasions you've made the wrong choice, not only is it frustrating, it's money down the drain! 

So why is it that after 20 odd years of applying makeup, I'm still finding brands in the UK evermore reluctant (in actual fact, it's got worse!) to provide us with something that is seemed to be deemed as a dirty word in the beauty industry - SAMPLES!
     Is it just me? Because I feel like it's getting blood out of a stone! I wouldn't mind, I will only ever ask for one if I've made a purchase, and even then it's a no!

We know brands will happily colour match you, whether it'd be with that fancy gadget or by their experience of the naked eye before sampling the shade along your jawline....It's not quite the same though, is it?You want to see the end result in the comfort of your own home, don't you? Plus, there are so many other factors to consider as well!

For example....

1: ReactionYou need to check to see if your skin reacts well to it. Does it cause any irritation? Are you allergic to any of the ingredients?

2: Other Products - To see how it performs with your existing primer. Whilst it can often feel like you need to have a degree in Science, not everyone understands that due to the ingredients, some primers won't work with some foundations. 

3: Oxidisation - You wish to make sure that despite choosing the lighter shade from the spectrum, you still don't end up looking like an Oompa Loompa by lunchtime! 

4: Lighting - You want to see the shade in YOUR natural light; not in some dreadful artificial light of a dept store.

5: Check the longevity - Is it going to slide off before you've reached the office? 

6: The Finish - How does it sit? Does it come off too dewy or too chalky? Or does it emphasize every worst thing imaginable!

7: Texture - If it's thick, can it be applied sheer or if it's thin, is it buildable?

8: Tools - How well does it apply using YOUR tools. Not some flashy latest natural combined synthetic brush that the beauty consultant whips out!... is there anymore I should add to the list?

Of course, you may think these examples may seem perhaps, somewhat over the top! But if a company is going to expect me to part with my hard earned cash, then they need to allow me to eradicate some of these concerns. I totally get that with some of these, i.e. irritations, it can sometimes take longer than just a few days worth of a sample to discover that problem. But that still doesn't leave me ready to fork out £30 odd quid for a bottle of foundation, when I'm not sure it's going to be the right one now, am I?

With all these factors in mind when it comes to choosing foundations, isn't it about time these billion dollar companies start to understand that by giving something so little could achieve SO MUCH! After all, it could end up being a future purchase leading to perhaps purchasing other products from the range too! 

When you're trying to gain that elusive sample.

Whilst writing this post, this brought me back to an occasion that happened only recently, when my friend asked for a foundation sample of a fairly newly released addition by a very popular brand. The assistant, whilst was very nice, replied that she didn't have any; an answer that has become all too familiar with with regards to samples. I then suggested "what if my friend brought in a tiny sample pot? Only a couple of pumps would be needed" to which the assistant replied "but we can't do that". She then reluctantly grabbed a sample pot from another counter whilst throwing in "I'll do this just this once!" before finally giving the sample to my friend. You'd think these were made out of gold, wouldn't you? 

There was another occasion where I actually (wow!) managed to get a sample from a magazine. The formula was lovely, but the shade was far too Orange! I then popped over to no less than 3 makeup counters of this particular brand to see if they had a sample size in a lighter shade to which the answer was no! I would have eventually bought the full size if you (the brand) had just given me that little extra help!  

There have also been many occasions where a consultant has colour matched me on the jawline to which I hastily bought the product, only to discover when I got home, it was either too light or didn't cover the redness on my cheeks... You kind of get my point!

Is Social Media partly to blame?

Sharing on Social media, on blog posts (yes us too!) and YouTube have made a massive impact on how we view and wear makeup today as people's passion towards makeup has grown TREMENDOUSLY over the last 10 years; which has also seen an increase in access to more brands like never before! So whilst brands are encouraging this rise by sharing and collaborating so much with the grammers, the vloggers and the bloggers, enthusiasts are always gonna want to switch brands and grab whatever that latest "Holy Grail" may be! No one sticks to one brand anymore! Cross-branding has taken over. With all this in mind, and no matter how high the demand is, should they share some of the responsibility in helping us buy the right product? 

Whilst it may be fashionable to wear a foundation 3 shades too yellow, that is so often seen on those 20 sec tutorials on Instagram, it's not exactly the ideal look for popping out to the supermarket now, is it? 

What about deluxe samples?

Ok. Let's just forget the free samples for a moment. 

What if they produced a deluxe sample size that we could purchase for just a few quid? Nothing fancy. Just a deluxe sachet will do. I know I would happily buy that if there's a chance I'd get the right shade. They could even keep it behind the counter if they were worried about theft. And should I have made the wrong choice, the brand has still gained at our loss! They've still made money whilst we've lost what's affordable. I don't know about you? Whenever I ask, I kind of feel bad for asking, like I'm sponging or something. So most of the time now, I don't bother!

Here's another thought. If you were to paint a wall in your house, you can easily buy a sample pot off the shelf, no problem! But when it comes to painting your face, it's a different story! 

We all know there are brands like Benefit, who already produce some great small travel sizes from their best sellers, i.e. Hoola Bronzer and They're Real Mascara, and I really applaud that, and they're definitely heading in the right direction. But I've still yet to see any foundation.  

What are your thoughts on samples? Do you struggle to gain a measly sachet?  Would you happily purchase a deluxe sample? Or are we simply expecting too much?

                                                                       Toni. Xoxo



  1. Keromask do a sample palette of all their shades which is great. It's £5 I think from memory but worth it. I use their concealer and it's great, highly recommend x

    1. That's great, and very affordable too! xx

  2. Toni so glad you remembered that! I have had other struggles too with trying to get samples of foundation, like you said there is no way we are going to throw away £30 on a useless formula! I must just say though, while in Covent Garden recently, I visited the Urban Decay store (after Nars refused to give me a sample) and the lovely salesgirl gave me a huge sample of the naked skin foundation - albeit in the wrong colour for me - but I am at least able to lighten it up with my body shop lighting drops! So anyway visit Urban Decay in Covent Garden, best customer service for a long time xx

    1. That's great to hear you received excellent service at Covent Garden. At least they tried, despite the fact they gave you the wrong shade. However, I feel the good service you received at gaining a sample should be available at all counters and not just a selected few! xx

  3. I share the exact same sentiments as you when it comes to foundation! I've got fair olive skin, so it makes foundation hunting a right chore, and to this day I haven't found anything that perfectly matches my skin colour. Well, except for Too Faced's Born This Way foundation in Ivory, but I don't quite fancy the idea of dropping almost $60 on a product! Luckily, Mecca, a high-end chain of makeup stores gives out samples at the customer's request, so I've taken to picking up a new sample whenever I'm in the area so I can keep testing it with different primers and find out how to make it work with my oily skin before I make the commitment.

    Stephii Mattea xx

  4. A massive YES to everything you said!! Why, on earth, we, customers, ready to spend our money need to beg for samples and often being refused any?!
    I understand that drugstore don't have any but high end brands should always offer them! I recently was told at Illamasqua counter they don't have samples of the foundation I asked for, needless to say I didn't buy any because I didn't fancy spending £30+ to find out if the foundation would work for me. x

    Mummy’s Beauty Corner

  5. Great post! I dread to think how much I have spent on foundations that just didn't work for me at all. Colour matching is one thing but I always like to try it on my face to see how it works on my pores & dry patches etc etc. I agree with you on deluxe samples - a great idea! xx



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