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How to Decipher Dates on Beauty Products and Some Free Samples

Dates printed on beauty products without clear terms before or after are confusing. Sometimes, they are manufacturing dates. Other times, they are expiration dates. There are times when numbers look like a date, but it is not a date at all. I use or to see when something expires. Some brands do not take part in those verification sites and batch numbers are not always available on the brands that do. Read more about expiration dates on cosmetic products.

The most effective way to check expiration dates when they are not listed is to contact the manufacturer of the product directly regardless of where you received the sample. In May 2015, I received a sample of Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm. This is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. My overwhelming stash usually prevents me from trying things right when they arrive, so I put it away. I pulled it out on the 7th of December, because I wanted to sample a cleanser that will leave my skin moisturized in this cold weather.

A balm seems dreamy. When I grabbed the sample, I saw 01/2014 A printed on it. This made it look like it expired in January of 2014. I’ve received expired samples before, but receiving a product that expired over a year before it arrived in unusual. That meant this was likely a manufacture date. Omorovicza is not listed on any of the expiration verification sites I check, so I decided to send an email.

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After I sent the email but before I received the response, I read some product reviews to see what it looks like, smells like, and any other general information. I hoped someone would even mention if the brand used manufacture dates or expiration dates, but I never saw that. There were a few reviews that claimed this smells like Queen of Hungary Mist. That is a scent I am familiar with, so I knew I would be able to tell if the scent was off. My Google search also yielded pictures of what the product should look like.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a response from Viki the next day stating the Thermal Balm is good for 3 years from its manufacture date and 9 months after opening. She mentioned this expired 01/2017. That confirms the date on this is definitely the manufacture date. It is safe to assume all products from this brand likely list the manufacture date and not the expiration date. Other companies do this as well, so unless the date printed on your item specifically says expires before the date, verify before you toss it.

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Her response gave me the courage to try the product. The product looked the same as it did from the pictures I saw in my Google search. It did not smell like Queen of Hungary mist, but I chalked that up a difference in opinion on what the mist smells like. This balm cleanses extremely well. It is extremely thick and requires a wash cloth to remove. My skin felt very soft immediately after and the toner on the cotton pad I applied following cleansing came up completely clean. That is always a good sign that the product is working.

My skin is sensitive, so I try to only introduce one new product at a time. Within 10 minutes of cleansing, my skin developed a slight rash. All of the sudden, I started wondering if it was an allergic reaction or if the lack of Queen of Hungary scent meant it really had gone bad. I decided to send a quick email back to Viki to: thank her, let her know I tried it, tell her the scent was off and about my slight rash.

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I did not really expect much of a response, but the response I received was lovely. She wanted to send me a replacement sample plus a few more. Knowing these samples ship from the UK only impresses me more. It will probably cost them a fortune to send me foil packets internationally. The link she provided allowed me to select any four I wanted. Of course, I selected the Thermal Cleansing Balm again. That can help me decide if the sample really did go bad or if I have a slight allergy.

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The link she sent me looks unique, but that is the only thing I removed from the picture.

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The rash was not too bad, so I’d be willing to sample it again in the name of science, or more accurately to see if I am allergic or the sample went bad. I also selected three other cleansing products. Although the serums and other items from the line probably have a higher value, I was really impressed with how soft and clean my skin felt using this and look forward to seeing if the other items cleanse as well. If I do have an allergy to the Thermal Cleansing Balm, I wonder if I can safely use any of the others.

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My free samples arrived from England.

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This may be the first time I’ve ever received anything directly from England.


Even though the order only contained samples, they still packed it lavishly.

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All four samples were inside a sample pack.

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I received: the Refining Facial Polisher, the Deep Cleansing Mask, the Hydra Melting Cleanser, and of course, the Thermal Cleansing Balm. Omorovicza is known for its cleansers, so I really look forward to trying each one.

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If you are still reading, I know what you’re thinking. Can you get free samples as well? The answer is maybe. Some brands give free samples upon request. I’ve only asked a few retailers for free samples without a purchase, and this is not one of them. There are ones I’ve had success with that others did not and vice versa. My guess is most brands offer free samples on a case by case basis. That means you will never know unless you ask.

See all free sample articles. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.

notcreative View All

I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.

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