If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
It’s been a long time since I’ve shared completely free samples I’ve received. These are not items I got for free as a GWP, although you may know how much I love those. They are free products I received without any purchase or (in many cases) no promise to review the item. Most freebies in this type of article have nothing to do with my blog either. Since my last volume, I’ve received a lot more than I am about to share, but I did not put any other items aside for the article. Now that I have returned to actively blogging, I will put all freebies aside and post the next volume when I have at least a few items to share. When a free sampling site that requires a review or someone sends me something for consideration, I usually dedicate an article to it. Part of the reason I decided to write this now instead of waiting for more products is I want to use them.
Nothing beats completely free offers. Sometimes, there really is no catch to getting them. You just have to know where to look and how to find them. Welcome to the fifteenth installment of items I’ve received for free. The offers at times come in emails. Sometimes, you will see them on a blog or the direct brand’s website. Other times, you can find free offers on social media or even through snail mail. Make sure you always have your current address on file with any retailer you’ve shopped in the past. If that retailer sends a surprise freebie, you want to receive it. My Free Samples Page provides more information on sample opportunities. Offers can at times come by phone, but I never answer numbers I do not recognize. I will miss out on any that come that way.
Signing up to receive emails from freebieselect.com or freebiesinyourmail.com can help. There are similar sites, but those are the only ones I’ve signed up for. I’d stop short of endorsing either (so they are direct links), because I only receive about a quarter of the freebies I apply for from their links. Some of the offers on these sites seem sketchy so if you feel iffy about something, just avoid it. If you want a chance at getting freebies and are okay providing your information knowing less than 25% will arrive, you could sign up. These companies and similar ones probably get these offers through an affiliate of some sort. For the 75% that never arrive, they are likely phishing for personal information or get overwhelmed by receiving more requests than they anticipated. Either way, I do not like listing freebies for my readers unless I know they will actually get them.
If you see a link for a freebie anywhere on my site, I have received that freebie or a different one from the sender. I will not link any I am unsure of, because as mentioned above only about a quarter from random methods actually result in freebies (with or without a catch). While I am okay with those odds, I know everyone is not. Those who are okay with those odds can get access to the links directly from one of the sources listed above so I will not re-post links for free offers they share. Any offers that actually arrive (from them or anyone else) and are still available by the time I post the article get linked below. My front page always lists free samples I am aware of. Sometimes I only list them there, because the link is still valid when I receive it. By the time I wait for multiple products for an article, the freebie can run out.
Of all the beauty products in the entire world, there is one I’ve wanted to try more than any others. The problem is getting a sample seemed almost impossible. It is the SkinCeuticals C E FERULIC® Vitamin C serum for skin. At $166, this 1oz serum was just too expensive to purchase without knowing if it actually works. This elusive product is not sold in many places. Lots of places sell “samples” of this, but as they are not authorized retailers, it could be a fake or expired product. Even getting a sample through the direct retailer proved impossible. I created an account thinking I could buy a cheaper item if a deluxe sample of this ever popped up as a GWP. Eventually, I gave up, because it never happened.
What did happen is I would occasionally get free foil packets of products from this brand mailed to my address. That means it is a brand that mails customers (or people with accounts as I have never actually purchased anything directly from them) random free samples. My hope that I would one day get a sample of this product grew. You may ask yourself why I did not just order it and return it if it does not work for me. The answer is simple. I do not really like to return things. It is wasteful, a hassle, and just something I like to avoid. If something arrives damaged, I will ask for a replacement and return it (if required). Otherwise, I gift things that do not work for me to friends and family or I force myself to finish them anyway.
Well, about two weeks ago, a deluxe sample arrived in my mailbox. I did not order it, and I did not even know it was coming. It has me so floored that I cannot even wait to try it. The funny thing is I am actually using a Ferulic serum now from Dr Dennis Gross and have not used it for a full month (the minimum needed to give it a proper review). Trying to wait until the one month point before I start this has been a challenge for the past two weeks. If all goes according to plan, I should have a review for this in my summer or fall empties. Hopefully, this product lives up to the hype. At least I did not have to spend $166 to try it if it doesn’t. This, along with another deluxe sample, is the current GWP at SkinCeuticals. Yes, I know it took long enough. The problem is the buy-in for the gift is $175. I’ve only tried one product from this brand (purchased elsewhere) and buying it would not even get me close to purchase minimum.
This is your official reminder to create accounts (whether you make purchases or not) with all the brands you love or want to try. Even if you never get random free samples mailed to your house (most brands won’t do that), you will see what all the offers for the brand are. If you see enough, you may see the one that finally gets you to make a purchase you’ve waited on. This daytime vitamin C serum promises to deliver advanced environmental protection and improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, and brightens skin’s complexion. It is for dry and sensitive skin that has issues with aging, dehydration, and discoloration. Those are my main skin concerns so I really hope this product lives up to the hype.
One of my favorite ways to get free samples is when a brand or a retailer reaches out to me and offers. It is nearly hassle free, and I am never going to say no to a no-obligation freebie. Even if I hate the product, I can gift it to someone else. Neiman Marcus has brand reps who comb through purchase history and offer free samples to people who have purchased from their brand through Neiman Marcus in the recent past. Both Kiehl’s (which I did not save anything from to present in this article) and Marc Jacobs have sent me things recently. Yes, I have made recent purchases from both brands through Neiman Marcus. It has been a long time since I made a Lancome purchase through Neiman Marcus so the Lancome freebies I used to receive from them (in past volumes) have dried up.
The funny thing is my February 2018 Marc Jacobs purchase (which I did not blog about so I cannot link it) was a set that included a full-size of this Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Major Volume Mascara. I’ve also received deluxe samples of this mascara in the Limited Edition Selfie Kit I purchased from Sephora in January and my January 2018 Sephora Play Box. Elizabeth, from Marc Jacobs at Neiman Marcus, emailed me on 03/12/18 making it the fourth time in two months this mascara popped into my life. Prior to January of this year, I do not think I had ever received this mascara from anywhere. It seems like a sign that I need to try it. As such, I think I will make this my next mascara. Yes, I am the type who never has too many mascaras open at once. Velvety lashes that are full of drama do sound nice. Let’s see if it works as well as it seems.
I received a coupon for a free hair dye product from Sample Source during my blogging break. It arrived right before my big move, and I misplaced the coupon. Since Sample Source does not save my sample history and I never blogged about that particular box, I cannot even remember what the product was. It bummed me out though, because I have some gray hairs. If an at home dye does not cover them, I will eventually color my hair in a salon. January of 2015 is the last time I added highlights to my hair (at the salon), and I cannot even remember the last time I colored my hair, outside of the purple temporary color I received for free (with purchase) as an Ulta Platinum Perk. Technically, I have never colored my hair. When I was a teenager, my husband (soon to be ex) dyed it for me. After my teenage years, I’ve always had it done professionally.
PINCHme sent me a free full-size Clairol nice ‘n easy Permanent Hair Color Medium Ash Blonde 8A. It only took me about a minute or so to request this freebie. The free item is in my account history so it looks like I will have to review it. Because it is a single freebie, I do not want to dedicate an entire article to it. Reviews take 2-3 minutes to complete so it is not a hassle at all. If I like the results, I can keep doing this myself. Should I hate the results, I will just need to start seeing my hairstylist more than 2-3 times a year. Thanks to my OGX Split End Mender (that link is to a review on the old product; the new one is even better), I do not really get split ends anymore. Between that and not coloring my hair, I just do not need to go to the salon that often.
My current method for dealing with grays is to pluck the pesky ones out. As more strands get replaced my grays, I realize that method could leave me bald. I am 38 so I think the grays are just getting started. Here’s hoping this works well enough to keep me going to the salon as little as I do. The color looked perfect when I ordered it online. Now that I see the model on the box in person, this looks a little lighter than my color. If I like the performance but not the color, I can always purchase a different color later.