How to pick out samples at Sephora – or anywhere with free samples

I used to be all over the place with selecting samples with my Sephora online orders and spending my points on deluxe samples. After stocking up on samples and realizing I would never end up reaching for them so they would just go to waste. I really started thinking about what products would be the best to receive in sample sizes and what products I would actually end up using. I was wasting so much free product! Over the last couple of months I’ve developed a sort of mindset when I get the opportunity to pick out samples or spend precious earned points on free products. Here’s how I decide what samples are best for me at the moment:

High End Products –

Usually the first thing I look for, and the only thing I would look for before, is samples of high-end products that I want to try before buying the full size products. This is a great way to choose samples but I would find that I never wanted to use them because I didn’t know how they would look when I could easily use my holy grail products. I also would try to save them for special events, and then forget to use them, because I knew I would probably never end up buying these luxury items. I try to pick out one or two of these samples if they are available but only if I know it’s something I would truly end up using. Here I have the Tatcha PURE One Step Camellia Cleansing Oil, YSL Touche Eclat Le Teint, and the Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder Foundation.

Cleansing Skin Care Products –

Probably my favorite thing to grab when available as a free sample/deluxe sample is any type of facial cleanser, make up remover product. These are great to throw in a purse when you’re going out for those nights you might not end up sleeping in your bed. You’ll easily have a facial cleanser or make-up remover so you don’t wake up with your make-up all over your face or even worse all over some one else’s pillow. I also love these deluxe samples to take when traveling. If you’re going somewhere for the weekend you don’t need a huge product to take up room in your bag. These are the perfect size and you can easily take them in a carry on. Lastly these are great for the obvious reasons, trying out products you may not normally pick up a full size version of. Above I have the Peter Thomas Roth Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask and Purifying Cleansing Gel, the Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, Rose Face Mask and Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream, and the Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator. Not pictured but probably my all time favorite sample to grab when available is the Sephora Collection Make Up Remover Wipes, these come in a pack of two and are perfect to throw in a purse.

Perfume Samples –

These samples are kind of in the same boat as cleansing products. They’re the perfect size to place in a purse and take with you on the go. It’s also the perfect way to try out a scent maybe you normally wouldn’t have given a chance. I’ve received my fair share of perfume samples where I thought I was going to love the product but once I gave it a true scent on my skin I ended up hating it and was glad I didn’t just buy the full size automatically. These are also the perfect size again to bring on a carry on or away with you on a weekend get away. Since these are free samples you won’t be scared about them breaking while traveling or losing them (which when I’m on vacation I always end up losing at least one product along the way). What I wouldn’t recommend is spending your hard-earned Sephora points on the deluxe samples of perfume. I’m always disappointed with how much product you receive when sometime you’re using 500 of your points. Here I have the Derek Lam 10 Crosby Afloat and the Elizabeth and James Nirvana samples.

Lip/Eye Products –

The next products I love grabbing as samples, and these are usually more the deluxe samples offered as promo codes, are lip colors, mascaras and eyeliners. I feel like these last forever so you really get a good amount of use out these products. I also think you can really test out the product to its full potential. Samples like setting powders and foundations sometimes come in such small packaging that it can be hard to see how the product really works with your skin type and you can sometimes only get one or two uses out of them. These products, are again, very travel friendly. These are the best when you need to save space in your make-up bag or just to throw a lipstick in a bag to take out with you for touch ups. And again you aren’t necessarily scared to lose a Dior mascara when it’s a free product you received. I even pick these out when I already own the product so that I can carry it around without the fear of losing it. Above I have a bunch of products I love, especially the Marc Jacobs Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Le Marc Lip Creme, YSL Volupte Tint-in-Oil Number 5, the Marc Jacobs O!Mega Lash Volumizing Mascara and the Lancome Drama Liqui-Pencil.


What products do you guys enjoy getting as samples?

You may also like


  1. I am so crazy selective about samples, that I rarely get them. It’s mostly if I want to check out a product and I’ll ask for a sample. And the ULTA ones I skip altogether.

  2. I am quite fuss with samples, especially if they come in that annoying packet like sampling. I mean the way that is constructed you can only really use it one time once you rip open the packet and for stuff like skincare or hair care items or even foundation, one time use doesn’t tell me much, i like to use a product for at least a week before i decide if i like it.

  3. I was totally the same with high-end samples, I would always save them for a special occasion and then end up forgetting to use them! Like you, I now try and get perfume samples which are great for traveling or throwing in your handbag. After reading this though I will also keep an eye out for the cleansers as they sound really handy to have too 🙂 x

Leave a Reply