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5 things I learned from Sample Swag September

samples innisfree iope skinfood tony moly shisheido nature republic kahina giving beauty tata harper one love organicsLast week was the end of Sample Swag September. I know, I know. This is October now.

But I like to be thorough. The first couple days of this challenge were in September, so I did an extra week for funsies.

In the span of the month I have:

• tried 45+ products
• tested 16 brands
• downsized my sample stash (from four cosmetic pouches to two)! A major success!

I have also come away from this challenge with five tips from the last five weeks.

1. Samples are great for convenience, not so great for deciding on your next purchase.
Samples are great. As a consumer, I am more apt to patronize a company that rewards me for shopping there by letting me try other stuff they sell. It’s a great thing to have for holidays and weekends away, but they are kind of useless if you are using them to base a purchase.

This isn’t to say that all samples are useless for this purpose. Most of them are. The single-use packet – with just enough product – shouldn’t be the deciding factor to buy something. Especially if that product is extraordinarily expensive. The few redeeming qualities of samples of this nature is that you can automatically try things and sift out the products you know you won’t ever use.

Better samples are the deluxe ones. The ones that are close to trial- or travel-size, where you can squeeze out a couple days’ to a week’s (or more) worth of product. It’s a good way to test how a product will react to your skin over time.

2. Always patch test before putting something on the face.
Luckily for me, nothing happened to me during the course of the month. This personal experiment/challenge could have gone badly. I’m talking traumatic and horrific on levels I refuse to comprehend if I had any severe reactions to any of these products.

I recommend this tip for everyone, but especially those with (really) sensitive skin. It’s an obvious thing, but I know it’s a tip that I – and probably most of you – do not do when trying anything new.

I like patching things on my forearm, which is a lot less sensitive than my face. It helps that it would also be easy to disguise something on my forearm than on my face!

3. Try samples one at a time. 

With the samples I tried my best to group them by line, by ingredient or by items that addressed the same concerns.

Obviously this isn’t the ideal way to test anything. An ideal way to test something – their efficacy, their reaction to your skin – would be to keep all things constant, save for the sample.

4. Samples helped me get out of my comfort zone and was a great way to test drive products that I ordinarily would have never bought, for various reasons.

Samples are really amazing. There are some things that I tried last month that I was fully expecting to hate which I ended up loving.

5. Despite my massive love of samples, there will always be some that I just cannot use no matter how much I want to. 

There are some samples that come to me that I just cannot use. Strike that. Samples that do not agree with my type. Products that are advertised to oily skin, dry skin, mature skin. Products that deal with hyperpigmentation, wrinkles or puffy eyes.

My advice is to be discerning when using products and refrain from using them just because they were given and because they’re free.

I know. Tough. It’s advice I’m still putting into practice.

Haven’t checked out Sample Swag September? Here are the recaps:

Verdict | Week 1 Sample Swag September
Verdict | Week 2 Sample Swag September
Verdict | Week 3 Sample Swag September
Verdict | Week 4 Sample Swag September

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