It’s no secret that I love beauty samples. In fact, I have had a sample obsession my whole life.
Want a sample of fudge? SURE!
Want a full size shampoo? No, thanks.
Want a tiny bit of moisturizer in a tiny tube? YES, please!
Maybe it’s the cute factor or the idea that using it up won’t take as long. I just love samples. I remember going around the food court at the mall when I was little just to get to try the tiny sweet and sour chicken on a toothpick!
Anyways, between my love for Birchbox and the freebies I’ve been given over time, my sample collection was out of control. As much as I try to be minimalist, I’m also a bit of a hoarder because I always want to be prepared. So instead of using a new sample, I would tuck it away for my next travel trip. But the thing is – those don’t come all that often, so the samples accumulated! (P.S. Speaking of fun things coming in the mail, did you know you can get a free Stitch Fix this month? I just got one and bought a pair of pants and a cozy top!)
Enter: Project Use Up the Samples!
I am not allowed to buy anything new until they are gone in each category!
This was my “just for travel” bin – overflowing with tiny bottles!
I spent a few hours last weekend organizing everything. I collected anything I didn’t think I would eventually want to use in a bag to give to a few friends.
I sorted the samples by category so I could easily get a new one to use when I was out. Those Birchbox boxes were the perfect sorting tool!
I donated a few of my extra cosmetic bags and just have 3 now (2 big and 1 small.) My vanity is looking much neater!
While I was sorting, I considered which beauty products were my tried-and-true favorites. This bunch were at the top of the list:
1 // Coastal Scents Revealed Eyeshadow Palate – the only palate you need! It has all the colors. Best of all, it takes me forever to use them all up so I get my money’s worth.
2 // amika Dry Shampoo – my all-time favorite for the smell! Anything amika smells incredible. Also: it works well! (I am not into the new dry shampoos that you have to apply with your fingers.) Also: how did I ever live without this?
3 // Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing AHA and Toner. I have been using these for YEARS and they are my favorites. I love the smell and feel of the daily AHA and the toner hydrates my skin after a shower like no moisturizer can. I am hooked on toner for life.
4 // Elemis Papaya Enzyme Peel. I discovered this during a facial and it smells HEAVENLY. (Can you sense the scent trend here?!) I received it as a gift (it is not cheap) and absolutely love using it.
5 // Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer. This is, by a landslide, the best concealer I’ve ever used. It’s thick (almost tacky) so a little is all you need and it doesn’t take forever to rub in. The thickness also means it really covers up color. I get it in medium. It’s another product I use every single day and couldn’t imagine living without! I found it at Ulta!
6 // Supergoop CC Cream. I’ve written about this many times, but it’s hands-down the best foundation I’ve used. I took a break from it to use up some of my samples, and when I went back to it I remembered why I love it. It just blends so, so well. Find it at Sephora. I wear Light to Medium.
7 // Mary Kay Fancy Nancy Lip Gloss. My BFF Lauren sells Mary Kay and got me hooked on this. It’s a great color for everyone, and I love the feel – not too tacky or shiny. I have 4-5 of these in various purses, in my car, etc.
If you had to pick just one beauty favorite to use forever, what would it be? (Not that I need to buy anything new…!)
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog says
… I think I have to do this project myself. I have SO many sample products and not enough time to use them all! Case in point: I just collection three bottles from the mall yesterday!
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
If you ever find yourself with too many products, these would make wonderful donations for women in need that may be transitioning from shelters to new homes or homeless and trying to find work!
Yes that’s a great idea for the unopened/unused ones. I actually have someone I know who can help me get extras in the right hands.
That’s awesome! I’m sure it will be much appreciated!
Couldn’t live without Redkin Shine serum!
Nars Orgasm blush. love love love it
That is my favorite Nars color as well.
I did exactly the same thing! I used to keep so many sample sizes ‘just in case’, but now am committed to using them up and I am getting there, slowly. It’s fun! And akso saves on buying new items. My desert island beauty product would have to be Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream. Nothing softens my lips like it and it is a great multi tasker. One tube lasts FOREVER!
Andrea @ French Pressed Kitchen says
I think I’d have to go with some sort of retinol mositurizer! They make my skin so soft.
Ditto to the Elemis Papaya Enzyme peel – I just used it last night actually! I love the smell, and I swear my face immediately looks better after using. Glowy or something. Their cleansing balm is also life-changing!
🙂 the smell!!
I love my Urban Decay eye shadow primer. Keeps it on and looking new all day 🙂 Now I may have to try that concealer…
I have never found primers to be worth using as an extra step! You love it?
Love it a lot! I am not a make-up junkie and only wear tinted moisturizer, but this is a step I don’t forget. It even holds through my workouts and the tube lasts for a very long time.
Jenny Paxton says
Wholeheartedly agree! Even when I swim laps after work, my eyeshadow hasn’t budged a bit.
Melissa | HerGreenLife says
For the past several years, I’ve used next to nothing in the way of “products.” Overall, I’m happy with that — less waste, less time involved in getting ready, etc. But just yesterday I was thinking about some eye cream. I have no idea where to start!
I think Paula’s Choice is really reasonably priced and straight forward, which I appreciate
Beautycounter has three eye creams and the newest, countermatch, I have fallen in love with! Beautycounter bans over 1500 potentially harmful ingredients and are all of very high performance and quality. If you’re interested in a sample let me know! [email protected]
I’ve been using Elf Illuminating Eye Cream on the recommendation of a friend. Only have been using it for 2 weeks but it’s fantastic. Picked it up at Target for $10. Can’t beat it! Comparable to the more expensive stuff I’ve used in the past.
Linda @ the Fitty says
I pick the eye concealer!
Laura Swanson says
I used to do the same thing of hoarding samples for travel and then never using them! I finally started using them when at home as a special treat and it’s fun! I’m interested in the Drunk Elephant skincare line but they are so pricey, hoping they have a sale soon!
Kelli @ Hungry Hobby says
Love this idea! I usually just throw away mini’s because I only travel 4 times a year at most and I hate clutter! I love the idea of keeping them to giveaway!
I was a religious user of that Amika Dry Shampoo after receiving a sample of it from Birchbox. It was so great to use after the gym, on my way to work. I discovered about 6 months ago that Amika is the same exact brand as EVA NYC, just different packaging. That saved me a ton of money, because even though they are exactly the same, theres about a $14 price difference between the two. Flash forward to a month ago, and just because I was bored, I started reading the ingredient list of Amika/EVA, and was HORRIFIED to find out the first two listed ingredients are Butane and Propane. I just didnt feel comfortable putting that on my scalp. A friend suggested I try arrowroot powder, which can be found in any grocery store. I bought mine on amazon. It is what they used in the Victorian Age, and I can tell you it works just as well as Amika, but without the fear of harmful chemicals.
Just wanted to give you my thoughts from my own research. If Amika works for you, and you don’t mind the ingredient list, definitely continue using it. If you want a healthier alternative though, I highly recommend the Arrowroot powder.
I have tried a few “pour on” powders and they just don’t get in there right. I wonder if there is a way to poof out the arrowroot so it’s sort of a cloud up there?
I love my Boi-ing concealer by Benefit Cosmetics. Lasts forever and covers anything on my skin perfectly!
L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara is my all-time favorite make-up product.
Ash Diamond says
This actually inspired me to stop my Birchbox membership. I really don’t need it especially as I am now pretty loyal to some amazing products I love.
This post made me smile because I’ve been doing the Exact same thing. I have an a whole cupboard of samples, mainky from hotel stays. So many of them are really nice lotions and shampoos by Elemus, L’Occitane etc. I’m working my way through them and it’s been a lot of fun. And Saved me money.
I need a good concealer. How do you apply the Bye Bye concealer? Fingers or a brush?
I put a tiny, tiny bit on my pointer and tap it on and then VERY lightly rub it in. (I know you’re not supposed to rub there and use your ring finger, but I promise I am very gentle – lol!)
Beautycounter Nourishing Day & Night Cream. Love their facial oils too!
If you love toner, would you be interested in trying Beautycounter’s rejuvenating anti-aging toner for a mention in your next beauty product post? Beautycounter bans 1500 ingredients from their products while the US only band 30. They aren’t just safer but high performing as well!
Thank you so much for offering, but it’s hard to promise a mention and I wouldn’t want to let you down!
I could also offer a free one for a reader when you mention it? Or we could set up an entire giveaway and I can send you a sample of our entire rejuvenating line if you’re interested (they are in the cutest little bottles you’ll ever see 😉 )And I don’t think you’d let me down because the products are truly amazing so I’m confident you’ll love them, and if not then that’s fine, no hard feelings!
I think I have tried that kit before – they are the cutest bottles and perfect for one-two night travel stays. Do they sell the little set? I’d buy it as a travel set! I think the products are very nice. I really appreciate the offer, but I think I’m going to pass on anything formal.
The itty bitty sizes are only sold to consultants to give out as samples. The new countermatch set comes in a small set that’s perfect for travel…https://www.beautycounter.com/skin-care/shop-by-sets/countermatch-discovery-set.html
Never been a make up wearer. Having said that, I place all toiletry samples in my guest bathrooms so I and they, never worry if they forgot something at home. Congrats on your wedding !
LOVE the Supergoop CC cream. It’s amazing. I agree that it blends amazingly well.
This reminded me to go clean out my vanity too. Thank you for the post. The beauty product that I most love is Burts Bees Pomegranate lip balm.
Oh my gosh, I feel like this post was written just for me. I needed a nudge to go through and actually use all the samples I have instead of keeping them for a trip or something. Ugh, I feel like my bathroom drawers are overflowing. A project for over the holidays for sure! 🙂
I discovered korean skincare products a few years ago and never looked back! I use Missha brand “ultra waterful” moisturizing oil (not greasy miracle worker), the super aqua cell renew, and their spf 45 sun milk every day. I’ve been loyal to MAC cosmetics since before they sold retail (originally only for professionals) and at this point i just wear eyeliner, mascara and lipstick. Sometimes their concealer.
I bring sample sized stuff i get to the gym since i go before work, my favorite are the mini toothpaste and toothbrush kits from international flight kits