This is going to be a relatively short post, but I wanted to tackle it because so many people have been asking recently how I can afford so many beauty products all the time and I wanted to give some great tips on how you can try the latest products without spiralling into a pathetic mess of debt and only eating Pot Noodle for the rest of your life... So here goes! :)
1) Be a cheeky scrounger. I know that sounds terrible, but if you don't ask then you don't get and most department store beauty counters in particular have a treasure trove full of products that they can give away for free if you show an interest in their products. For example, my recent review of Clarins' Eclat du Jour range was entirely funded by free mini-samples which absolutely anyone can get! (That review can be found at
http://hautefuture.blogspot.com/2011/09/review-clarins-eclat-du-jour-range.html.) Benefit will often dispense a little of their foundation or skincare formulas into a little pot for prospective customers to take home and try. Most make-up counters will give you a free make-over if you simply tell them your make-up bag is in need of a revamp, which means you can have a perfectly done Estee Lauder face in time for prom or a hot date without spending a penny. Even a store like Lush, where most products can be tried in-store anyway will give out a little free sample of a new product if you ask at the till as you're purchasing another product.
So you don't want to be cheeky? Simply say, 'I'm looking for a new product/range and I've heard great things about *INSERT BRAND* I was wondering if I could take away some sample-sized products to try/have a quick makeover before deciding if the brand is right for me.' With the makeover, don't feel pressured to buy as soon as the assistant is finished. Tell her that you are going to go and shop for a couple of hours to see how the products hold up (any beauty fanatic should understand this as our skin changes throughout the day and some products may break us out, or melt, or dry our skin) and that you if all goes well that you might be back later to purchase a couple of items.
I love when a company gives things away for free, because that tells me that they are confident enough in their product that they know that once I've tried it, I will come back. So as for those stingy companies that refuse to give out samples, they probably aren't the sort of brand you want to buy from anyway.
2) Enter competitions. Virtually all magazines, beauty brands and stores selling cosmetics run competitions almost every day whereby you can win beauty products. It's literally just a case of 'Like'ing their facebook pages and checking them and their websites frequently. I recently won a luxury sample-sized Burberry Body Eau de Parfum literally just by clicking 'Like' on their facebook page. For these last couple of days in September, http://30days.co.uk/ is a good place to start. Devote half an hour a day to entering competitions and just wait for the wins to roll on in! Also, sign up for Free Stuff World's newsletter http://www.freestuffworld.co.uk as they often advertise about free samples companies are giving.
3) If you are only interested in trying the latest products on the market and not a brand or product in particular, try subscribing to GlossyBox at http://www.glossybox.co.uk/ or Boudoir Prive at http://www.boudoirprive.co.uk/. These are two companies which have begun in the UK over the past couple of months, and basically the idea is that you pay a non-committal subscription fee of £10 a month (although I've heard rumors that GlossyBoxes may go up to £12 a month) and in return you receive a parcel of 5 or 6 luxury-sample-sized beauty products which are brand new to the market. It's great value for money and allows subscribers to build up their collection whilst trying out some of the hottest products before others can purchase them. Personally, I haven't subscribed to either just yet as I wanted to read a couple of reviews first. It seems like GlossyBox is better for getting better known brands such as OPI and Nars products, but Boudoir Prive tends to deliver more product for your money. Either way, £10 for five luxury-brand beauty products is an absolute steal!
4) Get the Boots magazine! Health and Beauty often has tons of discounts in the back which can be really useful. Also, make sure you have a Boots Advantage Card, Debenhams Beauty Club Card, Superdrug Beauty Card or the equivalent points card for wherever you usually buy your products. These cards offer you points in exchange for spending money with them. For example, at Boots for every £1 you spend, you get 4 pence worth of points. I currently have over £20 worth of points on my card which means I've spent A LOT of money in Boots. Oh dear.
5) Get a job in a high street pharmacy or department store beauty counter! At most beauty counters you are encouraged to apply a full face of tester products by whichever brand you work for, plus you'll get a discount as you would if you worked in Boots or Superdrug. Both are currently looking for staff for over the Christmas break as are most major department stores. Plus you are likely to get the first glance at any brand new products... result!
So those are my top five tips. I have a couple more but they take a little more effort...
6) Start reviewing products on a blog or video blog and once you've posted these to the internet, advertise them on the company's facebook page and email the company's inquiries department. This can usually be found on the 'Contact Us' tab of any beauty brand's website. Flatter the company and drop the hint that you'd love to try more of their products in the future and just see what happens! I personally haven't received any products after doing this although companies almost always reply saying thank you for taking the time to use and review their products and I guess if you get enough readers and followers and review enough of their products eventually they might send you some bits. Having said that, my friend and fellow blogger Vikki (who can be found at http://victorias-vintage.blogspot.com/) has been quite successful with it in the past.
7) Invest money in events where you are likely to receive a goodie bag. This is a biggie because it usually costs money to buy tickets to events, but it's good because not only do you get the experience of going to the event, but also a bunch of products you didn't have before. At the Marie Claire Inspire and Mentor events, so far the goodie bags have been worth around £60, which considering you often only pay £35 for the ticket is NOT BAD. It's a similar case with conventions such as IMATS, The Clothes Show Live and Britain's and Ireland's Next Top Model Live.
I hope that has been helpful to you all. If you have a beauty obsession like me, it really doesn't have to cost you a fortune at all. If it did, I wouldn't do it :) What are your money saving beauty tips? Let me know; I can do with all the help I can get!