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The Girlfriends Guide: How To Be A Beauty Sample Piggy

Sick of expensive beauty products? Learn to sample like a champ.

Goal: To score free beauty products from companies big and small.

Where to Find Them: Beauty counters at department stores have long known that free packets and vials drive sales. So pick one (or all!) of your favorite stores and just ask. Rotate brands and locations because counter reps do alert one another to sample hogs. Register on the stores’ websites for beauty week promotions and in-store giveaways.

Other Best Bets:

Sephora The makeup mecca offers three ready-made samples with any purchase, but you can get freebies without buying. Always request samples of the most expensive products. Heck, why not get a 15-minute free makeover at the mirrored beauty bar while you’re there.

Allure Go to Allure.com and search “free samples.” The beauty magazine regularly runs online giveaways for lucky gals who click early and often.

The Body Shop The company’s website says customers may “pop into any store and have a sample of any product.” Bonus: It smells great in there.

Aveda Their website rocks. You can put “$0.00” samples of their popular lotions and oils into your basket and check out without having to make an embarrassing request.

Get a Free Makeover OK, this one is not totally free. A counter-side makeup application means you’re expected to buy something. Write everything down—it implies you’ll be back—then buy the cheapest thing. Ask for samples of the rest.