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Asking for samples at Sephora and Ulta?

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Nov 19, 2011

Isabelina B.

Have you ever done it? Any tips? I really want to ask for some but I'm kind of scared that they'll say no or something, and I really don't know how to ask in the first place, if you know what I'm saying. Thanks!

Nov 19, 2011

Linda D.

Don't be afraid! That's why they are there in the first place:) I always always ask for samples before I purchase anything just to see if it works with my skin. Having sensitive skin it's hard time to find products that work for me. The Sephora employees are always extremely helpful. 

Nov 19, 2011

Drea G.

Last time I asked for a sample, I just asked & the lady gave me one right away. Though I made sure to ask AFTER I bought something just to show that I wasn't there just to get a sample & go. I'm sure it would make zero difference, I just do it for the mentality of things. Also, if a SA comes up to you & asks if you need help just say, "I'm wondering if I can get.... etc etc" - I mean, they ASKED so you might as well. :D

Nov 19, 2011

Steff J.

I work for Sephora and PLEASE ask for samples. Don't be afraid. If they say no, you let me know which store, LOL. just kidding.

Nov 19, 2011

Soma S.

If they question me, I always tell them I have sensitive skin, and I won't commit to purchasing it until I know it works.

Nov 19, 2011

Isabelina B.

Thanks guys! :) I'm going to ask for a MUFE foundation sample next time I go to Sephora. Do they give them out at MAC as well?

Nov 19, 2011

Sabrinna S.

Yep they do give out samples at MAC too :) However at Ulta, ive found that at elast in the store where i go to, they can only give you a sample only if your have a container. the only exception on that is the Lancome Counters at Ulta. they can give you a 10-day sample when you ask.

I would ask, they are there to help you and usually I don't have to ask because they offer it right away.

I also work at a Sephora and customer service is one of the main things we strive to give 1000%. So ALWAYS ask for sample of things you are thinking about buying! Thats what we are here insure you have the best possible expierence in the store possible!!!

Nov 20, 2011

Nils J.

Another generous store to ask for samples is Kiehls. They always give you a bunch with purchase too.

Nov 20, 2011

gee m.

Most stores that are considered high-end will gladly give you a sample of their products, I know many of times I have purchased items and later thought to myself why did I not ask for a sample of something. It helps with not having to return products and it is a great way to learn about new products. 

@Abbie sampling is fine and if done right associates will not hesitate to dram you some foundation. If you are a loyal customer some stores will call you when new products come out and have a sample set aside for you. Companies encourage you to try it so you can like it and later buy it.

With that said, I can be very candid so please don't take it as I'm trying to be mean but there is a right and a wrong way to ask for samples. There are many people who are hip to sampling and abuse the policy. First of all, if you know that all you want is a sample try not to waste too much of the associates time. Do not keep them tied up for hours and then ask for samples especially if that's all you were looking for in the first place...just be upfront about it. In that time wasted they could have been helping another customer.

Do not make sampling a dirty little habit to keep from having to spend the money. When I worked in retail there was a customer (I don't think I should call her a customer because she never purchased) who always came in for a sample of her foundation. She admitted to not being able to afford it and rather liked abusing the sample policy. You sample something to see if you like it, to see if it works for you...if it does you purchase it on your return do not sample it again. Most places are very generous, again when I was in retail I would show the customer serveral products and if she could only purchase 3 that day I was giving her samples of everything she couldn't get.

Do not go into a store and ask for samples of any and everything. I associate that with open and allowable theft. Many companies pre package sample sized new products and there were many people who would come into the store looking for random samples...just whatever you have. This sounds very mean but I'm a New Yorker and we tend to be more straight forward. As a manager I once had to be very candid with a sample abuser who called herself a customer. She would come in every week and ask for samples of whatever we had. When I finally refused and explained to her that samples were for our customers she argued that she was a customers. I had to then explain to her that customers are people who shop and buy and she was just some random woman coming in demanding free products. Some people laugh about how they get over on the makeup and skin care industry. This bugs me because in the long run I'm paying for a persons samples. The reason why the cost of prestige brands are higher is because they factor in cost of the testers and samples and push that off to the consumer.

Most places have a three sample rule max and I personally like to take samples of things I'm not completely sold on. For example, if I heard great things about a face wash and I want to try it I'm buying it. So many companies have a very generous return policy I'm really not losing out. If I'm not sold that it'll be a good purchase I'll sample it but otherwise I'm not losing much buy trying it for 30+ days to really see if I like it.

Everything that Angel just said is so spot on.

There is no shame in asking for samples, but sample hoarding is another thing entirely.

Nov 21, 2011

Isabelina B.

Thanks so much everyone :) I definitely wouldn't go in a store and ask for a bunch of samples, probably not more than one at a time. I just find that kind of rude and sort of common courtesy. I think Beautylish should do a little article on sample etiquette. *hint, hint.* :)

Nov 21, 2011

Monica M.

When I go into Sephora they are more than happy to get me the samples that I want! Don't be scared and don't think it's rude, just don't take advantage of it! The purpose of a sample anyway is to test the product and see if you want it. They WANT you to buy things :D Most of them treat all of their customers the same (there are always a few of those grouchy people) like when a thirteen year old, like myself, walks in they always offer samples or have no problem when I ask them. I see no harm in sampling haha

Nov 21, 2011

Angel C.

I always ask. To me, it's better to ask and get shot down then to go not knowing if you will get somewhere. I just ask the ladies for a small sample so I can test it out for a week or so to see if my skin will react in a negative manner to whatever it is I'm getting a sample of. Also, I like to test things before I commit to anything. I've tried so many products offline/in store and I ALWAYS make sure to either ask for samples or read reviews extensively to make sure it's not a dud product. If you want to test out products (not exactly for free but for cheap), I recommend subscribing to They send you a box every month for $10 a month with approximately 5 products in it for you to test out. In my past two boxes I've received a professional grade toothpaste, hair ties, Redken shine spray, Pangea Organics facial scrub, Zoya nailpolish, Tea Forte tea mints, Joer Lip Enhancer, and a few other things that I can't think of right off the bat. Something to think about though. Never be shy when it comes to asking for samples. The ladies at all the Ultas I've been to have been very helpful when I ask for samples or advice. They're there to help you, if they don't then it's not good customer service and reflects badly on them and their business which I'm sure that's not something they would want to strive for (bad service that is). Btw if you do get samples: Ask for anything Mario Badescu/Exuviance...amazing brands :)

Nov 03, 2013

Samantha C.

I know there are some people who have very negative experiences with Sephora, but my experiences have been nothing but positive. I always ask for a sample when I buy something. Even if I am not buying something, if a SA sees me looking at something they will sometimes offer me a sample to try it out. Can't hurt to ask :)

Aug 02, 2016

Glenda P.

I been wanting to get a sample of a good full coverage foundation I don't know I'm thinking Marc jacobs. Any suggestions.

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