Monday, 13 July 2015

Lotions & Potions - For the Love of Samples

I love samples. I don't know what it is, but I always have. I remember when I was little, I used to go to Avon parties with my mum and my absolute favourite thing to do was to delve into all the tiny glass bottles that contained perfume. I wasn't particularly interested in the contents, I just loved the little bottles.  I haven't been to an Avon party in years, but that hasn't stopped me getting my fix of samples, as you may have seen in my post on making a holiday kit.  Today, I feel like sharing my love of samples and how I've ended up with what I call my Treasure Trove.

These days, Western samples are harder to come by than they were in the Avon party days.  If I visit then I have to spend at least £15 to get a single one and it's usually something unexciting in an even more uninspired packaging.  However, the nifty thing I've found with my obsession with K-beauty is that whenever I buy something I get at least one sample with it, no matter the value.  Usually, it's more like three.  Even better, they tend to have had way more thought put into them than a traditional packet of cream.  They're brightly coloured and often shaped like the actual product to help me find it later on.  They're a god-send if I'm trying to navigate my way around new products or a new brand and I honestly don't know why it's not more common over here.

K-beauty samples are so popular, there's actually a market for them, and an easily accessible market too.  Sites such as sell them online exactly in exactly the same way I'd buy the full size product.  Ebay, as always, is a great place too.  Because sellers are so generous with the samples they include in any and all packages, I can always find variety bundles and joblots of them and usually for less than a price of a Costa coffee.  

I've managed to collect quite a haul over the last year or so.  I didn't realise quite how many I had until I decided to put them all together for inspection.  So here is my Treasure Trove and some pictures to help explore it.

As you can see, there's quite a lot, bearing in mind each one of these is a little packet.  But there's more than packets, there's also miniature bottles and even tiny versions of make-up compacts.  Some of them are really inventive.

These are the minis, including an Etude House Magic Any Cushion and Skin Food tester sets, each of which contain 2 mini bottles similar to the individual ones at the top right.  There's also some Bycream, TonyMoly and Laneige in there.  Everyone is in on the action!  I always love the little bottle kind, they're so cute and they hark back to my love of the Avon glass bottles.  The downside is that if the cream is thick, it can be very tricky to actually get the cream out.

In the first picture, you may be able to make out a brown pouch in the top left.  This is the contents.  I keep these seperate as they're from my two of my favourite brands; TonyMoly and Skin Food.  Skin Food are the wide variety at the top and TonyMoly are the funky designs at the bottom.

These are the less common samples that turn up; hair care, body care and lip tint.  Over half of these are from Etude House.  Etude House seem to throw samples at people like there's no tomorrow.  Which I'm fine with!  Though I have to say, lip tint from a little packet can be interesting to apply.

A very common type of sample is BB cream (and the CC and DD cream cousins).  I keep these in a separate and very stuffed packet so I don't confuse them with normal creams!  There's a huge variety, but I really like that there is, as finding any kind of facial make-up tends to be a nightmare for me; too light, too dark, too heavy, too oily...  So I very much like my packet, as it means I can double check I'm making the right choice on what I wear without having to go to any effort at all.  A bonus with BB cream samples is that they're incredibly generous.  You'll get a good 2-3 days worth of wear out of a single packet if you're clever about sealing it back up.

Weirdly fish-eye.  No idea why.  Ooo, rhyme.

The last set of samples is the "everything else" type.  These can be moisturising cream, serums, ampoules, cleanser...  Some of them I have no idea what they are at all!  These are by far my favourites as they tend to yield the best discoveries and are by far the best packaged.

It all sounds obvious; samples are great because you get to try before you buy.  Absolutely, I love that.  But what I love more with K-beauty samples is you just feel the generosity of them.  They're free, you get a good number with everything you buy and they're never stingy on contents.  If you're feeling like exploring, I'd highly recommend popping onto eBay and picking up a little bundle.  You should be able to get 5-10 for as little as £3.  And of course, if you find anything great, let me know!

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