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How to get beauty products for free

Erica Mayyasi is a Red Sox fan in Manhattan. After stints at various magazines she now works full-time in public relations, though she continues to write for a number of sites including her blog etsymay.blogspot.com.

Sweet swag

What's better than getting beauty products on sale? Well getting them for free! You don't need to pull a Winona to get your hands on the products you want, we've got some ideas that will land you the goods you want without landing you in the slammer.

Beauty Products

Magazine giveaways and awards

Women's magazines have got your back with opportunities for free beauty products in two ways. The first and more obvious of the two is that they frequently host product giveaways. While these giveaways are publicized in the hard copy of the magazine, you don't have to a subscriber to enter the giveaway contests: so just keep your eye on their websites. For example in February Allure is giving away a bunch of products including Shiseido skin care and Rimmel mascara. In addition to giveaways, a number of magazines do beauty awards and to be able to test out all of the products they rely on volunteers. Self, for example, seeks willing and able testers every year for their beauty awards, just keep checking out their site for when they call for volunteers. If you're selected, they'll send you the product (or products!) to try for free.

Sample sites

There are a number of websites out there that do all of the sample finding work for you and list sample offers. For example try All Free Samples and Free Beauty Stuff. Sites like these link to offers offsite so you need to judge the validity of the offers for yourself. Do it with a grain of salt, knowing that giving up your contact info for samples will probably increase your spam intake.

Just ask

How many times have you milled around the makeup counter awkwardly hinting that you'd like samples or just waiting hoping that they'll be offered to you? And how many times has this been successful? The answer to the first question is probably a lot and the answer to the second is probably not that many. So how to swing the balance? Just ask. If you ask politely, chances are they'll feel bad saying no. Obviously not everyone will just hand over samples but hey, worst case scenario is they say no.

Journalism

How do beauty writers and bloggers get their hands on beauty products to test and try out to write about them? They very rarely pay for them - that's for sure. More likely, they've been sent the product for free via the product's public relations representative. If you're only in it for the swag, launching yourself into the beauty writing biz will be more trouble than it's worth. Public relations reps won't send out samples to just any gal with a blog - your writing has to reach a significant number of people for it to be worth their while. But if you're always had a hankering to try your hand at beauty writing to begin with, the freebies are certainly a noteworthy perk. If you're interested, starting a beauty blog is one of your best bets to get your start. There are many free blogging platforms out there for you to try, but one that we'd particularly recommend is Blogger. Once you've been blogging for a substantial period of time and have a large amount of readers, you can try your hand at hitting up the public relations people for samples. To do so, go to the product's website and then look for the press contact. (If they don't have one, just use the regular contact email address they have listed.) Send an email introducing yourself and your blog and request a sample. The worst that can happen is they don't get back to you or say no. And unlike the makeup counter, these samples are almost always full-sized.

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