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Cosmetic companies offer free samples

By Al Varela

Dear Al: When I buy cosmetics I am often confused about what colors might look best and which skin care products are healthiest for me. How can I make sure that I don't waste my money purchasing cosmetics just to try them out, not really knowing if they are right for me. What do you recommend ?

Wouldn't it be nice if your broker could offer you a free test of your favorite stock before you buy? Well, in the cosmetics industry many companies encourage their retailers to give a little bit--it's called a sample. And, it's a great way for the consumer to figure out what works best for them.

In my 23 years in the business, I have seen just how important it is for these companies to provide samples of skin care products or cosmetics. Buyers do not want to purchase products sight unseen, so it is important that we are able to provide a small amount of a product to the consumer so that they can rest assured it will work.

In the past, sampling was only done by American companies who saw the beneficial effect the sampling process had on their sales and product success.

Kiehl's, which has been in business since 1851, has made it their philosophy to provide the retailers that sell their products, with samples so that customers can try their products first. This helps them make a more savvy choice about the products they ultimately purchase.

Some of the products that Kiehl's provides in sample form are toners, cleansers, moisturizers, masques, body lotions and shower gels. They even make samples of their hair shampoos and conditioners, in addition to hair fixatives. The list goes on!

In recent years, European companies have followed suit and many have largely invested in providing samples too. They also have taken the definition of sample to a new level by making their offerings quite big and generous!

Another way to understand what you are buying is to make an appointment with a professional makeup artist for a consultation. This expert service will paint a better picture for you of which cosmetic colors and products will be the best suited for your needs.

So, when it comes to investing in good cosmetics, sampling helps you know your return in advance.

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