Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Free & Fabulous.

When I checked the mail today I was excited to get the latest beauty flier from Nordstrom. The rich purple polish, the plum and gold cocktail ring, and the upcoming free gift from Estee Lauder got me excited. (Look for it October 10-27 at Nordstrom.) Fall at its best.

On the same day Erich and I started planning a little getaway weekend (courtesy of a wedding gift- a gift card to our honeymoon hotel) which brings me to one of my favorite travel tips.

I always save the free samples of beauty products and hair care. I pack them on trips and weekends away because they are a special treat when I get to my destination. Plus the individual portions are the perfect travel size. A getaway always feels more glamourous with a few luxe extras.

Here are my tips for navigating free product samples:

--> Choose your brand.
Only like Lancome makeup? Break out when you use skin care from any line other than Clinique? Once you know what you love from a certain line, sign up for alerts from the brand's website. You can also get on the email list of the makeup counter at your favorite store (always a good idea if you frequent one particular store or have a credit card there).

--> Look for skin care.
Unfortunately, the makeup shades that many brands give away in their free gifts can be hit or miss. They are not always a perfect match for my skin tone so more often than not I look for skin care formulas that I would use. However, I always look forward to a good black mascara. In this gift I am looking forward to the Sumptuous Mascara, the Resilience Lift Creme, and the Take it Away Total Makeup Remover.

--> Don't be afraid to branch out!
I have found some of my favorite products by trying the samples first. You can also save some money by choosing to be flexible with one product when you buy another. I am loyal to my moisturizing serums, but willing to try most mascaras. I usually wait for a gift to my favorite serum brand and use the free mascara that comes as part of the gift for the next 2 weeks.

--> Don't forget your hair.
I order my shampoo and conditioner from because of the trial sizes they send along with your order. (Just wait for free shipping.) They are so much easier to manage on trips and I can mix and match them according to my trip activities and hair care needs. For example, I use one shampoo/conditioner combination when I have been swimming in a chlorinated pool and a different one when I am headed out to dinner or an event. Since packing multiple bottles of shampoo/conditioner is out of the question, I pack multiple packets. You can also ask your hair stylist what packets the salon has that would work for your hair. They always have some great options.

--> Think of all the uses for that free cosmetic bag.
The free gift bags I could take or leave. But I would say I end up keeping and using the bag from one out of every four free gifts (mainly because they aren't always my style). In addition to using them as toiletry or makeup bags, I also keep one in my car as an emergency kit; they usually fit perfectly into my center console. Mine contains a small mouthwash, deodorant, perfume, tampon, hand sanitizer wipes, tissues, and Advil. Having these small comforts on hand always makes my day a little bit easier and this purple bag will make the cut.

Indulge with that expensive new eye cream. Try out a new fragrance. Even try switching up your cleanser for a week! Free is a fabulous feeling.

Treat everyday like you are on the runway.

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