1. Magazine Summer Issues
The best time of year to pick up a stack of magazines is definitely June-August. Magazines try to pick up new readers when we're traveling, incentivizing us with an abundance of free gifts and beauty samples to tickle our fancy. This month alone I've seen free Nails Inc nail polish with InStyle, Malin+Goetz skincare samples with Glamour, Ren lipbalm with Red and Elemis skincare heroes with Marie Claire. Pop along to your local newsagent to stock up on gossip and beauty simultaneously!
2. Beauty Counter Samples
Most premium beauty counters are happy to offer sample sizes or sachets to customers genuinely interested in trying a product at home - mostly skincare and foundation. If you've been desperate to try that Clarins foundation or Clinique serum, why not pop along to counter for a chat and ask if they can provide you with a sample to try before you commit to the purchase? Fragrance counters often offer this too, while many makeup concessions are happy to decant pretty much anything into a pot to take away with you. You should never just rock up to a counter and ask for samples, but there's no harm in stocking up pre-payday with the intention of making a purchase later on.
3. Consumer Trials
Many brands like to get their products tested thoroighly before they launch - both to gain feedback on performance that they can use internally, and to pull together those stats you see plastered all over their marketing efforts. L'Oreal, P&G and Unilever all have their own consumer testing panels, while third party companies often run testing activity on behalf of smaller brands too. Have a bit of a googling session and find platforms to sign up to (many brands also have info on their Facebook page) that will provide you with freebies to enjoy. Filling in a questionnaire is a small price to pay for a few months supply of shampoo!
4. Brand Competitions
We all love a competition. Beauty brands in particular are great at giving away products, previews and sample sizes to their social media audience - so make sure you're following all your favourite brands on Twitter and Facebook. Looking out for key hashtags such as #win and #competition will help you search for giveaways you may like to enter. (Just don't spam or turn your Twitter feed into a competition tornado!)
5. Set Up A Swap Shop
How many products do you have lying around that just didn't work for you, or simply weren't the right shade when you got them home? Why not set up a swap shop with some of your mates (wine and nachos included, obviously) and get them to bring all their unwanted beauty products round for a fun game of swaps. There's bound to be some real gems that they no longer want, unopened items that you can treasure, or shades that will be better suited to your complexion than theirs. It may even encourage you to have a sort out and discover some items you'd totally forgot about.
Do you have any other ways that you save money or get your hands on some freebies?