Tuesday, February 16, 2016

How I ended up with so many samples

It's not my fault. Well, OK, it is. A bit.

I'll tell you what it is: it's the result of the clash of two parts of my personality. My me-me-me no-impulse-control id forms a temporary alliance with my New England-bred "use it up / wear it out / make it do / or do without" superego.

(My apologies to Dr. Freud for appropriating his concept of the mind to explain the way I shop for makeup. I'm sure that's not what his parents envisioned when they paid his medical school tuition.)

At any rate, the result of these competing forces is an outlook that tells me that IF I'm going to pop for ridiculously expensive cosmetics THEN I should take full advantage of gifts-with-purchase, preferably combined with some kind of Beauty Event swag.

In the off chance that you're reading this and don't share my insane interest in beauty products, I'll explain that a Beauty Event is a way for department and specialty stores to lure shoppers into the store after they've already spent all their money.

Let us imagine the retail landscape as just that: a landscape. Christmas would be a mountain, if not a mountain range to rival the Himalayas. Here in the northern hemisphere, the period after Valentine's Day can be thought of as a trough or Slough of Retail Despond. Accordingly, this is when stores schedule their Beauty Events.

Need proof?

Space NK has a really good one on now, while supplies last. I may or may not have bought something.

Neiman Marcus is on now and will end February 28th. Again, my lips are sealed as to any actual purchases that may have occurred.

Finally, Saks just put theirs up today. In the interest of science, and NOT because I want to add another 25 samples to my stash, I investigated.

If you spend $125 on beauty or fragrance at Saks, you will get this faux snakeskin tote and all these samples

My eye cream is making my eyes water like CRAZY, but I spot fragrance samples from Tom Ford, Bulgari, Miu Miu, Thierry Mugler, and that Gucci Bamboo stuff I sampled but wasn't crazy about.

For skincare, your guess is as good as mine; I'm becoming snow blind from all that white. I'm guessing a number of packets of eye cream and the like.

Let's say you're all "Yay! Samples!" and wriggling with excitement over the prospect of getting your eager hands on all that faux snakeskin. The next step is to decide what you want to buy to qualify for the gift.

You can, of course, combine lines to get the Saks gift, but you also want a GWP from an individual line. That is, if you're me.

This is where the New England side of my nature takes over. Let's pretend that I'm using my last drops of Chanel #5. It would make sense to replenish my supply during this event. And yet, Chanel is not offering a GWP, so I reject Chanel and continue to browse.

It turns out there's not much for me, but if you regularly use Bobbi Brown, Trish McEvoy, Nars, Clinique,  Lancôme, or any one of the number of lines Saks offers, you might be able to stock up on your favorites, hit the $125, and qualify for a second gift.

Warning: this gift will probably include samples.
Luckily for my retirement savings, I don't use products from these lines. I do use a pretty good amount of Estee Lauder DayWear as my daytime moisturizer. However, I'm underwhelmed by the Estee Lauder GWP.

I don't like the way this line smells. And the packaging sits right on the cusp of looking clinical without looking as luxurious as it should, considering that Re-Nutriv Ultimate Lift Correcting Creme retails for $285. Pass!

Of course, I'm enchanted by the Dolce&Gabbana red makeup bag and coordinating lipstick.

See how the zipper is a little lipstick? My inner four-year-old is jumping up and down.
It sparks a lot of joy. But I resist the lure of all that red.

And so, fie upon the Saks Beauty Event! I feel positively mature. And just think of all the samples I've avoided accumulating. It's like I've dodged a spray of tiny, foil-encased bullets.

Second warning: Just so you know, Barney's will be holding their event March 8th—13th. And the Barney's event is usually really good.


  1. I find it more than a little terrifying that you just know all these sale dates and the level of awesome they signify.

    1. Keep in mind that beauty blogging is my unpaid job, and I take it as seriously as that implies.

  2. "Gift with Purchase" is the devil's work .... I cannot walk past them!!!!


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