6 Ways to Score Free Beauty Products

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My Macy's Parade of Beauty

Two days into my experiment I wake up, splash my face with water and stare at my blotchy, dehydrated skin and anemic smattering of eyebrow hairs. Desperation is setting in. I throw on an eyebrow-concealing hat and hit the mall to do some discreet begging.

I walk into Macy's and spend a few minutes working up the courage to walk over to the Lancome counter. "Do you offer any samples?" I ask the perfectly made up gal behind it. "Um, no," she says dismissively. I slink away and hide in the shoe department, where I attempt to regain my nerve and come up with a better approach.

"I'm not really familiar with your products" is my oh-so-clever opener with Chanel's salesperson. "Can you tell me a little bit about them?"

She asks about my skin concerns: wrinkles? tone? clarity? moisture? All of the above, sister! She whips open her sample drawer and forks over several "single use" packets of Precision Ultra Correction Restructuring Anti-Wrinkle Firming Cream SPF 10 and Precision Ultra Correction Nuit Anti-Wrinkle Restructuring Night Cream. I vow to make each one last three days.

"Do let me know how you enjoy them," she says with a friendly smile and not even a hint of sales pressure. Now that wasn't so horrible.

I head to the farthest counter away from her and try the same line on the Estee Lauder rep.

"Ooh! " she says excitedly. "Have you tried our new Perfectionist CP+ Wrinkle Lifting Serum?" She hands me a nail polish-size bottle of what looks like liquid gold. (The stuff retails for around $55 an ounce, giving my quarter-ounce sample a street value of nearly $14. Nice! )

"Will you tell me how your custom-blend foundation works?" I ask the Prescriptives gal. It's a cheesy line but it works. In minutes I have a week's worth of perfectly matched foundation and a bottle of primer.

Although I'm thrilled with my many samples, I'm still without an eyebrow pencil. Good thing I have a lot of hats.

Continued on page 3:  I Score at Sephora


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