Column by Jenna Nicole Levine

I obviously purchase most of my beauty products on a budget; however on rare occasions I discover a product worth that bonus check splurge. The difficult part is figuring out which product is worth the extra cash, and which is just $40 for brand name recognition.  Another common scenario is your best friend highly recommends a $26 bottle of face wash that she claims is incredible, so you drop a Benjamin only to find out this amazing face wash causes you to break out. That pricey wash gets buried in the beauty graveyard known as your medicine cabinet, and you shed a single tear for its demise.  Don’t cry my friends, there is a simple solution: try before you buy.

You may wonder how one goes about sampling these high end products for free. Let’s go back to the scenario where your friend recommends Super Bright Eyes by Dr. Nicholas Perricone which runs $50 for .5oz. With this product title in hand, head on down to your local Sephora, and simply ask a store representative for a sample of the product. They don’t always have them, but if they do, you’re golden.Now you can test out your $50 eye cream for a few days to see if it’s worth the cash.

If you have an affinity for high end products, but not the budget, sign up for a service such as Birchbox. (Featured on Spa Week Daily!) For $10 you get high-quality handpicked samples delivered to your doorstep monthly.  This service is how I discovered my new best friend, Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple face wash.

EDITOR’S NOTE (6 more ideas from Michelle!):

I couldn’t resist but sharing a few of my own ideas along with Jenna’s.

1. If you’re willing to jump through a few hoops for your free beauty samples, sites like Her Beauty Samples have a lot of ways for you to get your hands on new product testers for free.

2. Another great sampling site is – try a bunch of travel-sized version before investing in full bottles.

3. Do beauty swaps with friends or coworkers. Trade your favorite face creams, shampoos and primers for a week, and then when you trade back you’ll possibly have a new favorite.

4. Treat your department store beauty floor like a food court. “Do you have any samples?” Wink wink.

5. Spa Week understands your desires! And we believe in full-sized products, not samples. Make sure you enter to win a ton of spa/skin/beauty products in our MONTHLY SWAG, and don’t forget that every deal on comes with a freebie!

6. Most effectively, dear beauty junkies, if you REALLY want free products… Start. A. Beauty. Blog. I have more samples and products here than I know what to do with! (The other option would be making friends with a beauty editor. Hey, how close are we?)

Now get out there and try something new today!

Jenna Nicole Levine is a native New Yorker turned Washingtonian. When she isn’t writing about ways to save you cash on your favorite beauty treatments, you can find her living the low cost life. To read more from Jenna Nicole please visit Woman Around Town, Gal Time,  or just stop by and say hello on her twitter @Jenna_Nicole.