Saturday 29 April 2017

6 Ways to Get Your Mitts on Free Beauty Stuff

Nabbing a freebie must surely be the finest form of retail therapy - few things can top getting something for nothing.

But there’s more than a bargain on offer with a freebie: it’s also an opportunity to try out something new – I’ve discovered many great products this way, products that I perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise.  Here are six of my favourite ways to grab a beauty freebie.

In-store events
Perhaps my favourite route to a freebie is via the in-store event. Not only do they generally come with a  free goodie bag at the end of the evening, but you also get to meet people with similar interests, and often get fed and watered too (canapes and bubbly is standard fare). I’ve been to perfume workshops, skincare evenings, new brand launches and more.

Department stores and boutiques regularly hold such events – check out Fenwick (see story here, and main pics), Debenhams, Selfridges and Space NK. A ticket price may apply but often it’s less than a tenner and redeemable against purchases on the night. Sign-up to store mailing lists for invites.

In-store makeovers and mini treatments 

These frequently feature as part of in-store events and smaller promotions run by individual brands on counter. I’ve had arm massages, mini facials, eyebrow grooming, full makeup makeovers, you name it. As well as being introduced to new products, you can also pick up some great expert tips. Pictured above is me at a Space NK makeover (from a little while ago now - see story here). Again, sign-up to store mailing lists or ask in-store.

Gifts with Purchase

I imagine many of us regularly partake in a GWP promotion. I think every brand and store on the planet has one running at some time or another. Some are better than others, so it’s always worth doing a bit of research before diving in. I try to hold off as much of my beauty buying as I can for GWP events. Above are all the freebies I got with a £100 spend at Fenwick – I got more back in value than I spent! Look out for deals online and in-store.  

Magazine freebies 

A popular way to nab a freebie is via the glossy magazines. Monthly titles that regularly covermount beauty products include InStyle, Glamour, Marie Claire and Bazaar. You tend to find the same brands appearing but they’re always top drawer – Balance Me, Benefit, Nails Inc, L’Occitane regularly appear - and there's a good variety of products.

In-store free samples
Often when a brand launches a new product there’ll be free samples available on in-store counters. If not, ask for a tester - I keep a small empty skincare pot in my handbag for just occasions and staff are only too happy to decant a little product into it.

Store and brand loyalty cards 

These can take various different forms but generally the idea is to collect points every time you shop and cash them in later for products. The obvious scheme to mention is Boots Advantage – it’s one of the most generous, though not quite as generous as it was when it first launched. Other stores offering loyalty cards include Space NK (n.dulge - see story here), Fenwick (Fenwick Card), M&S (Sparks), Superdrug (Health & Beautycard), and Debenhams (Beauty Club).

Not to be outdone, a number of individual beauty brands also run reward clubs - L’Occitane and Caudalie for example. I’ve been a member of L’Occitane’s VIP Customer Loyalty programme for years – members get exclusive deals and GWPs (see story here and pic above).
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