Trying to find the best skincare product without spending hundreds? Let the brand help you

When it comes to how people approach skincare, it can be roughly separated into three categories:

  1. those who already have their holy grail products, they are comfortable with what they are using and don’t want to change unless something is discontinued;
  2. those who want something fun and will try any and all new skincare that caught their interest…..
  3. then there are those who are not satisfied with the products they are currently using  but feels overwhelmed by all the options out there, and don’t have hundreds of dollars or live close to a nice Sephora/Nordstrom to try all the products.

If you are in 3, this post is for you! Or maybe your skin is acting up due to seasonal changes and you are not sure what to use. If you are overwhelmed by all the products out there, all promises to give you flawless skin and all of them have people who love and hate them, let the brand help you! Do you know that brand customer services are for more than just complaints? They can also help you determine what products are appropriate for you and give you samples to try, for free without purchase! While I love getting samples at Sephora, there are some brands or products not carried by my local Sephora. To my pleasant surprise, they are pretty happy to recommend products and send me samples when I emailed them. For the record, I did not email any of them as a blogger, just someone interested in trying their products. Also, not all brands do this, this is just my personal experience (no association with blog mentioned and not sponsored).


Before I delve deeper into this, I would like to mention please be considerate about this. Just like free food samples at stores, this is meant to help determine what you like, not meant as a substitute or for you to resale. Don’t abuse it by make a bazillion email/name then hoard samples because you don’t want to buy anything. You know, be nice. I have a soft spot for companies with good customer service, so without further ado, here are the nice companies that are willing to send you samples to try.

Koh Gen Do


If you know me then you know I love love LOVE Koh Gen Do cleansing water. I contacted them twice for samples, once when I was looking for skincare and once when I was looking for a good foundation. They are very knowledgeable about their product, are responsive and helpful both times. Actually, they are the ones who first enlightened me of the fact that hydration and moisturization are different! Hydration brings water/hydrating into the skin while moisturizer seals it in and prevent waterloss. That is why thicker cream is not always better and you can be oily and dehydrated at same time, or still have dry skin when using a rich cream. I posted a review of samples I received as well as a powder I bought here.

Mario Badescu

In this case I did not email customer service, but filled out their Skin Care Analysis form. One of my friend said you just need to fill out the form and they will send you samples. They didn’t send me anything the first time so I did it again and they sent me some samples they have of the products recommended. So you might have to give it a few try, but the products will last you at least a week to give you a good idea of how you like them, I did a review of samples I received here. Ironically, the products I like are not from the samples they sent (Rosewater and Aloe spray and the drying cream).

REN, Dr.Hauschka and Murad

REN and Dr.Hauschka are more natural/plant based brands while Murad is more science based. I grouped the three of them together because there was nothing memorable and you get samples the same way. I emailed customer service, they look to see what products they have samples of and sent me some packets as well as minis. I still have some sample packets that are waiting to be used from these 3 brands. In the mean time, feel free to browse the Skincare Product Glossary for stuff I’ve tried.

Dr. Brandt

I emailed them asking for samples, and they sent me some packet samples in an envelope. One of the packet samples leaked, so I emailed them back to let them know. They resent me the packet samples again, so that was nice. Unfortunately I didn’t like any of the product…. except for the Microdermabrasion, which is my current holy grail. It is rather expensive at $70+ but if you subscribe to their email, they have minis for $5 around holiday season (which makes it half price if you buy a bunch).

Ole Henriksen

Emailed them asking for samples and told them that I’m not a fan of Invigorating night gel. They said that’s the most appropriate product for my concern from their line and suggested different usage. I’m not sure but eitherway, they said they don’t have samples of everything, but they will send me samples of something


I emailed them asking for skincare samples and they promised to send me some. The package arrived quickly and I opened it to find…..a shea butter hand cream and a sample packet of Apple Almond body cream. They are very nice products, just not what I asked for so I’m not sure what happened there. I didn’t try to contact them online again since the ladies are nice enough to give me sample packets of stuff whenever I go into an L’occitane boutique, even with no purchase.

Honorable Mentions

I also never contacted Origins or Kiehl’s for sample but whenever I go in their physical store location, they were amicable and willing to give me samples of the product I’m interested in. I didn’t ask Peter Thomas Roth for samples, but I haven’t found anything I didn’t like yet even after trying dozens of product from them and the customer service is great. The bottle of Retinol Fusion PM I got from Sephora have red dots on the dropper so I emailed them to ask if it’s defective. They asked me to send it back and gave me a giftcard for their brand website so I can get a new bottle. I would totally recommend the brand if there’s anything you are looking for.

What do I write? I contacted all the brands with my personal email because I was looking for holy grail skincare products for myself, not to review on blogs. In my email, I mentioned that I was interested in their brand, what I like or don’t like about products I tried (if any), what products I’m interested in, and what are my skin type/concerns. Sometimes they may not have packet samples of the products appropriate for you, in which case they will recommend for you to buy and tell you the return policy. If they do have samples appropriate for you, then they will ask for your address and you should get some sample packets or mini within a few weeks.

If you don’t feel comfortable emailing brands, you can subscribe to email from your favorite brand and they usually have some samples with purchase. Retailers like Sephora, Nordstrom, and Ulta also have seasonal promotions where you can get samples from a variety of brands with purchase. So that was that, if you are trying to find the perfect product but want to try before you buy, I hope this post was helpful. Good luck!


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