Whenever I go to Sephora or Ulta or to a beauty counter at the mall, and I’m looking for a new foundation, I’m that person who leaves with a purse full of samples.
No, seriously. It’s like “No sample left behind!” 🙂
The main reason I do this is not because I’m super chintzy (although I can see how it would be entirely possible to exist solely on samples if one were extra crafty and bound and determined), but because when it comes to foundation, I don’t always knock it out of the park on the first try. Sometimes it takes me a few swings to find the right match.
Try to get samples of the neighboring shades
I always ask for samples — as many as I can get — of the neighboring foundation shades around the one that looks like my closest match in the store. That way I can test them all at home to find the one that looks best on me in natural light, see how each one wears throughout the day, and also see how they all look in pics.
Plus, you just never know if a formula is going to oxidize and darken on your skin throughout the day. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve tried a shade that seemed to match me perfectly in the store, only to have it look totally wackadoo a few hours later, and that’s when it’s nice to have a sample of the next lighter shade on hand.
Is it weird or embarrassing to ask for handfuls of samples? No, I don’t think so. The worst that can happen is they’ll say no.
I think of it as research. You want to find your best possible match, and you don’t have to settle for less than that. Sometimes I’ll tell the person helping me right away that I intend to test a bunch of colors before I commit to one.
Oh! — and I think it really helps to make friends with a sales associate at your favorite store or counter. At the Sephora in my town, I always look for my friend Nee-nee, and she totally hooks me up! When I do finally find a shade I like and come back to the store, I make an effort to find her and tell her thank you for her help. Then when I get to the register with my purchase, I always tell them that Nee-nee helped me, and she was awesome-sauce! Or, if I see a manager around, I’ll give them a quick word of positive feedback for her.
Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,