Your Basket is Empty
Sign in to see items you may have added previously.
See samples, rewards and promotions in .

Item Added to Basket

Free Shipping!

You're only $50.00 away from Free Shipping.

Post in Beauty Advisors

foundation sample angst!


Can anyone give me some advice on this issue:  I've been to the store on 3 different occasions asking to be shade match and get a sample of a couple foundations I'm considering for purchase.  First time, I was talked out of both of those and directed to a different brand and was given a sample. Ok, I trust the SAs expertise, but after a few wears I just didn't love that product so headed back for attempt #2.  I was shade matched this time, and told (for the first time ever) that I'm neutral (um, what? your ColorIQ begs to differ on multiple tries, but ok) and was directed to purchase one of the brands that I'm interested in.  Given that I don't want to purchase/return a used product, I left empty-handed and feeling lame.  Third back to the right undertones (yellow) but a shade or 2 too light, again wouldn't give a sample and instead applied to my face and told me to wander around the store to see what I thought.  It wasn't until I left (empty-handed) and got into natural light that I could clearly see my face was much lighter than the rest of me.


I'm not a sample hog, and I do have every intention of buying....and I explained all three times that I'd rather take home a sample or 2 of different products and come back knowing I'm purchasing something that works for me.  I'm not overly aggressive by nature, but all 3 times I have clearly stated that I'd like a take home sample of foundation X and Y, and was told, "Oh, just buy it now and you can return it if you don't like it.  That's what the policy is for."  Sephora does have a very generous return policy, but I'm not into unnecessary waste.  Just give a girl a fricken' sample already!!!  


What else should I do/say? This whole thing has really turned me quite off.


(p.s this is my first time posting, sorry if it's in the wrong subject board)

Re: foundation sample angst!

I don't have any amazing advice but,


One thought though - I went in and requested a sample application and take home sample on a weekday morning when it was not busy at all. Are you going in when they are busy? Then again, if they had enough time to apply it to your face they should have enough time to make you a sample.


I always explain it helps to have a sample because my skin is sensitive and I need to be able to see if it is going to react. Not sure if that is the case for you but possibly something along the same vein.

Re: foundation sample angst!

I'm actually embarrased to say how many samples I got over the course of a month trying to find 'the one'. Thank goodness I did because the ones I thought I would love I hated and the ones that I was just meh on ended up being my favs.


When the SAs used the same line, you can always return it, I would say I hate that they throw away unused products. At first I felt embarrased about wanting samples, but after a while I became a pro, would get the right shade bottle (or two) myself and then went up to an SA and said can I get samples of these please).


I ended up buying 2 foundations and have 2 more I want to try out when those get at least a dent made in them, Sephora will be getting my money, and once you find what you love they'll be getting yours too without having to waste an entire bottle of product (or two or three). Don't feel bad, be assertive.

Re: foundation sample angst!

Thanks for your input.  I did make sure to go in "off" hours, late morning during the week.  I tried to explain why I want a sample and they just seemed to ignore me and suggest the purchase then and there.  I'm just not sure how much more direct I can be....or should I do what I've been told (aka purchase and return if I don't love it) but I'd feel pretty guilty about that and likely not do the return (aka waste my money).  I just don't know if there's some anti-sample sentiment going on? Wouldn't the SAs rather give a few samples than return barely used items and then trash them?

Re: foundation sample angst!

That's unfortunate.  What I would have done in your case is to repeat yourself after they suggested the purchase and re-request the sample (no, I would much rather try it out before buying it -- I always want to check the wear and make sure it looks good in natural light -- can you please make me a sample?).  I can't imagine them refusing a direct request after you said no to the purchase.  


I can sympathize with you a little on the sample issue.  I have always had to ask (sometimes a couple times) and always get the feeling that they aren't happy to do it.  Unfortunately, you may be in a store that is pushing sales quotas which is maybe why they are pushing purchases so hard and not interested in samples?  Not a good long-time strategy IMO. 

Re: foundation sample angst!

sounds like they are just being lazy, to be honest. or like kariyava said, it may just be a store that is really pushing sales goals Smiley Sad 


I always just go in and say "do you have a sample of this" or can you make me one, etc, and i've never been turned away. no unnecessary conversation needed lol. and i try not to take up too much time, so I always try to bring the shade i think i am to them directly. i don't see why anyone would say no especially if you explicitly say "i don't want to buy something and just waste it by returning it" at that point it would be almost... antagonistic for them to say no, don't you think? lol

Re: foundation sample angst!

I went through this same issue about 3 months back when I was looking for a new foundation. I found it was easier just to know the specific brand you want to try out that day and ask for a sample. I'm pretty good at knowing my shade (the color IQ is hit or miss and the SAs I've dealt with can't match in natural light to save their lives) but just in case I always ask to sample the shade I think I am and then the shade above or below it as well. I know within 1 application if a foundation color/texture will work for me or not so it'd be such a waste if I bought foundation hoping it would work and then have to return it and have the product go to waste. Much better to just tell them you want a sample in a specific brand and color in an assertive way that shows you know what you want... they'll be less likely to try and talk you out of it.

Re: foundation sample angst!

There have been times that like sp2001 I've asked for specific samples with the product in hand.

I've also asked for advice after explaining what I am looking for. Once the cast member & I get that far in the dialogue then I tell them I do need a sample as my skin can be cranky & reactive. So far I haven't had an issue with getting samples.

If you've tried 3 times I would ask to speak to a manager and explain your concerns about waste, reactions, etc & ask them to make you a sample or 2.

I too just don't like wasting product at all. Doing returns & trying something else again & again until I get it right is not only wasteful but time consuming as I live a distance from my "local" Sephora..


If you are lucky enough to have another Sephora or a Sephora in JC Penny's in your area you might try the other one.  


I hope you soon find a foundation you love.


Good luck.

Re: foundation sample angst!

Just go in and just ask for the sample of the specific sample in the shade that you want. There are some items that the SA are not allowed to sample to customers - mascara, liquid eyeliner, and even some foundations like Dior Airflash. They should not give you any trouble. If they still don't, ask for the DIC. 

Re: foundation sample angst!

The sales associates are not infallible.  The lighting in Sephora is weird and fluorescent.  The truth is most people don't fit into one bottle of foundation.  Think about it!  Most lines make about a dozen shades of foundation and call it a day. 


You could try going to a proper beauty counter at a department store, you might get better help there.  You could also bring your own containers and make your own samples!  LOL.  I've never done it before, but what the hell?  You can get little containers for beads at a craft store, or maybe even a 7 day pill box from the drug store.  Just walk in there, put a couple of pumps in your container, label them, and walk out.  If anyone asks you what you're doing tell them you're getting samples because no one ever gets them for you! 


I got a sample of some face primer once.  I wanted to buy it but they were out of stock so the SA grabbed a little ziplock baggie and filled it with product from the tester.  Sephora is kind of like a self-service beauty department store anyway, so if you made your own DIY sample I don't think anyone would say anything to you, and they should be making it for you anyway.  Just do it!  And then let us know if they dragged you away in cuffs afterwards.  Smiley Happy  (Just kidding, they totally won't!)

Re: foundation sample angst!

I wonder if it's your store.  My stores are great about giving me foundation samples.  I always tell them I want to be able to apply it myself and see how it looks/feels after that. I know some things are impossible to give as samples, but I've never had trouble getting samples of other things.


Maybe if you have a smart phone you could show them this link:


Look at the part where it says 3 free samples in store and online.  I'd tell them I'd like me 3 free store samples to be foundation. Smiley Happy

Re: foundation sample angst!

on another note there are a few sites i like to shop on where you can either buy samples (spirit beauty lounge - carries alot of nice natural/organic brands) and beautyhabit (just put the notes at checkout - and i have requested more than 3 and gotten them too) 


despite what i said earlier I do agree that it is kind of a pain, and sometimes you feel bad about it. but really i've determined that i won't feel bad about something that is in a policy lol. it is up to the company to change the policy if they don't want to do it!

Re: foundation sample angst!

Thanks everyone!  I'm just being a ninny,  I need to just go in there, grab the 2 foundations I'm considering, and directly ask for a sample.  If THAT doesn't work, then I give up haha.


p.s. wouldn't it be amazing to bring in our own little sample containers? But I can imagine the free-for-all that might ensue. Smiley Frustrated

Re: foundation sample angst!

You're not being a ninny!  It can be a little overwhelming to insist on a sample if the SAs are pushing you in a different direction, don't feel bad about that.  I've found that if I can smile and be very pleasant but firm ("Oh, no thank you, I'm not interested in that brand, I really came to get a sample of X and Y so I can figure out which one I'm going to purchase.  Could you please make me a sample?  I'd like these shades.  Thank you!") and repeat yourself if necessary.  I'm sure a lot of the SAs have been instructed to push certain products for the holidays or to sell as much as possible, but that doesn't mean they should be neglecting your (very reasonable) request.  Good luck and let us know how it goes - which foundations were you interested in by the way?

Re: foundation sample angst!

I'm considering the Tarte Amazonian Clay 12h and the Kat von D.  Having had a really good look at comparing the shades today, the shade the ColorIQ gave for the Tarte is bang on (I think so far), but the shade for the Kat von D might be a little off and I don't know that there's a better match for me.  I was told today that I'm neutral for the first time ever, and I thought I'd be a 53 but the SA "matched" me to  a 45! (which is slightly neutral and slightly too fair for me).

Re: foundation sample angst!

I'd do it if I were in your position.  It's just foundation.  It really wouldn't be a free for all though because small containers are not very chic and I don't think anyone would want to pull out a small ziploc baggie out of their purse to touch up their lipstick in the women's bathroom.   

Re: foundation sample angst!

Yes, directly ask for a sample of what you want. Especially with foundation I explain that I like to wear it for a day or two to see how it wears, not just for color but for longevity, oxidation, etc.


Not to mention the lighting is usually so florescent in stores that sometimes colors don't look the same. I think you're helping by wanting a sample instead of having to return multiple foundations.


I have tons of trouble with foundation colors, too, so I completely feel your pain. Smiley Sad

Re: foundation sample angst!

If you have a color code from the IQ match go here & plug it in. Once you get the results look to your left & you will see how you can check for lighter or darker options of that Color IQ code.  Good luck.

Re: foundation sample angst!

Just an update: So I went to a different store (I have 2 close to me) and they were SUPER helpful and so apologetic.  I got my 2 samples in the right shades and on top of that they gave me 3 samples.  It was really sweet and I was so appreciative that someone finally listened to me.  I don't blame the SA from yesterday's store, she was very helpful in the sense of putting the foundation on my face and trying shades on me....I don't blame her in particular....I just wonder if that store is sort of hoping for sales rather than sample handouts.  Anyways, today's experience was so much better and I hope I love one of these 2 foundations (given all this trouble haha)


Re: foundation sample angst!

Howdy! Welcome to BT and I'm glad you got what you wanted. =)


Sephora customer services can be a hit or miss since not all cast members are on the same page. I'm in the same sample situation as you and also with 2 stores close to me, one was lovely and one was....hesitant, but their attitude shifted recently so I'm hoping it stays that way. *fingers crossed*


Hope you get your perfect foundation!

Re: foundation sample angst!

There have been a few times that I've purchased a product and asked for a sample of it as well. That way I try it before I open the full size.

Re: foundation sample angst!

Next time if they suggest something else, tell them you want a sample of what you want and of their suggestion. Gotta stand your ground ;-)

Conversation Stats
  • 21 replies
  • 16 Hearts Given
  • 15 Contributors