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The free samples challenge
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

The free samples challenge

The Time Out KL team puts on a thick skin and scours the city to see how easy it is to score free make-up and skincare samples. And here’s how we fared…

By Time Out KL editors
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Joyce says…
Sample hunting is a job that needs to be done if you don’t want to risk a breakout after forking over ridiculous sums for breakthrough serums. From my experience, sales associates differ from brand to brand. Some righteously uphold their brand’s ‘pay first, samples later’ policy, some ask for nothing more than your contact details, while some kind souls just generously throw samples at you, no questions asked. For a certain Japanese brand, I had to frequent three malls before someone was willing to give me samples. If anything, I’ve gained an in-depth understanding of the horrors of sun on our skin, as well as a super long skincare wish list.

Su Ann says…
This is what I’ve learned from my samples scavenge: Bath products, haircare and perfumes are tough to come by; girls who work the makeup brands and counters are a lot more accommodating than I thought they’d be; and finally, that I am a big fat liar. In my defense, desperate times called for desperate measures; I was aggressively forward, armed with a maniacal smile and a story about how I’m shopping for my mother, my sister and my best friend’s cousin’s girlfriend but I wasn’t sure if the lipstick or lotion would fit them, so could I please have a sample or two? By the end of the hunt, I felt proud of my haul, but poorer for it.

Wai Yeng says…
My first three attempts of scoring a sample were met with a stern ‘No, we don’t give out samples’, although the last salesgirl soothed the rejection by calling me ‘Dear’. So like a refused lover, I soldiered on with a bruised self esteem (they told me I have terrible skin) and wandered into another shop which (finally!) handed me a few face-lifting cream samples to ‘prevent looking like a bulldog in another few years’. She meant well, I’m sure. But the most pleasant experience I’ve had with a skincare consultant was with La Mer, who assured me with her dainty, supple hands that beautiful skin is just one bottle of cleanser, toner, moisturiser and serum away. It was top-notch service, as expected from a brand which gives out samples in a lovely, drawstring pouch.

ED: This is a social experiment (carried out over a week in five shopping malls), and there’s no guarantee everyone will get the same results. However, always ask nicely. At the end of the day, it is the brands’ discretion whether to provide free samples.

The haul

Clarins
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

1. 

Clarins
Cellulite control, body scrub
Biotherm Homme
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

2. 

Biotherm Homme
Cleanser, lotion, anti-ageing care
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Lancome
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

3. 

Lancôme
Serum, skin corrector, essence, foundation
La Mer
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

4. 

La Mer
Crème de la mer, moisturiser, mask
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SK-II
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

5. 

SK-II Men
Moisturiser
Lab Series
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

6. 

Lab Series
Face lotion
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Clinique
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

7. 

Clinique
Three-step facial soap, clarifying lotion, moisturiser
Dior
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

8. 

Dior
Serum
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Sisley
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

9. 

Sisley
Foundation, moisturiser, mask, cleansing milk
L'Occitane
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

10. 

L’Occitane
Divine youth oil, serum
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Princess
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

11. 

Princess
Moisturising mask
Kiehl's
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

12. 

Kiehl’s
Face wash, toner, gel cream
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Laura Mercier
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

13. 

Laura Mercier
Mascara, primer, foundation
MAC
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

14. 

MAC
Cotton swabs, lipsticks, liquid foundation
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Benefit
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

15. 

Benefit
Face primer
Fendi
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

16. 

Fendi
Fragrance
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Shu Uemura
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

17. 

Shu Uemura
Fine cream, radiance generator, lotion
Origins
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

18. 

Origins
Moisturiser
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Laneige
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

19. 

Laneige
Lotion, water sleeping pack, essence
Shiseido
Photo: Kah Mun/Myth Studio

20. 

Shiseido
Cleanser, moisturiser, softening concentrate
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