Admit it, if you're a regular beauty blog or vlog follower, you're always wondering how people end up with so many makeup and skincare products. Did they buy it? Is it PR samples? Did they win it? Did it magically appear in thin air? I often get these questions from friends and readers because while I'm not the biggest blog, I do absolutely get a mixture of the above (although nothing has appeared in thin air...yet). Hopefully this post will help you find a way to score some free makeup and skincare on your own too!
First things first, if you are a BLOGGER/VLOGGER, Chelle of Make Up Your Mind has a really good post that discusses relationships with brands and the best ways to reach out to brands to get PR products. But I know not everyone who reads my blog HAS a blog or has one that is consistently updated as many PR companies prefer for reviews (which frankly, makes a lot of sense right?) So here are some of the ways I personally receive products that any person can do, whether you have a blog or not!
Please note, it's generally easier for people in the US to get free products, as they have a larger demographic and there are always more opportunities for samples. As my blog is Canadian, this post will specifically highlight ways for Canadians to get products, although some of these companies work internationally as well.
Chick Advisor Product Review Club
What is it? Chickadvisor is a Canadian ratings and review site for women that predominantly features makeup, skincare, food and fashion products. I've been a member for over five years now and have participated in literally DOZENS of reviews. Some are for something as small as Canada Dry Club Soda flavours, to last year when I received $200 from Chick Advisor to review Simons clothing and their online store. They also occasionally do in-person events where you can review products, enjoy food and drinks, and win prizes. In the last few years they've added to their brand with Family Rated which features a lot of products for parents and XY Stuff for men.
How does it work? When you sign up for their product review club, you give them some demographic information about yourself. Every few weeks you'll get an email to apply to campaigns that interest you with some survey questions. They usually have a timeframe after which the sign-up will be closed and people will be selected afterwards. Personally I find I get chosen for campaigns about twice a month but it will depend on your selections. Within a short period of time after you get your acceptance, your package will arrive in the mail (or occasionally, by email.) All campaigns you do will ask that you review products on the Chick Advisor website, but sometimes it will ask for a social share or post, but you do NOT need a blog/YouTube at all to participate.
How do I sign up? Super easy. No referrals or anything, just head here and start reviewing! -
What is it? Influenster is also a review site, similar to Chick Advisor but open internationally to Canadians, Americans and possibly other countries as well. They send out products for review in boxes called 'VoxBoxes' as well as run contests and Twitter parties and stuff to win products as well. I've been a member for a few years, and while Influenster does have great brands, it can be hit and miss. There have bene months where I get box after box after box, and then I get months of nothing.
How does it work? When there is a new campaign coming, Influenster sends an email with a survey you need to fill out within a SHORT period of time, like 24-36 hours, to see if you even qualify for a box. Sometimes the survey is extremely specific and sometimes it's more general. You CAN be rejected based on the survey answers alone. However, I find that Influesnter usually works with more high-end brands than other sites, like Bite Beauty, Shiseido, Vichy and more. Once accepted, Influenster usually has significantly more requirements than other review sites, where you must complete a certain number of tasks, like sharing on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, or reviewing on Influenster's review site AND the brand's site, or Wal-Mart or something. They also have mandatory surveys after you finish a campaign that you MUST complete or it's held against you (allegedly). They also require that some things must be completed in their app, which isn't the most convenient sometimes as I find there are errors on there.
How do I sign up? You can use my referral code here, I don't get much for it beyond "points" of loyalty, but why not?
What is it? Unlike the previous two sites, BzzAgent is purely a sampling site that doesn't really offer anything unless you're logged in, so it's mostly for intentional sampling from brands. Open internationally it doesn't have the most to offer to Canadians but it doesn't hurt to join. I've been a member of this site for over a decade and while it's given me the least number of products compared to the other two, I do occasionally get interesting things. It was recently acquired in July and it seems the site has been quiet for a few weeks since.
How does it work? This site is survey based. Lots of small bite-sized surveys are required to keep your account in good standing. But these are literally things you can complete in 10-20 seconds, just pre-qualifiers for all kinds of different products. Every once in awhile I'll get an email letting me know I have qualified and can sign up for a product, if I accept, it will get sent to me shortly. I've received books, Cover Girl foundation, Cover Girl mascara and most recently, a new Gilette Venus razor. So it's not bad, but it's VERY infrequent for Canadians.
How do I sign up? Just head to the website and sign up, no referral required.
Free Sample Sites
Canadian Free Stuff - This is a great website and resource for Canadians looking to get free samples of products. I just pop in here infrequently, take a look at what they have found, sign up and forget about it until the stuff comes in the mail!
The Kit - Free Samples - This online magazine has a sampling program that occasionally sends out some interesting things. Once you've signed up, they'll send an email with a quick survey that you fill out and voila, you're in!
SampleSource - This site gives out a BOX of samples every season, the only catch is, the day the email goes out to sign up, you have to IMMEDIATELY. It always has some makeup/beauty products in it, but also general stuff like energy bars, cleaning products, etc. I've received Gilette razors and mascara before though!
Free.ca - Another site that aggregates offers online and updates frequently enough to get in on free sample opportunities before they are filled up!
There are a few other major Canadian sites that I haven't mentioned here because they don't get beauty or makeup often enough, but are there any good ones I've missed? Where have you scored your best stuff from? Let me know in the comments and I'll keep adding!