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{My apothecary jar full of free swag}

My GrandBettye started a family tradition of stuffing the girls’ Christmas stockings with all of the free beauty samples she’d accumulated over the past year, and now my mom carries it on, playing the role of Makeover Santa. It’s one of the things I look forward to most about the holidays, since it reminds me of happy memories of trying out crazy lipstick shades and sparkly nail polishes with my grandmother, and it’s now a fun tradition to share with my mom, aunt and grandma. It’s also a great way to discover new products I would never otherwise try, or even hear about.

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My favorite new discovery of 2015 from this year’s Christmas mini-beauty haul so far is AmorePacific’s Moisture Bound Sleeping Recovery Masque. I recently ran out of the usual face oil I put on before I go to bed, and dug into my jar of samples to find something new to try out. I love the light scent of this one (so does Tony), as well as its promise to deliver maximum hydration and slow down signs of aging through Asian ingredients and modern innovation. I alternated the sample into my nightly routine every other night until it ran out, which was about two weeks; and while I know that’s not enough time to see any real signs of difference, I like the glow I wake up with when I use it and am so into its calming fragrance. I also love that it’s a very light gel-cream hybrid; so many night masks are thick creams, this is refreshing and doesn’t feel like it’s clogging my pores or suffocating my face. It’s my first sample-size-to-beauty-buy purchase of 2015, and I was so excited for it to arrive today.

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Any time I make a purchase on Sephora, I always select a few free samples of new products to try, or favorite old products to have a small size to travel with. Mini perfume samples are also a fun detail to tie to a gift. (And Tony discovered cologne samples are good to leave in the bathroom in lieu of air freshener. He’s a regular Martha Stewart.) In addition to the free samples offered at checkout, make sure to check the site’s Weekly Specials to enter to codes for even more free swag. And anytime you’re buying in person, just ask the make-up counter rep if they have any samples. I have never bought mascara, because this fun holiday tradition has kept me in steady supply since I was too young to be wearing mascara (age four).

*This is not a sponsored post. This is me writing about what I lather my face up with at night and calling it “work.”


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