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Video: Light on cash? Get your faves for free

TODAY contributor
updated 7/5/2009 10:56:18 AM ET 2009-07-05T14:56:18

If your beauty upkeep has suffered right along with the stock market this year, cheer up, help is on the way! I’ve tracked down some steals (well, they’re technically free, but some of these deals are so good, it feels like we’re stealing!) that are sure to get you back on the right beauty track. Bobbie Thomas, TODAY style editor and author of the Buzz Column for In Touch Weekly, finds the freebies you’ll want to get your hands on!

Magazine & Web site giveaways
Just by doing a little reading or research, you can actually win a wide array of goodies. Many magazines offer giveaways filled with great prizes. For example, In Touch Weekly's ‘Win It’ section offers the chance to snag star swag and celebrity favorites for free. Most recently, readers could enter to win a Bikini Bash VIP bag — including a Coach tote filled with Nivea products and Shay Todd essentials.

New Web site madberries is jam packed with a slew of stylish products you can win including Zoya nailpolish and Tarte makeup sets. On Makeup and Beauty blog, you can enter to win giveaways like $150 worth of Rimmel makeup just by commenting on the posts.

Some brands are even doing giveaways through their own Web sites. Philip B is offering full-sized product giveaways each month, and this time the goods are valued at over $230.

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Finally, online sample sale site Ideeli.com offers its members giveaways on brands like Dior beauty and Pur-lisse. Membership is free, and the prizes are often pricey and covetable!

Sweet samples
New sampling services are offering bite-size beauty products for a low membership fee — and sometimes even for free! Plus stores and Web sites are opening their sample cabinets for shoppers.

Beautyfix is a quarterly service, where members receive full or travel size products that have been selected by a panel of experts in the beauty field. Membership is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis ($50web; beautyfix.com). 

Similarly, the brainchild of NewBeauty Magazine, TestTube, is also available four times a year ($30 per quarter; testtube.newbeauty.com), and members receive a sleek tube filled with deluxe and full size samples of luxury products.

SheSpeaks is a free sample service that seeds products to women for feedback and reviews.  Members who “match” with certain products are invited to try it out. They're sent the sample for free if they accept, asked to fill out a survey on the product, then share their opinions with other women on the Web site, at shespeaks.com

Finally, next time you stop into a store like Space NK (spacenk.com for stores) or Kiehls (kiehls.com for stores), try talking to one of the sales reps – they’re bound to give you free samples of luxury products to try. Anytime shoppers make a purchase on Beauty.com (no requirements — you can spend $5 or spend $500), they are able to select their choice of three samples from popular brands on the site.

In-store promotions
Salons, spas and store counters are rewarding you in all sorts of ways these days!  For starters, Oasis gift sets are being offered at H2O+ stores nationwide through the month of July — no purchase required! The set is worth $16.25 and all you need to do is show up in order to get one! (h2oplus.com for stoes)

And for some seriously hair-raising deals, cult-favorite haircare brand Kérastase Paris is offering a free in-salon treatment (valued at $35; see www.kerastase-usa.com for salons) with the purchase of their new Oléo-Relax Slim Discovery Kit now through December ($98). Neil George Salon is offering a full-size Indian Gooseberry Treatment Oil or Indian Gooseberry Intense Repair Mask with a paid deep conditioning treatment. The Oil and Mask retail between $38 and $42 each, and the conditioning treatment is just $35. (neilgeorgesalon.com)

Even boutiques are getting creative with their beauty giveaways! For example STUDIO BEAUTYMIX at Fred Segal in Santa Monica, CA has put together a bi-monthly “Pleasure Hunt” where customers use a treasure map to track down deluxe samples that are being offered in the store. (studiobeautymix.com)

Some spas are offering consumers free services these days too. One of the best freebies I found was a complimentary Express HydraFacial ($100.00 value) at the Argyle Salon & Spa in Los Angeles. You can get this 15-minute treatment totally free, even without experiencing another service (book at argylela.com).

Finally, on July 22nd, beauty superstore Sephora is introducing the VIB Program (Very Important Beauty Insider). Not only will you get the Beauty Insider perks of free deluxe samples, exclusive product offers and an annual birthday gift, but VIB status will also grant you additional benefits like free VIB-only beauty bonuses and an invite to a private Holiday Shopping Party (sephora.com for stores and details).

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