Forget “free gift with purchase,” today’s samples are the purchase! Beauty sampling service sites are gaining traction as consumers are opting to join these clubs for monthly fees in return for the chance to test out some of the hottest products on the market. Beauty Insider goes behind closed doors to tell you which sites are worth your time—and money.
: One of the only sites that allows you to choose your own samples, Beauty Army is great for those wanting to make sure they aren’t throwing $12 a month out the window. Incentives are given for recruiting new members, as well as placing purchases through the site. Possible downside? Many brands offered on the site are quite niche, which may not have mass appeal. Very user friendly, this site is completely self-explanatory. Brands include old-time favorites like Kinerase and Ahava, as well as niche European and Asian brands. Possible drawback? The $21 a month fee is higher than most other sampling services.

BEAUTYFIX.COM: Beauty Fix by DermStore offers customers a $25 DermStore gift certificate, as well as shopping incentives. And with a price tag of $49.99 per quarter, it costs less than other sample sites.  Additionally, Beautyfix offers full size or deluxe samples, unlike the foil packets of other services.  Furthermore, Beautyfix is completely customizable. Whether you are a man or a woman, Glymm has got you covered. For a $25 quarterly subscription, men can indulge themselves in premier skin care and hair care products from companies like Murad and KEN spa. Women, on the other hand, pay $12 a month for sought-after products like Yves Saint Laurent perfume and Butter nail polish. Birchbox sets the standard for sampling services, as they give top-shelf products for a great price. For $10 a month, women get to try brands such as Stila and Nars, while for $20 a month men receive goodies from brands such as ZIRH and Kiehl’s. But users need be patient: after signing up, you can wait up to 72 hours before receiving your “shopping invitation.”