Confession: I have a ginormous tote in my bathroom that holds the "one day" pile; one day, as in "maybe one day I'll wear that again." But it may as well be called the Beauty Gunk Graveyard.

As I went through the "one day" tote, I could virtually smell the money burning. As I picked up each item, I imagined a big floating dollar sign above each one...with a hefty $20 or more. Tinted sunscreen, eyeshadow that didn't work with my eye color, foundation that made me look shiny—all wasted products, and wasted money.

So how do you avoid ammassing your own greatest hits of useless beauty products?

It's as simple as it sounds: Buy sample sizes! That way, you'll get to fully immerse the stuff into your beauty routine and see if you're turned on enough to jump into a committed relationship.

Here are some products worth a try before you buy.


Dermalogica Age Smart antiaging set, $50; Splendor Beauty Emporium (shopsplendor.com)

Dermalogica is a line with a great reputation, but it also has a higher price tag, so you'll want to see if you're completely sold first.

Earth's Beauty Shea & Aloe mini-lipsticks, $3.95; Natural Joy Beauty (naturaljoybeauty.com)

Lip shades are tricky to match off the shelf, so small sizes allow you to experiment. And these are so fun and cheap, you just might want to collect them all!

Bare Escentuals 5-Piece Starter Set, $60; sephora.com

So you've been hearing mineral makeup is all that, but haven't been able to ditch your $8 drugstore brand. Well, all the hard work is done for you with this set, which includes a month or two supply of everything from foundation to bronzer.

Trust me, the sample size revolution is upon us. It's the only way I've found short of going Au Naturale that allows you to NOT waste money on beauty products.