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Cosmetic product testing can help you save some of that money you typically spend on makeup every month. And if you find the right opportunities, you can even make some part-time money in return. No special qualifications are needed; however, it does require a bit of scouting and an ability to separate the bad from the good.
Be on the look out. Typically, ads announcing calls for testing appear in women's, fashion or lifestyle magazines or as Internet ads on your browser. Also look in the directory for market or opinion research panels. Research groups also tend to make announcements in newspaper classifieds. The chance of becoming a tester for newly released and unreleased products is higher than for an established brand.
Get in touch. Once you find an opportunity, contact them as instructed. Most companies will ask you to visit their websites or call a toll-free number -- to either answer or fill out a screening questionnaire. Typically, the questionnaires ask for your name, address, contact details, a few related demographics and a choice of products you may be interested in testing. If you like a particular product, despite no open calls for testing, you can still write or phone the makers and ask if you can test samples of their product. It usually works.
Test and review. Once the testing service screens your application and deems you eligible, they should notify you via phone or via email before shipping the samples of their products. They should also send you instructions on how to use the products and what you should do in the event of an adverse or allergic reaction. Test the product as instructed. Once you finish testing the product, you may have to fill out a review or a survey before you receive a check in the mail for a previously agreed-upon amount.
Keep an online blog. One way to gain notice is to maintain a regular Web blog and write about the products you use. Over a period of time, you can develop a catalog of reviews and position yourself as an opinion leader.
Avoid fraudulent schemes. If an agency is asking you for money in return or making claims to offer money or other perks too big to believe, it is probably not trustworthy. No legitimate agency will ask you to disclose bank account or credit card details. Before responding to a testing call or filling out a screening survey, check for the company's contact information. Credible agencies often list their addresses or at least telephone numbers on their websites. If possible, make a call to confirm before applying for testing. You can also contact the FDA or a not-for-profit monitoring group and inquire about the safety and risks before testing a product.
Kiran Bharthapudi has more than seven years of experience in print, broadcast and new media journalism. He has contributed to several major news agencies, including United Nations radio, BBC online and "Consumer Reports" magazine. His articles specialize in the areas of business, technology and new media. He has a Ph.D. in mass communications.
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