Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | February 27, 2013

Animal Testing

In California I used to do a lot of focus groups and usability studies. They’re fun and they pay. But then we moved to New Jersey.  Friends here told me that L’Oreal, just a mile or so away, does testing. So I signed up to become their rabbit. While the more involved studies pay cash, the payment for the rest is gift bags. Plus after three completed studies you get a voucher to the company store, where everything is half price.

First I tested nail polish. Unfortunately I had to return the bottle, though I got a lot of compliments on the color. It did chip pretty early though.

(Interesting article about L’Oreal and USA manufacturing here).

The first goody bag was worth $150 retail. Yes, I priced it out because…I’m me.


Next I tested shampoo. For giving them a picture of the shampoo in my shower, they gave me a bonus company store certificate in addition to my goody bag.


Quite an exciting picture, yes? This photo bought me access to the company store.

After testing the shampoo, I got a bag worth $160, including some anti-wrinkle cream that I sadly now need. Unfortunately the scent was displeasing so I gave it away on Freecycle (someone actually came and took two bottles of partly used cream that I stuck my finger into. There were a lot of women who emailed me pleading for me to choose them).


I made it into the company store yesterday to use my freebie certificate. While they generally keep regular store hours (9:30-4:30 or so), you can’t go during employee hours – 11:30-2:00 or 2:30 (depending on who you ask) making it quite a feat to get there.

I walked in at the same time as another woman, and the woman behind the counter said “yous each have your own passes?” I’m not kidding. She actually said “yous.”

The L'oreal company store in Clark, NJ

The L’oreal company store in Clark, NJ

Laid out like a regular store, you could choose from many many brands I didn’t realize were L’oreal. From my gift bags, I already knew that Lancome and Kiehl’s were part of the family. But I was happily surprised to see the Body Shop in the mix. We needed more of their awesome body butter (Mark and I are both fans of using it on our hands in winter) and Mark had been given instructions to pick some up in Manhattan next time he went near a shop. Unfortunately Body Shop products were not a steal, but at $12 (instead of $20 at the store) I still picked up two. Their adorable gift packages, left over from Christmas, still seemed expensive (though they were very cute), so no impulse purchases on items I didn’t need there.

No impulse Body Shop purchases for me.

No impulse Body Shop purchases for me.

The company store also had Essie nail products, Skinceuticals, some other high end skin care lines, drugstore brands like Revlon, Garnier Fructis  and Maybelline, and lots of specialty hair products that I don’t use. And scents including Polo and Drakaar Noir.


I came nowhere near spending the $300 limit they give, since I am already so well stocked in unused makeup, don’t yet color my hair, and have no need for most of the items they sell. But it was still fun to poke around.




  1. Youse gots some kind of loofa in dat shower of yours…it’d be a shame if sumting happened to it if you didn’t buy enough product…capiche?

  2. Who knew? Now I’m wishing I lived close enough to be a L’oreal tester.

  3. hi debbie, I too was asked to be a tester. the company asked me to test toilet paper. I did. they then asked me to send a photo of a used piece. I did. they didn’t like the results so they sent me a bucket of sh.. to test it again. my gift bag was a bag of garbage. I decided not to work for this company anymore.

  4. […] in my closet with all the other unused lotions. There was  an awesome Kiehl’s basket too. Someone has an in with L’Oreal, and it’s not me (side note: I’m testing their mascara this week. That’s the […]

  5. Hi, how long did it take before they contacted you to test in their facility again? How many times have you tested for them? I just went last Thurs and Fri and had a really fun time. It was my first time. I was wondering when I would get another invite to participate again. I also live near Clark but not as close as you! :). Thanks!

    • Maxine – I get periodic emails from them – sometimes a few a week, and then none for a month. You can always go on their website and see if any new ones are posted.

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