How To Hack Sephora


As someone who is both a fan of deceiving people into thinking I am prettier than I am through the use of makeup, and someone who is constantly battling her skin to find the right product to make it slightly less tragic than it usually is, I am a lover of Sephora. I am also, however, cheap to my very bones, ready to pinch a penny until it is an unrecognizable ball of copper and my fingers are red and sore. To this end, I have compiled a list of small, easy strategies to maximize your rewards and minimize your spending the next time you take a trip to the storied land of vanity mirrors and abused-looking tester applicators. Here, from employees and addicts themselves, how to hack Sephora:

  • You can get three samples from every “world” at Sephora: color, skincare, fragrance, etc, so ask someone in each section for their recommendations for products for you to try.
  • The sale products are often in fairly odd places, such as the caps at the ends of rows where no one usually looks, so go hunting for them (or ask for help to find them #noshame).
  • Be patient with the salespeople who are being perhaps a bit too friendly, as they are being directed in their headsets to go talk to people at all times.
  • Become a “Sephora Beauty Insider” so you can rack up points for free samples which are small but are good for traveling. (They also give members a birthday gift, which is always sweet.)
  • Sign up other people, such as relatives, who shop at Sephora but aren’t interested/patient enough to use the rewards program. You can harvest their sweet, sweet points online and get the samples for yourself.
  • Avoid the goodies in those little bins by the cash register, if possible.  They seem convenient, but are rarely a good deal, considering they are sample-size. You can get sample sizes of other products for free using points or even, sometimes, by asking a salesperson. #TeamCheap
  • The perimeter of Sephora tends to have the less-expensive products, including the Sephora brand (whose skin care is actually quite good and usually well-reviewed by its own employees), while the more expensive brands are clustered in the middle. To avoid temptation, avoid the center of the store.
  • The Sephora brand, and sometimes other brands they carry, often market products in sets. For example, a bronzer plus a face highlighter may often be packaged or put on discount together, and it’s cheaper than buying them separately.
  • Shop online if possible and spend at least 50 dollars, and shipping is free.
  • If you are late and don’t have enough time to go home to do your makeup for an evening out, stop by Sephora and ask them to show you some looks by applying different products on you. (If you are a decent person, you’ll buy something that you liked that they tried, but I can’t force you to be decent.)
  • Always read reviews of products online before you buy them in the store.
  • Always check the website. They have links to get three free samples right off the bat, and they always have ads for various deals. If you click on all their offers, they have a page of them with promo codes you can use at online checkout to get free stuff.
  • If you are already a Beauty Insider, you can get them just by spending 25 dollars.
  • Follow them on social media. They post about giveaways or contests where you can win things, or they give out promo codes for that day only.
  • You can return anything they sell in store without a receipt, anytime, for store credit — as long as you have ID. You can exchange old stuff for new stuff, even if its half used. Company policy.
  • You can go into the negative with your beauty insider points. If you want a free thing they have to give it to you.

Now go forth, my cheap Sephora lovers, and be rich in your knowledge of deals. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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