One of my friends posted this morning that she’d spent $300 on the Sephora VIB Rouge sale. Honestly, that’s crumbs if you’re a VIB Rouge…because to keep that status, you have to spend upwards of $1k a year. A YEAR. Real talk though, spending $1,000 on makeup, skincare, and other beauty products is pretty ridiculous. It’s more than what I pay monthly in rent, and to most people, that’s a lot of money to drop for some lipstick and dry shampoo.
Realness aside though, I’ve got some serious insider tips for the sale if you’re looking to splurge, because this is one of only two times of the year when Sephora has a sale.
Yes, there are always “items on sale,” but that’s oftentimes just because said item is being discontinued and/or was seasonal. This sale is the biggest one of the year (there is a spring one, but the discount is only 10/15% depending on your Sephora status).
HOW TO SAVE
-Use a coupon site if you’re making purchases online. There are a TON of them, so find one that works for you, because many have minimum spending thresholds (e.g. you get 3% back on a Sephora purchase, but if you spend $100, that means you only get $3…and the website might have a $10 minimum cashback before any checks or deposits are issued).
-(If you have Sephora’s Flash Shipping), order each item separately to maximize samples (at 3 samples/order, that could be 12 samples for 4 items ordered separately). If you aren’t a rouge (which has flash included), you can buy it for $10/year. That means essentially free 2-day shipping all year & it allows you to take advantage of ALL THE SAMPLES! If you’re planning on spending a lot at the store, you’ll probably rack up enough points to qualify; if not, $10 for shipping (if you’re going to use it at least a few times) is totally worth it IMO.
-Go in store to try products before you buy! Sephora’s sales associates are really great at providing beauty samples to take home and try. When I went in last weekend, I got to try Rihanna’s new beauty line, Fenty. Her primer and foundation are AWESOME, but as fate would have it, I literally matched to the one foundation color (out of literally forty) that isn’t in stock in stores or online. WAAAA #firstworldproblems. Needless to say, I’m crossing my fingers it restocks during the sale, but if not, I guess I won’t be trying it anytime soon (even though it is super reasonably priced at $34/bottle)
-FYI, Sephora does still have promos for freebies available (e.g. beauty kits if you spend X amount of money, but those codes are not compatible with an additional 20% off…it’s one or the other).
-Return, return! If you buy something and you don’t end up liking it, bring in your receipt with the item (used or not) within 60 days to get your original form of payment back. After that, it’s the store’s discretion to give you store credit (aka can’t be used online to get any promos or samples). It’s not the end of the world, as Sephora’s very good about returns, even without a receipt, but store credit isn’t the same as cash.
WHAT TO BUY
Ok, so I bought a lot. Like, a lot. I’d like to blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol…but unfortunately, there was no vino involved in any of my online (or in-store) purchases.
> The Bullseye Lash Applicator<
My favorite purchase this splurge was a tool (who would’ve thought), but if you struggle to apply falsies (aka false eyelashes) like I do, then do yourself a favor and check this out. It retails for $12, so with the sale, it’s around $10 including tax. It’s amazing because it has soft grippy tongs at the bottom, which is where you adhere the middle of a falsie. You then set it on your eyelid and like magic, you can stick the front and back of the lash without getting glue everywhere. And when I say everywhere, I mean, last weekend for my birthday, I put on falsies and literally glued one of my eyes shut. This tool is a game-changer…and if you’ve been apprehensive about trying to apply false eyelashes, try this out with some good glue (I like the Duo clear, green tube aka the adhesive with vitamins) and some decent lashes (Ardell makes great value packs). You can find both the glue and lashes on Amazon or at your local drugstore (IMO, best value for money until you’re a pro and can apply the $25/pair lashes).
>Sephora Favorites Boxes<
These are released every Sephora sale and they differ (usually) between the Spring and the Fall. This year I got the “Glow for It” box, which retails for $40 ($32 + tax with the sale). Sephora says it has an estimated value of $100+. You get seven products in this kit, including: Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops, a Milk Makeup highlighter, and a Bobbi Brown mini shimmer brick.
-Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (mini size), retails for $19
-Benefit Cosmetics High Beam (full-sized), retails for $26
-Bobbi Brown Mini Shimmer Brick (mini size), retails for $25
-Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops (mini, ~ 20% of a full), retail value ~$8
-Milk Makeup Highlighter (mini, ~20% of a full), retail value ~$5
-Nudestix Nudies All Over Face Color (mini, ~20% of a full), retail value ~$6
-Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-hour Highlight (deluxe, ~40% of a full), retail value ~$12
Total estimated value: $101…so Sephora’s $106 estimated total value wasn’t that off. Maybe they gave some value to the box it all comes in. I wanted to try this box because I haven’t purchased too many face highlights, and this is a good way to try a gamut of brands I wouldn’t normally reach for (e.g. Cover FX, Benefit, and Bobbi Brown). It’s a bummer only one is full-sized (some of the other Sephora Favorites boxes have multiple full-sized items), but overall the estimated value wasn’t too off, the items themselves are great for travel, and I’ve found a few new products that I like.
I got one other “makeup” favorites box, and that was the “Give Me More Lip,” which retails around $70, with an estimated total value of $250+. The box has a much higher value than the highlight box because it has five full-sized items.
The other kits I got were hair-related – one of styling sprays (because who can commit to a spray without trying it at least a few times), hair masks (thank you, years of hair-coloring), and one for wavy hair (as my curls have mellowed since childhood).
I think the lip kit was the most expensive of all of them. OH, I also got something for my dad for Christmas. Sephora definitely isn’t a place I’d think to get something for a guy, but they had this great deal called the “Cologne Sampler,” which retails for $65…but has an estimated value of $100+. It’s really cool because it includes 12 small samples of cologne, so your guy can try ’em all in the comfort of the home (thus avoiding a gnarly trip to the Sephora store in-person). Then, if he finds one he likes, there’s a card in the bag to redeem a full-size of that cologne! How cool is that?! To top it off, the products come in this super manly toiletries case that’s great for travel or storing his shaving supplies.
Either way, I see this as a win-win for ladies who want their guys to smell good AND get organized. Like, hello, with the sale this is a little more than $50 and is basically like a “find your own adventure,” or scent in this case, for your man (or dad, or whomever). The only catch is you actually have to go in-store to redeem the full-size…but you can easily do that without him once you know which scent he likes best.
>Other Splurges to Note<
–Laura Mercier Le Petite Souffles Body Crème Collection (a super cute set of body lotions in a variety of flavors, like almond coconut milk, fresh fig, and tarte au citron). I tried to find it on the Sephora site, but it looks like it’s either discontinued or out of stock. If you’re interested in it, the Laura Mercier website has it and it retails for $62).
–Caudalie Birthday Set (if you sign up for Sephora’s rewards program, it’s free, you get to pick a gift for your birthday). Like I said, mine was this month, so I redeemed this skincare moisturizer/serum set. The other option was a Tarte blush/lip stain set. P.S. This perk is totally free, as long as you sign up with a phone number and/or email…you don’t have to spend anything to get it.
–Tatcha Skincare for Makeup Lovers Obento Box (this retailed for $59 with an estimaed value of $112; it included four items: full-sized Luminious Dewy Skin Mist, a full-sized Camellia Gold Spun Lip Balm, and two deluxe-sized samples of Tatcha’s water cream (great moisturizer), and Violet-C Radiance Mask (ahhhmazing purple skin mask). It looks like this item it out of stock on Sephora’s website, so if you’re at all intrigued, your best bet might be to check a local Sephora store (mine had some last weekend), but I’d call ahead just to be sure.
–Atelier Cologne Advent Calendar (this is a 24-day advent calendar…which is a Christian tradition, where children receive surprises during the month of December in the days leading up to Christmas Eve. Even if you don’t celebrate Advent, this is a super good (and very good value) giftset that includes 17 different Atelier samples, 3 mini soaps, 3 mini pure perfumes, and deluxe Orange Sanguine travel spray. The calendar itself is a great gift for children and adults alike, although I’d probably pop out the perfumes and replace the boxes with candy or something more age-appropriate if you’re giving it to a child.
Ah, that was quite a rundown. I hope my tips and product suggestions are helpful. If you come across any other great finds, please let me know in the comments (as I’m a sucker for a splurge). Also, don’t fret if there’s something that you want and it’s out of stock on the Sephora site…lots of the companies that are carried by Sephora have their own sales (especially with Black Friday coming up in a few weeks). I know Laura Mercier, Too Faced, and Tarte recently had their Friends & Family sales with up to 20% off everything, so keep an eye out for those as well!
Spoonie Adventures in Books, Beauty, & Bullshit
I'm a twenty-something year old recent law and business school grad living with a chronic health condition. Follow along on my shenanigans.