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25 Sephora Shopping Hacks

bethaney_wallace profile picture
October 06, 2015 · 2.8k Views

Sephora is known as one of the top beauty-based websites in the country. It hosts all types of skincare and makeup items in a single online location, and beauty junkies cannot get enough of it. They know when the site is hosting new releases, when it’s the best time to buy seasonal items, and so on. But what about hidden tips that can help save even more? Whether you dabble with eyeshadow and nail polish – when they’re on clearance, that is – or go full-on and shop everything from moisturizers to deep lip conditioners, Sephora’s got you covered.

Here’s how to shop all your favorites, but without breaking the bank:


1. Use Credit Card Rewards

Certain credit cards, like Discover for example, offer customer credits on purchases. These can then be cashed in as gift cards with a higher value. Considering it’s on purchases you’re already making, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Cash in with Sephora and essentially gain free dollars to spend on all your beauty favorites.

2. Take Home Samples

When shopping in-store, you can take a small sample of virtually anything to test it out. These possibilities include makeup, skincare, and fragrance. Shoppers get three freebies per visit, with no required purchase.

3. Scour Sale Racks

Shopping in-store sale racks can allow for some great deals in any store, and Sephora is no different. If multiple locations are close by, you can even shop around to get multiple deals in a single day.

4. Check in on Weekly Promotions

The site has its own page that’s dedicated to ongoing freebies. Check out this link every time you shop for access to additional free samples, and a variety of other special promotions.

5. Fan Friday Freebies

Another site favorite, Sephora offers free gifts to their “fans” every Friday. Like them on Facebook and check new offerings to see what’s available each week.

6. Use the DealsPlus App

Stay up to date on all the latest coupons and promo codes. Just download the DealsPlus app for iPhone or Android devices, follow Sephora, and have all the latest discounts show up right in your feed. Never miss a deal again!

7. Buy Fragrance Kits

Perfume can get a little pricey and are among the most marked up products out there. Instead, look at kits or sampler packs. Even if the scents don’t happen to be your favorite, it’s still a much better value. Look for a sampler that comes with a voucher for a full sized bottle, that way you can sample, then cash in on the scent you love best.

8. Get In-Store Gifts

Online users are required to buy, but in-store, all it takes is your Sephora card. Just make sure the gifts are more worthwhile than a free sample.

9. Shop in January

Spending a certain amount can earn you perks for the rest of the year. But when it’s done in January, you get an even more exclusive shopping status that lasts the entire year. If you’re going to purchase anyway, why not stock up and get the extra benefits?

10. Palettes For the Win

When comparing size and value, it’s generally much cheaper to buy a palette than to pick individual products. Even if you don’t necessarily like a certain color (but love the others), you can still come on top for the all-in-one value.

11. Return Products (Even Used Ones) for Store Credit

No questions asked. Sephora takes back any product, at any time, in return for store credit. However, don’t abuse this policy by returning mostly empty goods; you just might risk ruining it for the rest of us!

12. Shop Annual Sales

Every April and November Sephora hosts some incredible sales. Shopping those dates will earn you maximum savings, with even more discounts available to VIP members.

13. Get Creative

Disposable applicators are free, and can double towards other functions. For instance, disposable mascara wands work great as an eyebrow brush. While lip applicators allow you to put on stain (or lipstick or gloss) with a smooth surface. No more brush marks!

14. Get Sephora Flash

Free shipping? Why not! Frequent shoppers can save a ton with this program, especially when utilized for the entire year.

15. Look at Value vs. Price

Even if you might not be looking for a wide selection of products, shopping for them all together can provide for the best value. Check out bags or kits and consider taking advantage of the entire lot.

16. Become a Beauty Insider

Sign up for Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program and receive perks. Shoppers gain free samples simply for signing up, even before they buy. Don't forget to redeem your free birthday gift as a beauty insider! You'll get a few samples from top brans like NARS, Tarte and more. 

17. Collect Points

Each purchase comes with a certain amount of Sephora points (based on the size of your order). Collect and cash in for future transactions, earning products or discounts off your order. Best of all, your points never expire.

18. Avoid Travel Sized Products

Even those who work at Sephora will remind you that you’re paying more by the ounce with travel items (sometimes as much as double). Rather than shopping small bottles, go big and save – after all, it’s products you’ll be using anyway. To ensure you’re paying the best price, check out the per-ounce price and compare. (Sephora experts also remind us, very rarely, travel items will happen to be the better deal – looking at these numbers can help you decipher which size to purchase.)

19. Work With Bulk

Considering how much you can save by buying big, it’s more than worth your time to make larger containers practical. That means using pumps, investing in travel-sized bottles for bringing on trips (all of which are reusable and an easy one-time purchase), and more.

20. Buy Discounted Gift Cards

With sites that allow users to buy and sell gift cards (at a lower value than their monetary worth), shoppers can gain tons of Sephora dollars without actually spending that amount of cash. Or, take advantage of their partnership with JC Penny’s, and shop online. A step that offers additional savings and a way to earn free shipping. Just beware, JCP cards are not accepted at physical Sephora locations.

21. Shop In-Store for Free Shipping

Ok, that might sound like an unnecessary tip, but when stores run out of items, or you want something that’s only sold online, you can order in-store, then get it shipped directly to your house. For free, and with need for a minimum purchase!

22. Take Advantage of Free Minis

Stores offer a number of 15-minute services free of charge. Check out their offerings and gain yourself a free mini makeover each time you shop. Just for fun, or as a way to learn new makeup skills.

23. Shop Sephora Brand

This stuff is just as good as the pricier items, we swear. If you can’t bring yourself to spend the extra moolah on name brand goods, check to see if there’s a Sephora option instead.

24. Join the Sephora Team

Employees earn 20% off purchases and a whopping 40% off Sephora brand items. (Up to $500 per month.) That’s some serious savings, especially for the biggest makeup lovers out there.

25. Co-Shop

Join forces with a friend or relative and get the biggest value of VIP or membership statuses. Best of all, your joint dollars will lead towards ongoing savings.

bethaney_wallace profile picture
Bethaney Wallace is a full-time freelance writer and avid deal finder located in the Midwest. When she's not reading or writing, she can be found looking for a new project, including anything knitted or DIY, which she outlines in her humorous personal blog, Earl & Other Greys. (bethaneywallace.com)

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