Listen, we know the struggle. No matter how careful you are about budgeting for your kit, Sephora is a dangerous, dangerous place for any makeup artist.
While not every product you buy needs to be high-end, every makeup artist has a few pricey staples—and, of course, a fair share of impulse buys! You know, that product you didn’t need, but you bought anyway because…
- You wanted to try something new
- You loved the shade
- The sales associate sold you on it
- The packaging was pretty
- There was a shade named “Beige Anarchist”
Fun? Yes. Pricey? Yes. So if you’re tired of your bank balance screaming in pain every time you walk into Sephora, these money-saving tips are for you!
1. Get that Beauty Insider card
We know, we know. Every single brand in the world seems to have its own loyalty card, offering you some sort of points system/discount/bonus/other exciting benefits. Which is great and all, but at this point, you can barely close your wallet—and half of those rewards cards are pretty much useless, anyway.
If you’re a regular Sephora shopper, though, that Beauty Insider card is worth having. It’ll get you a free birthday gift and an extra sample online. Plus, when $1 = 1 point, those points add up fast for any Sephora addict. This allows you to try many new products in sample sizes before you dish out all your cash on a whim because the packaging was cute.
2. Make the most of your VIB (or VIB Rouge) status
Keep an eye on how much you’re spending. If you do make it to that $350 (VIB) or $1000 (VIB Rouge) mark within a year, use it! In particular, keep an eye out for those elusive annual sales, the ones with special discounts for VIB and VIB Rouge members. You might not be able to curb those impulse buys, but you can at least save when you stock up on essentials.
3. Follow Sephora on social media
You know how important social media is for business—and Sephora knows it, too! As a reward to their loyal followers—and to encourage new fans to follow—Sephora will sometimes post sales, promo codes, and discounts to their Facebook and Twitter pages.
4. Get on that app
Sephora recently launched their own app, which is basically just their site in mobile form. The perks? Exclusive markdowns and bonus offers for app users.
And speaking of apps, you can also add your Beauty Insider card to Passbook. It’ll also let you store Sephora extras so you won’t miss out on any special offers or (heaven forbid) misplace that coveted gift card.
5. Do the math
Those travel-size products by the counter are definitely adorable, but they’re not always the best choice for your wallet. But don’t swear them off entirely: a few products actually get you better value in their travel size!
Basically, before you buy, check the price per ounce. Usually, you’ll be paying more per ounce for a travel-sized product than you will for the regular. On those rare occasions when the opposite is true, stock up!
6. Ditch those product fails
If that new moisturizer you bought really isn’t working out for you, return it! Sephora’s return policy states that they’ll accept returns of products that are in “new or gently used condition.”
Please, though, have some class. Don’t try to return your favorite mascara with only scrapings of product left in the tube for a free “refund.” But if there’s something wrong with a product, you bought the wrong shade, or you just really don’t like it, get store credit or your money back.
7. Sign up for Sephora Flash
Are you a regular online purchaser? Sephora Flash might be a good investment for you. Flash offers you free two-day shipping on any order, regardless of the price of your purchase. VIB Rouge members receive the service for free automatically, and it’s $10 for everyone else. If you regularly find yourself adding extra products to bump your order up to that magic $50 mark, Flash is definitely worth it.
8. Buy those value sets…
They’re called value sets for a reason, and no, it (usually) isn’t just marketing. Buying a palette, brush set, Sephora favorites set, or any other product collection set almost always gets you more for your money. If the product you want is a brand staple, check to see if it comes in a set for a better deal.
9. …but only if you’ll use the rest of the products
If you know you’ll only use one product out of a set, it’s probably not worth the money. Yes, the value set might be a great deal, but you’ll just end up spending a little more for products that will end up getting tossed anyway.
Same goes for travel-sized products. Even if they’re not the best value-per-ounce, they can still work out cheaper if you wouldn’t make it through all of the full-sized product. Keep those expiry dates in mind!
10. Check out those sales
The easiest place to find Sephora’s sales is right on its site. How much you’re saving varies by product, but it’s always worth a look!
Sale items are available in many stores, too, but they’re not always easy to track down. Most of the time, you can find a small sales rack at the end of some aisles, where you can pick up “Beauty Steals” for $15 and under. Or wait to do your shopping till April and November, when Sephora holds its semi-annual sales for Beauty Insiders and VIB members.
11. On the fence? Sample it
Now, like number 6, this is a Sephora perk you shouldn’t abuse. If you want to take a product for a test-run before you buy it, most employees will be happy to give you a small sample to take home (provided the product is sample-able, obviously).
The sample gets you some free product, but it also gives you the chance to decide whether or not you want to buy the full size.
And of course we probably don’t need to tell you about the free samples Sephora lets you pick when you order online.