If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
How do I offer tips for getting the best deal at Sephora when it only hosts two real sales a year? Sephora is DisneyWorld for makeup lovers. As someone who probably loves Disney more than makeup, I do not say that lightly. Although I love a lot of beauty and makeup stores, I experience pure joy when visiting Sephora. My son calls it my store. He’s not wrong, because I love shopping there. Deal stacking at Sephora is not always possible, but there are times when it is. There are always new things to learn, so I will edit this if I discover something new. I’ve seen guides to getting the best deal at Sephora before, but they’re not usually comprehensive and miss many important tips. Details scare some people. If you’re scared of detail, click that little X and back out now. Do not say I did not warn you!
I have one timeline where I list all major: Promotions, Sales, Deals, GWP, Promo Codes, and Events. Those who want to see an overall idea of what to expect this year should stop by. See where you can use these tips for getting the best deal at Sephora with others on the calendar. You can also visit my Sephora retailer page to see active and upcoming offers of all types.
Subscribe to emails. Sephora emails most of its promotions out. It lists others on its Beauty Deals Page, and I cover some it does not on my Sephora Deals Page. Most promotions are only available online, and you can only redeem one promo code per order. Read the fine print of the promotion, because there are occasional promotions available in-store as well. Some promotions available in store do not require a purchase.
The most important tip for getting the best deal at Sephora is to sign up for a Beauty Insider account. Beauty insiders get rewarded for their shopping activity, but they also receive early access to certain products and exclusive deals. Most deals get emailed to Beauty Insiders, but occasional promotions get mailed. I do not recommend opting out of either. If you are one of the unlucky people who randomly stop receiving emails at some point, I have four suggestions. Create a second account. Sephora will send all the general Beauty Insider offers to your secondary email. For VIB and Rouge exclusive offers, find an online community or blog you like that posts deals. I post the ones I receive to my Sephora Page. Check the Beauty Deals link before placing an online order. While Beauty Deals link does not list everything, it lists a lot more options than the view promo code link in the checkout screen. Follow Sephora on Facebook to see what promotion they offer for Fan Fridays.
Anyone who joins the Beauty Insider Program earns 1 point per dollar spent, a free birthday gift, point multipliers (during promotions), special BI events, free beauty classes with select purchases, a $15 off $75 promo code for Christmas, special promotion codes for BI clients, access to certain items before the public, a 10% discount on anything during Chic Week, and more. See 2019 Beauty Insider Promotions.
There is no purchase required to pick up a birthday gift in person and no purchase history required on the account, so anyone can redeem a birthday gift. Those who reach VIB status have more birthday gift options. *You must make a purchase to redeem it online.
-Spend $350 a year to reach VIB and get: 1.25 points per dollar spent, all perks BI clients get, a chance to get 250 rewards points in place of the birthday gift, free shipping with a $35 purchase (if that is the welcome gift they select), select full-size products from the Rewards Bazaar, 20% off during the November VIB sale, increased point multipliers over BI clients (during select promotions), 500 points for qualifying (if that is the welcome gift they select), two free makeover (if that is the welcome gift they select), special VIB events, an extra $5 off ($20 total) the BI Christmas promo amount, special promotion codes for VIB clients, an extra 5% discount (15% total) for Spring Bonus, access to certain items before BI clients, and more. Sephora advertises handpicked gifts. See 2019 VIB Promotions.
-Spend $1000 a year to reach Rouge and get: 1.5 points per dollar spent, all the perks BI clients get, all perks VIB clients get, a chance to redeem 2500 points for a $100 gift card, access to Rouge Only products, free shipping on every order (free Flash if that is the welcome gift they select), free makeovers (plus 4 to hand out to others, if that is the welcome gift they select), special Rouge events, increased point multipliers over VIB clients (during select promotions), an extra $5 off ($25 total) the VIB Christmas promo amount, special promotion codes for Rouge clients, 750 points when they qualify (if that is the welcome gift they select), access to certain items before VIB clients, and more. Read articles regarding VIB Rouge Qualification. Read articles about VIB Rouge events. See 2019 VIB Rouge Promotions.
Redeem the points you earn on products in the Rewards Bazaar.
I have one timeline where I list all major: Promotions, Sales, GWP, Deals, Promo Codes, and Events. Those who want to see an overall idea of what to expect this year should stop by. See where these promotions and others pop up. You can also visit my Sephora retailer page to see active and upcoming offers of all types.
Holiday Bonus (Discounts for all levels) *Called the VIB Sale in the Past
Customer appreciation bags *Missed in 2018
Multipliers on everything. 2x points Beauty Insider. 3x VIB, and 4x Rouge *Did not happen in 2018
VIB Appreciation Bag *Did not happen in 2018
Beauty Insider Appreciation Event (Discounts for all levels) *Appeared for the first time in 2018
Spring Bonus (Discounts for all levels) *Called Chic Week in the Past
Get a discount on select items in the Weekly Wow for one-week only. Most of these items return to full-price after the week is over.
During special events (some get advertised and others do not), there sometimes are gifts with purchase in store. Make sure you ask for them. If you are a Sephora Play Subscriber, remember to turn in your Play Pass for 50 points with any in-store purchase. You do not need to consult with any employee buy a product featured in the box. It is valid through the end of the following month you receive the box. Ask the person checking you out for a schedule of upcoming events. Starting in 2019, Sephora has done a better job of listing these online.
If you are shopping in store, you can request free samples. Sephora keeps very few pre-packaged samples in the store and almost hides the one it keeps. Even when they’re in your sights (behind the register), some employees will tell you they do not have any, so I stopped asking. They use the testers to make samples you request, so only ask for items you are not grossed out to try. In all of my time of shopping Sephora, I only asked them to make me a sample of one item. It was an item that comes in a tube. They sometimes insist of making you sample, as they did at the recent Rouge event. When they really want to make me a sample, I will accept it. The original sample rule was three samples per category. Sephora divides into worlds. Color and skincare have dedicated employees, but I am unsure fragrance does. This means you can get 3 samples from: skincare, makeup, and fragrance. Some employees change the rule to say you can only have 3 total samples.
When you shop online, you can always add two (of 12) free samples to your cart. There are times when Sephora increases the number to 5, but that is always temporary.
If you spend a minimum of $25, you can always add a promotion code. Some promo codes require a purchase of $35 or more. Select promo codes are only available for Beauty Insiders, VIB, or even Rouge members. Limitations on who can redeem a promo code (or whether it can also be redeemed in store) will always be listed in the fine print. You can choose the one you list best from the Sephora Promo Code List, My Promo Code List, and any in your emails. Sephora added the ability to redeem a Rouge reward (a $100 gift card code from the Rewards Bazaar) with a promo code on January 16th. So far, this is the only promo code that combines with any other, but I am hoping this is just a step toward allowing us to get products with discounts in the future.
The shipping minimum at Sephora is $50. You can bypass the shipping fee with a purchase below $50 with Flash Shipping. With Flash shipping, members get two-day shipping from when the order processes. Processing can take less than a day or multiple days depending on the order. Flash shipping is $15 a year, so it pays for itself after three orders below $50. Rouge members get free 3-day shipping on every order. They can get flash shipping for free (if that is what they select as their welcome gift). VIB members can get free shipping with a $35 purchase (if that is what they select as their welcome gift). Unless you enroll in flash shipping, go over your shipping minimum, or get free Rouge shipping, I suggest purchasing in store to avoid the $5.95 shipping charge. Paying for shipping negates some of the deal, but paying once a year softens the blow a little. If your store is out of the item you want, they will give you a unique promo code for free online shipping. Ask for it if they do not offer it.
I always recommend looking at the sale section online. It is especially useful when you are close to reaching a promotion or shipping minimum, but there are occasionally some gems in this section. Some Sephora stores have in-store sales section, and it never hurts to ask where it is if you cannot find it. At one store, I was unable to find it and the employee I asked could not find it either. While it is possible they did not have anything on sale at the time, I do not believe the store never has an in-store sale section.
Resist the urge to grab small items from the checkout line. Many of these items are very expensive per ounce travel sizes. They are usually the opposite of a good deal. There are times when the price per ounce is cheaper on the travel size as with GlamGlow and a few others. If you must buy the travel sizes, carry a calculator (most phones have them) to compare it to the full-size.
The best deal available at Sephora is in the Favorites section. No one puts favorites kits together like Sephora, and I love collecting these. From makeup, to skincare, to perfume, these kits cover popular items you can purchase in every category imaginable. Many sets, like the mascara and fragrance ones, have a certificate to redeem for a free full-size product. The idea is to sample all the items and redeem for a full-size of the one you like most. Sometimes, the cost of the item you’re redeeming is more than the set, so you get a discount and all the samples for free once you redeem your certificate. If you already love an item that is in one of these sets and cheaper or the same price as the set, get it and redeem your certificate right away. That is deal stacking 101!
All favorites sets are exclusive and some repeat (with a different line up) every year. The Sun Safety Kit comes out every year in May to June. It donates $20 to the Skin Cancer Foundation and provides me with all the facial sunscreen I need for the average year. Soko To Tokyo is a customizable skincare set that releases in the summer, usually June. Bronze Bares All is a set that releases in Spring. Give Me More Lip is a large lip kit that releases mid to late September. These are just a few examples. There are also sets that do not repeat, like Give Me Some Nude Lip and Paint it Pink. As long as you want most of the items in this set, they are an incredible deal. Most have a value that is way more than double the cost.
If there are any items you want to purchase later, add them to your loves list. This is especially helpful for those who want the item but want to wait for a sale. Without the list, we may forget what we want to buy. The first thing I do when a sale pops up is pull up my loves list. It is also helpful for items that are out of stock. Some items allow you to sign up for an in stock email, but you may spot it in stock from your loves list before the email arrives. Popular items can sell out again before an in stock email ever arrives. There are times when items are completely removed from the site but stay in your loves list. On the rare occasion those items come back in stock, you can only add them from your loves list (unless you happen to have the link available).
This only applies to a small percentage of the population, but the Sephora in DownTown Disney at Disneyland and Disney Springs at DisneyWorld have select events where they offer 20% discounts for Disney Employees. I only bring this one up, because I love Disney and Sephora. It was exciting to see this. Because I happened upon this discount a couple of times, I am not a good source of details for all upcoming events. Check with Sephora and/or Disney with questions.
Sephora allows its employees to send discount codes to friends and family during the Employee Appreciation Sale. That comes with a private shopping experience, at times. This is a real friends and family sale, so you can only take part if a Sephora employee mails a postcard, emails you a promo code, or hands you a postcard in person. I do not work for Sephora, so I do not get any codes of my own. In 2018, Sephora forbid affiliates from even advertising this event (why I have no article on it), so I will probably not get to advertise it going forward either. For those who know someone who works at Sephora, this event almost always takes place from mid to late October. It is the only time a Sephora employee can offer a discount to someone who gets to use their own Beauty Insider account to purchase it. This is a 20% off single use discount code.
My final tip is wait for major promotions to shop whenever possible. Unless you see a promo code you really want or need a product you cannot wait for, the next promotion is just around the corner. You can stack a promo code with a points promotion, Favorites, sale items, the Weekly Wow, Rewards Bazaar, the Rouge Promotion from the Rewards Bazaar, and more. Sephora does not allow two promo codes (outside of the Rouge Promotion) to stack together. Whenever a discount gets offered through a promo code, you will have to choose between the discount and available free product promos.
What are your thoughts on the tips for getting the best deal at Sephora? Let me know below. Sephora does not inform any Beauty Insider of all promotions. It does list a great deal of them on its Beauty Offers page, but I list some it does not on my Sephora Deals Page. Between the ones it lists and the ones I list, you can catch most of them. Subscribe to emails to get targeted offers. If you’re spending over $25 online, there is always a promo code that you can apply. Most major events run on a set schedule, which is why I track them. See all Sephora articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal When Shopping Sephora. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
Disclosure: Affiliate Links