If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
The employee appreciation sale took place from October 14th-21st in 2017. I did not write an article, but I did partake.
Sephora Employee Appreciation, also known as the Friends and Family Sale, has returned for 2016. It will run from Sunday, October 23rd through Sunday, October 30th. Employees give unique 20% off discount codes to friends and family. These discount codes are on a postcard, which can get gifted in person or mailed. Emails were available again this year, but the emails were not sent out until the first morning of the sale. A lot of companies include all customers in friends and family sales. These codes from Sephora are for legitimate friends and family. A good sales associate can make a customer feel like a friend. If you never hang out away from Sephora, odds are you’re not friends. They only get a limited amount of post cards, so please do not be offended if they do not offer one to you.
There is a private event for anyone who receives a postcard from 7pm-9pm on the 23rd. This is usually a two-week sale, but it’s only eight days this year. That explains why Sephora abandoned the mid-October start it usually does. The VIB Rouge and VIB 20% off sale dates have been officially announced. Like last year, each tier has four days to shop the 20% off sale.
I was pleasantly surprised in 2014 when a wonderful Sephora employee asked me to give her my email, so she could send me a unique discount code for 20% off. A different incredible employee in 2015 emailed me an offer without even asking for my email address, so I was super impressed. While shopping in Sephora recently, an employee who has helped me before, gave me a postcard to get access to the sale this year. This marks the third year in a row I got invited to this sale, and all three were from different employees. It reminds me of how incredible Sephora employees are, because I am seriously blown away that each of these ladies thought of me when deciding who to offer their codes to. A lot of the awesome sets or special items released before the VIB sale may sell out during the employee appreciation sale, so it is always best to shop this sale if you get a code.
Thanks to someone I actually know very well (who works in a SiJCP) texting me a picture of a postcard with another code, I was able to send that code to the person I was shopping with when the first employee gave me a postcard. I felt bad that my friend was there when I got it, but she had not received a code yet. The unique online code is single use, and my friend redeemed this code. I noticed the bar code for the in-store purchase on my card and the one I texted to my friend is the same. Her card is above and mine is below to compare.
My store collected my card when my in-store order was processed, so I am unsure if they will accept a picture of the general bar code. They may need the card. Feel free to pass your online code along to a friend if you choose not to use it or only use the in store bar code. If you redeem in store first, make sure you write down the online code. I decided to use my in-store and online coupon to make sure I could get all the items I wanted (that were still available). Sadly, a couple of items on my list were gone before the sale started and another went out in the morning while I was waiting for the special event at the store.
Sephora only allows one promo code per online order, so the only way to get freebies on a discount order is to add your samples and/or select point perks. Read more about the Rewards Bazaar for updated info on redeeming points with the new program. Those with an order closer to $25 or $35 (for the VIB perks), may find product promo codes that are more valuable. This is a picture of what the back of the card looks like (when nothing is crossed removed to protect identities).
The lovely employee who gave me the code told me about the event, which takes place from 7pm to 9pm on the first day of the sale. No RSVP is required. Anyone with a postcard can enter the event. I think Sephora missed the mark with the timing of this event. Things were running out-of-stock all morning of the event, so those who waited trying to only purchase once could miss out if their store did not have all the items they needed. Sephora events are usually worth checking out, so I went.
I posted the emailed code above while it was still active, because I did not need it. Someone redeemed it rather quickly, and it no longer works. To show what it looks like, I am leaving it up. This code came from a friend of my husband’s, so this is not one I received. He did not receive it until after the sale started, and he did not even know she was sending it. I blurred out her name everywhere on the email to protect her identity. Emailed codes are for online use, but someone reported success in redeeming in store when showing her email. There is no in-store bar code, probably to prevent people from making copies for friends. I’ve had more than one person who read this article (a few used the contact form, so those requests are not publicly visible) ask me for a code, so I decided the only fair way to give it out my husband’s code was to post it. If I ever have an extra, I’d rather post it than respond to multiple requests when I only have one code available.
I decided to purchase my non-negotiable items online the first afternoon of the sale. After one of the items I was definitely buying disappeared in the morning, I did not want to take any chances that my store would have all these items in stock.
Kevyn Aucoin The Contour Book The Art of Sculpting + Defining Volume II is the item I tried to purchase last year during the Employee Appreciation Sale and again during the Rouge sale. This retails for $65. It did come back in stock during the VIB part of the sale last year, but I was unable to shop that (Rouge customers could not shop the VIB sale for the first time in 2015). Even though some Sephora employees were honoring discounts for Rouge customers during the VIB sale and it was a policy discussed on BeautyTalk, others were not. I decided not to bother. Then, it sold out. At the time, it was limited edition. During the Sale on Sale, I did get the first volume, which is the one that lacks the creams. I love that palette, so I know I will love this one.
The back of the box lists the ingredients.
This burgundy book is smaller than my hand.
The back of the palette has a couple of tips and lists the sizes of the products. Of course, Sephora messed this listing up online, but I have them listed correctly below.
There are application tips inside the palette. I kind of like and dislike that they’re attached to the palette. On the one hand, I cannot use them, and they will always be with the palette. At the same time, it adds an extra compartment to the palette. This is similar to the original palette, and that tab always gets in the way. I have yet to use it either.
There is a mirror inside the palette.
The products inside are: 0.17oz The Celestial Powder in Candlelight, 0.04oz The Celestial Powder in Starlight (luminous light peach/pink), 0.16oz The Creamy Glow in Candlelight, 0.16oz The Sculpting Cream, 0.14oz The Sculpting Powder, 0.04oz Brighten (luminous pearl), 0.04oz Cool Tan (light brown), and 0.04oz Ruddy Earth (rust). That is a total of 0.79oz, which makes the price per ounce $82.28. For this brand, that is extremely affordable. This palette is an incredible deal for those who will use all or most shades inside.
Brighten, which is the stark white, is the weakest shade in the palette, but it is still a lot better than most.
The sculpting cream is darker than the powder, and the highlighting cream is lighter than the powder. I already love both powders, and I look forward to seeing how they pair with the creams.
I’ve repeatedly used the shadows from the last palette has shadows and face powders. They are designed to work well both ways, but that really dark shade on the right will be an exclusive shadow with my skin tone.
I’ve actually been impressed with the Sephora Collection Brushes I own, so I decided to get the Pro Crease Brush #10. It was already on sale for $11, so getting it for another 20% off that sales price is great. These are not my favorite brushes, but they are definitely worth the price (even when I get them at full-price, although I prefer to only pick these up on sale). They go on sale a lot. One can never have too many crease brushes. It is the brush I use the most for my eye looks.
The Sephora Collection Color Switch By Vera Mona Brush Cleaner seems overpriced at $18.
This is a makeup removing sponge in a tin that actually seems overpriced at 20% off $18. It is bigger than I expected, and it fills my entire palm. I like that, because this should easily clean even my largest brushes.
I probably could have found this somewhere else for cheaper, but I really do need one of these. Even with my ever-growing brush collection, I do not want to use 2 of the same type brushes for the same eye look. Sometimes I need that, so I will just use this to clean the first brush instead of reaching for a second.
That is a full-size brush inside the tin for size prospective.
There are a couple of masks inside the Peter Thomas Roth Mask Sampler Kit I’ve wanted to try. This set includes 0.47oz samples of Blue Marine Algae Intense Hydrating Mask, Rose Stem Cell Bio-Repair Gel Mask, Gold Mask Pure Luxury Lift & Firm Mask, Irish Moor Mud Purifying Black Mask, Cucumber Gel Mask, and Pumpkin Enzyme Mask. The Pumpkin and 24K Gold Mask have eluded me in other sets. I prefer to sample before buying the full-size products. Trying a pumpkin mask around Halloween seems festive, so I can almost guarantee that will be the first one I try. Others may wait a while until I work through some of my incredible mask stash. This set is a steal at $25, so I love getting an extra 20% off.
All of the ingredients are listed for each mask on the back of the box.
The Anastasia Beverly Hills Master Palette By Mario was out-of-stock at Sephora when I put my list together. This retails for $45 palette.
The ingredients are listed on the back on the box.
The palette is similar to other Anastasia Beverly Bills palettes with the thick cardboard packaging and the layout inside.
The back of the actual palette also lists ingredients. That is convenient for people who want to toss the box. I never return things and hate clutter, so I always toss boxes after opening the item.
There is a mirror in the palette.
There is a double-sided eyeshadow brush in the palette. I have a few of these, and they are okay at best. These are not brushes I’d reach for when all brushes are available though.
It has 12 0.02oz Eye shadows. That is a total of 0.36oz, which makes the price per ounce $125. This is the most expensive price per ounce I’ve seen from an eyeshadow palette from this brand. The shades are: Hollywood (metallic wheat gold with a satin finish), NYC (rich chocolate brown with a satin finish), Kim (tan with a satin finish), Muse (rose gold with a satin finish), Marina (champagne with a metallic finish), Claudia (slate with a velvet finish), Lula (soft taupe with an ultra-matte finish), Isabel (burnt orange with an ultra-matte finish), Violeta (dark chocolate with an ultra-matte finish), 5th Ave (gold leaf with a metallic finish), Bronx (metallic olive with a satin finish), and Paris (gilded brown with a satin finish).
On swatches alone, I do not see a single weak link in these powders. Many of them are extremely creamy, even though they’re powders. None of them are chalky, even the mattes.
I was planning on getting this at Ulta when it releases the 20% off prestige coupon next week. It was nice to see it in stock at Sephora again, so I grabbed it. This brand makes incredible eyeshadow palettes, and I’ve seen nothing but positive reviews on this one. My current favorite is the Modern Renaissance, and my least favorite is the Artist Palette.
Even though the 20% off promo code prevents me from using a code for deluxe samples, I can still select three samples when I place an online order. I selected: a 0.05oz Make Up Forever Excessive Lash Punk For Your Lashes, a 0.13oz fresh Vitamin Nectar Vibrancy-Boosting Face Mask, and a single use Sephora Collection Colorful Eyeshadow card in four shades: Scented Candle No 229, Let’s Dance No 268, Tahitian Pearl No 285, and Tree Hugger No 321. The samples I ordered arrived, and I am happy about all of them. Getting a deluxe sample always feels like a score.
It was raining pretty badly when I left the house, so I decided to go to the Sephora closer to my house. This is not the Sephora the employee who gave me the card works at. There was someone at the door verifying that people entering had a postcard. She asked for my name. I did not RSVP, so it was not on her list. After giving her my name, she wrote it down and welcomed me into the store. She did ask me which employee invited me, but I informed her the employee who invited me worked at a different store. Some employees who were working the event were helping people they obviously invited. That was pretty neat.
I had not attended a private event for anything other than Rouge shopping, so I did not know what to expect. There were no brand reps or special displays. It looked like the store always does.
There was a refreshment table, but that was the only difference between shopping during the day or waiting until the evening. I did have a mini cupcake. The funny thing is an employee approached the unmanned table after I started eating the cupcake and told me to help myself. That was awkward, because I already did. No one ever hands anything to you at Rouge events, so I did not expect anyone to do it here.
A trip to the store is not complete unless I check the available rewards. My points burn a hole in my pocket, and I am not goof at saving them. Even though I see impressive items here, I managed to pass.
The store was overstaffed. Whoever was in charge of staffing probably did not anticipate heavy rain. This store is always packed, but I think a lot of people decided to avoid driving in the rain. We do not get a lot of rain here, and some people cannot navigate well in the rain. They drive too fast or too slow wreaking havoc on traffic that is already difficult to navigate. I usually do not get a lot of assistance when I go in without a stitch of makeup, but I had a lot of people offer to help me this evening.
The first employee who offered to help checked the back for the Sephora Favorites Trending: Beauty’s Most Coveted. It went out-of-stock before the sale even started, but I was hoping to find it in-store. She said they have an order for them out, but they have not arrived yet. This is not a new item, so I was thoroughly confused by this. I told her it was out-of-stock online and asked her if she was sure it was getting restocked in store. “That is what I was told”, she said. While I will not hold my breath on a restock of a product that is out-of-stock online, I will definitely get it if it gets restocked during the Rouge sale.
Other than two employees who were deep in conversation, most employees I passed offered help. The only ones I allowed to help were the ones who approached me near Josie Maran and Briogeo. I wanted to know if the numbers on the bottom of the of the Josie Maran Body Butters were manufacturing dates or expiration dates. Sadly, Josie Maran is not listed on check cosmetic.net or checkfresh.com. She did not know, so she went to ask someone. After about a minute, she told me the numbers are random. They’re not dates at all. Of the four I own, they all have numbers that look like dates, so I think it is odd they’re not.
I did stop by this Skin IQ screen, because I wanted to see what products it would recommend. After failing with the Color IQ (both times), I wanted to see if it was any better at finding the proper skincare for me. Whenever I can play, I generally do. The items it selected are ones I already like and a couple I want to try. This machine is good! Well done, Sephora.
O’Neisha was standing near Briogeo and insisted I stop by to check out some hair products. I am allergic to avocado, so I cannot try many of the products from this line. She went through the ingredients of multiple products to find one that did not have avocado. After rubbing some Briogeo Rosarco Oil into her hands, she worked what seemed like a lot into the roots my hair. At first, I was very nervous. My hair gets oily fast, and I washed my hair right before the event. It was still a little wet, because I did not even dry it. Surprisingly, my hair did not look greasy after she did that. I struggle with frizzy hair, but my hair looks greasy if I add too much oil to combat it. Her technique puts most of the oil on her palms, which focuses on the ends and under side. Very little goes between her fingers, which is what gets applied to the top of my hair. This is an excellent technique, although it does pull more of my fine hair out than I’d like. My hair tangles easily, so it gets pulled out easily. Someone with stronger hair can really benefit from this.
I really like looking at the holiday sets, and there were a lot of sets out. The holiday sets always remind me of the game I play at Target. Try to make it out speeding less than $100. It is almost impossible. A few days ago, I went there to pick up an online order and still failed at that game before I made it out of the store (not even including the item I paid for online). Well, authorized online. Target does not run the online charge until the item gets picked up, but I digress. If I start buying these holiday sets, I will probably not stop. Thankfully, I have a lot of skincare, so I can get these products later.
I made my way over to the Kat Von D station. This seemed like the only busy place in the store. There were two groups of women with two different employees, and I could not even make my way in on either side for a few minutes. The Kat Von D MetalMatte Eyeshadow Palette is something I wanted to swatch. It is beautiful and totally worth getting based on the swatches, but it was out-of-stock.
The Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette was not out front. I decided to get it at the event despite removing it from my cart earlier today. Yes, I wanted the Kevyn Aucoin Palette more, but I have more eyeshadow palettes that I can ever use. Why not get another contour palette.
The same employee who looked for the set in the back went to grab it, and I did not even notice until I got home that she got me the Kat Von D Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette. This is $3 more than the original for what equates to holes drilled into the backs to remove and replace the pans easier. I’ve never hit pan on anything in my whole life, so I doubt I will do that with this. If I ever do, remind me that the extra $2.40 (after the 20% off) was well spent.
I actually remembered to give the employee who checked me out my Play! Pass from my September Box. The 50 points even credited without me having to call in and ask for them. That is the first time that’s happened. Most private events offer a special GWP at checkout. No GWP was mentioned on the card, but I was still curious to see if there would be one. Sadly, there was nothing. As expected, the card scanned just fine, so this is a reminder that the online code is different from the in-store bar code. Those who received an email only have an online code, so there is no code to redeem anything with an in-store purchase.
The Kat Von D Shade + Light Face Contour Refillable Palette retails for $49. It is hard to tell in this picture, but the lettering is raised. I keep running my fingers across this beautiful metal lettering.
It has 6 shades inside with a total weight of 0.72oz. That is $68.06 per ounce. If by some miracle I like one of the powders enough to finish, I like the idea that I can refill it. As I am not a makeup artist, it is highly unlikely I will need more of the deep shades.
There is a beautiful mirror inside. I love all the artwork and details on this palette, but I like the mirror best. It’s simple and elegant while looking classic and goth all at the same time. That is very Kat.
Before I even swatched this, I knew these were great shades. There is not an orange in the bunch, and I always appreciate contour, bronzers, and highlighters that avoid orange.
Even though I’ve never once referenced inserts like this one, I appreciate that it is in here. Step-by-step guides are there to help.
There are three 0.16oz Shade powders in Sombre (true taupe), Shadowplay (soft brown), and Subconscious (deep brown), and three 0.08oz Light powders in Lucid (pinkish nude), Lyric (yellow beige), and Levitation (soft peach).
The light shades are beige, yellow, and peach. I can really see each of these working for me, depending on what look I am going for.
The contour shades are all stunning, too. These are different shades of brown with the one on the left being very cool, the one in the middle being very warm, and the one on the right in a neutral position. I think the one on the right is a little dark for my skin tone, but I always experiment with shades to see if I can get them to work.
Once I wear this, I will edit in pictures and reviews of each powder.
Sephora does not inform a single Beauty Insider of all deal details. Certain offers are targeted and others have different purchase minimums based on the code. Remember to check New Offers and/or Recycled Offers before placing an online order. If you’re spending over $25, you can add a promo code to any order. 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