One of the questions I see often from Sephora VIB or Rouge members is, “where are my handpicked gifts?” This is a legitimate question, because handpicked gifts are listed as a benefit for VIB and Rouge members. The benefit list seems a little vague, because it is. As someone who lives for details, I describe the actual benefits of all the programs and shopping Sephora in general. Those who’ve read my reviews or are familiar with my Sephora Deals Page will notice that I do not list hand-picked gifts as a benefit of the VIB or Rouge program. Why? Sephora and I have a very different idea of what a gift is. A gift is something given with no expectations. Granted, it’s always wonderful to reward a gift giver in some way, but it is not necessary.
So, what does Sephora mean by handpicked gifts? No one really knows. I’ve never even seen a Sephora employee answer this question to my satisfaction. Thus, the answer is really open to speculation, and my answer is just that. Sephora has never sent an unsolicited “gift” to me (neither has Ulta, but Ulta has at least done that for other people). There is always a chance Ulta will send me a gift (a third round of gifts for 2016 went out very recently). No one I know has ever received a gift from Sephora either. If you receive something in your order that is not on the packing slip, that is not a gift. Someone at the warehouse messed up, and I can almost guarantee somewhere there is a person missing that exact item in his/her order.
What I have received from Sephora are participation gifts for the Beautytalk Forum. These gifts range from free samples from participating in brand chats, to free full-size products to test pre-launch, to winning a giveaway, to replacing a faulty product. On that last one, I never complained about the Formula X polish from the April 2015 private Rouge event being faulty, because I never attended the event. I RSVP’d, but I woke up with a headache the day of the event. Sephora and Kendo just sent the gift to active Beautytalk users, because it received most complaints about the polish there. These are not VIB or Rouge gifts, because all Beautytalk members are eligible. Most active Beautytalk members are VIB or Rouge, because we all inadvertently (and sometimes on purpose) encourage people to spend more when we share our thoughts and pictures.
I have received gifts with purchase using VIB exclusive and Rouge exclusive promo codes. It is possible this is what Sephora means by hand-picked gifts. This is the only thing that even makes sense to me, so I am almost positive this is what Sephora means by this. Although these gifts typically have a higher buy-in ($35-$50 instead of the usual $25), they are usually nicer than the average promo code. Someone picks them out, so they could be considered hand-picked. Unless I am having an off-day, I will not typically refer to a GWP as a gift. Sephora occasionally does offer items completely free without a purchase if we pick them up in person. Picking a gift up in person is not unsolicited, and many people will not or cannot even bother.
We can get a free gift on our birthday (if we picked it up in person, because it is a GWP online). VIB members have never received anything extra from Beauty Insiders, so this cannot be the hand-picked gift Sephora is referring to. Rouge members got an extra item in 2014 and 2015, but there was no extra item from 2016 through 2018. The last time Sephora offered a free gift for a deluxe Kat Von D foundation, some employees would not honor it without a $25 purchase. That offer had strange wording, so I doubt they meant to withhold it with malicious intent. I do not recall that gift being for VIB or Rouge members exclusively, so those offers cannot be the hand-picked gifts either.
All Beauty Insiders get gift cards with a $50 minimum purchase for Christmas and each status gets an extra $5. That is hardly hand-picked as it is a cold-hard discount (yes, I wrote discount on purpose, because a real gift card has no purchase minimum). It does combine with a promo code, which makes up for getting the amount removed after tax instead of before like a promo code discount. There is a gift for qualifying for Rouge status, but there is no physical gift for a qualifying VIB (although there are 3 future offers). Since hand-picked gifts is listed with each status, this cannot be what Sephora means, either. So, these hand-picked gifts do not exist, at least not in a true gift form. The best I can figure is they exist in GWP form via VIB and Rouge Promo codes. And, Rouge only promo codes, which were common in 2014, a little less common in 2015, and almost non-existent in 2016 are probably a thing of the past (other than separating the codes for the Love Note Sale and the VIB Sale).
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. Product reviews do not always make it into the haul article, but you can always type the product into the search bar to see if I’ve mentioned it or reviewed it elsewhere. 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.
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I'm Kimberly. Shopping is always more fun when I've found the best deal available, so I am always on the hunt. My father instilled that in me, and I love that I carry a piece of him. Sometimes, my husband and sons (12 and 7) let me shop for them, too. They do not use as many beauty products as I do. We can all benefit from nice products, even though their routine ends with moisturizer. That is when I can convince my 12-year-old to apply it.