Beauty Bullseye: Sephora

Truth be told, I’ve probably spent more time in Sephora than in any other store in my adult life. It’s one of those places I go when I’m meeting a friend who is late, or if I just want to kill some time or escape from the wildness of the street for a few minutes. I can see how, to some, Sephora might seem like a nightmare, there are dozens of women pushing past each other, fighting for mirrors, or the attention of salespeople, perfume may get sprayed in your eyes if you’re not careful, and sometimes the lines are incredibly long, but if you love makeup—it’s heaven, all the things you love conveniently in one place to enjoy. Oh Sephora, how I love thee, let me count the ways!

The advantage of Sephora is that, unlike the drugstore, you get to play with the makeup—to me, this is a huge advantage, because if I had a dollar for every product I bought in a drugstore that I never would have purchased if I tested it, well I’d have a lot more money to spend at Sephora. Some people might like to shop the makeup counters at department stores, but not me. I hate having to jump from counter to counter, trying to shake off salesgirls who are so bored they won’t stop following me around making suggestions, or trying desperately to get their attention so I can just buy what I need. At Sephora there is usually a sales girl around if you need help, but once they’ve politely asked you if you need something, they leave you alone—I wish retailers would realize this is the perfect way to provide customer service. I’m someone who has worked a lot of retail, including department store make-up counters, and I can tell you, people don’t like you in their face, but they do want your help when they need it.

They also have their own brand of products, and for the most part they’re really great and reasonably priced too, I have often opted for a Sephora brand product when the name brand was just way too expensive, and I haven’t really been disappointed.

Flashy Liner Waterproof, $8Colorful Duo Eyeshadow, $8, Ultra-Shine Lip Gloss, $7

Sephora has been around since 1997, it originally opened in France in 1993, and is owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH). I couldn’t find anything too negative about the company either, so that’s a plus. They have a generous return policy, and regularly offer free shipping over $50 on their site too. If you like Sephora you’re probably already a beauty insider, which means they give you a card so when you buy stuff you gain a point for every dollar spent, once you hit 100 points you get a fancy deluxe sample, and then once you hit 500 points you get a mini-kit or sample set, right now it’s a benefit best of sampler kit. I have 474 points in my bank right now and I’m not sure what happens if I just keep saving them, either way it’s better than other stores offer. A lot of places don’t even give samples anymore—or they’re inconsistent about it, and who doesn’t love free samples?

As a beauty insider you also get a birthday gift, for the past couple of years it has been a mini bottle of Philosophy birthday cake shower gel—or at least that’s what I’ve gotten. You have to pick it up in stores, but it’s a smart little incentive to get you in.

In fact Sephora is very good at getting you into their stores to spend money. They send e-mails with 15% off coupons, and I’m a total sucker for them. I go in thinking I’ll outsmart them and buy a product I was going to buy anyway, but then I see a new lip balm, or an anti-frizz spray. Suddenly I’m thinking “well, it is 15% off the whole purchase so I should probably buy some more stuff too” and then I leave having spent $65 and saved $9. Coupons are all about justification, I can walk out of there feeling proud that I was so thrifty, when really I wouldn’t have even considered buying that stuff if it weren’t for the discount—damn you Sephora, you get me every time!

Another sneaky trick they institute are the mini products strategically placed in front of you as you wait in line. I have seem many women (myself included) add-on an extra $5-$30 picking up one of those tempting little guys. Sometimes you think they’re going to be cheap because they’re small, but you have to be careful, because they throw in some expensive full size items to trick you. I’m sure if you have will power it’s not hard to resist, but miniatures are so appealing for some reason, it’s a phenomenon, it’s so pleasing to see something shrunk down small, I just can’t help it!

FileMate by tweezerman $5 each, Fresh Soy Face Cleanser To Go $15 for 1.7 oz., Sephora for OPI Daily Hand Moisturizer To Go $5 for 1.7 oz., Brilliant Glossing Sheer Shine Mist To Go $9 for 1.7 oz., Some Kind-A Gorgeous To Go $9 for .09 oz.,

When I walk in to a Sephora I usually don’t even know where to start, because the fun of it is the ability to play. Put a lipstick on, wipe it off, spray in some curl enhancer, why not? Alright, I assume a lot of women do this but maybe not—If I’m on my way somewhere else and I pass a Sephora, I like to run in and try on some new perfume or makeup, and then just pop back out in to the street and be on my way. It’s an awesome way to really figure out if you like something. Often I’ll forget I even did it and then on the way home I’m wondering “what’s that gorgeous smell?” only to realize it’s coming from my own wrist. Other times I go in there with a mission, or even better, with a gift card, but usually I go in to see what’s there. I like to play a game with myself, it’s called “if I had all the money in the world what would I buy?” I’m sure you’ve played it before too. It’s similar to the game “What would I buy If I had to buy something” which I only play in stores I don’t like. Here’s my list of what I’d be buying at Sephora today if I didn’t have to worry about silly things like rent, health insurance, or credit card payments—hey, you can always dream!

I have a purple eyeshadow obsession, also a Shiseido eyeshadow obsession, they go on so silky smooth and blend together beautifully, too bad they’re $25 each.

Shiseido Luminizing Satin Eye Color in Ghost, $25 for .07 oz.

Recently when I go into Sephora I’ve been sampling the Tocca fragrances, they all smell amazing. What I love about them is how they really change when you spray them on your skin, they are scents with a great deal of depth, there are so many lovely notes to discover as you wear them all day.

Tocca 1.7 oz Eau de Parfum Sprays, $68 for 1.7 oz.

I’ve posted before about the Tarte lip stains, but little did I know that was just the glossy collection, now they’ve come out with a collection of matte shades too. I want one, they’re very similar to the others, but without the shiny glossy finish, and they come in a whole new set of bright colors.

LipSurgence™ Natural Matte Lip Stain,$24 for 0.1 oz.

I hate washing my hair, it’s long, easily tangled, and takes forever to dry, so I’m a big fan of dry shampoo. I’ve been reading good things about this one from Klorane, I’ve tried it in stores and it seems really nice, but I have tons of Oscar Blandi at home, so I have to use that up before I can justify buying more. It’s also nice that it’s made without Parabens, Sulfates, Synthetic Dyes and a bunch of other bad stuff.

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo With Oat Extract, $18 for 1.7 oz.

I haven’t been able to bring myself to buy this Clinique skin-tone corrector because of the price, I have the moisturizer and it has helped lighten some sun damage around my eyes, so I really want to see how effective this product is. I’ve tried it in stores, but with a product like this you really need to keep using it to get results. It’s also supposed to be great for lightening acne scars.

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector, $49.50 for 1 oz.

Sephora keeps trying to get me to buy this eyeshadow compact, no seriously, they’ve sent me e-mails recommending it and it’s all over the magazines. It calls out its siren song to me when I’m in the stores, but the price is steep and I already have more eyeshadow than anyone I know, maybe one day though…

5-Colour Eyeshadow – Stylish Move 970, $58

For many years I’ve dreamt of a hair iron that could do anything—barrel curls, soft waves, or straight and smooth. I haven’t had the pleasure of trying this baby out, but in my imagination it’s amazing, so I’m going to go ahead and believe that for the price, this iron can do anything—I wonder if it can crimp too?

The Seductress: Curl, Wave & Straight One-Inch Iron, $230

Let’s be honest though, if I really had all the money in the world I would just buy a whole Sephora store and live there, or attach it to my house as an extra room. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about storing all of the products I buy either, wouldn’t that be wonderful?

Anyone else have a deep love of Sephora, what are your “if money wasn’t an issue” dream products?

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9 Comments

Filed under cosmetics, shopping

9 responses to “Beauty Bullseye: Sephora

  1. lizzy

    i love tocca! i also like the way sephora lipstick smells. does that make sense? now i want to go right to a sephora and go crazy!

    • Haha! I totally agree with you, they do smell nice, and it’s funny because there are some really expensive brands like YSL that don’t smell good at all!

  2. Megan

    I like playing with all the toys at Sephora but the smell of all that perfume gives me a headache! And it is way to easy to spend money there.

  3. Alison

    Sephora is another store I have to limit my visits too….I always end up spending way too much money. I used to pass one on my way to school, almost every day I went in to freshen up for school….dry shampoo, a little loose powder,some hand lotion and then perfume…poof I arrived to class not looking like I worked 8 hours…I don’t think I was only one in there doing that! If I had money to burn in sephora I would buy the entire remede skin care line, every philosophy lotion, all those fancy lip tints u rave about, a giant bottle of moschinos love love, the tocca candles and perfume…..and ofcourse a very large gift card for each of my friends and my sister owl ofcourse. Wow…I’m so greatful that I’m not working near a sephora today…I’m dreaming of all the products I must have now!

    • It’s fun to think about isn’t it? You’re so generous to think of buying gifts for your friends—maybe I would let them come over and visit me in my personal Sephora store!

  4. haren

    I loved when Sephora used to post the ingredients of all the perfumes, they stopped and that upset me. Why did they stop?

  5. sara

    I’ve only been in Sephora twice as we don’t have one here, so Ulta is kind of my Sephora. Although they don’t carry nearly as many brands as Sephora does and shopping isn’t as hands-on.

    Currently I’m coveting the Tokidoki & Tarina Tarantino lines @ Sephora.

    • Sara, I’ll be doing an Ulta post soon too, so no worries! There aren’t as many Ultas here and they’re only outside the city so I have to drive a bit, but it’s always worth it. Ulta wins on nail polish and I love that they mix in drug store items too!

      I love the packaging for both Tokidoki & Tarina Tarantino too, so cute!!

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