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Sephora Store Guide: Find the Top Deals and Sales at Sephora

Sept. 9, 2016
Shopping, Store Savings Guides
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Looking good shouldn’t have to cost a lot, but lipstick and hairspray can sure add up. That’s why we compiled the cost-saving strategies you need to know about shopping at Sephora. Here’s how to shop smart at the popular cosmetics store.

About Sephora

In the retail world, Sephora lives at the corner of makeup and hair care. The beauty brand sells everything from major hair care products like the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer to smaller pampering items like body wash and nail polish. But it’s not all hair and nails. The retailer offers products like shaving cream and cologne for men as well.

Sale events

Sephora has a variety of products to offer, but it also offers up plenty of ways to save. If you’re trying to pinpoint when to do your beauty shopping, here’s when you can expect to save the most.

  • Black Friday: Like many retailers, Sephora participates in Black Friday. Each year on the day after Thanksgiving, the store hosts special limited-time deals. In 2015, some beauty products were reduced to just $10 each.
  • Semiannual sales: Historically, Sephora holds semiannual sales in April and November. Sales typically are limited to the store’s rewards members, so it may be worth signing up before these promotions roll around.
  • Rotating offers: Even in the absence of an organized sale, there are still ways to save. Year-round, Sephora shoppers can head to the sale section of the store’s website to find items that have been marked down from their original prices.

Love deals? We'll find you more of them.

Explore cash-back offers at nearby shops and restaurants.

Rewards program

At many retailers, dedicated shoppers can join free membership programs to make their patronage at the store more worthwhile. Sephora is no exception. Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program has three tiers with corresponding benefits that get better with each subsequent level.

At the free basic Beauty Insider level, members can reap points on each purchase and receive a birthday gift and free beauty classes. Next up is VIB status, where you add on more incentives like seasonal savings and a free custom makeover. You must spend $350 per calendar year to maintain this membership. Finally, you can level up to VIB Rouge if you spend $1,000 per calendar year. Here you’ll get everything included in the prior levels, plus free two-day shipping and invitations to exclusive events.

Sephora coupons

Sephora gives shoppers coupons, too. Visit the Beauty Deals page, which congregates all of the ongoing offers, including limited-time markdowns, free products and more. Take a look at this page before checkout to see which promo codes are valid and which coupons can be used in-store. All shoppers get three free samples with every order.

Additionally, follow Sephora on Facebook for up-to-date sale and product announcements. And if you download the Sephora to Go app (free for iOS and Android), you’ll unlock exclusive mobile offers and product recommendations.

Shipping and returns

If you shop at a Sephora store or at a Sephora location within a J.C. Penney department store, you’ll obviously forgo paying for shipping. For online shoppers, Sephora offers free three-day shipping on orders over $50. Orders under $50 cost a flat rate of $5.95.

But that’s not all. Sephora has taken a page out of Amazon Prime’s book with an even faster shipping option for loyal fashionistas. The Sephora Flash subscription gives members unlimited free two-day shipping on all orders with no minimum purchase amount. The membership costs $10 annually and automatically renews at the end of each 12-month period.

What’s it like to make a return at Sephora? If you’re not satisfied with your online order, the retailer offers free returns to any Sephora location or by mail with use of a prepaid return shipping label, within 90 days of your purchase date. Retail location purchases must be returned in-store. Read the retailer’s policy for full details on compliance and restrictions.

NerdWallet takes you shopping

For the best experience at Sephora, join the Beauty Insider program. The introductory level is free, and you’ll earn points on each purchase you make to use toward future purchases. If you’re a repeat online customer, it may make sense for you to join the Flash two-day shipping subscription. But if you spend $1,000 a year as a rewards member, you’ll get the fast shipping for free anyway.

Courtney Jespersen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @courtneynerd.