Sephora Return Policy


POV: You're SO excited to try a brand new cleanser at Sephora. You shell out $45 and are expecting to wake up with an entirely new, glowing face in the morning. When in reality, you wake up with tons of new blemishes all to find out that you're allergic to the aforementioned magic cleanser. Now you're out $45 and panic begins to set in. Can you return a lightly used cleanser?

Yes you can. Let's get into how…

1. The Sephora return policy gives you 30 days to get a refund, PayPal being the exception.

A Kat Von D eyeliner from Sephora

If you purchased an item in store, you can return it (either unused or gently used) within 30 days of purchase. Your refund will go back to your form of payment. However, if you purchased something via PayPal in store, you'll automatically get a Sephora gift card when you return before or after 30 days. Why? Because they like to keep you on your toes.

2. After 30 days and up to 60, the Sephora return policy only gives you store credit.

Woman walking out of Sephora store with shopping bag.

If you waited a little longer than 30 days to keep trying the product, you can still return it, but you'll receive store credit.

You can return items bought on Third Party Marketplaces (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube) to Sephora stores.

3. Sephora's store credit is valid online or in-store, but not both.

Sephora uses two different terms for their store credit: merchandise credit and online credit.

  • In-store returns will get you merchandise credit (sometimes called a Sephora store credit).

  • Online returns will get you online credit.

And merch credit is only good in-store; online credit is only valid online at

4. Sephora return policy without receipt

If you're like me and hate hanging onto paper receipts, keep in mind that your orders can also be found under your Sephora Beauty Insider account. Beauty Insider is Sephora's loyalty program, and has three tiers: Beauty Insider (baseline), VIB (spend $350/year), and Rouge (spend $1,000 a year).

If you don't have a receipt or your Beauty Insider account linked, you need your original form of payment to get any store credit at all. If you return something with a gift receipt, you'll only get store credit.

Sephora may ask you for a driver's license or government ID to verify your identity when making a return with no receipt.

5. Within the 60-day return window, Sephora accepts returns of used items.

Used Bobbi Brown eyeshadow

The official policy states that "products must be returned in new or gently used condition". I've been able to return half-used products before, while others have been denied. How each store defines "gently used" is up to the employees and store managers.

6. Sephora monitors return activity for abuse.

Even though we love to test and try new products, sometimes that means we don't love something. With Sephora, there is sort of an unspoken honor code with returns. If it happens a lot, they may flag you and not let you return your purchases anymore, but that is super rare.

Does Sephora have the easiest return policy in the world? Definitely not. Some would even say it's confusing. But at the end of the day, they really try to help as best they can.

7. Sephora online returns by mail are free.

Shipping box and printed out return shipping label for Sephora

Returning something you bought from If the item is new or gently used within 30 days of purchase, you'll receive your refund back to your original form of payment. If Sephora receives your return after 31 days, you'll receive an online credit that isn't valid in stores.

The cost of return shipping is covered by Sephora, but you will not be reimbursed for your original shipping charges.

TIP: has a $50 minimum spend for free shipping. BUT hacking online shipping fees is easy. Sephora often has free shipping promo codes, like FREESHIP, or you could simply buy $50 worth of merchandise and return what you don't want to avoid any extra fees.

8. Sephora's holiday return policy is garbage.

Most holiday return policies work about the same. They start between Oct. 1 and Nov. 1 and run through the end of the year, freezing the return window clock and giving you well into January to make returns.

Sephora's policy is uniquely stingy, giving shoppers very little reason to feel that gifting makeup is wise. Sephora's holiday return policy is only active for purchases made in a 36-day period: from Oct. 27 through Dec. 1.

Purchases made in this window have until Jan. 31 to be eligible to return for credit. That's basically just adding 37 days to the 60-day policy. There is no extension of the "return-for-refund" policy. And there is no extension for purchases made after Dec. 1. I have yet to see another retailer have a less compelling holiday return policy.

9. When you receive a refund, Beauty Insider points earned on your original purchase will be removed.

The checkout counter inside Sephora

This rule is pretty standard among return policies, though.

10. Online orders can't be exchanged by mail.

Let's say you got the wrong color foundation or a serum that you don't love, and you want to exchange it for something else. If you bought it online, this'll mean an extra errand: doesn't do exchanges via mail. Womp.

11. You can return something you bought online to a store, but not vice versa.

Return shipping box sitting on the counter near a register at Sephora

This is true for many retail stores, including Sephora.