Like most people, I signed up for Sephora‘s Beauty Insider Program for the free birthday gift. What I didn’t know at first was that this rewards program has upper levels, which don’t even matter. You really don’t need to be a Sephora VIB or Rouge Beauty Insider to get the most out of the program. I’ll show you why.
There are benefits to the upper tiers of Sephora’s program, but you’d have to buy a ridiculous amount of beauty products to make it worth the spend. Read on for more …
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1. All you need is to be a Sephora Beauty Insider … for free!
The most exciting Sephora Beauty Insider benefits don’t require a minimum spend. As a basic Beauty Insider, you’ll get access to special sales, end-of-year gift credit, and a free Sephora birthday gift.
So what is the Sephora VIB status anyway? To achieve the Sephora VIB status (aka “Very Important Beauty Insider” status), you have to spend $350 within a year. For Rouge, the minimum spend is $1,000. The benefits aren’t worth the minimum spend, though. We’ll get into that math in a minute.
2. Everyone gets a free Sephora birthday gift, regardless of status.
Anyone who signs up for the free Sephora Beauty Insider program can get their pick of a Sephora birthday gift. In 2023, you can pick between:
- Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Skincare Birthday Gift Set — $35 value
- Ilia Makeup Birthday Gift Set — $29.57 value
- Ouai “The Ouai of Life” Birthday Gift Set — $27.29 value
- Farmacy Clean Skincare Birthday Gift Set (VIB or Rouge Members Only) — $21.73 value
- Dior Fragrance Birthday Gift Set — $17.55 value
- Maison Margiela Birthday Gift Set (only at Sephora in Kohl’s) — $13.17 value
- 250 points added to your Beauty Insider account
TIP: Score a free Ulta birthday gift while you’re celebrating, too!
3. All Sephora Beauty Insider levels earn one point for every dollar spent.
On standard everyday purchases, you’ll earn one Beauty Insider point for every dollar you spend.
Sephora VIB and Rouge-level Beauty Insiders used to earn 25% – 50% more on every dollar spent, but the policy changed in 2020. Now it’s one point for every dollar for everyone — unless you’re participating in a special event or sale.
4. Sephora VIB and Rouge members get slightly better sales — but it’s not worth the spend.
During Sephora’s semi-annual sales, Beauty Insiders get slightly greater discounts depending on their status. Those with higher statuses like Sephora VIB also have longer access to sales.
- Rouge members get 20% off during the first window of the sale, which can range anywhere from a few days to a week. They continue to get 20% off for the duration of the sale.
- Sephora VIB members get 15% off during the second phase of the sale.
- Basic-level Beauty Insiders get 10% off during the second phase of the sale.
You can use this discount on almost anything in the store, though there are some exceptions and limitations. For example, you can only get the sale discount on one Dyson product per order. You can get around this restriction by breaking up your order into multiple separate purchases with one Dyson product in each.
It’s great to get an additional 5% – 10% off, but that’s not going to make up for the $350 or $1,000 minimum spend in most cases.
TIP: The timing of the semi-annual sales at Sephora change every year, but they usually happen in April/May (the Sephora Spring sale) and October/November (fall).
5. Earn extra points at Sephora Point Multiplier Events.
Twice a year, Sephora hosts Point Multiplier Events. You need to use an event-specific coupon code to get the point multiplier. During these events:
- Beauty Insiders get 2x points on select purchases
- Sephora VIB members earn 3x points
- Rouge members earn 4x points
While you should definitely take advantage of Point Multiplier Events, they’re not a great substitution for Sephora’s old program, where Sephora VIBs and Rouge members earned more points on every dollar spent all year round. Now, you can only earn increased points during these brief events and only on select products.
TIP: If you earn your points at a Point Multiplier Event, your redemption rates in the Rewards Bazaar or for Beauty Insider Cash will go also up. For example, if you only spend $50 to earn 100 points as a basic Beauty Insider, your redemption rate would be 4% rather than the usual 2% on Beauty Insider Cash. The redemption rate would increase to 6% for VIBs who earned their points at Point Multiplier Events and 8% for those with Sephora Rouge status.
Do Sephora points expire?
You may be wondering with all of these extra Sephora points rolling in if they will ever expire. The answer is … sort of, but probably not.
According to Sephora’s website, “All unredeemed Beauty Insider Points will expire when a program member has not engaged in Beauty Insider Point activity associated with that membership account (through purchase or redemption) for 12 months or more.”
Basically, if you maintain your membership and be sure to make sure your shopping is connected to your account, your points will never expire as long as you’re shopping at least once a year. And with our inside intel on Sephora discounts and hacks, it will be tough not to shop at Sephora regularly.
6. Hit Sephora VIB or Rouge status early in the year to reap the most benefits.
Once you spend $350 or $1,000 to become a VIB or Rouge member, respectively, you keep that status for the rest of the current year and the following year.
So if you become a VIB within the first month of 2022, you’ll keep that status until the end of 2023 — even if you don’t spend a dime in 2023. But if you earn VIB or Rouge at the end of 2022, you’ll still only keep your status until the end of 2023. This means you have fewer opportunities to earn points and take advantage of larger sales.
7. Sephora points don’t expire — unless you go 12 months without shopping.
Sephora points used to expire after 18 months, but Sephora changed this policy in April 2020. Now they expire after 12 months without any activity. Earning points through purchases counts as activity, as does redeeming points in any capacity.
8. Find the biggest bang for your buck when you redeem Beauty Insider points in the Rewards Bazaar.
In Sephora’s Rewards Bazaar, you’ll find mini versions of popular products. This is where you’ll get the best deals per point in Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. But note how spending more money to earn rewards doesn’t give you more value:
- If you spent $100 to earn 100 Beauty Insider rewards points, your return on investment would come out to almost 7.7%. For example, in mid-2021 Sephora had a mini version of Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer available in the Rewards Bazaar for 100 Beauty Insider Points. The regular price was $30.95 per ounce. The reward size was $0.25 per ounce, making its cash value $7.65.
- If you spent $250 to earn the 250 Beauty Insider rewards points, your return on investment would come out to 8.5%. During the same time period, Sephora offered a mini version of Glow Recipe’s Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask and Plum Plump Hyaluronic Acid Serum for 250 Beauty Insider Points. The 0.17-ounce reward size of the eye mask had a cash value of $14.28. The 0.17-ounce reward-size serum had a cash value of $7.14. Altogether, this reward would be $21.42.
The difference in return on investment for $150 more dollars spent is less than 1%. Womp. But hey, if you’re gonna spend the money anyway, collect your free stuff. But spending more to get more is definitely not an incentive at Sephora.
TIP: Don’t mistake everything in Sephora’s Rewards Bazaar for a good deal. Sephora once offered a reward-sized version of Living Proof’s Curl Shampoo and Conditioner. They were one ounce each and cost 250 Beauty Insider reward points. The reward was worth $4.92 total, for a total redemption rate of only 2%.
9. You can now exchange Sephora points for Beauty Insider Cash — but the redemption rate isn’t great.
In 2020 Sephora introduced Beauty Insider Cash, which for the first time ever allowed all Beauty Insider members to exchange their points for dollars-off purchases rather than using points to shop for select products in the Rewards Bazaar.
The Rewards Bazaar is still almost always a better deal. But maybe you’re not overly concerned with getting the best deal if it means building up a collection of mini beauty items you may or may not like. Maybe you’d rather save money on full-size beauty products you already know, love, and were planning on buying anyways. In this case, Beauty Insider Cash gives you more flexibility.
For every 500 points, you qualify for $10 off purchases — essentially a 2% cash-back offer. Rouge Insiders who save up to 2,500 points will get $100 off a purchase, which is basically a 4% cash-back offer.
This isn’t a jaw-dropping deal. To earn 2,500 points, you would need to spend $2,500 on makeup and/or buy an unreasonable amount of product at Point Multiplier Events!
10. Load up on free samples with Sephora Rouge status, but it’s not worth your minimum spend.
Sephora Rouge status shoppers can use their free shipping to load up on extra free samples without any extra costs. Two free samples come with every order, so breaking up your order into multiple shipments helps you get multiple free samples. Whether or not those samples are worth the $1,000 spend is another question altogether. In June of 2021, for example, Sephora was offering 0.05-ounce samples of Bulgari Eau de Parfum Au The Blanc. The total value of this sample size was $4.16 if you got two.
But not every sample is worth even that much. In June of 2021, Sephora was offering a sample of Porefessionals Pore Minimizing Primer. This sample was only worth $0.72.
Is it nice to get free samples, especially when they are high value? Absolutely yes. But is it worth spending $1,000 on products to get even more of them? Noooo.
TIP: Remember that splitting your orders up means they won’t be packaged as efficiently. You may or may not decide that the environmental costs of inefficient shipping aren’t worth the perks of maximizing free sample policies.
11. All Beauty Insider levels get free standard shipping on every purchase.
Sephora leveled up their free shipping benefits for all statuses, which makes being a Beauty Insider (for free) even better.
Before, Beauty Insiders and the rest of the general public only got free shipping on orders of $50 or more, while Sephora VIB members got free shipping on orders of $35 or more. Previously, only Rouge members got free shipping on all orders with no minimum spend.
Now, all Beauty Insider levels get free shipping with no minimum spend. This just gives you another reason to keep reaping the free Beauty Insider perks.
Standard shipping is $6.50 at Sephora. So if you haven’t signed up for a free Beauty Insider membership yet, RUN and sign up now to avoid shipping fees at all costs.
TIP: Wondering how long Sephora takes to ship? Standard shipping takes three business days. If you need your order shipped even faster, you can pay $15 to upgrade to Flash Shipping. Flash Shipping gives you access to 1- to 2-day shipping on all of your orders for 12 months.
12. Link your Sephora Beauty Insider account with Kohl’s Rewards to double your earnings and perks.
Kohl’s Rewards gives you 7.5% back in rewards when you use a Kohl’s Card or 5% back in rewards when you pay any other way. This includes Sephora at Kohl’s purchases. And the best part is, you’ll earn points on your Sephora at Kohl’s purchases with your Beauty Insider membership, too! And you don’t have to be a Sephora VIB or Rouge member to scoop both rewards.
Be sure to link your two accounts to score double the rewards on your Sephora purchases from Kohl’s.
13. Get marginally more end-of-the-year credit with Sephora VIB or Rouge status.
At the end of every year, Beauty Insiders are rewarded with Dollar Savings Offers. These offers are essentially credits you can use to purchase beauty products at Sephora, but they do come with a minimum spend.
Sephora can technically change the details of this benefit from year to year, but in 2020 Basic Beauty Insiders received a $15 credit applicable to purchases $75 and up. VIB and Rouge members got more with the same minimum spend. Sephora VIBs received a $20 credit, while Rouge members got $25.
While it’s nice to get an extra $5 to $10 in credits due to your VIB or Rouge status, the benefit isn’t large enough to justify reaching for the $350 or $1,000 minimum spend — again, unless that was money you were going to spend anyways.
If you’re a VIB or Rouge Status member and want to clue us in on something I missed, drop a comment and let us know below!