If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, it’s cosmetics. But makeup, skincare, and fragrance products can be crazy expensive. Here are the best ways to save at Sephora.
Psst…Don’t forget to download the Krazy Coupon Lady app to get the best Sephora sales sent straight to your phone!
1. Search for Sephora Promo Codes on Sephora.com.
Sephora’s famous Weekly Wow deals aren’t really a thing anymore, but Sephora’s Beauty Offers page is gold for anyone who wants to take advantage of all the discounts, deals, and freebies offered in store and online. Seriously — bookmark it!
We found discount codes for complimentary sample sizes of items like Make Up For Ever liquid lipstick or Burberry fragrances; a free Tory Burch pouch; or a pass to Sephora Play!, a monthly subscription box of six trial-sized products. (Promo codes are only good for online purchases, and you can only use one code per purchase.)
2. Find the free perfume coupon inside the Sephora perfume sampler.
When I first saw a perfume sampler, I thought, “Well, there’s a stupid idea.” Why would I spend $65 to get a bunch of travel-sized bottles of perfume when I can get samples for free? Then I saw a customer come in and redeem a Sephora coupon for a free full-size bottle of perfume from the perfume sampler and I had an ah-ha moment!
By purchasing a Sephora Perfume Sampler, you’ll also get a coupon for a free bottle of any of the fragrances in the box. So, I can spend $65 on a perfume sampler and redeem the coupon for a $95 bottle of perfume. Not bad! You can redeem a full-size bottle of one of these scents:
- Tory Burch Signature Eau de Parfum
- Atelier Cologne Clementine California Cologne Absolue
- Clean Reserve Solar Bloom Eau de Parfum
- Prada Candy Eau de Parfum
- Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau de Toilette
- Burberry My Burberry Blush Eau de Parfum
- Versace Bright Crystal Eau de Toilette
- Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum
- Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum
- Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau de Toilette
3. Buy discounted JCPenney gift cards to use at Sephora.
That’s right — you can use your JCPenney gift card or credit card for certain Sephora purchases inside a JCPenney store. First, buy discounted JCPenney gift cards on Raise.com — percentages fluctuate, but the latest seems to hover around 4.5% — and then take them to one of the 570+ JCPenny locations that have a Sephora store inside.
Find a JCPenney with a Sephora store near you by selecting “Sephora” in the “Filter by Service” drop-down.
Unfortunately, you can’t use JCP gift cards at Sephora’s stand-alone stores or on Sephora’s website, but you can use them at JCPenney.com to buy Sephora products. JCPenney’s online inventory of Sephora products is actually pretty good!
4. Get a free take-home sample of nearly any product in the store.
Don’t be shy when it comes to asking for free Sephora samples. There is no purchase required, making this an awesome Sephora hack. Choose up to three samples per world: color (makeup), skincare, and fragrance. You can try out the most expensive products before buying, like the Bare Minerals Blush, which costs $22 a container or $733/oz. They also work really well when you need to travel, but keep in mind that available samples depend on your store’s stock.
5. Make sure you’re choosing the very best — aka most valuable — samples.
Ever wonder what a free sample could be worth at Sephora? Which products provide the best sampling value? Well, I analyzed the price per ounce of the entire Sephora inventory and found the top ten samples. This Perricone Cold Plasma Eye Cream costs $196/oz and is on my list of the best, high-value Sephora samples.
Pro Tip: Don’t just pay attention to the brand name and overall cost of a product. The most important metric when shopping for beauty products is the per-ounce cost. Your wallet — and self-care routine — will reap the rewards of going with the best value per ounce of your favorite products, not just the biggest or smallest size.
6. Get two free Sephora samples with every online order.
Sephora’s generous sample policy is one of the best things about shopping there, and this is true for shopping on Sephora.com too. Every online purchase — even a single order of Sephora’s $14 Cream Lip Stain Liquid Lipstick — comes with two complimentary samples. (No Sephora coupon code needed.)
7. Make use of free, fifteen-minute mini makeovers.
15-minute makeovers — like smokey eye or contouring — are totally complimentary at Sephora. No purchase necessary.
8. Rake in all the benefits of being part of Sephora’s reward program: Beauty Insider.
Changes to Sephora’s Beauty Insider program were implemented on May 29, 2020. The Beauty Insider program still has three different tiers — but now, each tier will earn 1 point for every dollar spent (it used to be a scaled point system). When any Beauty Insider member earns 500 points, they can exchange them for a $10 credit toward a Sephora purchase. Also, Rewards Bazaar items totaling more than 750 points ship for free — no purchase required!
Here is a quick primer on each Sephora Beauty Insider program tier:
Beauty Insider: The basic tier of Sephora’s Beauty Insider program costs nothing to join, and you can sign up online or at any Sephora location using your email. Once you accumulate at least 100 points, you can pick one “reward” item, aka sample-size products from Sephora’s rewards marketplace, the Rewards Bazaar. Beauty Insiders will also get an extra 10% off seasonal sales, a $15 credit to spend at Sephora at the end of the year, and free shipping on any order more than $50. Plus, you’ll get a free birthday gift during your birthday month. (More on freebies and birthday gifts in Tips 10 and 11.)
Very Important Beauty Insider (aka VIB): Spend $350 per year to get Very Important Beauty Insider status. VIB peeps enjoy more options for their freebie rewards and birthday gifts. VIB members also get an extra 15% off seasonal sales, a $20 credit to spend at Sephora at the end of the year, and free shipping on orders more than $35.
Rouge: Spend $1,000 to qualify for the exclusive Rouge status. Rouge earns early access to new products, the most generous discounts and sales in store and online, and invitations to exclusive Sephora events. Rouge members can also get an extra 20% off seasonal sales, a $25 credit to spend at Sephora at the end of the year, and free shipping on all online orders. I’m not saying you should buy a mortgage payment’s worth of beauty products at Sephora, but if you’re going to do it, do it early in the year…
(Want more info? Here’s a chart of the three tiers of Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program.)
9. Save all your purchases for January to make your VIB or Rouge status last as long as possible.
When you qualify for VIB or Rouge status, your membership lasts the current calendar year plus the following year. So, if you have a laundry list of items you know you’ll use throughout the next year — or want to stock up on Christmas gifts super early — then you might as well do it in January.
That’s 23 months of extra perks like free shipping, access to the best sales, and complimentary gifts for birthday, tier anniversary, and access to the Rewards Bazaar. Plus, January is an awesome time to shop at Sephora. The store’s after-holiday sales on holiday gift sets are legit (usually an additional 40% off.)
Lastly, don’t go and be a sleaze ball after I tell you this, but returns do not disqualify your status. Repeat. Do not be a sleaze ball.
10. Stop by Sephora during your birthday week to get your free birthday gift!
Did I already mention it’s totally free to be a regular Beauty Insider? You’ll get a sweet gift for your birthday each year. Recent gifts include a Kat Von D eyeliner, setting powder and lipstick trio; and a travel-sized Drunk Elephant moisturizer and cleanser set. As of spring 2020, birthday gifts have been expanded to include haircare and body care products.
11. Let your Sephora Beauty Insider points accumulate.
The higher the points, the better the reward. No surprise there, right? And since points only expire if you aren’t active at Sephora for 18 months, why not stockpile yours to get the best sort of freebies? For 500 points you can grab a set of SHISEIDO’s four-step Japanese skincare ritual or an Urban Decay sample package including eyeshadow primer, eyeshadow, eye pencil, and mascara.
12. Get free gifts with your Insider points without making a purchase.
New as of May 2020, Rewards Bazaar items totaling more than 750 points ship for free — no merchandise purchase required. There is also no purchase required to redeem rewards for points in-store. Keep in mind that perks in store are often different from online (Sephora.com has a bigger selection). You can’t redeem insider points on JCPenney.com.
Pro tip: When choosing your item, make sure it’s larger than the free sample you could get anyway.
13. Sign up for the Sephora newsletter.
Get the latest scoop on sales, discounts, and new products by signing up for Sephora’s newsletter. Is your inbox already too chaotic to bear another subscription? I feel ya. Get the deal but keep your inbox clutter free by stopping by milled.com, a site that compiles discount codes from thousands of retail newsletters on a daily basis.
14. Stock up at Sephora’s semi-annual sales.
Sephora’s sales really cater to Beauty Insider, VIB, and Rouge members. Their Spring Sale is usually a week long in late April/early May, when Beauty Insiders get 10% off, VIB members get 15% off, and Rouge holders get early access, plus 20% off.
Sephora kicks off the holidays early with a fall sale in mid-November, when even the most popular items are discounted as much as 20% for Beauty Insiders.
15. Do Sephora Black Friday the smart way.
Black Friday in Sephora is something to behold. Sure, there are lots of gift sets valued at $20-$35 selling for $10, but you can continue to buy them anytime between Black Friday and the holidays.
Skip the madhouse by accessing their Black Friday deals early by downloading the Sephora app.
16. Get the best of Sephora’s Cyber Monday deals from your couch.
Sephora does a whole Cyber Week, featuring as much as 50% off products from hot brands like Urban Decay, Make Up For Ever, Benefit Cosmetics, Tarte and, of course, the Sephora brand.
17. Get unlimited free two-day shipping with Sephora Flash.
The Sephora Flash program is like the Amazon Prime of makeup. (Yes, please.) For $15 per year, you’ll get unlimited free 2-day shipping. While every order over $50 is already free, orders under $50 are $5.95, which adds up quickly!
Sephora Flash pays for itself after just a couple orders — plus, imagine the possibilities of dividing up items in your order into multiple orders to maximize the number of deluxe freebies you can get for free (see tip 2.)
18. Get free shipping on any Sephora item not stocked at your store.
Something you want out of stock or not sold at your store? There’s a silver lining: Sephora will ship it to you for free!
19. With Sephora Play! you get six sample products every month for just $9.
Love subscription boxes like Birchbox and Ipsy? Try Sephora Play! for $10 a month. The monthly subscription comes with six trial-size samples of hair-care, skincare, fragrance, and makeup products in a reusable bag. Plus, every box comes with a pass for 50 extra Insider points that can be redeemed at the Rewards Bazaar.
20. Buy value sets for some of the best deals.
Value sets are pre-made bundles of popular products. The savings are usually advertised on the package and can be up to 84% off. For example, the Too Faced Dream Queen Limited-Edition Value Set is $58 (total value of everything inside — $357) and contains these products:
- 24 Eye Shadows
- 2 Blushes
- 1 Bronzer
- 1 Highlighter
- 1 Mascara
- 1 Ultra Push lip Gloss
- Travel Size Hangover Spray
- 4 Face Powders
- 1 Fold over bag
21. Makeup palettes are where it’s at.
Makeup palettes offer savings just like value sets. The NARS Overlust Cheek Palette includes six different colors, is a $125 value, and sells for $59. Don’t dismiss that just because you don’t love one color! The palette may make each item look small, but typically the quantities are close to their full-size counterparts.
22. Avoid travel-size products, as they’re some of the worst buys in the store…
I know it’s tempting, but don’t make eye contact with Sephora’s “Beauty on the Fly” section while standing in line. Danger awaits. Why are you tempted by the small bottle? You want to try something new? You need a small container to take on a plane? Go ask for a free sample of any product in the store and save yourself $15.
23. …Except for when they’re not.
They just don’t make travel-sized cosmetics the way they used to, sigh. Though mini items from Sephora are usually a higher per-ounce cost than their full-size counterparts, here are a few exceptions:
Full Size: $36 for .23 oz., $156 per ounce
Travel Size: $12 for .16 oz., $75 per ounce
Total Savings: 52%
Full Size: $45 for 1 oz., $45 per ounce
Travel Size: $22 for .5 oz., $44 per ounce
Total Savings: 2%
Full Size: $39 for 1 oz., $39 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for .41 oz., $36 per ounce
Total Savings: 7%
24. Get a Sephora credit card.
If you’re cosmetic-obsessed, the Sephora credit card might make sense. Perks include getting 4% of every Sephora purchase back in Sephora credit, 1% of non-Sephora purchases, and a $20 store credit if you spent $500 on non-Sephora purchases in the first 90 days of having the card.
25. Return at least half of used products for store credit with no hassle.
Sephora’s return policy rocks. Return almost any item, anytime, for any reason. Even without a receipt, bring your ID and you’ll get a store credit. If you don’t want employees to talk about you behind your back, I suggest you return products that are at least half full. Keep it classy.
26. Head to a Sephora near you for free events and services.
Sephora stores host services, classes, and other events to teach customers about skincare and new products. Some services, like a sample HydraFacial, require a $75 purchase, while others, like a 15-minute Personalized Skin Consultation, are totally free. Don’t forget to make a reservation. Find special events at a Sephora near you.
27. Try a side hustle and get a Sephora employee discount.
Get a job for 40% off Sephora brands and 20% off everything else! If the obsession is real for you, consider a part-time job with Sephora. Employees have a limit of $500 in purchases each month.
28. Download the Krazy Coupon Lady app.
And, of course, to get the latest on Sephora sales, download the Krazy Coupon Lady app!
Don’t scroll back up! Here are your related articles: