Do you feel like you spend half a paycheck every time you go to Sephora? Honey, you are not alone! I love makeup, skincare, and smelling good as much as the next person — which is why I am obsessed with these insider tips and money-saving hacks, straight from a Sephora employee. Whether you want to know how to get free perfume, a week’s worth of that uber-expensive eye cream, or how to be the first to try new products, I gotchu.
Here are the ways you can get the best Sephora makeup, freebies, and discounts.
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!
I found discount codes for complimentary sample sizes of items like Make Up For Ever liquid lipstick or Burberry fragrances or a free Tory Burch pouch. (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+ JCPenney 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 per ounce. They also work really well when you need to travel, but keep in mind 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 samples. This Perricone Cold Plasma Eye Cream costs $196 per ounce 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. Ask for pre-made samples at checkout.
Some stores have pre-made samples of popular products ready to hand out to inquiring customers. Be that customer. Note: The samples come from the brand/manufacturer, so which sample Sephora employees give you is totally dependent on the day, time, location, and availability.
7. 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.)
PRO TIP: Get one additional free sample on top of the two you get for every purchase by visiting the Beauty Offers page and entering the promo code you find there!
8. Make use of free, 15-minute mini makeovers.
15-minute makeovers — like smokey eye or contouring — are totally complimentary at Sephora. No purchase necessary.
9. Rake in all the benefits of being part of Sephora’s reward program: Beauty Insider.
Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program has three different tiers. It can be a little confusing, but the crux of it is based around earning points that can be used to “purchase” products. Here’s a quick primer:
- Beauty Insider (basic): Free to join — you can sign up online or at any store using your email — and you’ll earn one point for every dollar spent, which can be traded for “rewards,” aka sample-size products, in Sephora’s rewards marketplace, known as the Rewards Bazaar. Plus, you’ll get a free birthday gift. (More on freebies and birthday gifts next).
- Very Important Beauty Insider (aka VIB): Spend $350 per year to get Very Important Beauty Insider status. VIB peeps enjoy more options for their freebies and birthday gifts and 1.25 points accrued for every $1 spent — plus access to special products and services in Sephora’s Rewards Bazaar.
- Rouge: Spend $1,000 to qualify for the uber-exclusive Rouge status. Rouge earns 1.5 points for every $1 spent, free shipping, early access to new products, the most generous discounts and sales in store and online, and invitations to exclusive Sephora events. 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…
10. 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.
11. Get yourself a free birthday gift.
All Beauty Insiders get a free birthday gift. Recent gifts include a Kat Von D eyeliner, setting powder and lipstick trio; and a travel-sized Drunk Elephant moisturizer and cleanser set.
12. …And get it anytime of year.
Want your Sephora birthday gift early? Technically, you can ask for it any time of year! Just make sure you have a good excuse, like you’re going on vacation somewhere there are no Sephora stores (gasp). There’s no purchase required to get your birthday gift early, but please know the willingness to give your birthday gift early may vary per store and employee.
13. 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.
14. Get free gifts with your Insider points without making a purchase.
At Sephora.com you must make a purchase to redeem points, but in stores, no purchase is required. Keep in mind that in-store perks 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.
15. The best place to redeem your Beauty Insider points is online.
You get access to a way bigger selection online than in store, which usually only has two different rewards to choose from in the glass case on the checkout counter. New rewards drop online every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. PT, so be sure to set a timer if you want to snag something before inventory runs out.
16. But you CAN go negative with your BeautyInsider Points in-store.
Want a 500 point gift like this Clinique More than Moisture sampler but only have 250 points? Ask for it in-store anyway. According to Sephora employee Kyra Gallego (@kyra.gallego), who shared her insider Sephora hacks on TikTok, if you want a free thing, they have to give it to you.
You’ll just have to build your points back up before you can cash-in again.
17. Try before you buy with the Sephora Virtual Makeup Artist tool.
Skip a trip to the store altogether — and avoid spending precious funds on something you won’t love — by trying on products using the Sephora Virtual Makeup Artist tool in the app.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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.
22. 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 two-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.)
23. 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!
You can also have your Sephora rep check other nearby stores for your product, and have them hold it for you to pick up.
24. Ask your local Sephora when new products come in.
Most Sephora stores only get shipments once a week, and it’s often mid-week. Find out when your favorite Sephora store gets theirs, and come the next day to be the first to see what’s hot and trending.
25. Buy value sets for some of the best deals.
Value sets are premade 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
26. Or even better, check out the new Sephora Favorites section for deals on bestselling beauty products.
As of April 2020, Sephora cancelled it’s subscription box program, called Sephora Play! In its place is the Sephora Favorites program, which in my opinion is a much better value. Sephora creates limited edition sets of their best selling beauty products, from makeup to skincare to perfume and haircare, and bundles them together in a discounted set. For example, the Limited Edition Makeup Must Haves set contains the following combination of full and mini-sized products, for $48, which they claim has a $146 value:
- Marc Jacobs Beauty Velvet Noir (Full Size) reg. price $27
- HUDA BEAUTY Power Matte Lipstick – First Kiss (Full Size) reg. price $25
- Too Faced Peach Perfect Mattifying Setting Powder (Mini Size) reg. price $15
- Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (Sample Size) value $7.50
- NARS Orgasm Blush (Full Size) reg. price $30
- Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer (Mini Size) reg. price $15
- KVD Vegan Beauty Tattoo Liner reg. price $21
- Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz – Medium Brown (Full Size) $21
I did the math, and all of these added up to $161.50, but that could be because I couldn’t match the same size on the KVD Vegan Tattoo Liner. But the takeaway is that this is a very good deal!
27. Makeup palettes are where it’s at.
Sephora Makeup palettes offer savings just like value sets or Sephora Favorites. The NARS Overlust Cheek Palette (no longer available, but these are also limited edition) included six different colors, was a $125 value, and sold for $59. Don’t dismiss palettes 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.
28. 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.
29. …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 ounces, $156 per ounce
Travel Size: $12 for .16 ounces., $75 per ounce
Total Savings: 52%
Full Size: $45 for 1 ounce., $45 per ounce
Travel Size: $22 for .5 ounces, $44 per ounce
Total Savings: 2%
Full Size: $39 for 1 ounce., $39 per ounce
Travel Size: $15 for .41 ounces., $36 per ounce
Total Savings: 7%
30. 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.
31. Return lightly-used products for store credit with no hassle.
Sephora’s return policy rocks. Return any (less-than-half) used item, anytime, for any reason. Even without a receipt, bring your ID and you’ll get a store credit. Probably a good idea if you only return products that are at least half full. Keep it classy.
32. Head to a Sephora near you for free events, classes and services.
Sephora stores host services, free 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, and will let you try products for free. Don’t forget to ask for a take-home sample.
Make sure you download the Sephora app to get info on the latest events near you. Sometimes brand reps will show up to educate customers on a new product — and they might just have some generously proportioned samples for you to take home, too! Due to the pandemic, these Sephora events are offered for free online! Even better if you don’t live near a Sephora store.
33. 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.
34. Healthcare workers or first responders get 10% off your entire Sephora purchase.