17 Sephora Shopping Secrets You’ll Wish You Knew Sooner

Makeup gurus and new beauty mavens alike know makeup can cost a very pretty penny. Popular stores like Sephora offer a wide variety of makeup and beauty products, but if you know how to shop, you can always get better value for your dollar. Check out these Sephora shopping hacks to save and earn Cash Back when you shop with Rakuten.

1. Become a Sephora Beauty Insider

One of the very first things you should do at Sephora is to become a Beauty Insider. You’ll get rewarded points for every purchase that can be redeemed for free gifts in the Rewards Bazaar, a birthday present, Sephora coupons during seasonal sales and so much more. The more you spend, the better the perks when you move up to VIB then Rouge.

2. Cash in your Beauty Insider points in-store

Online, you’d have to make a purchase to redeem your points. In-store, however, you can walk right up to the counter and trade in your points for any of the goodies available.

3. Sign up for the newsletter

To get exclusive Sephora coupon codes, alerts about special fan sales and more, sign up for emails.

4. Wait for the semi-annual sales

Historically, Sephora has held two unforgettable sales every year in April or May and November. Here is when it really pays to be a Beauty Insider. Beauty Insiders usually get a Sephora promo code for unlimited use at 10% off, VIB members get 15% off and Rouge members get 20% off. Rouge members typically get first access to the sale with a week’s head start.

5. Shop the Sephora Collection

If you want to save some serious cash but not skimp on quality, try the Sephora Collection. This is Sephora’s own line of makeup, tools and brushes, skin care, hair care, fragrance and more, all priced affordably for the savvy shopper.

6. The best return policy

Get free returns and exchanges, even on used products. Sephora.com purchases can be returned at any Sephora store or with the pre-paid return label for free within 60 days. Purchases made in-store can also be returned within 60 days for a full refund in the original form of payment. If you can’t get money back, you will likely get store credit.

Sephora free samples

7. Free samples with every purchase

Every time you shop on Sephora.com, you get two pick two free samples with every purchase. Select from hot, new makeup and trending beauty products to get your fix for free.

8. Get free samples in store, too

Get a free sample of just about any product in store; all you have to do is ask. You can choose one from the makeup, skincare and fragrance sections with no purchase required. This is a great way to find your new favorite makeup! Sephora associates usually give enough to last you through a trip, so these are perfect for traveling.


9. Browse the Beauty Offers

The Beauty Offers page is filled with Sephora promo codes that you can use towards qualifying orders. You’ll find free gifts, sample sets and more with minimum purchases of usually $25 or $35.

10. Don’t skip the sale section

Sephora always has things on sale, and it’s easy to find makeup from brands like Fenty Beauty and Urban Decay and beauty products for up to 50% off. Before you checkout, make sure you stop by the sale to see what’s available.

11. Sign up for Flash 2-Day Shipping

If you shop on Sephora.com frequently, Flash 2-Day Shipping might be a great investment for you. For only $15 a year, you can get fast and free shipping with no minimum. Otherwise, 2-day shipping is $10.95 and standard 3-day shipping is free on orders $50, complete eye makeup sets by Lancome and much more.

12. Shop Value Sets

The Value Sets are one of the best Sephora secrets. These sets let you try popular brands’ best-selling products in mini sizes for an amazing price. Think lip gloss kits from Buxom, skin care duos from Drunk Elephant, complete eye makeup sets from Lancome, hair products from Ouai and more. Sort by price, recipient and category to find the perfect set.

13. Try Play! By Sephora

Did you know Sephora has its own monthly beauty subscription box? It includes five of the most sought-after products in trial-size samples so you can try before you buy. Each beauty box is only $10 a month, so get started and subscribe here.

14. Only buy palettes

Don’t fall into the trap of buying single eyeshadow products at Sephora. Instead, buy an entire eyeshadow or lipstick palette to get a much better deal.  

15. Get free shipping if it’s out of stock in-store

If the product you want is sold out in stores, let a Sephora associate know and they’ll get it shipped to you for free.

16. See what’s happening at Sephora

It pays to shop at Sephora in-store (literally! Scroll down to #17 to see why…). In addition to being able to sample products in real life, you can get mini makeovers, facials, consultations and more for free. The more complete makeovers and skincare services are free with a $50 purchase. You can also sign up for free beauty classes.

17. Shop with Rakuten

Sephora is one of the best stores to shop with Rakuten because we offer online and In-Store Cash Back occasionally! If you haven’t already, join Rakuten today to start shopping smarter. Have fun using these Sephora secrets to save big!

From the latest tech to the hottest fashions and everything in between, the editors at The Smart Shopper are in the know and ready share their expertise. Check out our posts on shopping secrets and product trends for those who live for a little retail therapy.

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