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Why I will no Longer be Shopping at Sephora

My reasons why I will no longer be buying product or makeup from Sephora.

By Jo. SchmidtPublished 4 years ago 10 min read
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I used to have a problem when it came to shopping on Sephora.ca and buying a lot much makeup. A few years ago, I became obsessed with “beauty gurus” on Youtube and I began buying lots of makeup. At the time, it brought me a lot of joy and I loved playing with eyeshadow palettes and colours. I spent a lot of time and money buying tons of makeup.

Lately though, I have really and truly fallen out of love with shopping at Sephora. It honestly has nothing to do with the prices they charge. I do most of my makeup shopping now at Shoppers Drug Mart and they sell High-end brands at the same price Sephora does, so the prices they charge at Sephora have nothing to do with my choice to not shop there.

In this article, I will be comparing Sephora to Shoppers Drug Mart as well as Urban Decay. The main reasons for this is because these are the websites I shop through most often when I am buying makeup. I am also located in Canada, and not a lot of companies ship to Canada, so this is why I can only use these two as references.

These are my reasons why I will no longer be shopping at Sephora.

Samples:

My issues first began with Sephora when they took away a sample from every order. Back in the day, with every order, you could pick 3 samples. Now, when I say samples, I mean small tiny things you could get maybe 2 uses out of. I find these sorts of things silly to begin with, because if it is a foundation or skin care item, I know for myself, I can’t tell if I like it after only one use. I would often get things like moisturizer or maybe a cleanser and I would just empty it out into the current moisturizer I am using. I don’t think I have ever purchased anything from a sample I was given, because, like I said, the amount you are given, you can’t figure out whether or not you truly like a product, especially enough to make the decision to spend upwards of $50 or more on the full size.

Anyways, so I already had an issue with these “samples” that were given. And to make matters worse, recently, they have gotten rid of one of the samples you can get with an order. Now, when you order online from Sephora.ca, you can only pick 2 samples instead of 3! With the prices they charge and the sizes of the samples they actually give out, I highly doubt it is any skin off their back to add back one more sample for their customers. Also, the last 3 times I have ordered from Sephora, they sent me the wrong samples. For example, I ordered a sample of a moisturizer, and they sent me a sample of men’s facial wash.

On the Shoppers Drug Mart website, after you put through your order, you are given a free gift, although they didn’t give me any options for a free gift and one was just added to my cart, the sample I was given was a Deluxe size and it is almost 3x larger than any sample I have received at Sephora. This still doesn’t give me a great idea of how the product will work with my skin, but it’s still better than the small, one-time-use sample Sephora sends out. I do remember a time a few months back when I ordered from Shoppers Drug Mart and they sent me a mascara sample. This sample was amazing because I actually got over a months use out of it. This is what I think a sample should be. Not the full sized, but enough to give you a chance to try and it out and decide if you like it or not.

When I went to Urban Decay’s website and made an order, again, samples were straight away added to my cart, I was not given an option. However, Urban Decay added 3 samples to my cart! And these are not small samples that I’ll only get one use out of. They send a pack of multiple lipstick colours to try out, a pack of all of their eyeshadow primers and a pack of four different shades of their foundation.

The one and only thing that is better about Sephora samples in comparison to these other websites is that they allow you to choose. They allow you to choose 2 samples out of 12 different options. However, when I went to look at which ones were offered, 6 of the samples were perfume samples, 3 were foundation samples, 1 was a shampoo/conditioner combo and the last was a cleanser. I find it frustrating when they mostly only give you perfume samples because you can not tell from ordering online what it is going to smell like. I would much rather go into the store and smell it myself rather than wasting 1 of my 2 samples on a perfume. But again, the samples you are given from Shoppers or Urban Decay, you actually get a decent amount where you can try it out and use it a few times to decide if you like it or not. How is a shampoo/conditioner that I get barely 1 use out of going to sell me on how it works in my hair enough to make me commit to buying the full sizes?

Points System:

The points system at Sephora is an actual joke. The point system itself is pretty standard, the usual $1=1 point type of thing and what can you get with these points? Garbage! Once again, more one-time use samples are offered in exchange for your earned points. At the time I am writing this article, there are mostly skin care samples you can receive for 100 points, or there’s a small card holder for 250 points, and the best thing I’ve seen, a cup to hold your makeup brushes for 500 points. So, to put it bluntly, you spent $500 of your own money to get a cup! Or you can go to a dollar store and get yourself a cup for $1 that you can paint and decorate however you like. Once and awhile, I have seen “beauty experiences,” that you can use your points towards. But these experiences sell out almost immediately, as well as cost you about 25,000 points. So basically, if you are lucky enough to snag a spot on one of these beauty experiences, it’s still going to cost you $25,000. A while back, I was excited when I saw they were offering a makeup eraser as a reward for 100 points. Now a regular makeup eraser is 7x10 inches. I wasn’t expecting to receive a full sized one, as the full sized ones run about $25 CAD. However, the one they sent me for my 100 point reward, was probably 2x3 inches. How is a person supposed to wash their face with this? Receiving this in the mail was probably what caused me to make my final decision that I would no longer be shopping at Sephora.

They have 3 different tiers customers can be on based on how much money they spend at Sephora a year. The first tier that everyone can be apart of is Beauty Insiders. The next tier is VIB which I believe you earn when you spend over $350 at Sephora in a year, and the highest tier is VIB Rouge, which you earn when you spent over $1000 a year at Sephora. I am ashamed to say there were probably three years in a row I was a VIB Rouge, last year, in 2019, I went down to VIB and this year, I will definitely be dropped down to Beauty Insider because there is no way I will spend even close to $350 at Sephora this year. However, there is no real benefit to the higher tiers except for the one sale Sephora has each year. During the sale, Beauty Insiders receive 10% off their order, VIB get 15% off and VIB Rouge get 20% off their order. This is literally the only benefit I see to having the higher tier in their points system. They try to advertise that if you are a VIB Rouge, you get free shipping, which sounds great, until you realize that you probably only need to have 2 things in your cart to get free shipping because everything at Sephora costs an arm and a leg.

Shopper Drug Mart used to have a points system called Optimum. I was never signed up for this point system so I am not exactly sure how it worked in the past. However, within the last couple of years, Shoppers Drug Mart has joined with Real Canadian Superstore, meaning the two stores now have the same points system. Prior to this happening, I did have the President’s Choice MasterCard which is the card and points system offered by Superstore. So when they joined forces with Shoppers Drug Mart, I was thrilled I could shop there for my makeup and skin care and still be earning PC (now called PC Optimum) points. Out of all the points systems, this is definitely my favourite. You are able to start your own PC Optimum account on their website without signing up for a credit card of any kind. Yes, with the credit card, you earn points faster, but it is possible to earn lots of points without signing up for a new credit card. The best thing about these points, you can use them towards any purchase you make at Shoppers Drug Mart or Superstore. You can use the points to take money off your groceries or your makeup. They also offer tons of different promos, double the points and free gifts with purchases. Tons of things you would never see on Sephora.

The points system through Urban Decay isn’t as good as the one at Shoppers Drug Mart, however, everything is better than what Sephora offers. The Urban Decay points system is called Beauty Junkies. It’s the same thing Sephora has $1=1 Point. However, they often have items that have double points and, just like the PC Optimum points, the points you earn go towards money off a future purchase. For every 100 points you earn, you get $10 off an order. Your online account saves the points you’ve earned, and when you go to make an order, a prompt will come up telling you that you have $10 you can use off an order. This probably isn't the best points system out there, however, it’s still better than Sephora’s in the sense that you can use the points you earn for money off an order, instead of just more useless samples.

Birthday Gift:

This point I really debated adding into this article, because, to be fair, Shoppers Drug Mart does not give out any type of Birthday gift. I think Urban Decay does, however, I am not 100% sure of this. Anyways, my birthday is in October, and through the month of October 2019, I did not order anything from Sephora. I had no need for anything. In the month of November, I was in store with my sister, doing some shopping, and I remembered that I never received my birthday gift in October. When we went up to pay, I asked them if I could still get it because it would show on my profile that I hadn’t gotten it. The employee told me ‘no’ since my birth month had passed. I find this very frustrating because in 2018, I was away the entire month of October, I was out of the country and same thing, I asked an employee if I could get my birthday present early (this was in September). This time, the employee said yes and gave me my gift, telling me that it would just appear on my profile that I had already picked up my gift, that way, if I bought anything else in the month of October, my account would already know that I received my birthday gift and I wouldn’t get another one. So if I was allowed to get my birthday gift from them early, why could I not get it a little later? It would appear on my account that I never received it, so I’m not trying to scam Sephora out of one extra gift. This really isn’t a big deal because, I mean, to be completely honest, the gifts, like their samples, aren’t that great. However, my point of this is just to show once again how cheap they are getting. First they take away one extra sample, now you can’t get your birthday present if you are a little late?

Ebates:

I am an avid user of Ebates. It is a super easy way to make a little cash back on my online orders. For the longest time, Sephora was on Ebates and offered 5% back, which was fantastic. Sometimes it went down, for example, during their sale once a year, the cash back would go down to 2.5%, but there were also times they had sales on Ebates and would offer up to 10% cash back. Another way Sephora is getting cheaper, they now only offer 2.5% cash back, which drops down to a worthless 1% during their sale. I have never seen it have sales online anymore, whereas Urban Decay is always offering 8% or higher cash back through Ebates.

I have just become so frustrated with Sephora in the last few months. I think all these things they are doing makes them look extremely cheap. Their actions they show that they aren’t putting their customers first because if they were, they would look into their points system, the samples they are sending out and many other things and figure out ways they can improve. I can tell you right now, if they would offer a better points system that maybe offered customers money off their orders like other makeup brands and companies do, they would have my business back, as would probably many other people go back to shopping there. But until that day comes along, I will be giving my business to other places and not shopping at Sephora at all.

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Jo. Schmidt

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