I feel like the experience you will have at a Sephora varies greatly depending on what location you travel to. In Manhattan there are many Sephora locations. Some are nice, some are not. Some have a great layout, and some have a terrible layout. Some of them have lots of SAs and some seem to have very few. Some of the SAs are knowledgable, and some are not. Also, some brands are not carried in every Sephora, so be mindful of this. One thing I do like is that you can check online whether or not something is carried in a particular store.
My main gripe with Sephora is that they seem to be catering less and less to darker skin tones. I thought my shade of foundation was being discontinued, since it was not available either online or in the store. However, it turns out Sephora just decided not to carry it. I found this to be the case with other foundations, concealers, and primers. I had to go to a few stores to find Laura Mercier Eye Canvas in the darkest color. Sephora also gets LE products a lot later than department stores. Sometimes the LE products are only available online. Sometimes it seems they skip some collections completely. Other than MUFE, they seem to carry a limited selection of a brand's offerings.
Since people know I like makeup, they often get me gift cards to Sephora. So, I've been limiting my shopping to when I have gift cards or when they are offering a sale (which is only a few times a year).
-They carry a lot of brands
-Some stores are large and can be pleasant to shop in
-The return policy is pretty generous (although not as generous as it used to be)
-Some stores are set up poorly
-Lack of products geared towards darker skin tones
-Some stores don't carry my favorite brands.
-They are usually late to the party when it comes to newer products
I have been going to Sephora on and off since I was seventeen. I am now 29 years old. My first purchase was Philosophy's Guru body scrub (Man, I miss that...it was discontinued). I love that you can test products and I get a free gift around the time of my birthday. When I need a boost, Sephora gives me an instant adrenaline rush. It is hard to describe. I feel like a kid again. I love spending time browsing the aisles and seeing what is new. I don't bother with the SA's since I know what I want or am looking for but some offer good advice at the local stores (Pleasanton, Sf, and Emeryville) where I live. When I was younger, I would sometimes go to Sephora just to touch up my makeup and try out perfumes. Now when I go, I can't leave without purchasing three or four things so I try to limit my visits or it becomes bad on my wallet and doesn't help with my product junkism. The stores I go to are usually clean and well-stocked, but are frequently crowded so I now opt to go on-line once in a while and purchase items from their site. I never had a problem with shipping and my stuff was never damaged or lost so big thumbs up for that.
I'm lucky, I ADORE our Sephora, all the sales people are extreamly helpful, always willing and able to answer questions no matter how dumb I think the question may be. Being the perfume junky I am it is wonderful that they are so giving with their samples even though I still feel guilty asking for more than 1 per visit. Today was a typical visit, I asked about Loverdose as it didn't seem to be displayed with the other perfumes and I reeeeeeeally wanted the rollerball, the SA went in the back and found me one, the very last one! I then asked about concealers as I wanted to try something new, she told me about Korres (which I had never heard of) and gave me a very generous sample, the stuff is great, I'll be buying some very soon. The store is always very clean, everything has a clearly labeled sample that you can try, they offer makeovers (which I havn't had the pleasure of partaking in yet). I have been in other Sephora shops and have had similar experiences with helpful staff and cleanliness. I will always shop in Sephora as long as they are around, it is a great place to shop if you are a perfume or makeup junky!
I have personally an interesting relationship with Sephora. I was so scared to walk in, how nice it looks with expensive makeup and the associates. One day I walked in wanting something badly and try it out, and I like it sooo much more than Ulta. I'm personally a tall, big girl and I know people judge me everywhere I go and walking into a beauty or clothing store is like the shark tank for me. When I go to Ulta, I can tell I'm being heavily judged and the people there are fake. People at Sephora, I know they are trying to get me buy from them, but I feel like they do want the best product for me. I've found excellent solutions and they are sweet and kind to me, I don't feel a fake put off from them. And when I say I don't have enough money, it's understood. I actually feel pretty for once and confident from them. I also like the brushes they sell themselves. It is a lot of money, but they have the same prices at Ulta and I don't have to pay shipping and handling. I do feel like they help me get the bang for my buck. I also love their rewards program. I wish they had coupons or something, but either way, I feel so much more comfortable here and I've NEVER been at ease at anywhere that's more high end. I wish the sales associates weren't as pushy, but hey, it's retail and sales.
Sephora-The American woman's equivalent of an American man's Home Depot. For those of you that don't know what a Home Depot is, it's a huge warehouse type do-it-yourself hardware store that carries just about everything that makes American men feel like attempting week-end projects for their home. They spend literal hours on end in the store looking at nuts and bolts and tools and wood. It's where they suddenly have a surge of testosterone. It's where they go to feel "manly". It's a guy type of store. The atmosphere is a cacophony of noises that make you want to wear ear plugs.
Now switch that around to a make-up store with all the cosmetics, skin care, fragrances and makeup tools you could ever desire The lighting is soft. Music is playing gently in the background. The SA's are wearing all black with red on their shoulders. The counters are exceedingly clean and spotless. They smile at you. You can play with all the testers you want. You are in your Nirvana now. If you'd like a sample of something, just ask. They'd be happy to provide. Yes, delighted to provide you with some. Information about products? Of course. No commission on any, so they can talk about each and every one without bias. How refreshing.
Returns? Delighted to take that back. So sorry it didn't work out for you.
It's your birthday? We have a gift for you, just because it's your birthday, and you don't have to buy anything to get it, either. That's right, absolutely right.
Sephora really is a dream store for those of us that are makeup/skincare/fragrance junkies. If we need our fix, just head on down to our local one and it's almost as if the dealer supplies us with our stash. They put it in those blue and white striped bags that we hold so proudly, too. We are Sephora junkies.
I guess I'm lucky because I'm within a 60 mile radius of 3 Sephora's . Two of them are in a JCPenney and one is a free-standing. Of course, the free-standing is the furthest, but whenever I'm in that area, you can be sure I make it a point to visit it.
I've built a relationship with my local ladies at the closest one (it's only 15 minutes away)-how wonderful is that? The mature SA's are warm, informative and know their products. It's the younger ones that are the difficult ones, I admit. They stand there looking pretty (which they are) but don't have the knowledge,but simply have attitude because they work for Sephora. Ask them a question and you'll wind up giving them the answer yourself. I pretty much avoid them like the plaque and look for the ladies that have more experience under their belt. Other than that, Sephora has their stuff together, and it's a win-win for everybody. You buy, you earn points towards a free gift. You can combine your online purchases towards your in-store purchases too for the free gift. This year on Black Friday I dared to hit my Sephora and came home with the best stuff. I couldn't believe the bargains they put out. The only negative I'll say is I'd like them to carry more cruelty-free lines than they do but that's the buyers decision. And I'd like them to actually have a sales rack that was a real sales rack. That's just wishful thinking I guess.
I always walk away feeling empowered with that little blue and white bag. Yeah, I'm a Sephora junkie.
I love Sephora! I have shopped here for years it is honesty the only place I go to buy makeup! The only complaint I have is the way the sales associates usually treat the customers.
Like a fellow reviewer, I, too, feel like Sephora is MY Disneyland. I love make up and they have wonderful high end brands and pretty much allow a customer to play around with the product with abandon such that she knows what she is buying.
My Sephora has very nice Sales Associates who are generally knowledgeable and friendly and they are always willing to provide me with samples of foundations, etc. so that when I buy I don't buy blind.The few products I have had to return have been accepted - no problem at all.
My complaint regarding Sephora would be that I never leave without spending too much money (more my fault than theirs) because they do not provide many "sales" promotions, which I am sure they could give up some of those profits to manage.
Since an Ulta has come to town I admit to liking a mix of low end w/ high end products at one location and Ulta does often have coupons and allows one to accumulate "points" toward purchases. Sephora might want to consider a marketing modification to compete with Ulta. Money I spend now at Ulta used to go exclusively to Sephora.
What to say....I used to LOVE Sephora...I'd go to the original Flagship in NYC (long since folded in favor of various smaller versions throughout the city) every month. Over the years I have become increasingly annoyed with their "new" style of pushing the consumer and, frankly, being all up in our grills. Sephora was born and designed to be a "hands off" shop. A store wherein women (and men) could play, experiment, and never have to be hassled by an SA as you would find in ANY department store. Evidently they have changed to a more aggressive tactic and I hate it. Some stores seem to have way too many employees (Paris, Champs Elysee, looking at YOU) where it seems 2 SA's to a customer. I loathe to be followed, handed perfume cards, be bombarded with "facts" I could care less about, asked repeatedly if I want to try products, colors etc....I just want to browse and when I choose to ask a question, I'll ask. So, 90% of the time I shop online anymore. It's too annoying and stressful to deal with SA's, especially when they obviously know MUCH less about the brands than I do, and I could easily inform them about the history of the brand and each collection, lol. Please, Sephora, stop the guerrilla type tactics! That said, I really like their customer service policy and the wide range of brands available.
Definition of a love hate relationship for me. Sephora carries so many brands and amazing products and I love being in there and trying make-up, and the samples and return policies are fantastic, and they give you a birthday gift! However, it is a bit pricey (no surprise since these are high end brands) but mainly I HATE the sales associates so so so much. It's as if they're payed to act rude and snobby. Maybe it's just where I live since there's so many amazing reviews but every time I go there, I feel overly judged and uncomfortable. They just look down at you with disgusted bitchy looks and unless you buy $500 worth or stuff they treat you like crap. I really don't understand why they can't get the concept of being nice to their customers. Like, you do know that you're just SALES ASSOCIATES at a MAKE-UP store. In fact, I hate my local sephora associates so much that I've found myself buying products online more and more often even though I've got a store just minutes away. Really hope they hire nicer people or something.
Sephora truly fills a niche. 99% of the high end makeup I've purchased has been due to first trying a sample at Sephora. Its a place where they get how wanting/needing to try before you buy is seen as legit, valid. Whereas in some department stores you have to promise them your first born son and buy their products before getting a sample. Its very counter-intuitive and I don't mean to make puns, I have to buy something from a line to get to try perhaps the one item in the line I'm truly interested in? Going to Sephora has also helped me to not buy certain items I wanted badly simply because they are wildly popular and beautiful on others. I get to swatch things and again try them out, often finding out that an item won't suit me, saving me a lot of money. Its a little chaotic in some stores and you may wait a while for help/samples. You may encounter a sales associate who begrudgingly helps you out but oveerall I've not encountered that. They allow you to return nakeup too, that's another big plus. Yes the lighting is nuts but I've got greater problems in life. My advice is when going to Sephora, if you want to try things, ask for sampled of the top 3 things you'd like to try. If you go back to purchase an item, tell them the sample they gave you before, prompted your purchase, it helps to build a rapport this way.