Sephora SEPHORA - Whole Store


47 reviews

89% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$


on 8/24/2015 1:25:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

One of my happy places on earth. :)

on 8/7/2015 9:26:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I love the wide variety of high end beauty products and cosmetics that only Sephora carries in my area. They have an excellent return policy with no attitude.They are helpful and knowledgeable if you ask them something, for the most part. But I take issue with a few of their pushy practices. They monitor who comes in the store and will have at least 3 to 5 different sales persons follow you around and ask if you need help. Even if you show them your list and explain that you know exactly what you are getting, and even if you want to look around to see what is new, they won't let you alone for very long. If you let them help you look for what you want, they will run around getting samples for you and it doesn't really help. I want to find these things myself. I'm older than their grandmas (most of them are teenagers or early twenties), but I keep up with the latest makeup news. I've been using makeup since before their mothers were born. I just want to enjoy the store without being made to feel like I don't have a right to look around without them tailing me. As far as their knowledge, they usually don't know if a certain shade I want is discontinued or not. One thing I love them for in contrast to drug stores is that they want you to use the testers and they encourage it. They have cotton pads and trash cans so you can clean the swatches off your hand. So yes, I find them pushy and overeager to make a sale, but they have never been nasty or insulting to me, as some cosmetic counters in drug stores and department stores have been. Because this is the best makeup buying experience available to me, they are getting a lot of my makeup dollars.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

on 4/12/2015 9:41:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Acne-prone, Tan, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I vividly recall the first time I went to Sephora when I was in my early 20s. It was like a religious experience! I remember walking in the fancy mall (the Galleria) in Houston with my ex when I saw the sign gleaming in the distance. Up until then, I'd only ever heard of this mythical place that sold high end makeup brands that you could actually touch and test before buying. After seeing the sign, I gasped and basically went running towards it leaving my idiot ex standing there to complain to no one that the mall was a). too expensive, b). too crowded and c). stupid (and now you know why's he an ex). It took quite a while for Sephora to open more stores in my area. It started slowly but every time I saw a new store, I made the same gasping noises and ran (or drove) right to it like it was an oasis in the desert.

Over the years, I've had varying experiences at Sephora. The ones in the larger cities started out great and the SAs were pretty helpful. As the stores grew and more people started going, I started having more less than ideal experience with SAs who looked bored, disinterested and even downright annoyed that you were bothering them. I've rarely had any SA get uppity when I asked for a sample of a product (something I rarely do unless the price of a product is crazy insane). They're usually rather generous when it comes to samples actually. On a few occasions, I have been straight up ignored by SAs when I actually needed help choosing a foundation color (I've finally learned how to match myself so phooey on you!). I suppose that could be because I don't look like the kind of woman who will buy $7,000 worth of makeup or maybe because I'm no longer 20, but those experiences have been few and far between.

The worst experiences I've had at Sephora have been at the ones located inside JCPenney. While it is great that there's finally a Sephora literally a few miles from my door now, the Penney's version seem to be the stand alone Sephora's wayward, trashy cousin. The stores are always filthy, the testers are either missing or look beyond raggedy and, since the store only sells a fraction of the brands the stand alone stores do, they're always out of whatever product you're probably looking for. I've also noticed that the stores are way understaffed (on more than one occasion, I've stood around for ten minutes waiting for someone to ring me up) and the SAs there tend to be rather dismissive if you're not interested in a makeover.

As for the online site, I love it far more than I should. Shipping is generally fast and returns are fairly hassle free. I've only returned about five things out of the hundreds I've bought. I've read horror stories about people having their accounts suspended for returning things regularly. I can see why they're irritated but I can also understand Sephora's feelings on the matter. Having worked in customer service (ie returns) once in my life, it does become annoying when the same people regularly buy thing, use a fair amount and then return them. The point system is also kind of neat as is the VIB Rogue program. I have gotten quite a fair amount of deluxe samples of things I actually want to try this way.

The only real downside to Sephora are the prices, their tendency to run out of products that take eons to restock, the online only exclusives, and their almost tyrannical like restriction on coupon code for online orders. They rarely have sales and if they do, it's usually on janky brands that don't sell or products from their own line that I'm don't interested in (though Sephora's brushes have proven to be a-m-a-z-i-n-g). As for the coupon codes, I think Sephora learned with a quickness that people can and will mix and match to get more samples and free shipping. To my knowledge, they've nixed that and you can only use one coupon code per order. I'm also not crazy about the online only exclusives. There's no real rhyme or reason to why certain products are only available online, but I found it sort of inconvenient that something could only be had online.

Overall, I still find Sephora to be fun and amazing. It's the one place where I can literally spend hours wondering around and not get bored. I think the idea behind it - taking the intimidation factor out of high end cosmetic buying - is still at its core. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves high end brands but might be intimidated by the elitist mentality of some department store employees or just likes to be left alone to oogle over makeup and beauty products.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 8/25/2013 10:46:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Tan, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

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

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

on 7/27/2013 3:30:00 AM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Oily, Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown

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 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.

on 5/23/2013 12:51:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

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!

on 4/12/2013 10:27:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

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.

7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

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.

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

on 2/19/2013 12:35:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Normal, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Fine

Eyes: Blue

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.

on 2/18/2013 8:11:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

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.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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