Money-Saving Tips You MUST Know Before Stepping Foot in Sephora

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Although Sephora may be a fun place to find all of your beauty essentials, it can also be the easiest way to overspend and blow your budget. However, here are 10 ways for you to save BIG at Sephora!

1. Sign up to become a Beauty Insider (it’s free!)

Sephora BeautyAs a Beauty Insider (it’s completely free to sign up), you’ll earn points for every dollar you spend and the points never expire! You can redeem your points for various FREE products once you’ve earned enough points and there is no purchase required to redeem your points in-store.

Sephora BirthdayYou’ll also get a FREE Birthday Gift with NO purchase required when redeeming in-store. Note that the FREE gift may vary and change often so contact your local store to see what the current freebie is. Keep in mind that to redeem your gift online, a merchandise purchase is required and the gift will be available at checkout.

Sephora Beauty ClassesAND, Beauty Insiders also get access to complimentary in-store Beauty Classes (ages 13 and older; registration required). You can learn about brow shaping, teen makeup, skin care and more!

2. Reach VIB Status for Even More Perks

Sephora VIBIf you visit Sephora often and spend $350 in a calendar year (that’s less than $30 per month!), you’ll earn VIB status (Very Important Beauty Insider). When you reach VIB status, you’ll receive a FREE birthday gift, FREE beauty classes, seasonal savings, handpicked gifts and a FREE custom makeover.

Sephora Beauty StudioAND, whenever you spend $1,000 in a calendar year (that equals $83 per month), you’ll earn VIB Rouge status and get all the goodies mentioned above and FREE custom makeovers, FREE 2-day shipping on all orders, a private Sephora hotline, invitations to exclusive events and more.

Even better, if you spend $1,000 in January, you’ll earn VIB Rouge status for the rest of that calendar year AND the entire next calendar year! That means you’ll get almost 2 years of amazing perks!

3. Get those Samples, Samples, Samples (in-store and online)

Sephora SamplesIf you’re heading in-store, don’t be shy to ask for samples! You can request up to three FREE samples from each of Sephora’s departments (skincare, makeup and fragrance) – that’s a total of 9 samples!

Sephora Perfume SampleThis is a great way to try normally expensive brands without spending a dime – and they make great travel sizes too! As you can see above, the full size products can sell for nearly $200 each! WOW!

Sephora Sample PrintoutIn the skincare department, you’ll also receive an informative printout with your sample (the treatment sample I requested above is a SIX (6) full pumps in the container – completely FREE!).

Sephora SamplesWhen heading to the makeup department to score your 3 free samples, keep in mind that you can even request foundation, powder and lipstick samples that is enough for 4-6 uses! Plus, whenever you make a purchase, you’ll receive an additional sample, which means you can walk out with 10 samples!

Sephora Online SamplesIf placing an online order, you’ll be able to select three FREE beauty samples with ANY order at checkout. Plus, Beauty Insiders can score an additional freebie with select purchase and the promo code(s) found here, but note that the offers change from week to week.

4. How About a FREE 15-Minute Makeover?

Sephora MakeoverIf you’re interested in learning a few quick beauty tips such as smoky eye or polished brows, Sephora offers FREE 15-minute Mini Makeovers – no purchase required and walk-ins are welcome!

OR, whenever you make a $50+ purchase or gift card redemption, you are eligible to receive a complimentary 45-minute Custom Makeover by one of the Beauty Advisors (Custom Makeover must occur at the time of purchase or redemption). Both services are FREE for VIB Rouge Members.

5. Buy discounted JCPenney & Sephora Gift Cards

Sephora Gift CardOne way to save on your beauty purchases is to buy a discounted JCPenney gift card on as you can use it at Sephora locations inside JCPenney and for Sephora items on You can also occasionally purchase discounted Sephora retail gift cards on sites like Staples, eBay, Amazon and even on or the Swych App, but these deals often go fast and don’t last long.

Sephora Gift CardsIf you purchase a full-priced gift card of $50 or more at your local Sephora store, each one may also include a collectible zippered pouch or possibly a different freebie (such as a free mirror) – and remember, your gift card purchase includes a complimentary 45-minute custom makeover too!

JCP SephoraAlso be sure to check your local drugstore during the holidays (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.) as they offer promotions for purchasing gift cards. For example, if you were to purchase a $50 JCPenney Gift Card at CVS during this sale, you would receive a $10 Extra Buck Reward to use on just about anything at CVS. If you’re a regular shopper at CVS and want to save at Sephora, it’s a win-win!

6. Get Free 2-Day Shipping with Sephora FLASH

Sephora FlashWhenever you sign up for a Sephora FLASH Subscription priced at just $10, you’ll receive FREE 2-day shipping for an entire year with NO minimum purchase required. Even sweeter, VIB Rouge insiders can enroll at NO additional cost (just sign into your Beauty Insider account or join before you enroll).

Consider breaking up your purchases into smaller orders as you get three FREE samples per order!

7.) Shop the Semi-Annual Sale in April and November

Sephora InsiderEvery April and November, Sephora holds a semi-annual sale for Beauty Insiders. In mid-April, Beauty Insiders will receive an email/coupon with details about the sale and promotions (be sure to check your mailbox for in-store coupon too!).

In the past, Beauty Insiders have received savings for an extra 10% off your purchase and 15% off for VIB’s. In November, the savings are usually 15-20% off respectively and the sales last about a week.

Hip Tip – If there’s an item that you had your eye on but is sold out at your retail store, you can receive complimentary shipping within 3-4 business days. Ask a Sephora associate for more details.

8. Buy Palettes, Fragrance Samplers & Value Sets

Sephora PaletteWhen shopping for beauty items, be sure to skip the makeup singles and opt for the palettes and value sets instead as you’ll get more bang for your buck. As an idea, this Sephora Favorites Tempting Ten Beauty Sampler is a whopping $181 value and is priced a just $49 at the Sephora inside JCPenney.

Sephora FragranceIf you’re shopping for perfume, you’ll score the best deal on the fragrance samplers! For example, this highly rated Sephora Favorites Perfume Sampler sells for just $62, but is a $113 value – it includes 13 samples of popular women’s perfumes, a bonus Lip Gel AND a certificate for you to redeem at your local Sephora store for a full-size bottle of your favorite featured fragrance at no extra cost. Sweet!

sephora returnAnd, don’t worry – if you’re ever not happy with your Sephora purchase for any reason, purchases can be easily returned for a full refund with your receipt at your local Sephora store – and there are no return shipping charges! They just ask that products are returned in new or gently used condition.

If you do not have your receipt, your transaction may be verified if you present your credit or debit card used, or by your Beauty Insider account number. Otherwise, without a receipt or where they cannot otherwise verify your purchase, they offer store credit in the form of a Sephora credit.

9. Skip Buying Eye-Level Items

SephoraTo find the best deals, shop the products along the outside perimeter of the store first as they are typically on sale. Once you are inside the store, be sure to start with the bottom shelves and work your way towards the top. The products displayed at eye-level are often the most expensive as they are what catches your eye first. But if you work your way down, you’ll find the less expensive items.

Also, you’ll find Beauty Steals bins throughout the store, which are usually located on the ends of the aisles. They often feature some of the best deals in the store, so be sure to check them out first.

10. Follow Sephora on Social Media & Get Their App

Sephora Social MediaBe sure to follow Sephora on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter as they often offer fun goodies like discounts, FREE giveaways and FREE Beauty Insider points that you can use towards a gift. As an example, they once gave away an entire Sephora Cream Lip Stain Vault valued at a whopping $375!

Also, when you download the FREE Sephora App, you’ll receive exclusive offers, daily inspiration and more that you won’t find anywhere else – just text APP to 63485 to get started. You’ll also be able to receive push notifications, book a reservation at the Beauty Studio, view your past purchases & more.

Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves spending quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.

Join The Discussion

Comments 26

  1. nydia

    I only shop Sephora online. You get free shipping with a $50 purchase, 3 free samples which are usually really nice. And I always do a search for coupon codes for free deluxe samples- these are a lot better/bigger than the regular samples. Also, Ebates has up to 12% cash back with Sephora!

    Be careful with the free samples you get in store. People stick their fingers into jars of face creams and apply lipsticks directly onto their lips (yuck!). A friend of mind got a major eye infection from a sample of eye cream a few months ago.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Yikes – thanks for the tips!

  2. kim

    where do you find coupon codes for deluxe samples. That’s a major Score. Thank you!

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Check out the bottom paragraph of tip #3 for the link with all the codes! πŸ™‚

  3. Judy Trac

    I am a beauty club member but I don’t get the card.

  4. denise

    Thank for the tips! Last December, I recall I received Beauty Insider $10 off $50 purchase to be used on anything! Which was great, I used it to purchase stocking stuffers πŸ™‚

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Wow – that’s awesome!!

    • Sarah

      Yes! I got this coupon too and it really helped with one of my daughter’s Christmas gifts. It was good on just about anything if I recall (unlike ulta where all prestige brands are excluded from coupons).

  5. ~jenn~

    If you want to earn points faster, subscribe to Sephora Play! You’ll get a Play! Pass card that when you can turn in when you make an IN STORE purchase (doesn’t work online) and they’ll add an additional 50 points to use in the Rewards Bizarre. That 50 points will NOT help you BI status, but you will earn rewards faster.

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Oh awesome! Thanks for the tip Jenn!
      Sephora PLAY! Subscription Box –

  6. Cassandane

    Kroger often has digital coupons for 4x fuel points on all GCs, and often there is a JCP specific coupon for 20% off or $10 off $50 GC.

  7. RZ

    In order to get the deluxe sized samples, you have to use a promo code which only works on purchases of $25 or $35 (depending on the promo). Otherwise, you get just the 3 free samples. Every year, I buy a Flash subscription so that I usually just need to spend $25 to get some pretty amazing free samples. I always redeem the deluxe-sized and high-end lipstick, eyeshadow, & highlighter ones- b/c I love having a variety of minis to use and it’s always fun to try new colors, for free! πŸ™‚

    And don’t forget to shop during the point multiplier events- where you get 2X/3X points on skincare or fragrance purchases (and sometimes on any purchase). Those are the best way to gain more points for the Rewards Bazaar. The 1000 point perks are the best but come in extremely limited quantities, so I just wait for really good 100 point perks (like lipsticks and highlighters, which are much harder to get samples of) and redeem a bunch of those.

    Also, the VIB 10% off code can be used once a year on any order.

  8. Dani

    I also find it better to buy online then in store. As a previous reader said you can get cash back via ebates. I find that the $10 express shipping is totally worth it. I usually buy stuff around $25 which is enough to get one of the delux samples which goes a long way! And don’t forget the 3 other samples you can get from checkout!

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Thanks for the feedback Dani!

  9. Babymair

    Thx so much .but I have a question.?? Do u get the 15 minute makeover for just the regular beauty insider.?? I Really need the eyebrow tips . That u mentioned. TIA

    • Mary (Stellar Sidekick)

      Yes, that is correct – no purchase required! You can get a 45 minute makeover with a $50 purchase or gift card redemption. Hope that helps!

  10. Babymair

    Thx Mary and team..for all u do ,keep up the good work.!

  11. Julia

    Be careful, if you buy a gift card at the Sephora inside JC Penney’s you cannot use it at a Sephora store – only a Sephora store that is inside a JC Penney store. They don’t tell you that when you buy the card!

  12. Jennifer

    This is wonderful!! Could you do one on Ulta as well? Pretty please? :):):)

    • Diana

      Yes!! Please do one for Ulta!!

    • Collin (Mrs. Hip)

      Stay tuned! πŸ˜‰

  13. Queenmum

    Great post!! πŸ’„πŸ’…πŸΌ
    I love Sephora, but their online samples frustrate me so much! I rarely get what I picked. I wish they would make that a priority. I’ve purchased items just to get a certain sample.

  14. Tara

    I save my shopkick kicks during the year for a Sephora gift card. I got a $50 ABH pallet around Christmas for free:-) so exciting!

  15. Maori

    Ok, it’s awesome that they give out a lot of samples, but let’s all agree that it would be pretty tacky and look sketchy if you literally went to all the departments and asked for 3 samples from each department– as was suggested.

  16. Pat

    How does everybody fit all the apps on their phone. Half the time I dont’ have enough room on my phone to do the updates and it wants to delete some.

  17. DJ

    I am not big on makeup at all, but after reading this post, I am inclined to walk into a Sephora, purchase a gift card, and get my 45 minutes makeover with a few samples. I have been wanting to try lipstick colors. I haven’t worn lipsticks in like 20 years.

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