I don’t know about you but I find the nicer the weather is outside the more drawn I am to the mall! How does that happen, you might ask? Let me explain. This mainly comes from my deep and passionate relationship with Sephora! Now, I bet you shuddered a little bit when I said that one word: Sephora!
Have you ever found yourself completely lost and overwhelmed in that store? Did you maybe go in to buy one product and left with so much more and now you are looking at your purchases without a clue of what you bought and what to do with them? Maybe you decided to pop in with your toddler child who got so mesmerized by all the pretty shiny things that are within their reach and started reaching for everything while you are frantically trying to prevent them from both destroying the store and destroying your sanity?
Hey, I get it! The first time I walked into a Sephora store I felt like I just arrived in a new country where I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t have a map or a GPS which helped me find my way.
I am here to help!
Here are my tips for shopping Sephora like a pro. Even before you step foot in a Sephora you need a plan, a list, and a budget. Going shopping to Sephora without these three is like going grocery shopping on an empty stomach – you’ll spend too much money and you will buy something that you don’t actually need or want for that matter.
- The plan – Know what you are shopping for. Hmm, this could be tricky since you are probably heading to Sephora for not only a makeup product but also for makeup advice. On the one hand Sephora will provide both for you: the product and the advice. On the other hand you might walk away buying something entirely different. This could be a good thing if let’s say you went in for a specific brand but ended up with something even better. On the other hand, if you were going in for mascara and eye shadows and walked out with a body lotion, some tweezers and a curling iron then your shopping efforts have been totally defeated. Do your research, darling! Sephora’s website is great because it not only has detailed product descriptions but it also has product reviews and star ratings by fellow buyers just like you. And if you still aren’t clear, let me know and I am happy to put a shopping plan for you. Just ask!
- The list – make a shopping list and stick to it. I highly suggest shopping at Sephora for more than one item. This is because if you only go in for one item you and I both know that it will never be just one item. If you go in for a mascara you’ll walk out with mascara and an eye-liner so why not put both on your list and be done with it? On the other hand, if you go to Sephora without a list what so ever to ‘just look’ you will end up buying something you don’t need so really, making a list for a few items will guarantee that you are buying exactly what you came for and are sticking to your shopping budget also.
- The budget – Know your budget. Going to Sephora is an experience and sometimes that can result in being a very expensive experience. Before you decide to head over to the mall know how much you are spending that day. Why is this important? This will keep you disciplined with your purchases so that you aren’t making impulse decisions and buying something just because the beautiful Sephora employee has recommended it as the best solution to your potentially non-existent makeup and beauty problem.
Now that you have created a shopping plan, put together a shopping list and are clear on your shopping budget it’s time to go and shop Sephora like a pro! Below you will find a shopping map of how the stores are typically set up.It is worth a mention that each store will be unique for its location but the basic set up and theme will be similar. I visited a store to do my research and although I wasn’t able to take photos I did get an in depth explanation from one of the store’s managers of how to navigate around the store. Here is what I found. I am including a Sephora shopping map as well as a detailed explanation of each section below.
Store Parameter (the walls around the store) – imagine, you are at the entrance/exit of the store looking in. The parameter, typically from left to right is fragrance, both male and female. Fragrance leads you straight into hair products: both tools and hair care such as shampoo, conditioner and hair styling products such as hair spray. If you keep following the store’s curve and head over to the right hand side you’ll find skin care along the right parameter wall of the store.
Large Displays in the font of the store – typically when you walk into a Sephora store there will be two large makeup displays on both the left and the right hand side. These will be popular/upscale brands that have a larger selection of makeup and possibly brushes. The store that I visited had a Bobbi Brown display on the left and a NARS display on the right.
Makeup collections closest to the fragrances were described to me as groupings of Luxury and Classics. The Luxury collections include brands such as Tom Ford, Yves Saint Laurent, Givenchy, Laura Mercier and Dior. These typically sell makeup such as foundation, concealers, eye liners, mascaras, lipsticks and lip glosses, blushes, bronzers and beyond at a premium price point. Next, you will see a pairing of Classic collections such as Lancôme, Clinique, Bare Minerals. Again, these have a similar makeup selection as in the Luxury but with a bit of a different price point.
Middle of the store – right in the middle you’ll often find Sephora’s brand of makeup and brushes collections. Sephora’s brand of makeup and brushes are great and often priced lower than luxury, classics, or artist brands. You will also see smaller displays that are called Sephora favorites – think of these as best sellers, or very popular items that people often come in to grab and go.
Closer to the check out – there is usually a brush display closer to the cash registers, travel sized products, and accessories such as eye lash curlers, false lashes, lash glue, tweezers, etc. You also want to keep in mind that when you are in line to pay for your goodies you will be surrounded by travel sized products and accessories as well. These are great if you are looking at redeeming some points and you need to add a little extra to your purchase. In Part Two of how to shop Sephora like a Pro I will talk about points, rewards, discounts and the Happy Birthday bonus so make sure you check your inbox in a couple of weeks to learn more about these.
Makeup collections closest to the skincare – these are referred to as the Artist collections. The Artist collections are makeup brands which are very popular online and are often featured on YouTube. These include brands such as Tarte, Kat Von D, Benefit and Makeup Forever. Also, there are makeup collections that aren’t as easily visible because they are located on the side of the main displays facing the skin care. The store which I visited had Anastasia Beverly Hills (the eyebrow queen) collection on one of these smaller displays. This makes sense because Anastasia doesn’t have that many makeup products and as such her display is smaller but never the less is part of the Artist collection series.
And there you have it – Sephora in a nutshell! I told you it wasn’t scary. All you need is a way to get around and I would love to hear in the comments below if after reading this post you feel more confident entering Sephora with a Pro attitude.
This wraps up Part One of How to Shop Sephora Like a Pro. In Part Two of how to shop Sephora like a Pro I will talk about points, rewards, discounts, makeup applications on the spot, and the Happy Birthday bonus so make sure you check your inbox in a couple of weeks to learn more about these.
Did I help you? Leave a comment below and let me know if this Sephora shopping map is helpful for your next trip to a Sephora near you.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing. I am incredibly excited to continue decoding the complicated world that is the cosmetics industry for you.
Oh and one last thing, if you liked this post please forward it to a friend who is looking to step up their makeup game or someone who is looking for makeup and beauty help and advice.