We love Sephora. Every beauty girl does. Wall-to-wall lipstick, lotion, luminizer, and so much more—what’s not to like? Despite our longstanding love affair with the beauty emporium, there’s actually a lot we did not know about our favourite shopping destination. There are some things even years of VIB status won’t teach you. Scroll through for 13 crazy but true facts about Sephora!
Let’s start with some basic vocabulary. At Sephora, the sales floor is called the “stage,” and everywhere else is “backstage.” Sales associates are “cast members,” and managers are the “directors.” And the red-trimmed black dress the cast members wear is a “costume”—not a uniform.
Dominique Mandonnaud founded Sephora in France in 1970. In 1997, it was acquired by Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy and one year later opened its first North American store. Today, Sephora employs over 20,000 people in more than 1900 stores in nearly 30 countries. Those stores, which carry over 250 beauty brands, generate over $4 billion in revenue.
The name is a combination of the Greek word “sephos,” meaning beauty, and the name Zipporah, the exceptionally beautiful wife of Moses in the book of Exodus.
“The rumors are true—you can get up to three samples of any product in store made for you each time you visit,” Sephora pro artist David Razzano confirms.
Checking out online? Any order over $25 will get you a fourth deluxe sample. Just enter the code YOURGIFT at checkout. And there are plenty of other codes on the Beauty Deals page that’ll score you free goodies.
If for some reason you’re not completely satisfied, Sephora will return any purchase (yes, even used items) for a full refund within 60 days of the purchase date. If you decide you’re not thrilled with your purchase within 61 to 90 days, Sephora will return your product for store credit. Note: It can give you a temporary ban if you make too many returns sans receipt.
If an item goes on sale within two weeks of your purchase date, you can call the customer service number, and Sephora will refund you the price difference.
Kat Von D's Tattoo Liner ($19) is the best-selling eyeliner in Sephora. The Shade + Light Contour Palette ($46) is also the top seller in its category. And the brand’s Studded Kiss Lipstick ($21) in Lolita (a matte dusty rose) is the number one best-selling lipstick for all of Sephora.
Every Sephora has three worlds: fragrance, skincare, and color cosmetics. “At Sephora, we want every client to have the best experience possible, so our cast members are hired, trained, and certified to be experts in a specific world, like fragrance, color, or skincare,” Razzano says. “For the most part, cast members are stationed in their world. If you’re looking for a fragrance, it’s best to ask someone standing in the fragrance section for advice.”
This year, Sephora launched its Flash program. Flash shoppers in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico get unlimited free two-day shipping with no minimum purchase requirements for the low price of $10 per year. Members can also choose overnight shipping for $5.95. If you’re a VIB Rouge member (meaning you spend over $1000 at Sephora a year), the subscription service is free for you.
“Color IQ is Sephora and Pantone Universe’s exclusive foundation-matching technology that allows each client to find the scientifically precise foundation match for their skin tone and narrow it down to find the best one to fit their lifestyle and skin type,” Razzano says. And now that device does more than just scan your skin for foundation matches. It’ll also help you find the right concealer and lip color. Color IQ for Concealer filters through over 400 shades across different brands and can even be sorted by use, such as under-eye, brightening, or blemish cover. Color IQ for Lip filters through over 3500 shades across different brands, and you can choose from among seven color families, like red, pink, berry, coral, and nude. Now, we can even sort that further by texture and finish, like matte, gloss, liquid, or cream.” And the technology doesn’t stop there. There’s also Skincare IQ and Fragrance IQ.
The Sephora at Champs-Élysées in Paris attracts over six million people each year.
Next year, Sephora will launch Play! By Sephora, a $10-per-month subscription beauty box service. The monthly boxes will be curated around a theme, like essentials for dewy skin, and feature five deluxe-size prestige products (often along with bonus sample or two).
How did you do with these Sephora facts? Did you know them all? Which one surprised you the most?