8 Warnings to Shoppers From Ex-Sephora Employees
Everything to know before your next beauty haul.
If you're into makeup, there's perhaps nowhere better to shop than Sephora. Sure, some say their prices are higher than competitor Ulta, but walking into the store is a beauty lover's dream. They offer everything from your favorite celebrity brands to their own affordable line of basics. You can pick up new palettes, the perfect lipgloss, the best hair products brands, and a memorable scent all in one shopping spree. And let's not forget about those birthday freebies. If you're devoted to the beauty chain, you might think you know everything about the store, but those who've been behind the scenes say otherwise. Read on to discover some important warnings from ex-Sephora employees. You may never pick up a tester again.
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Do not use the store samples—especially the lip products.
It can be tempting to walk into a Sephora and test literally everything. But you might want to think twice before slathering on a beauty product that's been used by loads of other people—especially lip products.
"I've seen people with cold sores, people with really nasty chapped lips, and people who were visibly sick using lipsticks and glosses on their mouths," wrote former color and fragrance expert Garnetstar28 in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA).
The ex-employee explains that they usually clean the samples with alcohol and cut the ends off of lipsticks so people use separate wands, but there's always the risk of germs. "I would never, ever use the mascara testers on my eyes, many of my fellow cast members got pinkeye and styes from doing this."
Avoid using the makeup removers and cotton rounds.
The sanitation station is the spot where you can get makeup removers and cotton rounds to test items or clean off the product you just tried. But according to ex-employee @sarahpalmyra, it's best to avoid making a stop there. "My job was to refill the makeup remover… and never once did we actually clean the container the cotton rounds went in… there was just no time for that."
The TikTok beauty guru urges followers to "think of the bacteria." You can instead ask an employee to make you your very own sample, and then try it out fully sanitized at home.
Don't buy a product without testing it outside of the store.
You can definitely get color matched while shopping, and you'll probably want to. That way, you can guarantee you've chosen the right concealer or foundation for your skin tone. But make sure to wear the new shade out in natural light before making a purchase.
"I don't know what it is about the fluorescent lighting in Sephora. I will no longer buy a foundation as soon as I've been color matched in store without going outside first and checking that the match actually works in natural light," shares @sarahpalmyra.
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Think twice before impulsively buying a mini product.
Admit it—you've picked up one of the many miniature items surrounding the line for the cash registers. These smaller versions of your favorite products are perfect for traveling or keeping in your purse, but @sarahpalmyra says you might want to forego the impulse buy. "I will no longer buy any of the minis that they sell by the cash register. These are really cute for the aesthetic but they're terrible value and usually not worth the money."
Don't bring in an almost-empty container for store credit.
Like most popular retail chains, Sephora makes returns easy. But don't try to get over on them by bringing back an empty or almost empty product.
"We would take stuff back if it was less than halfway used, but not if it was used more than that," notes Garnetstar28 in the Reddit AMA. They add that their manager would often get into arguments with customers over this, but ultimately, they would not accept the used-up product for a return.
Stop making so many returns.
If you are the type who makes a whole lot of returns, you might find yourself in hot water at Sephora. "Your account can be flagged for doing too many returns, resulting in a declined return," says ex-employee @sereenaoc in a TikTok video. If you're an avid shopper (say you work in the makeup field) or are just returning a few items, you don't have to worry; "the declined return thing is if they felt the system was being abused by a serial returner," she explains.
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Be aware that men can find it difficult to get help.
Men love beauty products, too, but some non-female shoppers have expressed that it's difficult to get attention. Oftentimes, though, the Sephora employees aren't ignoring you purposely. "It could also be that the store you frequent typically sees guys in there only because they're with their girlfriends," explains Garnetstar28 in the Reddit AMA.
Don't buy anything without comparing prices.
It can feel so easy to buy the first thing you see at Sephora (whether or not you need it). But before you go, if you're looking for something in particular, make sure to check the price online. You'll also want to see when the big sales are, although you can always get a price adjustment.
Former employee Molly Burford explained to Thought Catalog that even if you get a coupon late or buy something before it goes on sale, "if you go back within two weeks of purchasing, they'll do a price adjustment." Keep those receipts!