My name is Tiara, and I’m a Sephora Gold member. While it may sound very fancy and the perks are pretty awesome, it’s also a constant reminder that I’ve spent way too much money at Sephora and on makeup in general.
However, being a Gold Beauty Pass member also means that I’m a bona fide Sephora shopaholic to give you hacks on your next shopping trip to the ultimate beauty store.
If you’re intending to make your first-ever trip to Sephora, I hope that these hacks will make you feel less intimidated. And for more seasoned shoppers, may you find your next shopping trip an even better one with these tricks.
You’re welcome, and I’m sorry if this will end up burning a hole in your pocket.
- 1. Research, research, research
- 2. Follow a beauty junkie BFF on her shopping trip
- 3. Ask for fragrance samples after purchasing a full-sized one
- 4. Sign up for the Sephora Beauty Pass
- 5. Go to Sephora on Thursdays
- 6. Try fragrance rollerballs
- 7. Get your Beauty Makeover
- 8. Look out for the Beauty Studio Artists wearing the uniform complete with a makeup belt
- 9. Try on as many lipsticks as you want with Sephora's Virtual Artist
- 10. Shop online
- The Sephora 20% off storewide (and Black Friday) sales
1. Research, research, research
Not all products are going to work well for your skin, so it helps to do research to get a general overview of how the product performs. This is especially important if you’re intending to make a relatively expensive purchase.
By doing so, you reduce the likelihood of investing in an expensive item only to have it not work out well for you. You can go to the Sephora e-store to check out reviews and star ratings.
2. Follow a beauty junkie BFF on her shopping trip
Do you notice your friend spending way too much time at Sephora? Chances are, she is a Beauty Pass holder and might have a few 10% discounts on her card.
And if she’s your friend, she will share her 10% off with you! This way, you’ll get to spend time with your friend and enjoy 10% off your purchases.
3. Ask for fragrance samples after purchasing a full-sized one
Fragrance is something that’s super personal – typically, you’ll rarely venture to try others once you found your signature scent.
The next time you’re at Sephora to buy replenish your favourite perfume, don’t hesitate to ask the Beauty Advisors or Sales Assistants for samples of other fragrances so you can explore other scents – and who knows, you might be able to find another fragrance that you like!
These samples usually come in a vial but if you’re lucky, they’ll give you a pretty-looking deluxe size fragrance! These small amounts of fragrances can be really useful for travel, for the gym, and for emergencies – like when you forget to put on your perfume for the day.
4. Sign up for the Sephora Beauty Pass
If you’re new to Sephora, don’t forget to fill out a card to entitle yourself to a Sephora Beauty Pass. There are three tiers to the pass: White, Black, and Gold.
You start with the White Beauty Pass and when you spend S$300 in 12 months, you’ll be upgraded to a Black Beauty Pass. And if you spend S$1,500 in 12 months, you’ll be upgraded to a Gold Beauty Pass.
The beauty passes entitle you to Birthday tokens on your birthday month, a complimentary brow service by Benefit Cosmetics, and a Birthday Month reward for you to use on online purchases. The higher tier you’re in, the more exclusive perks you’ll be entitled to. For more information on the Beauty Passes, click here.
5. Go to Sephora on Thursdays
That’s when the new launches and products get to the store and when the front line displays are changed. So if you want to be among the first to get your hands on something new launching in Sephora, or to be excited by new launches, Thursdays are the best days to go.
6. Try fragrance rollerballs
Fragrance rollerballs are exclusive to Sephora and are also another way you can try new scents without having to purchase a full bottle that can be quite costly. There’s an array of scents for you to choose from and the best part is that they don’t take up too much space in your bag.
7. Get your Beauty Makeover
Did you know that Sephora actually has free Beauty Makeover express services? While these services are temporarily unavailable due to COVID-19 safety measures, you can find them at all Sephora stores so keep this in mind so that you can literally get your makeup done at Sephora within a short amount of time in future!
Apart from that, the services are also your chance to try the makeup products on yourself before purchasing them. If you want to get a full face makeover, all you have to do is spend S$100 at Sephora and that will entitle you to a complimentary 45-minute makeover.
8. Look out for the Beauty Studio Artists wearing the uniform complete with a makeup belt
When the express makeover services are finally back on the table, these are the people you should go to if you’d like to get an express makeover, or if you’d like their help in testing out makeup on your skin.
They’ll be the ones who can help you pick a good shade of foundation and concealer for you – which is important – because that’s one thing that we all struggle with.
9. Try on as many lipsticks as you want with Sephora’s Virtual Artist
You can now see how a particular shade of lipstick looks on you just by uploading an image of yourself. Given how we were unable to freely make use of makeup testers due to safety measures, this feature on the Sephora mobile app is godsent!
All you have to do first is to head to the App Store or Google Play Store to download the Sephora mobile app. Then, browse your products as usual and tap to view if there’s a particular product that’s caught your eye. You will then be able to see a ‘Try This Shade’ function on the screen – tap it to activate Sephora’s Virtual Artist.
You can see if you look smashing in chilli red lips, or if that blue lipstick would look good on you or not. It’s a perfect way to try on lip products without having to get out of the house, or unnecessarily spend on one that you may not like very much. Click here for more information on Sephora’s Virtual Artist.
10. Shop online
Sephora has a slew of brick-and-mortar stores, but it’s also available online. If you can’t find something online, you can try in stores and vice versa.
Opt to shop online whenever you can to avoid the crowd. Shopping online is super exciting anyway – it’s like receiving a present (from yourself) when it arrives!
Now, for all my seasoned Sephora members and beauty junkies, read on for the ultimate hacks to survive and get the most out of the Sephora 20% off (and Christmas) sales.
The Sephora 20% off storewide (and Black Friday) sales
1. Keep an eye out for when the Sephora sale happens
In true Sephora Singapore fashion, they have two main sales where everything is at 20% off. For many years, they typically take place in May and October – that said, there were two held earlier in March and April this year, so be extra alert for email notifications and Instagram updates at all times!
Once they’ve announced the dates for the sale, mark your calendars… And prepare for an intense shopping experience.
As a yearly event, Sephora Singapore also has their Black Friday sale! This means that they might have three 20% off storewide sales per year. Let’s hope for the best!
2. Come prepared with a list
Because of the fact that Black and Gold Beauty Pass Members will be able to enjoy the 20% off storewide discount during the aforementioned periods, Sephora is going to be CROWDED. Trust me when I say that it can get really crazy in there.
It always helps to have a list of items that you want to get so that you don’t waste time scouring through the aisles to see what you want to buy. That way, you can head straight to the item you want, find the shade, and dump it into your Sephora shopping bag.
3. Pick out the items on the top of your shopping list first
The last thing you want is to not be able to get a hold of the items that you really need and want. So get those items out of the way first before taking your long, romantic walks down the other makeup aisles to see what else you can spend your money on.
4. Be there at 4pm
Based on experience, the best timing to head over to Sephora ION (for example, because it’s the biggest Sephora store and it carries all the brands), is at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s after lunchtime, and every other working adult is back in the office.
At this timing, you’ll only have to deal with teenagers, some tourists, and people who took leave just for the sale (highly unlikely, but you may never know).
It’ll still be crowded, but you won’t have to spend a long time waiting in line to make your payment.
5. Travel light
Head over to Sephora with just a sling bag and your phone in hand (for Google) because it’s going to make it easier for you to manoeuvre your way around the store.
You won’t be in people’s way with a big bag, and your belongings will be with you at all times – which is very important (because without your wallet, how are you going to pay for your goods?! #godforbid)
6. Go alone to find the items you want/need, have a friend/friends for the payment part of the trip
I love going to Sephora with like-minded people. But when I get stuff during the Sephora sale, I like to find the things I want on my own, because it’s much faster. At least I have peace of mind knowing that the things I want and need are safely in my shopping bag before I look at other things.
I’ll then meet up with my shopping buddy after we’re both done with getting the important things before walking around. Having a shopping buddy/buddies here is important because the line to make payment can extend all the way to outside the store (this is my experience at ION). Having a shopping buddy/shopping buddies will make your time waiting in line fly by much faster!
7. Check your receipt
Everyone rarely checks their receipts now, right? Check your receipts before leaving the store to make sure that the discount has been applied to your bill. Due to the overwhelming response during the sales, the staff can end up making mistakes and checking your receipts as soon as you can ensure that you rectify the mistake quickly.
Cut the staff some slack if they really made a mistake though. You have to understand that they’re trying to attend to you as fast as they can and get the payment line moving.
8. Be kind to the Beauty Advisors
Following up on point #7, be kind to the Beauty Advisors. Three days of constant customers streaming in is a tiring situation to be in, so it’ll be nice for you to greet them and wish them a good day ahead to show appreciation for working hard during the times when you get to shop and head home with amazing goodies.
9. Shop online only if you’re willing to wait for your order
Want to beat the crowd and still enjoy the discounts? Shop online!
That being said, most people love the instant gratification of seeing what you want to buy and using it immediately. This may not be possible if you make your purchases online. Due to the high demand, the delivery of orders during the sale period will be slower.
So if you’re alright with the wait, then go ahead and purchase your items online. However, if you want them immediately, then head over to the stores.
10. Add to cart first
Once you know that a sale is coming, start adding the items you want to your cart. This way, you can check out immediately once the sale starts.
11. Don’t forget the Sephoras in heartland shopping malls
Sephora has several stores in the heartland areas (NEX in Serangoon, JEM in Jurong, and Tampines 1 in Tampines) – don’t forget their existence! Because everyone will naturally flock to the flagship store at ION Orchard, certain colours and shades may not be available there due to the high volume of customers.
Head to the smaller Sephora stores and try your luck!