The Hungarian Brunette shopping at sephora, tips to get the best bang for your buck

If you consider yourself a Sephora addict like me, you know this habit can get PRETTY expensive. Over the years, I’ve spent thousands of dollars at Sephora, but I’ve also learned a few tricks here and there to get more value for each dollar I spend there.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for such a long time, but honestly, I was putting it off because I knew it would be a loooong one… But enough being lazy. I know this will provide real tangible value to a lot of you beauty junkies, so let’s get started, shall we?

The Beauty Insider Program

Let’s start with the Beauty Insider program, because I think it’s wildly overlooked.

Whenever you buy at Sephora, if you’re a member of their Beauty Insider program, you get points for each dollar.

There are 3 tiers to their Beauty Insider program: Insider, VIB, and Rouge. Everyone starts at the Insider level, and you can move up to VIB if you spend $350 per year, and to Rouge if you spend $1000 per year. Once you’re a VIB, you get 1.25 points per dollar, and once you’re Rouge, you get 1.5 points per dollar spent. So the higher up you are, the more points you make.

The Hungarian Brunette - Shopping at Sephora, my tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck

What can you do with these points? You can either trade them for deluxe samples or sample kits, or if you’re a Rouge member, you can exchange them for $100 gift cards, with which you can buy whatever the hell you want. I did it once, and I really enjoyed treating myself to $100 of free makeup.

And the points are great, but they’re not the only advantage of being a Beauty Insider. Every year, for your birthday, you get a free gift. This year you get to choose between a Kat Von D mini set or a Drunk Elephant mini set, and if you’re a VIB or Rouge member, you can also choose a Milk Makeup mini set or 250 points.

Also, when you qualify for the VIB and Rouge statuses, you get additional gifts. When you qualify for VIB, you can choose between 2 free makeovers (more on the makeovers later), 500 points, or free standard shipping with every $35 orders (the standard is free shipping with every order over $50).

When you qualify for Rouge, you get to choose between 4 more makeovers, 750 points, or free Flash shipping with every order, no minimum.

Rouge status also gives you access to new releases earlier, exclusive events, and you also get free standard shipping on every order, no minimum.

Lastly, your Beauty Insider level also dictates your discount percentage during Sephora’s major annual sales (more on the sales below). If I remember correctly, being an Insider gives you 10% off, VIB gives you 15% off, and Rouge gives you 20% off. Yes, 20% off EVERYTHING. That is no joke.

The Annual Sales & EVENTS

Speaking of these sales, I feel like we need to get a little more into them. Personally, unless there’s a new launch or I finished a product and need to restock, I try to wait until there’s an event to splurge on a Sephora shopping spree.

I just feel like this is the smart thing to do, especially since, you guessed it, I’m a Rouge member, which means I spend more than $1000 a year at Sephora. At that stage (and also because I need to buy so many products to use and review on the blog), I feel like it only makes sense to take advantage of a good sale.

So every year in April and November, Sephora holds a huge sale, and as I mentioned above, your member status determines your percentage of discount. As far as sales go, there’s also a Memorial Day sale and the obvious Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

On top of the sales, Sephora also holds events specific to a category of products, giving out 2, 3 or 4 times the amount of points. Every year, for example, they have the fragrance event right before Valentine’s Day, and you can get 4x the points on every fragrance purchase. Same goes for skincare in January, and they have an event in August where you get 2x, 3x, or 4x the points on everything, depending if you’re an Insider, VIB or Rouge member.

One of the super practical functions Sephora has on their website to keep track of all the products you love is the LOVE list. Next to every item, there’s a little heart icon you can click, and the item goes straight into your LOVE list. Then, when there’s a sale, you just go to your LOVE list, transfer everything you want to buy to your basket, and that’s it! So simple and efficient, I use it all the time.

Free samples and discount codes

The Hungarian Brunette shopping at Sephora screenshot

One simple thing about shopping at Sephora: You should NEVER, EVER check out without using a promo code. Everyone pretty much knows that you can select 2 free samples with every order (in your basket, right above your items, click the tab that says “get 2 free samples with every order”), but a lot of people don’t know that they also always have some kind of promotion where you can get deluxe-size samples if you purchase $25 or $35 before taxes.

The Hungarian Brunette shopping at sephora screenshot

To see those deals, simply go to the SHOP tab on Sephora’s home page (see right here on the left) and go to the BEAUTY OFFERS section. Once you click on it, you’ll be taken to the page that you can see right below, where all their current promotions are displayed, and they tell you which code to enter at checkout to get the matching promo.

So right now, for example, if you buy $25 or more, you can get either a trial-size sample of the Philosophy Renewed Hope In A jar, the Charlotte Tilbury setting powder, the Caudalie Vinoperfect night creme, the Origins Hello Calm face mask, the Pretty Vulgar Faux Real Extreme mascara, etc. If you buy for $35 or more, you can get two Japanese Beauty samples, and if you buy any Chloé fragrance, there’s a gift for that too.

Which brings me to my next tip: Divide your orders. Obviously, if you’re not a VIB or Rouge member, you’ll need to place an order of minimum $50 to get free shipping. But if you’re VIB and get free shipping with $35, or if you’re Rouge and get free shipping on every order, then don’t go and make one order of $100. Make 4 orders of $25, get 8 free samples instead of two, and enter a different code on every order, to get 4 different trial-size samples.

This might seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s actually a really simple thing to do to get the max benefits out of the free samples Sephora offers. And I know some people are complaining that the samples are tiny, but guys, they’re not!

Even if they were, they’re FREE, so I don’t see why there’s even any complaining, but usually, trial-size samples are actually quite generous. I’ve gotten countless of them, some of which I bring with me when I go on a weekend trip and don’t feel like bringing my full-size face wash, moisturizer or mask.

While we’re on the topic of samples, I feel like I need to mention that if you go to a physical location, Sephora employees will give you a sample of ANY product you might want to try out. You’re curious about a new shampoo? They’ll give you a sample. You want to make sure a foundation is the right shade? They’ll give you a sample. You want to try out a moisturizer, primer, face mask, anything? They’ll give you a sample.

Just be nice to the employees, and you can basically ask the for any sample, they’ll gladly give it to you.


So as we just went over, you can get pretty much any sample you want in store, but that’s not the only perk you’ll get if you go to a physical store. Sephora has amazing customer service policies, and you can return in store anything that you’ve purchased, even if it’s opened and used, and they’ll take it back.

Now OBVIOUSLY, I feel like I shouldn’t have to say that but I’ll say it anyway: DON’T ABUSE THIS. Don’t return an almost empty product you actually enjoyed just to get your money back, that’s a shitty thing to do. But for everyone else who isn’t an asshole, this is actually a really great thing about shopping at Sephora. You know that in case something really doesn’t work out for you, you’re covered.

The Hungarian Brunette tips and tricks for shopping at sephora

Also, if you have a Sephora near you, consider yourself lucky, because it means you get two additional perks: First, you can get a full makeover, which is free if you buy $50 of product.

So if you’re going to an event and you want to get your makeup done before, just make an appointment, and one of the artists working at Sephora will do it for you, for free. You do have to buy $50 worth of products, but the makeup is technically free.

But that’s not it. You can also get mini makeovers, which are 100% free and don’t require any purchase. These mini sessions last about 20 minutes, and they range from teaching you how to draw the perfect brows to gluing on false lashes or finding the perfect foundation shade. Once again, all you have to do is book your appointment, show up in store and you’re all set.

There’s also a variety of group classes that you can take, once again for free, which last 45 minutes. The topics range from contouring to smokey eyes to the perfect winged liner.

And, last but not least, Sephora also hosts brand events in-store quite regularly, to which you can RSVP and attend for free. You can get all the info on their events on their website, under the HAPPENING AT SEPHORA tab, or on their app, which I use all the time.

Well guys, that’s it for today.

I hope these tips are helpful and they help you get more for every dollar you spend at Sephora.

I’d love to know, do you guys even shop at Sephora? If not, where do you get your makeup? Are you an Ulta girl? Do you prefer drugstore makeup? Let me know.

I’m definitely addicted to Sephora, but I’ve heard so much about Ulta, because they carry brands that you can’t get at Sephora, like Colourpop and Morphe… So now I kinda feel like I want to check those out, too…

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and let me know if there’s anything else you would like to see on The Hungarian Brunette, or if there are any tips that I forgot to include in this list.

Love you guys,

Jenny xx

The Hungarian Brunette shopping at sephora tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck
The Hungarian Brunette shopping at sephora tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck
The Hungarian Brunette shopping at sephora tips and tricks to get the best bang for your buck