An online friend of mine told me recently that they are opening a Sephora in her town soon.This will be her first experience with the makeup haven. Hearing that, I thought back to my first Sephora visit. I ddn't get into makeup at all until we moved to Austin, so it was there I first entered the black/white/pink paradise.
Sephora is overwhelming. It's crammed full of colorful, touchable, expensive makeup. I still get that "I'm going to break something and have to pay for it" there, even though I'm a regular customer. If you can relax, though, and if the folks working there are friendly (sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't), a trip to Sephora can be a really fun experience.
I've never actually had my makeup done at Sephora, or asked for recommendations, but I hear that's the way to go, and I can see why it would be. However, for those of us who tend towards the shy and would rather not have that much human interaction, here are my tips to enjoying one's first Sephora visit:
1. Check out the end caps.
As is the case in many stores, Sephora's best finds are often in the end caps. My favorites are the ones where they gather all types of one thing together (i.e. eight mascaras or ten primers) and write little blurbs about the advantages of each one. Now, they are a store and they are trying to sell you stuff--the more stuff the better--so you have to take everything you read and hear there as the marketing it is, but it's still fun to be able to easily compare products. End caps that don't have these comparison displays often display box sets instead, and box sets are, especially for the relatively new-to-makeup, often a great way to get started.
A couple of my current favorite sets available at Sephora:
2. Speaking of sets--Sephora Favorites
If you're interested in trying a lot of different things, another great thing to look for is the "Sephora Favorites" sets the store offers. These gather large trial sizes of best selling product so that you can buy them together and try them all. Where they are located depends on store, so you may have to ask.
Give Me Some Lash, $30
Glitz & Glam, $75
3. Don't neglect the house brand
I think that one mistake people make at Sephora, when surrounded by tons of luxury makeup, is to forget about Sephora's very good house brand. Sephora's house products are fairly affordable, too, which makes them great for when you want to try something new. A couple of standouts for me have been:
Jumbo Liner 12HR Wear Waterproof, $10 each
Color Flip, $15
4. Look at the minis
One of my other favorite parts of Sephora stores is the "impulse buy" section of mini items near the registers. This section can be dangerous--I've come home with several things I didn't mean to buy--but it can also be a fun way to try things. I think the availability might depend on store, but things I've seen there lately include:
Fresh Sugar Lip Duo, $22
5. Keep your eyes peeled for a sale
Things do not go on sale at Sephora all that often. However, once in a while, you will run into something on the website or at the store, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled. Right now, there are a few sale items worth a peek. For example, much of the tokidoki makeup is reduced. These also seem to be good deals:
Sephora Collection Brush Roll Set, $39 (originally $72)
Sephora Collection Beauty in a Box Eye Tutorials, $10 (originally $36)
Other than those tips, I think my advice is of the general "have fun and be careful" variety. And really, do be careful--it's very very to walk out with a much spendier striped bag than you intended.