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Frequently shopping at Sephora can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there are many Sephora hacks you can use to cut down your bill.The 11 Sephora hacks in this list are somewhat contingent upon one another, so be sure to follow the steps in order to maximize your savings.
I guarantee you that I will be able to save you 23% or more on all Sephora products, no matter what time of the year it is.
If a step doesn’t make sense at first, keep reading and it should become more clear. Have any questions or other tips to save money at Sephora? Let us know in the comments below.
1. Get A Cash Back Credit Card
The first thing we’re going to want to do is get a credit card that gives us the highest amount of cash back on all purchases, no matter what the category. As of now, the highest cash back rate that you can get is 2% off all purchases.
One card that allows us to do this is the Discover It Card. They give you 2% cash back on all purchases for the first year. Not only that, but there’s no annual fee, and with certain categories you can get up to 5% in cash back. Overall it’s just a great card to have
Here’s a quick glance at the card:
- 2% cash back on all purchases your first year
- 5% cash back in categories that change quarterly
- No annual fee
- Discover Deals shopping portal to get up to 40% off certain stores
- First late payment waived
- Free overnight shipping for lost cards
- Free FICO credit score on every statement
If you don’t want to go with Discover, you can also try the Citi Double Cash or Visa Blispay Card. They both give you 2% in cash back and come with no annual fee. We’re simply looking for the card that gives us the highest amount of cash back on all purchases no matter what category they fall under.
So far we have 2% in cash back – let’s see if we can do a bit better.
2. Sign-Up For A Cash Back Portal
Next step requires us to sign-up for a cash back shopping portal. Online shopping portals are websites that give you cash back at online retailers simply by using their links. They partner with thousands of different stores across the web.
For example, the portal that we’re going to want to use is Splender, a portal with one of the highest cash back rates out there. Type in “Walmart” in their search bar and your results should display 2% in cash back.
If you were to click the “Shop Now” button, you’d be redirected to the Walmart page were you can make your purchase. Shop like you normally would. The store pays a commission to Splendor on your purchase, and Splendor shares this money with you in the form of cash back. Once you reach a minimum balance of $10 or more you can cash out.
If it’s still confusing, hopefully this video will make more sense.
3. Find A Discounted Gift Card To Sephora
Note: Sephora.com purchases no longer accept JCPenny gift cards. You can view these rules and other information regarding gift card redemption here.
There are plenty of different gift card resellers on the web. These websites take in unwanted gift cards (like the ones you receive for Christmas) and buy them at an extreme discount from their retail value. They mark up the price a bit in order to make a profit, but at a price still much lower than their actual retail value.
Go to the Raise website, type in Sephora, and you’ll notice that they have Sephora gift cards for up to 11% off. Typically the higher the retail value of the card, the higher the discount.
There are other gift card resellers, but Raise is going to give us the most amount of cash back for our purchase at Sephora. Raise also gives you a $5 bonus for registering as a new member.
Just be sure to purchase the e-gift cards since they only take up to 24 hours to arrive in your inbox, although they usually arrive within a few minutes. Physical ones can take as much as a week to arrive at your door. Keep in mind that these rates may change.
Do not make your purchase just yet – we’re going to need to combine Splendor and Raise and in the next step to save even more.
4. Purchase A Gift Card Using Splender And Raise
We’ve finally reached the point were we can make a purchase. Go back to the Splender portal and type in “Raise” in the search bar. Since the two sites have partnered with one another, we can get 2% in cash back on almost all purchases made on the Raise website. This cash will be deposited into our Splender account.
Click on the “Shop Now” button and you’ll be sent to the Raise website. Type in “Sephora” in the Raise search bar, and get a gift card for as high as 11%. Right now you can only buy $500 gift cards at such a discount, but the next level down is 10.3% for a $150 card.
Add the gift card to your cart and go to the checkout page. This is where our cash back credit card mentioned in Step 1 is going to come in. Use it during checkout to get an additional 2% off of your gift card. Wait up to 24 hours and the gift card will appear in your inbox.
Congratulations. With the Splender portal, Raise discount and the cash back credit card, we’ve saved a total of 15% on our Sephora gift card so far. Let’s increase this by a bit more.
5. Go Back To The Splender Portal
Now that we have our discounted Sephora gift card in hand, we can finally use it to make our purchase. However, we can utilize the Splender shopping portal once more to increase our savings by an additional 8%.
Go back to the Splender page, but this time type in “Sephora” in the search bar. The results display that by going through their shopping links, we can get 8% in cash back. Click on the link to go to Sephora and shop like you normally would.
As an example, we’re going to purchase something from the Sephora Best Sellers Page. Once you’ve selected which items you want to purchase, just type in the gift card number on the checkout page.
If your gift card doesn’t have enough cash to reach the total, you can use your cash back credit card for the remainder of the purchase.
Let’s do a quick recap of how much we’ve saved:
- 2% by going from Splender to Raise
- 11% by purchasing a discounted Sephora gift card on Raise
- 2% by using a cash back credit card to buy the gift card
- 8% by using Splender again to go back to Sephora
We Just Saved A Total of 23% at Sephora – Incredible?!?!
While there are exceptions on a few products that don’t work with the Splender portal (you can find exclusions on the Splender page), for the most part this applies to all items at Sephora.
Let’s not stop here, as there’s a few more tricks up our sleeve.
6. Get 4 Free Samples With Every Product Purchase
It wasn’t until just a while ago that every online purchase gives you the option to select 3 free samples. However, it’s the fourth one that most don’t know about.
On the checkout page, there will be a tab that says “3 free samples with every order.” Click on it and a small list will be revealed. Choose up to three samples that will be added to your cart at absolutely no cost.
In order to get the fourth free sample, you have to do something a little bit different. Go to the Sephora Weekly Specials Page for bonus offers. There will be a list of promo codes that can be used on the checkout page to get that fourth sample for free.
Apply the promo code and a list will pop up in which you can select your fourth sample.
7. Get Free Samples From Sephora In-Store
Even if you don’t feel like spending any money, you can still stop by Sephora and get a few free samples. Don’t be shy about asking an employee about a product or asking if you can take a free sample home.
Last time I went to the Sephora in New York City, the sales associate gave me nearly 4 different samples to try out. The best part? No purchase required, and he was more than happy to help out.
8. Get A $5 Rebate With Ibotta
Just because you have your products in hand doesn’t mean we have to stop there. We can use the Ibotta app to get an additional $5 back at Sephora. This receipt scanning app is partnered with hundreds of popular retailers across the nation.
Take a picture of your receipt on the app, answer 2 – 3 questions, and within 24 hours cash back will be deposited into your your account. Once there’s a minimum of $20 in your account, you can withdraw to PayPal or for gift cards.
The $5 rebate at Sephora with Ibotta is an exclusive offer, so there’s no telling how long it will last. You need to spend a minimum of $50 to qualify. Since it’s a rebate, it won’t conflict with any other saving methods that we’ve mentioned so far.
9. Join The Beauty Insider Program
The Beauty Insider Program is a free rewards system that gives you points every time you shop at Sephora. For every dollar you spend, you earn one point. Once you have enough points you’ll be eligible to redeem free products. Most of these rewards consist of deluxe product samples.
Spend more at Sephora and attain different status levels to increase your Sephora rewards. When you apply for a membership you automatically join the basic Beauty Insider status. This gives you access to free beauty classes and a free birthday gift.
Once you spend $350 in a calendar year, you qualify for VIB status. This gives you access to seasonal savings, handpicked gifts, and 1 free custom makeover per year. You also get to keep the benefits from the basic level.
Spend $1,000 or more in a calendar year and you qualify for the VIB Rouge status. Not only do you get the benefits of the basic membership and VIB status, but you get free two-day shipping on all orders, unlimited makeovers, access to their private hotline and invitations to all of their exclusive events.
10. Get Sephora Flash 2-Day Shipping
If you haven’t reached VIB Rouge Status that gives you free 2-day shipping on all Sephora products, you can apply for the Sephora Flash Program. For $10 a year and no minimum purchase required, get free 2-day shipping on every order.
You also get a special overnight shipping rate of just $5.95. This only applies to orders within the continental US. Keep in mind that subscriptions will renew automatically unless you cancel.
11. Return Gently-Used Products
Sephora has one of the best return policies around. If for whatever reason you’re not entirely satisfied with a gift or purchase from the Sephora store, don’t hesitate to ask for your money back.
As long as the product you bought is in new or gently used condition, you have up to 60 days of purchase to return the product for a full refund. Unfortunately, they won’t return any shipping fees unless your product has a defect.
We’d like to remind you that some of the rates mentioned in this article may change. For example, Ibotta inconsistently has rebates to Sephora.
The cash back rates with Splender have typically been lower than 8%. From time to time, Raise doesn’t have any gift cards available. However, despite all of this, use the steps outlined in this article and you will be able to make a huge impact on your savings when shopping at Sephora.
If you have any other tips, tricks or hacks to saving at the giant cosmetic store, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Thanks for reading and happy shopping!
My name is Jason Wuerch and I'm currently located in Madrid, Spain running a personal finance blog called Frugal For Less. My goal is to help everyone and anyone willing to make and save money through easy and simple ways that don't require much effort. Just because you're frugal doesn't mean you have to give up life's luxuries.