A Guide to Sephora

by guestofaguest · October 17, 2007


    I am absolutely 100% in love. With my makeup. Bare Escentuals completely changed my life. It's so good that I really don't think I'll ever, ever use another foundation in my life (the best thing is, it's not even foundation, it's a powder that covers like one!). My other makeup I put on, I really could care less about. Someone could hand me a black tube of mascara with no markings and I honestly wouldn't be able to tell you if it was from Chanel or Maybelline. Besides Bare, any of the brand name stuff I use came either from friends in the "business" (aka magazine assistants) or from a handout at some sample sale or as a gift in an event bag. (hello, fellow Hampton Jitney riders this summer?!) Anyway I am so happy that I found my makeup that works, I am NOT happy about where I have to go to purchase it. You see, the only actual physical store that sells Bare Escentuals is Sephora. Ah Sephora.

    Here's how my first real shopping experience went inside a sephora. I had just moved to Manhattan and needed ONE eyebrow pencil. In black. If I would have know any better I would have just gone into a Duane Reade for this. $370 later I had my pencil. A really nice Laura Mercier one in both the traditional "black" and the "black violet". I also had an entire bag full of shit that, to this day, I couldn't name off for you, but I'm sure it included some high tech eye moisturizer (which I've probably used once), at least 7 makeup brushes, some lip plumper, an eye shadow duo, and a powder bronzer. That's when I learned my

    Sephora Lesson #1: Never ask a Sephora worker for help. Ever. Unless of course you are okay with dropping a week's pay on a bag of shit, because they won't stop you at $370.

    Sephora is like the Henri Bendel's of the makeup industry (if department sized stores full of brand named makeup were actually the norm which they're not). No, Sephora is in a class all on it's own. I have a love-hate relationship with Sephora. I would just LOVE to HATE the place and HATE that I LOVE it. So, while I can't seem to stay out of a Sephora for more than a couple of months, I have become a little bit wiser about my decision making process once inside:

    Sephora Lesson #2: Never let them do your makeup for "free" (because, first of all, it won't be free...you will end up feeling obliged to buy something, will walk out after thinking you look fabulous to discover you look like Kenny Kenny's sister and will never use those fake eyelashes again)


    Sephora Lesson #3: Best time to go: much like shopping for lingere or bras, you want to make sure that there are enough people shopping so as you will not be the sole attention of the employees, but that there are not too many people there that you would ever have to wait in line to try on or purchase. The ratio of 2:1 seems to work well (2 customers for every 1 sales person) which I have discovered will never happen in stores placed in heavily tourist-populated areas (times square), however, for the other stores go during the afternoons early to mid week (mon-wed) seem to work out. Never go of course when you are feeling any of the following emotions: heartbroken, ugly, fat, depressed, lonely, or hungry.

    Sephora Lesson #4: Those bins by the register? Sure the travel-sized shit is really cute and you're thinking you are getting a great deal, but the truth is you will never use that stuff after the first two times. You will either lose it or forget about it (save for the rosebud salve which is absolutely divine).

    Sephora Lesson #5: The perimeter of the store is usually the safest, as it's just the lines and lines of fragrances.  Remember, however, that those bottles are powerful and just "a couple sprays" here and there could leave you nauseous for the rest of the day. Ask for a sampling (which they will put in a good-sized plastic tube for you) if you are really serious about trying a scent, and then use it later on.

    And finally, Sephora Lesson #6: Be prepared to spend more money than you ever thought possible on makeup when you walk inside. I would like to think I've gotten wiser but the powers inside those stores are just too strong for one woman to handle.