When it comes to make up hauls, there’s the good and the excellent. Then there’s the perceived make up Mecca, Sephora. Ask any make up addict and it’s the dream. Any make up junkie who steps foot in a country that homes a Sephora store will hot-foot it there faster than you can say ‘haul’ and swiftly pick up a collection of pre-planned purchases. Because when it comes to make up shopping, Sephora is the one to beat – right? I’ve been one of those girls many, many times. And in the absence of many physical visits, I’m prone to making the odd (usually twice a year) bonanza haul online. I look forward to these times and spend months deciding what I’m going to order.
When shopping with Sephora from the UK, you could be kidded into thinking that shipping is pretty affordable. There’s a standard £6 fee. Cool huh *adds even more to basket* But it’s the customs and fees that sting you. So while the dollar vs pound exchange rate on each product can look appealing and make you feel like you’re getting a great deal on your make up, when you add the customs on top you’re not technically very much better off than buying from a UK retailer. Maybe a couple of pounds at most.
For me it hasn’t ever been about getting things cheaper. It has always been about getting them at all. There’s SO many brands we still can’t get in the UK, so many products that just never launch here and it hurts my poor make up obsessed heart. So I try and generally pick up the products I either can’t get at all, or would struggle to get, when I shop with Sephora. So here’s what I picked up in my recent haul…
What £250 Looks Like From Sephora
Dr Jart Shake & Shot To-Go Set $36
These retail for £8 each in Selfridges and you can’t get the To-Go pack in the UK. I’m a huge fan of Dr. Jart so this was a no brainer for me. You mix the products together and create a face mask paste, and with four varieties to pick from, you have a great set for all skincare concerns.
Becca Under Eye Brightening Corrector $32
While I was making an order, I added this to my basket because I’d been eyeing it for a while anyway, and well…my under eye bags are hideous right now so I need all the help I can get. Several people I know rave about this but I was worried – it looks pink in colour, so how would that cover and brighten my eye bags as a very pale person? Weirdly it does just brighten…duh Chloe. Underneath make up it brightens the area ready for the rest of my make up on top. Really, really chuffed with this one.
Tarte Love, Tust & Fairy Dust Eyeshadow Palette $39
Another item I wanted was the new Tarte palette, because…pretty. I was in a toss-up between ordering from Tarte themselves like I normally do, but then I’d have needed to pay two lots of international shipping and customs, so I was relieved when Sephora added it to their site and I could include it in my order. (There’s a very important factor to this blog post regarding this palette, which comes after I’ve rounded up the products, so make sure you read on.)
Sephora Cucumber Eye Masks $5
The Sephora own brand masks are a big hit with a lot of people, and they’re a great little add-on to any purchase I make. I picked up their Cucumber Eye Mask for helping to de-puff and I wish I’d got a few of these as they make my eyes feel so good after using.
Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask Travel Size $22
One type of skincare I’m loving right now is overnight skincare. After my normal regime, I’ve found a couple of really good ‘overnighters’ and having heard SO much about the Glow Recipe Watermelon Sleeping Mask, I’d been wanting to try it but not fork out for the full size until I’d tested it. Fortunately Sephora had a travel size, so I picked that up too and so far, so very good.
Sunday Riley Foundation $42
If you watched my first IGTV video then you’ll have all the information you need about this foundation. I’m a HUGE Sunday Riley fan and their skincare is some of the very best I’ve tried. So I was expecting BIG things from this. Suffice to say it’s bad. Really bad. And that makes me sad. Watch my video to see it in action and find out why it doesn’t measure up.
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Tinted Moisturiser $28
A skincare brand I’d wanted to try for ages was First Aid Beauty but I’m not big on paying for full sized skincare products when I’ve not tried them first. But I took the plunge and ordered the full sized Tinted Moisturiser as a base for the summer months and I really, really like it. It’s gentle on the skin, gives a nice tiny pop of coverage and overall just keeps skin feeling hydrated under make up. Can’t wait to take this one on holiday.
First Aid Beauty Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer $28
Next up from First Aid Beauty was the Coconut Primer which I had heard a LOT about. It’s received rave reviews and although I’m currently going through an anti-primer phase, this has actually been really nice to use. It’s got a nice smooth texture (and it smells lovely) and I can see this being my everyday, normal skin-day primer of choice.
So adding this little lot up, then adding on the £6 postage, as well as the added customs fees – it worked out at approx £250. Which is far from a small amount of money. (Please be aware that when you add to cart you avoid seeing the customs fees until the very last screen – so make sure you wait for it before progressing with your order.) I’m not frivolous by any means, I have a family to provide for. But my treats are always in make up hauls. Some people buy nice handbags, I buy make up. Don’t judge me for it! And after a particularly difficult few months, I thought I deserved it.
Why It’s No Longer Worth Shopping With Sephora From The UK
I should start by saying that I’ve never had a smooth transaction with Sephora – last year they took a large amount from my bank account and never shipped the goods and it took me a month to get back. The previous time they cancelled an order and didn’t even tell me…it’s never been easy shopping with them due to their sketchy pick-and-choose overseas regulations and rules. But their wide product catalogue has always meant I’ve remained a faithful shopper. But not any more.
This order went through okay, with no payment issues. However when it arrived I was gutted – the box the products were sent in was MASSIVE. Let’s be honest, make up is small and these products together could have fit snuggly in a small box with protection. But Sephora shipped in a box that would hold a small suitcase – with only one piece of protective wrap. The items weren’t even packaged individually, this one piece of bubble wrap was just floating around the box and all of the product packaging was ruined thanks to being thrown around on it’s overseas transit. Damaged packaging might not sound bad, but as a beauty blogger, it’s part of the reason I buy things – to write about, review and use. I can’t photograph a shoddy looking and ripped box.
On top of this, the Tarte palette had been thrown out of it’s box completely, causing the shadows to break and crush. Naturally I was gutted. £250 is a LOT of money and quite frankly an idiot would have known to package an order like mine better. So I tweeted Sephora to complain and was told to DM them. Which I did…Here’s where their well known, bad customer service kicked in too..
Sephora will not replace damaged items on international orders. Ever. Even when it’s their fault. Like on this occasion. Which I did know as it’s happened before, and they just refund the cost of the product – not the fees you pay to import it – or the shipping. Which is HELLA naughty. YOU’LL PAY CUSTOMS ON AN ITEM THAT’S BROKEN DUE TO THEIR FAULT AND WON’T GET THE MONEY BACK. But I hoped I’d be able to get a discount code or something to allow me to rebuy without any cost to me – after all it was their fault for not packaging it adequately, or in fact, at all.
How wrong was I. They refused any help, wouldn’t offer up an apology really and couldn’t care less that I’d made this purchase in a moment of grief as a pick-me-up – and they’d ruined it for me. They offered to add on 250 Sephora Points to my account – big whoop. But then when I checked, they’d removed the value of points of the broken palette from my account (!) so it was a swings and roundabouts thing. Pointless and heartless.
Somehow Tarte themselves saw my tweet about the palette problems and got in touch with me directly. Despite my order not being with them, but with Sephora, they wanted to send me a replacement palette free of charge. Their kindness made me cry. I’d not spent a penny of my order with them and 8 days later the new palette arrived from Tarte themselves – perfectly packaged, I might add. How come another brand who took no money could see the kindness in helping me, but Sephora couldn’t? Doesn’t look great does it? Their customer service is well known for being shocking, but seriously their policies regarding overseas orders is dire.
After this, things got worse for all of us UK Sephora customers yesterday as they gave us the final kick in the teeth. We can no longer even access their US site. Nope, you’ll be re-directed to the French Sephora (which doesn’t default to English by the way – so you’re kinda screwed if you can’t read French.) The French site does not stock anything we can’t already get here, doesn’t have the latest releases and doesn’t have the full product catalogue. So basically everything that is the reason you would shop at Sephora as a UK customer, has now been removed. They clearly don’t want UK customers at all. What’s wrong with us UK make up lovers? When questioned they said it’s about newly enforced data regulations here (blaming us) which is GDPR I’m assuming (but don’t quote me on that.) Either way, surely they’d look at a solution for their British customers? But nah, they just don’t care.
What’s more is that you loose all your Sephora points. Nice eh? Talk about kicking us when we’re down. Yep, those points you (and I) have been saving are now gone forever – with no word of prior warning to place a quickie order and use them. Seriously Sephora, how many times do you want to invalidate a whole nation of shoppers?
I doubt they’ll care how many of us they’ve upset because quite frankly they don’t care. They’ve shown it a lot when I’ve dealt with them, and most recently in the lack of communication about the website switch. It’s nice to be valued by brands, after all it’s US AS CONSUMERS that keep them in business. But sadly to Sephora, the UK market is irrelevant. So when I go to the states next I’ll be making my pit-stop at Ulta and leaving out my previous first-stops at Sephora.
Ladies and gents of the UK – there’s absolutely no reason to shop with them anymore. I think Sephora have killed their relationship with the UK market. And we can’t even blame Brexit for this one!
Welcome to Lady Writes! The multi-award winning blog by Chloe Brewer and home of everyday beauty and lifestyle for the everyday woman.