Ulta v. Sephora v. Nordstrom
Welcome to Tuesday, friends! I hope you're week is going well, and if it's not for some reason, I hope that it turns around really quick. If you aren't aware of what's going on here at Mingling With Megan, I am doing a three part series on where I buy 90 percent of my makeup, and the pros and cons of shopping at these places. Last week I talked about why I love shopping at Ulta, and if you missed it for some reason, you can check it out here!
This week is all about the high-end makeup giant that is Sephora. Now before we get started, I do want to say that these posts are not sponsored by any of the stores and the opinions are all my own.
At Sephora, they have many of the same brands as Ulta, like Too Faced, Tarte, and Smashbox, but they also carry brands like NARS, Bobbi Brown, and YSL. You won't find any drug-store type brands at Sephora either. I do like going into Sephora if I know there is just one specific item that I need, and I can pop in and out. The reason I usually just pop in and out of Sephora without actually having a good browse around is because of their somewhat drab loyalty program.
Unlike Ulta, where their loyalty program is where points are collected then turned into dollars off your total bill, at Sehora, points are collected then based on the amount of points you have determines what your can receive with your points. I've gotten a travel size mascara, and a face mask, for example, but I would much rather just get money off of my bill. It also takes quite a long time for points to build up into something that you might actually want from Sephora, so I just think their loyalty program needs an overhaul.
What I do like about shopping at Sephora if I'm not exactly sure about a product is the amount of training their employees have. Each employee is designated to a brand and they learn as much as they can about that brand and the products. Sephora trains them on the best-selling products of that brand and what products work for different types of people. So if you're looking for something from NARS but have questions, there is going to be a person at Sephora who is the designated NARS consultant. (Ulta does not train their employees like this, and I wish they did. That way if I had questions I could get my answers instead of trying to look it up on my dying iPhone.)
Can we talk about coupons for a second? Remember how at Ulta coupons were a big thing? Well they aren't really a thing at Sephora. While they do accept manufactures coupons, they don't necessarily send out 20 percent off coupons every two weeks. What I do like is that Sephora takes competitors coupons, though! So if you have a 20 percent off coupon from Ulta (the one that includes prestige brands like Anastasia, Calvin Klein, and Burberry) you can take that to Sephora and they will honor it.
Sephora wins the return policy game by miles and miles among it's competitors. You don't need original packaging, you don't need your receipt, and you have up to 90 days to return something. As long as Sephora sells it in their stores and they can pull your transaction up in their computers you're set to go. Depending on how far out from the original purchase date you might be returning something will determine how you get your money back. Anything before 60 days is in cash or back on a credit card, and anything after 60 days in on store credit.
Much like their return policy, shopping Sephora online has better perks than Ulta or Nordstrom. You get free three-day shipping for orders over $50. Then you get to pick three samples, which can range from foundation to a charcoal mask for free, no matter how much your order total is.
Overall, I think if Sephora and Ulta combined stores, so there was the budget friendliness of Ulta, with the brand variety of Sephora, that would be the best makeup store. I still find that there is something very off-putting about Sephora, but I can never place it when I walk into the stores. Do you get this feeling too, or are you all about spending your whole paycheck at Sephora? Let me know in the comments. Like this post if your eyeliner is even today and you spent more time than you should have on it. (I'm always guilty of this.)
Currently Listening Too: "Start Me Up" by The Rolling Stones