In the Shopping section at Sterlish, we review, compare, and answer your questions about the loyalty programs of the biggest and best retailers out there, so that you can focus on bargain-hunting for your favorite products instead of reading wordy—and often ill-worded—terms and conditions.
Sephora Beauty Insider is the beauty, cosmetics, and fragrance retailer’s loyalty program for shoppers in the U.S. and Canada. It’s free to join and has three tiers, which unlock seasonal events and different perks based on how much you spend at Sephora in the calendar year.
If you shop for your beloved brands and must-have supplies from Sephora, be it at your nearest brick-and-mortar location or Sephora.com, a Beauty Insider membership is practically a necessity unless you’re okay to miss out on birthday freebies, points for purchases, seasonal savings events, and insider-only end-of-year discounts.
The rule of thumb—as with any other membership program designed to encourage you to spend more and more—is that the higher your membership tier, the better the perks and discounts.
Beauty Insiders get a plastic card and an account at Sephora.com, where they can track their points and redeem them for member-exclusive samples, products, bundles, and coupons.
Your Beauty Insider number is located on the back of your Beauty Insider card. For easy access, add your card to your Android phone’s Google Pay app or to your iPhone’s Wallet.
How Can I Become a Sephora Beauty Insider?
Sephora’s Beauty Insider is free to join for any customer who meets the loyalty program’s terms and conditions. You can become a member online or at any Sephora location (when you get to the store, ask a Beauty Advisor for assistance).
According to the terms and conditions of Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, you need to be at least 13 years of age and a legal resident of the United States or Canada to be eligible to become a member. Minors, which generally means anyone under the age of 18, must also have the consent of a parent or a legal guardian to apply.
How Do I Get Beauty Insider Points?
Suppose you’ve just joined. How do you get points (which Sephora calls Beauty Insider Cash)?
Sephora’s Beauty Insider program lets you earn 1 point for every $1 spent, in-store or online. You can redeem your points for discounts at checkout (500 points get you $10 off). Said otherwise, the program gives you 2% cashback.
To redeem Beauty Insider Cash for a discount at checkout, you need to have collected at least 500 points in your account (to get $10 off), and you have to make a purchase of $10 or over.
Collect Beauty Insider points at Sephora.com simply by shopping with your account. In-store, give your Beauty Insider card to the cashier, or tell them the email address or phone number associated with it.
Rouge members can also exchange 2,500 points to get $100 off when they redeem a Rouge Reward in Rewards Bazaar, the member-only marketplace that allows insiders to trade in points for a dazzling variety of products.
Sephora updates the product offering in the Rewards Bazaar every Tuesday and Thursday at 9:00 AM Pacific Time sharp. When you’ve piled up a few hundred points to your name, set the alarm on your iPhone and switch on your bargain-hunting mode: the best deals tend to go fast!
Do Beauty Insider Points Expire?
The points that you’ve collected as part of your membership in Sephora’s Beauty Insider program, called Beauty Insider Cash, won’t expire as long as your account stays active.
To keep your Beauty Insider account active, you need to A) make an in-store or online purchase with your loyalty card, B) claim your birthday gift at any Sephora store, or C) spend your points for products in the Rewards Bazaar once every calendar year.
What Other Perks Do I Get As a Beauty Insider?
Every year, Beauty Insider members of all tiers are eligible to get a birthday freebie at the month of their birthday. Sephora announces the gift selection, usually gift sets with big-brand beauty and cosmetics products, at the start of each year.
All Beauty Insiders get access to Sephora’s Seasonal Savings Events. If you ask us, these events alone make the membership worth it, as that’s the only time when the retailer discounts premium products. Beauty Insiders get 10% off, VIBs get 15% off, Rouge members 20% off.
The discount comes as a coupon that you can only use for the duration of the Seasonal Savings Event. Coupons cannot be stacked (if, for some reason, you get a hold of two coupons for 10% off, you can’t combine them to get a discount of 20%).
Beauty Insiders also get free standard shipping (1-3 days) for orders of $50 or over when shopping online. VIBs get free shipping for orders of $35 or over, and Rouge members get free shipping for all orders, with no minimum required.
Then there are Sephora’s member-only, limited-seat Makeup Classes, where Beauty Insiders of all tiers can learn tips, tricks, techniques, and product pairings from professional makeup artists in town.
All in all, we consider this one of the better loyalty programs for beauty, cosmetics, and fragrance shoppers out there. It’s free and, if you buy most of some of your products from Sephora anyway, joining it is kind of a no-brainer.
What Are the Tiers of Sephora’s Beauty Insider Program?
|Tiers / Perks||Beauty Insider||VIB||Rouge|
|Beauty Insider Cash||1 point/$1 spent||1 point/$1 spent||1 point/$1 spent|
|Free birthday gift||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Seasonal Savings Events coupons||10% off||15% off||20% off|
|Point Multiplier Events||2x points||3x points||4x points|
|Free 1-3 day standard shipping||On orders of $50 and over||On orders of $35 and over||On all orders, no minimum|
|Trade in 2,500 points to get $100 off||No||No||Yes|
|Special services and exclusive events||No||No||Yes|
|First access to restocks and exclusive shades||No||No||Yes|
Please note: All figures in the table above were retrieved on August 19, 2021, the day of publishing this article. For up-to-date figures, it’s best to refer to the page for the Beauty Insider program on Sephora.com.
How Can I Get the Most of Being a Beauty Insider?
To make the most of your Beauty Insider membership, time your shopping sprees around the Seasonal Savings Events, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday.
A few times a year, Sephora organizes Point Multiplier Events that, depending on your membership status, can double, triple, or quadruple the points that you get for every dollar spent.
In the past few years, we’ve also seen events that give you an even higher multiplier for your spend, though they tend to be rare and are mostly tied to a specific brand and/or product that Sephora has partnered up with to promote. Still, be on the lookout.
When you have money to spend and you want to get the maximum number of points, buy products and tools during Point Multiplier Events, especially if you’re a VIB- or Rouge-tier insider.
How Can I Achieve VIB and Rouge Status?
The Beauty Insider program is free to join. Any shopper who meets the terms and conditions of Sephora’s program can apply to become a member, online or in-store.
There’s no denying, however, that VIB- and Rouge-status members get the best stuff. Yes, you need to whip out your credit card now and then to get there. And yes, if you stock your beauty, cosmetics, and fragrance supplies from Sephora, it’s not that hard to achieve them.
Here’s how much you need to spend to get VIB and Rouge status:
To become a Very Important Beauty Insider (VIB), you need to spend at least $350 in one calendar year (from January 1st to December 31st for that year). Once you’ve spent at least $350, you get to keep your VIB status for the calendar year and the next calendar year.
To get Rouge status, you need to spend at least $1,000 in a single calendar year (January 1st – December 31st). Once you’ve achieved Rouge status, you get to keep it for the whole calendar year and for the year that follows. At year three, you need to spend $1,000 again to re-quality.
Previously, Sephora had so-called Tier Celebration Gifts when you’d qualify for VIB and Rouge. To break the bad news to you, according to a support rep in the retailer’s online community, that’s no longer the case (that’s unfortunate, especially if you were used to them).
If you became a VIB or Rouge member in 2020, you’d keep your status throughout 2021 without having to spend as much. But, unless you’re okay to lose your status in 2022, you have to spend $350 or $1,000 during 2021 nevertheless.
So, in one way or another, readers who want to have VIB or Rouge status for more than two years in a row have to keep spending at least $350/year for VIB and $1,000/year for Rouge, so that they don’t lose it at year three (and get degraded down to VIB or Beauty Insider).
Your spend for the calendar year for which you need to quality for VIB or Rouge status is the only number that matters. The easiest way to keep tabs on it is by logging into your account at Sephora.com.
How Can I Get My Birthday Gift As a Beauty Insider?
As a Beauty Insider member, you get a birthday gift every year in the month of your birthday. You can pick up your gift in-store at the start of your birthday month (no purchase required) or online at checkout (you can get the gift online only if you buy something else with it).
Sephora discloses the birthday gifts, which stay the same for all members throughout the calendar year, on its website.
It’s our observation that every year, these gifts seem to get better and better. For example, in 2021—the year of publishing this article—you could choose from the following four gift sets:
- NARS Mini Bronzer in Laguna (0.08 oz) and Mini Afterglow Lip Balm in Laguna (0.03 oz);
- Laneige Mini Lip Sleeping Mask (3 g), Mini Water Sleeping Mask (0.5 oz), Mini Water Bank Moisture Cream (0.6 oz);
- Moroccanoil Mini Hydrating Styling Cream (0.67 fl oz), Mini Moroccanoil Treatment (0.5 fl oz), Mini Night Body Serum (0.34 fl oz);
- Rare Beauty Mini Lip Soufflé Matte Lip Cream in Confident (0.10 fl oz) and Mini Liquid Blush in Adore (0.11 fl oz).
You can redeem your birthday gift at any Sephora location, no matter if it’s a free-standing store, Sephora at JCPenney, or Sephora at Kohl’s. All you need to do is tell a Beauty Advisor and give them the email address of your Beauty Insider membership.
When planning to get your Sephora birthday gift in-store, we recommend that you call them up to ask the staff whether or not that location has your gift set of choice available. Otherwise, you risk coming back from the store empty-handed.
How Do I Donate Beauty Insider Points?
Are you the type that feels good only when they do good?
Since 2020, Sephora allows Beauty Insider members to transform their points into cash donations to a charity of the month, such as the American National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and the Canadian Black Solidarity Fund.
Charitable insiders can choose between 500 points to donate $10, 1,000 points for $20, and 1,500 points for $30. Those accumulated a large amount of points can stack their donations (for example, members can spend 1,500 points three times to make a donation of $90).
Words of Practicality (Or Caution?) From the Editor
This is Simona, your friendly neighborhood editor for the Fragrances and Shopping sections at Sterlish magazine.
Just dropping in to share a few words of practicality (at first, I had written “words of wisdom,” but that’s for you to judge, and not for me to determine) out of personal experience.
Discounts, gifts, and perks are exciting, I know.
Less so when you’ve maxed out your credit card and eaten away at your purchasing power in the months, and sometimes years to follow just because you felt compelled to take advantage of them.
Buy only the products and services you need, in the quantities that you actually need them, and don’t give in to the temptation to spend more than you planned (or, more importantly, could afford) to.
Just because someone gave you a discount or showed you a list of marked-down products you’re curious about, that doesn’t mean you have to take action on them. At the end of the day, it’s all about making the most of your membership, not spending the most because of it.
Remember that membership programs are designed to keep you loyal and entice you to spend. It’s up to you to keep your inner shopaholic in check so that you, and not just the retailer, get to benefit from the whole experience.
Be bold, stay sterlish.