Sometimes in the world of retail shopping, there are precious secrets laying in wait for consumers to discover. These secrets are only uncovered after much trial and error and there is never a statement or list provided by the company that reveals them to the public. In the food and restaurant world, these are known as "off menu" items (such as Jamba Juice's White Gummy Bear Smoothie and the McDonald's McGangBang). When these secrets happen in retail, I like to refer to them as gold nuggets.
This post is about one of my favorite gold nuggets: the Sephora Return Policy. My friend Juin shared the details with me and before I knew it, I had traded in some old makeup from Sephora that I no longer use for $225 in store credit. $225!!!
Here are the rules:
Bring A Valid Form of I.D.
My guess is that they do this so you don't become a serial returner (much like a serial killer but instead of killing people, you're killing their sales). If you've ever worked in retail before, there are people who constantly buy things and then come back a couple days or weeks later, like clockwork, to return it. This gold nugget cannot be a consistent habit and should not be repeated more than once per year (this excludes one-off returns with appropriate receipts that happen throughout the year due to makeup-related gifts, misleading foundation colors, etc). You do not need a receipt to return any of these products; as long as Sephora still sells it, they will take the item back for store credit without a receipt. Seriously.
Clean Up Your Shit
By all means, dig through your bathroom cabinets and line-up all of the Sephora makeup you don't use anymore and look it up on the Sephora website (to make sure they still sell it - this is exactly what I did). But if you think you're going to show up with a Nars blush that has food particles embedded on the cover and fungus growing on it and return it for a full store credit, you are delusional. I mean, if you owned a store and someone tried to return something to you that you needed to handle with latex gloves, would you accept it? Probably not. Just take a Clorox disinfecting wipe or even a wet paper towel and make your makeup look as brand spankin' new as possible. It's incredibly easy and will make them 114% more likely to take it backsies.
Use Some of It, But Not All of It
They expect things to be returned used: after all, you have to try the product in order to decide that you don't like it. Hell, you can even use half of it and still return it for the full amount because Sephora figures that you really wanted to give the product an honest try. If you use the whole entire bottle/jar/compact/what have you, then you are attempting to return garbage. Sephora is nice and willing to help you, but they're not stupid.
For whatever reason, Sephora is much more likely to accept a return if whatever makeup you bought fucked up your life. This means that it burned your skin, caused a rash, made your skin dry and flaky, clogged your pores, caused you to break out in pimples/hives, or any other ailments you can think of that are realistic (Leprosy and Typhoid will not work). This tip was given to me by the same friend who recommended this gold nugget and she got it directly from a Sephora security guard. This works especially well if all of the products you are returning are from one line or brand. I was able to return seven different Bare Minerals products I bought at Sephora by saying that they all burned my skin and left me with a rash. Gross and hyperbole, but plausible and successful.
Remember: There Isn't Only One Employee or One Sephora Store
If you go to return your products and are shown the door, always remember that there are more employees at that store and that there are other Sephoras in the world. Come back on another day and try again or even better, go to a different Sephora and give it a whirl. There will always be stricter employees and stricter stores so don't let being turned down defeat you; It is their secret gold nugget policy to accept anything for store credit that follows the above rules.
So that's it! I usually don't do two posts on the same day, but I was inspired to share how today, I cleaned off my makeup with Clorox wipes, waltzed to the Sephora four blocks away from my job, and was able to return $225 worth of Sephora makeup that has just been sitting, unused, around my bathroom. Give it a try.