young woman with finger raised (l) sephora store (c) young woman pointing at product page (r)

monticello/Shutterstock @sarcasm.generator/TikTok

‘Sephora has made a huge mistake’: Customer does the math on Sephora rewards points, finds out how they’re overcharging you

'I see the downfall of Sephora.'


Rachel Kiley


Posted on Jan 11, 2024   Updated on Jan 11, 2024, 8:31 am CST

A TikToker is calling Sephora out after discovering their rewards program may be giving away clues as to how much products are actually worth.

“So Sephora has made a huge mistake. Let me explain what I mean,” @sarcasm.generator tells her viewers in a video shared last month.

She launches into an explanation about how Sephora’s Beauty Insider rewards program works, which generally involves earning one point per dollar spent at the store, outside of special promotions that offer exponential points.

“You’d rack up a bunch of points and you’d be able to exchange it for a mini version of a product,” she says. “Recently, they introduced the option to exchange 500 points for $10 off of your purchase. This was a mistake because what it tells us is 500 points is worth, to them, ten American dollars. So we can use that knowledge to figure out what products actually should cost based on their mini sizes being offered.”

To show what she meant, the TikToker compared an 8 mL sample of Augustinus Bader’s The Conditioner—worth 100 Sephora points—to the 150mL product. The former, she suggests, essentially costs $2, which means the full-sized should cost about $37.50.

“It is actually worth $57. So that means that they are charging twenty extra f—king dollars,” she concluded.

Sephora points aren’t exactly worth actual dollars, but it still isn’t hard to see where @sarcasm.generator is coming from with this. Some viewers were equally frustrated, but it mostly sounded as if that didn’t come from this sudden realization.

“To me the mistake is making you aware that you have to spend FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS to get ten bucks off,” wrote @kyza929.

“And their prices keep going up,” @fatherchicken123 claimed. “Madness.”

But some people pointed out that the calculations can’t be made in such a straightforward manner, as there are likely other factors to consider.

“You[r] math totally makes sense but you’re forgetting profit margins,” @simometer pointed out. “Stuff that small for points is probably super low profit or maybe even a loss.”

“It’s a loss leader strategy. They give you the sample for cheap to get you hooked on the product to buy the full size for more,” @chloeelkins0 agreed. Another suggested, “the brand probably gives Sephora the Minis for advertising so it’s not really ‘the price.’”

@sarcasm.generator stick around to see how insanely overcharged you’re being for the products you love #sephora #makeup ♬ original sound – I do standup comedy

Whatever the reason, though, it doesn’t leave a great taste in the customer’s mouth to see the effective cost difference between the sample and full-sized products.

“I don’t wear makeup but I see the downfall of Sephora,” one user joked.

The Daily Dot has reached out to @sarcasm.generator via TikTok comment and Sephora via email.

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*First Published: Jan 11, 2024, 9:00 am CST