Sephora customer speaking with caption 'the packaging for the Minis is almost just as expensive' (l) Sephora building with sign (c) Sephora customer speaking with caption 'when you're manufacturing as the packaging for the Maxis' (r)

Ken Wolter/Shutterstock @thelipsticklesbians/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘The packaging for the minis is almost just as expensive’: Sephora shopper says travel-size toiletries are a scam

'They charge a lot of money for the minis because they have to make the money in the margin.'


Jack Alban


Posted on Jun 22, 2023   Updated on Oct 21, 2023, 8:26 am CDT

If you use a lot of a product, purchasing it in bulk will almost always save you money. It’s the philosophy behind mega-retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, but it also extends to purchases of just about any product, including cosmetics at Sephora.

TikTokers Christina and Alexis (@thelipsticklesbians) touched on this principle in a now-viral clip that’s accrued over 300,000 views and 27,000 likes.

In the video, Alexis browses a section of Sephora that features mini products and urges shoppers to rethink their purchases of travel-sized options, explaining that the smaller portions don’t give customers the best value.

@thelipsticklesbians PRO TIP: if you’re on a budget and looking for smaller travel size options of your favorite products, DON’T shop at the Minis and More impulse buy section. I know it’s SO hard since they line this section up to the reguster. But typically, the smaller packaging purchased from brands here is not so differrnt of a cost they would pau for a full size product. Therefore, to makeup their margins, these prices are not so far off from just getting a full size product. It will take more more effort, but for our budget saving folks, it’s almost always better to dram out your favorite products. The exception is for products that you can’t dram and wouod rather try, like mascara or shadows for example, but again, you’d usually be better off just trying the full size and rethrning it if you’re unhappy. Personal and professional opinion! I’ve also seen people walk into @sephora and shop only at the minis and more impulse buy section, which is wild to me! So let’s talk about it – when is the last time you purchased something from the minis and more impulse buy section, and why? #makeup #beautytok #sephora #makeupshopping #makeuphacks #impulsebuy #letslearnaboutbeauty #thelipsticklesbians ♬ original sound – Christina & Alexis

“So here’s the deal,” she says. “I know how cute these little minis are, but the truth is you’re way better off going to Amazon or going to Muji and getting a little jar and dramming out your products.”

According to Alexis, this is because it costs almost as much to manufacture the mini packaging as it does to manufacture full-size packaging.

“They charge a lot of money for the minis because they have to make the money in the margin,” she explains. “You’re paying a lot of money for a much smaller size. Value’s always in the bigger size. So, buy the bigger size and get yourself a not-so-pretty looking dram jar and dram it out.”

The clip then cuts to a shot of a mini product. “But, like, how cute is that?” someone off-camera asks.

“It is,” Alexis responds. “If you’re not on a budget and you can afford it, go for the mini. ‘Cause it’s adorable, and you want your branding and your packaging, and it’s part of the experience—and you should pay for the experience.”

However, she says there are some exceptions to the rule.

“The exception is for products that you can’t dram and [would] rather try, like mascara or shadows for example, but again, you’d usually be better off just trying the full size and [returning] it if you’re unhappy,” she writes in the video’s caption.

In the comments section, viewers shared their reasons for purchasing the mini version of a product.

“I sometimes buy them because I don’t finish certain products before the expiration date,” one TikToker wrote.

“I like minis for when I want to try a product but not commit to the price tag of the full size until I know I like it,” another said.

Other viewers wholeheartedly agreed with Alexis.

“Buying the minis is def a scam,” one user concurred. “Buttt sometimes I can’t finish a certain product and I prefer to pay a little more so it doesn’t go to waste.”

“Me and a friend buy the big version of products we want to try and use reusable containers to split them between us,” a second shared.

“Finally someone understand how expensive tiny packaging is in production,” another remarked.

The Daily Dot emailed Sephora and Christina & Alexis for further comment.

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*First Published: Jun 22, 2023, 4:31 pm CDT