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What’s Good Wednesday: Why Women Love Sephora

August 22, 2012

What’s Good Wednesday is Alicia’s weekly series discussing all things good.  From product reviews to dating do’s and don’ts and funny stories to favorite places, you’ll find it here, because Alicia doesn’t have a) a show to discuss her favorite things or b) the money to hand them out.

This time last week, I was wandering about like a blind puppy through the aisles of my local Home Depot store in an attempt to locate wooden stakes so that I could make my own lawn flamingos (don’t ask).  I think many women who do not often engage in home improvement projects would admit that walking into a hardware store is a bit daunting.  All eyes are on you, as you are clearly an outsider in this world.  Since you don’t frequent the place often, you’re lost, further bringing attention to yourself.  If you’re like me and are clueless about home improvement projects, it is also likely that you really have no idea what you’re looking for.  All in all, it can be a taxing experience.

As I clicked up and down the aisles in my high heels last week, drawing the attention of a few more people than I’d prefer, the following thought hit me:  I wonder if hardware stores are to men what Sephora is to women?

Given that I’m an active Twitter user, I posed the question to my followers.  Essentially, my question was answered in the affirmative, as a large number of followers indicated that they didn’t know what Sephora was and others pointed out that they don’t “get it.”  Given this response, I wanted to break down why (most) women love and are fascinated by Sephora and some pointers for my male followers in fostering and accepting this love.

1.  Sephora speaks to women

Many women are interested and find pleasure in keeping up their personal appearance, specifically related to their face.  Some women do this merely by using a cleanser to wash their face and applying a moisturizer.  Others go to greater lengths, including such things as exfoliating and  applying masks.  A large number of women apply at least some amount of makeup.

The reason why Sephora is great, is that it addresses the skin care needs of every woman.  From the woman whose skin care routine involves only washing her face and moisturizing it to the woman who applies false eyelashes and heavy eye shadow routinely, the store has something for everyone.

This is important, as other makeup chain stores or brands sold exclusively at department stores sometimes limit their market by only catering to the needs of specific women.  By offering a wide range of products suited to practically every woman on the planet, Sephora is a place that every woman can find something that she either wants or needs.

2.  Shopping at Sephora is fun

As I noted above, I am not into home improvement projects.  As such, I do not understand the attraction of going to the hardware store.  Visits there are more stressful for me than fun.

Save for maybe Bloomingdale’s, for me, Sephora is like an adult Disneyland.  It feels somewhat like a prestigious adult club that you gain entry to upon reaching puberty.  The store is very aesthetically pleasing with its black and white decor into which splashes of red are mixed.  Its aisles are widely spaced and organized throughout the store to allow you to flow through easily on your hunt for exciting skin care products.

As crazy as it may sound, going to Sephora is like an adventure for me.  When I walk into its doors, it’s somewhat like walking into a treasure chest.  While I’ve been there hundreds of times, given the store’s constant desire to provide the best products to its customers, I always know I am going to discover something new.  Whether it is a new skin care regimen, lip gloss or mascara, Sephora’s layout and in-store employees make trying new things accessible and fun.

3.  (Most) Women Have a Serious Interest in Skin Care

As a teenager, and honestly throughout college, I did not take as good of care of my skin as I should have.  Then, one day I woke up during my second year of law school and spotted a gnarly line across my forehead.  While I have never been incredibly vain, seeing the line spurred me to action.  I realized that I’m only given one face in this lifetime.  I’m not really interested in undergoing plastic surgery, as the thought of having a knife slice across my face doesn’t really appeal to me.

Given my aversion to plastic surgery and desire to not look like I’m 60 at age 30, I realized that I needed to invest in my face.  Yes, some products at Sephora cost more (and some a lot) more than what you would find at a drug store.  However, I know that they are less expensive (and painful) than plastic surgery.  This is not to knock drug store cosmetics and skin care lines.  There are some that work great.  However, everything that I have purchased at Sephora works great.  Upon beginning the skin care regimen that I am on now, my acne and blemishes cleared up.  The appearance of that dreaded forehead line reduced.  My skin became more glowing.  I was sold.  And I’ve been drinking the Sephora Koolaide since.

I know that most guys don’t get what women’s beef is with aging and why we’re willing to shell out big bucks to prevent it.  It’s because you leave us for younger women if we don’t (totally kidding about that…sort of).  Ultimately, our concern with aging and fascination with anti-aging can probably be equated to why many of you spend hundreds of hours in the gym and thousands of dollars on protein powder in attempts to bulk up.  You don’t need to fully understand why we take the skin care efforts that we do.  Rather, you only need to accept it.

4.  Sephora offers great perks

In an age of value shopping and plastic rewards cards, Sephora gets it.  Sephora offers a variety of perks.  First, it offers the free perk of willingly offer samples of any of the items it sells.  So, before buying the $100 face cream, you can receive a sample of it to take home and try out.  The store is very generous with their samples and I have never seen them deny anyone a sample of a product they’re interested in.

Next, the store offers certain special samples when you make purchases.  The best samples are given online, as you can choose from a variety of high-end samples upon placing your order.  These are always great to have for travel and just to get a sense of which new products you might be interested in.

The store also offers a points reward sign-up that is free to shoppers.  For every 150 or 500 points that you accumulate (1 point is earned for each $1 spent), you will receive trial or full-size versions of great Sephora products.  I’ve received some awesome mascaras, eye shadows, makeup primers and face washes.

My favorite Sephora perk, though, is its Beauty Insiders rewards program.  If you spend $350 at Sephora annually (trust me, it isn’t hard), you become a member of the program.  Then, throughout the year, you receive a variety of nice rewards.  For instance, during your birth month, you receive a gift. Last year I received a Philosophy brand (amazing stuff) body wash (retail: $16).  This year, I received two Sugar brand lipglosses.  You also receive free makeovers throughout the year, discount coupons and access to certain products before the general public.  The variety of perks Sephora offers its customers demonstrates that it cares about them and wants their return business.  The perks are better than that of any other cosmetics store that I have seen.

5.  What it boils down to

Sephora is like a secret treehouse for grown women, where they come to share their beauty secrets, let their cares go and have fun shopping for items to enhance their appearance.  It is a place where women I may or may not know are capable of spending 2+ hours.  It is a store that for some women, the opportunity to visit there weekly would be accepted.  Essentially, what you need to know, is that Sephora is a woman’s hardware store.

So, like a trip to the hardware store, expect to spend some time at Sephora if you journey there with your wife or girlfriend.  Understand that you may not understand why she needs everything she picks out, just as she probably doesn’t understand why you need 3 tools that do the same thing.  Overall though, like the hardware store does for many men, Sephora inexplicably brings a lot of happiness to many women.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. MRiley permalink
    August 31, 2012 11:51 am

    If you could only ever get 5 things for the rest of your life from Sephora what would they be?

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