An Ode to Sephora

Having always loved scouting the cosmetics counters at department stores and roaming the beauty aisles at the drug store, I was not quite prepared for the euphoria I would experience when I first discovered Sephora. Long before it proliferated to a town near me, I discovered it in Las Vegas.

Once through the doors, it was as if I had fallen down the Rabbit Hole. The outside world ceased to exist and I was Zoe in Beautyland! I could have spent hours flitting from one display to another, encountering brands I had never had access to. Makeup, skincare, hair care, small beauty appliances, all in one place. It was genius!

The thing I most love about Sephora, over and above the plethora of items, is the ability to experiment with them. If you love to play with makeup, this is your playground. Testers are everywhere. Dabbling is not only permissible, it’s encouraged. No more buying and tossing out disappointing products when I can sample everything first hand before I commit financially. Pick even the most expensive cream they carry and they will give you a generous sample in a teensy plastic pot to take home and try. On my most recent visit I was focused on BB creams for a future post and took home three samples to review plus two firming creams.

A match for every  complexion

A match for every complexion

Sephora also offers three services for those overwhelmed by the bewildering array of foundations and skin care products. So many temptations, so little time! I tested out two of them at the branch in Greenwich CT courtesy of the patient and informative Christina Del Carmine.The first is Sephora+Pantone Color IQ. Using a special camera pressed to my skin, Christina took photos of 3 spots on my face to type it for color. She then input this info to the IQ computer screen which spit out numerous foundations that would be a close match. You can filter and customize your foundation matches by brand, formulation, coverage, finish, skin type, ingredients and SPF; truly a brilliant concept and one that can save you a lot of time otherwise spent researching and testing product. Should you want a foundation that is lighter or darker or more yellow or red than your match, it will give you that too.

Pick your skincare concerns

Pick your skincare concerns

The second service is called Skin Care IQ. First, I was given an on- screen quiz as to my primary and secondary concerns (but there are so many, do I have to limit it to two??) and voila, 97 products popped up on the screen. These could be narrowed further by my age group, formulation choice, ingredients, SPF and price range.

They will type fragrance for you too, but I declined that one since I have a collection to suit my every whim.

This store concept wins points with me because it is so democratic. No one is trying to sway you to a particular brand or price point. If you’re happy, they’re happy. And helpful. The staff is unfailingly polite and will show you how to apply anything, a boon to those who are all thumbs with makeup brushes, sponges and tools. At one point, I had a patchwork of 5 different BB creams on my face, searching for that perfect texture and color. I could hardly spend a more fun afternoon hour, unless they decide to serve wine. Now there’s an idea!

Although Sephora will always hold a special place in my heart, there are many other resources where I score makeup and skincare and I will cover that subject in another post soon.

Eco tip:

Some of my readers brought to my attention the polluting of the environment by plastic beads in exfoliating scrubs. One that is eco friendly? PUR attitude’s purifying rice face wash. The brand uses no water (usually the first ingredient in any product), no harsh chemicals, parabens, PEG’s, glycols, sulfates, petro chemicals, fragrance or dyes. Find it at: It’s gentle enough to use daily and very effective. $18 for 6.6 fl.oz., a 6 to 8 week supply. Or buy one, get one for half price on their site.

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3 Responses to An Ode to Sephora

  1. Susan Smith says:

    Wow, when I was young, cool, making Ioads of money, i just chose Channel. I assumed it was the best. Since then, both because I do not earm a fortune and because I am aging, I am more open to products. Love the blog! I am trying what you suggest amd enjoying even thinking about the topic of beauty. Great blog!

  2. Diane White says:

    Zoe, I love your blog! Couldn’t agree more about Seporah. It is still magical to me!

  3. Diane White says:

    Sephora! Ok so I can’t spell!

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