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It’s Your Last Chance to Shop Sephora’s Savings Event

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Retailers

The season of holiday sales feels like it’s officially started now that Sephora’s semiannual sitewide sale is back — and it’s your last chance to shop before the whole thing ends tonight.

All you need to access the deals is a Sephora account, though the discount you’ll get depends on what tier you’re in. Rouge members, who spend more than $1,000 a year at the retailer, get 20 percent off their order. VIB members, who spend at least $350 per year, get a 15 percent discount, and Beauty Insiders, meaning anyone with a Sephora account, get 10 percent off. For these folks, everything is on sale and eligible for the discount (including rarely- or never-on-sale faves). If you’re lacking in both status and a Sephora account, no worries! You can still take 30 percent off the entire Sephora Collection of beauty and personal-care products — no account required.

Regardless of your tier, this is your last opportunity to take advantage of the best Sephora sales of the year. Remember to use code TIMETOSAVE at checkout to see the discount that applies to your account — I’ve applied the 15 percent VIB discount to all of the products here for clarity’s sake. And because there’s so much choice, I’m here to help you sort through what’s actually worth it with the Strategist-vetted products below.

Oribe makes one of our favorite shampoos for fine hair for moisturizing strands without weighing them down.

This nourishing moisturizer is a great option for dry skin, especially if you’re on Accutane. It’s formulated with a combination of lipids, peptides, shea butter, and hyaluronic acid and is fragrance free and noncomedogenic.

The best tweezers that will actually last forever.

Keep up your summer faux glow with our favorite self-tanning mousse. What really sets it apart from other tanners is the skin-care ingredients: It contains niacinamide, vitamin E, echinacea, and hyaluronic acid to even out skin tone and help combat the drying effect self-tanner can have.

The Olaplex Hair Perfector No. 3 has been recommended to us time and again for everything from double-processed platinum blondes to folks with high-porosity hair. Strategist writer Dominique Pariso was so impressed with how shiny it made her hair, she named it our best overall hair mask.

K18 is often grouped with Olaplex as a stylist-favored, lifesaving formula for color-treated and heavily bleached hair. Hairstylist Tara Burke says it gently cleanses scalps and will hydrate hair without weighing it down or fading your color.


For a citrusy, bright candle to keep that summer feeling going well into December, we recommend the Panjore Lychee candle from Voluspa.

One makeup artist told us that this buildable foundation from Armani Beauty is the “holy grail of foundations for all skin types” and “creates a radiant glow without a greasy finish.”

Youth to the People’s gel cleanser is our top pick for oily, acne-prone skin: One dermatologist we spoke to said it will “boost moisture in the skin and provide anti-inflammatory protection” but won’t “leave the skin dry or tight.”

Don’t forget that you can buy Glossier at Sephora now, too. A longtime Strategist favorite is the Cloud Paint blush, which has a gel-cream consistency that makes it easy to achieve a soft, diffused wash of color.

This hyperpigmentation-targeting serum comes recommended by our writer Tembe Denton-Hurst, who says it fades dark marks in no time. In addition to 15 percent vitamin C, it contains turmeric and salicylic acid to help prevent breakouts.

Our top pick for the best less expensive vitamin-C serum is the C-Firma Fresh Day Serum from Drunk Elephant. It has a similar formula to our No. 1 pick (at half the cost), and includes L-ascorbic acid, pumpkin-ferment extract, and pomegranate enzyme.

Senior editor Simone Kitchens has been using hair towels for about ten years and says that after trying the Crown Affair towel, she “never looked back.” She especially likes the towel’s waffle texture, which she says both “looks and feels nicer” than other hair towels she has tried.

Verb’s Ghost Shampoo has nabbed two best-in-class spots as being our best overall sulfate-free shampoo and our favorite hydrating shampoo. It contains moringa oil, which moisturizes strands and adds a layer of UV protection. (Plus it won’t bleed out color if you’re using it on color-treated hair.)

Our managing editor Kelsie Schrader is a fan of the brand’s detangling conditioner, which she says made her curls shinier and softer after a single wash.

If your hair is very heat- or color-damaged, you may want to opt for this repairing shampoo to strengthen your strands. Even though it’s expensive, the formula is concentrated so that you’ll need only a small amount to create a good lather.

If you’re on the hunt for something that creates an illuminating base under makeup, we recommend Ilia’s eye cream. “This is the only eye cream that really makes a difference hiding dark circles,” says beauty expert Dawn Davis. “Plus it absorbs fast and layers beautifully under concealer.”

This pigmented eyebrow gel from Anastasia Beverly Hills “thickens your brows and makes them more even,” according to drag queen Alaska Thunderfuck. “Now, I will never be seen without this product on my eyebrows. It lasts the whole day, and I even sleep in it.”

Farmacy’s Deep Sweep toner visibly shrunk the size of writer Ambar Pardilla’s pores and cleared stubborn blackheads after just one month of use. It’s “almost as though the toner is blotting my skin for me,” she writes.

Banish dark circles with Ole Henriksen’s Banana Bright+ eye cream, which Rio says also helps undereye concealer stay put longer, too. It was recently reformulated to include real gold for even more brightening, and it’s now fragrance free.

Our best overall humidifier is this surprisingly attractive model from Canopy. “It pushes out the right amount of humidity to keep my nose and eyes moisturized at night, and I can easily keep it clean,” says our senior editor Crystal Martin.

When we spoke to Sephora employees about what to buy (and what to skip), the most passionate endorsement was for the Hollywood Flawless Filter foundation by Charlotte Tilbury. One beauty adviser says it has a blurring effect on the skin and is easy to build without looking cakey.

Another best bet is Rare Beauty’s cream blush, which we named our favorite buildable option. It’s available in two finishes — matte and radiant—and comes in 13 shades. (If you’re not in the market for blush, though, the brand’s lip oils are selling like crazy, according to one Sephora associate.)

Don’t skip the fragrance section, especially the “Sephora Favorites” sampler sets (that my own mom always requests for her birthday and the holidays). They include six-to-ten perfume samples, and once you’re done you can trade the included certificate for a full-size bottle of any of the included scents.

Everything from the Sephora Collection is 30 percent off during the sale, no matter what tier you have. Tembe likes this liquid lipstick, writing that the shade Always Red is “an opaque true red” that “looks good on absolutely everyone.” But if you’re looking to branch out, there are more than 70 other shades to choose from.

After hearing that Sephora’s in-house concealer was a pretty convincing dupe for Tarte’s Shape Tape, writer Arielle Avila put both products to the test — and found that she actually preferred the (much cheaper) concealer from Sephora. “It’s long-lasting and buildable, and it keeps my undereyes hydrated and glowing,” she writes.

This ultra-affordable waterproof, retractable eyeliner is available in 18 colors in shimmer, matte, and glitter finishes.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

It’s Your Last Chance to Shop Sephora’s Savings Event