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Everything We’ve Written About That’s Currently on Sale at Sephora

Photo-Illustration: Retailers

For those who’ve never VIB’ed before, this is the sale people wait all year for. Fancy creams that are rarely discounted are discounted, and beauty people lay in wait, ready to pounce. The sale happens in stages, starting with Rouge members who’ve spent more than $1,000 in a calendar year. Starting on April 17, they’ll have access to the sale, which runs through May 1 and will receive 20 percent off their entire purchase (those prices are reflected here). Next up is VIB, which applies to enrolled shoppers who have spent at least $350, who will get 15 percent off all purchases starting on the 21st and ending Wednesday, April 29. Finally, it’s the Insiders’ turn, which is anyone who signs up for Sephora’s free loyalty program. Insiders will get 10 percent off their purchase from April 23 through April 27. Because the entire site is pretty much up for grabs (excluding Dyson, the Ordinary, M.A.C, and Viva Glam), it can be hard to know where to start. Which is why we’ve compiled everything we’ve written about at Sephora — from cleansers to tweezers to hair tools — here in one place.

Skin care

Cleansers

Makeup artist Clare Rea swears by this exfoliating cleanser from J-beauty brand Tatcha, which has fruit exfoliants that gently unclog pores. The oil-free formula has a slightly creamy texture when mixed with water and leaves the skin soft and smooth.

These ultragentle wipes are a good option if you have sensitive skin or eyes because they moisturize while cleansing your skin and take off makeup easily. They’re soaked in a gentle micellar-water solution, and are so gentle that you can use them on dry, flaky skin. FutureDerm founder Nicki Zevola Benvenuti even recommends them for people taking Accutane.

Moisturizers

This cult-favorite moisturizer, packed with proteins and peptides, is a favorite of Strategist writer Rio Viera-Newton, who says, though it’s expensive, it is totally worth it. She uses it on herself and recommends it for brides-to-be, too, noting that it’s also a good dupe for rich-people-skin moisturizer Augustinus Bader (it’s still expensive, but less than half the price of the Bader).

On the topic of cultish moisturizers, the Belif True Aqua Bomb is a good option as well, and great for the transitional period between spring and summer. Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst likes it as an under-makeup moisturizer, noting its ultralight gel-cream texture and weightless feel.

Rio also recommends the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream, which she uses as a daytime moisturizer, which she calls “light but extremely hydrating.” That comes down to the rich nourishing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, peptides, and shea butter, which gives skin that plump, hydrated look.

If you’re in the market for a moisturizer that won’t aggravate sensitive skin, we recommend this Sofie Pavitt–approved pick for nurses wearing N95 masks, which has calming ingredients like oatmeal and allantoin and layers well with hydrocortisone. Strategist writer Tembe Denton-Hurst is also a fan, and uses it as the first step in her double-moisturizing routine.

This redness-reducing moisturizer is great for anyone dealing with redness or rosacea, and comes recommended by dermatologist and CEO of Curology David Lortscher. In addition to being ultragentle, it also has a healthy dose of probiotics, which Lortscher says could potentially be beneficial to someone struggling with rosacea.

This cream is packed with fats and hyaluronic acid to support skin’s natural moisture barrier while also giving it an overall plump, hydrated look. Rio says it helped her eczema-prone skin look and feel good and is packed with ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and vitamin E.

Eye Cream

If you’re a dark-circle sufferer like Rio, give this serum from Drunk Elephant a whirl, which she says is the only thing that actually makes a difference in lightening and brightening her under-eye area. It contains five types of vitamin C, cucumber, and peptides, all of which work together to firm up and brighten skin.

Another good, more affordable option is this eye cream from Sephora Collection, which helps to reduce puffiness and helps to reduce dark under eyes.

Masks

One of Rio’s repeat purchases is this Biossance mask, which contains French green clay to draw out impurities and tea-tree oil to purify and calm skin. It’s a key component in her zit-fighting arsenal, and as she puts it, “does an amazing job at shrinking down pesky zits.” The equal balance of squalane and tea-tree oil also helps to reduce the drying effects that tea-tree oil can have on its own, and leaves skin soft and supple.

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask
$22
$22

This cult-favorite lip mask is a favorite of Rio and the Cut’s Kathleen Hou, and is one of Sephora’s best-reviewed products. The K-beauty product contains hyaluronic acid and actually helps to retain moisture in the lips, creating a seal that helps to nourish even the driest, flakiest lips. Dermatologist Cybele Fishman recommends this for anyone dealing with dry lips in particular, noting that it’s great for preventing water loss overnight.

If you’re looking to achieve dewy dumpling status, try these SK II sheet masks, which have higher levels of Pitera (SK II’s superstar ingredient) than their cultish essence. Each mask is soaked in about a third of a bottle of essence, so your skin will definitely thank you and drink it all up.

Toners

Recommended by dermatologist Michele Green for someone in want of a beyond-the-basics skin-care routine, this alcohol-free toner is good for getting rid of residual dirt and residue post-cleanse. The calendula extract also soothes skin, and great burdock helps to moisturize.

Sunscreen

SPF is a must, even if you spend a big chunk of your time indoors staring at a screen. But not all SPF’s are created equal, especially if you want to address blue light too. Dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum recommends Supergoop! Zinc Screen for this, which has zinc oxide along with antioxidants like winter cherry and blueberry, which protect against blue light, UV damage, and pollution too.

Another popular SPF option is Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen, which Dr. Chaneve Jeanniton says is popular among her patients because it goes on completely sheer and layers well under makeup. It’s also octinoxate-free, meaning it’s reef safe, and packed with antioxidants to help fight free radicals and environmental pollution.

This skin care–makeup hybrid is ideal if you want a little coverage with your SPF. Miami-based Dr. Laura Scott recommends this often to her patients with darker skin, noting that it has a better shade range than most BB creams. It also has turmeric (good for brightening) along with iron oxides, which help with blue light, too.

This lightweight sunscreen is a favorite of Natch Beaut podcast host Jackie Johnson, which she says helps with UV light and protects skin from HEV light too. These drops have also made a fan out of Rio, who says it’s lightweight, sheer, and don’t irritate her sensitive skin.

Makeup

This eyebrow pencil is a favorite of brow expert Jared Bailey, especially for mapping out brows for tweezing. It has a sort of in-between texture — not too waxy or creamy —making it a great tool for creating sharp, precise lines. That also makes it good for filling in brows normally and creating the look of tiny, individual hairs.

If you have no plans on stepping in the sun anytime soon, try this Rio-approved bronzer from Milk, which she says gives skin a sun-kissed look and can be applied using your fingers. The formula is matte and creamy and gives skin a certain warmth. It’s also vegan and cruelty-free.

This Kosas eye shadow has become something of a cult classic, thanks to its clean formula and pigmented finish. To apply, all you have to do is shake it up until you hear the beads mixing the formula and swipe it on for a brilliant, full color experience. Rio likes it, too, noting that its slight sheen gives it bright and bold dimension.

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r needs no introduction or explanation. It’s good, full stop. It’s made fans of makeup artists and makeup enthusiasts alike, Rio included. She raved about its full-coverage finish and long staying power noting that it’s the perfect thing for when she wants some coverage but doesn’t want to wear a full face of foundation.

Tembe likes to use this as a base layer for her glosses, noting that it creates a thin barrier between her lips and stickier, less-forgiving formulas. It’s also glossy on its own, and isn’t the least bit sticky.

A true glossy option is this clean lip gloss from Tower 28 that comes in six translucent shades (clear, clear with gold shimmer, berry, pink, orange, and red) and a favorite of both Tembe and Rio. Unlike traditional glosses, this one isn’t sticky or packed with petroleum, and has good-for-lips ingredients like apricot kernel, raspberry, and rose-hip oil.

Euphoria star Barbie Ferreira loves this shimmery powder from Becca, which comes in both powder and liquid form. She prefers the powder to the liquid for a natural everyday look, but mixes the two for a dramatic pop of sparkle.

Simply put, Pat McGrath’s pricey lipsticks are worth the near $40 price tag. The ultrapigmented formula goes on smooth and dries down matte, and comes in heavy, luxe-feeling packaging. It’s so nice, in fact, that Rio only wears it on special occasions.

Hair

Anyone who goes bleach blonde or processes their hair often knows about Olaplex, which is often touted as a miracle worker that brings hair back to life. It repairs hair from the inside out and improves the overall look and feel. It was dubbed the best hair mask overall by our panel of experts, and has a bevy of color-treated fans. Paris 99 designer Paris Starn says it eliminates flyaways and leaves her hair soft and shiny. Beauty writer Linda Dyett agrees, and pairs it with Tweefontein Herb Farm Botanical Face Serum every once in a while for an extra boost of moisture. Rio (when she was blonde) liked to sleep with it, too, noting that this, paired with the Gisou hair mask, is “simply divine.”

A favorite of Crown Affair founder Dianna Cohen, this mask is, as she puts it, “the most universally hydrating mask.” She uses it about twice a week, and although pricey, she says the antioxidant-packed mask is worth it. The mask contains prickly-pear-seed oil, which has even more antioxidants than the nutrient rich argan oil.

If the Christophe Robin mask is still too expensive, Rio recommends this mask from Briogeo, which she says is a solid dupe for the more expensive stuff. Although it takes a few uses to really see results, according to Rio, after about four tries the mask really starts to perform. In addition to smoothing out hair (resulting in less tangles), it helped her hair naturally dry more beautifully too.

Another expert-recommended pick is this hair mask from Verb, which Stylebox Salon founder Stephanie Louis says works for every hair type, is paraben- and sulfate-free, and won’t dull color-treated hair.

One of the biggest issues with dry shampoo is that it can leave hair gunky and white, but Rio says she doesn’t have those issues with this dry shampoo from Ouai. It also adds volume to the hair, and she loves it so much, she’s even purchased a mini one to keep on hand at all times.

Tools

This curling iron is a favorite among hairstylists like Helen Reavey and Nunzio Saviano because it maxes out at 365 degrees (ideal for minimizing heat damage) and allows heat to be distributed evenly along the hair shaft, making it a good option for anyone who curls their hair a lot. “The temperature is perfect, the hair never smokes or smells like burn, and the curl is perfect after four to five seconds from root to end — shiny and elastic,” says Saviano.

T3 Whirl Trio
$163

A favorite of Blake Lively’s stylist Rod Ortega, this curling wand has three detachable barrels ranging from a quarter of an inch to an inch and a half and makes it easy to do everything from soft, loose curls to big, voluminous waves.

For beachy waves, Glam + Co’s Samantha Shepard recommends this curling iron by T3, which has a thin barrel, heats up fast, and is super lightweight.

Like the T3, this wand set has five different detachable curlers with clip-free barrels and comes recommended by hairstylist Cheryl Bergamy for textured hair types. This is partly due to its high heat capabilities (it goes up to 450 degrees), plus its ability to heat up evenly from root to tip.

Nails

For a bright, poppy shade, nail artist Queenie Nguyen recommends this shade called “Living Your Best Life” from Nails, Inc., a cheery yellow that she says works well on a wide range of skin tones.

Supplements

If you’re looking to grow your hair out during social distancing and beyond, Loveday recommends these gummy vitamins from Hum, which she says helps prevent your hair from splitting or breaking. They’re packed with biotin and folic acid.

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.

Everything We’ve Written About That’s Now on Sale at Sephora