What does Sephora do with used returned products?

 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

It's so easy for people to say "If you don't like it, just return it!" I can't even count how many times I've seen those exact words are posted on this board. Heck, posts get deleted for bad words, but this mindset is way worse than any curse word and way more damaging every time it gets propagated.

 

While Sephora's return policy is generous, it's not designed to be a safety net for reckless purchasing, or customers not doing their due diligence.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I don't think anyone had said that yet in the posts prior to yours. In fact, just the opposite. Most seem to feel somewhere between ambivalent, to uncomfortable, to full on guilty when something needs to be returned, opened.

 

If the company tells you to say it, say it. They make the rules for a reason and Sephora isn't about to be bankrupt.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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Really well articulated! I have returned 3 or 4 items back to Sephora my whole life only because of extensive research (with so many bloggers, youtubers, and swatches easily accessible, there is no excuse not looking up items before buying) and sampling when possible. I know how it's hard to buy suitable skincare and foundation match for those who don't live near a Sephora (like me) but there are constantly those who fall into hype, purchase things mindlessly, and end up not liking them. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I try not to return so often but I have had more SAs actually push me to purchase rather than get a sample first. I've been told countless times that if I don't like it, to come back and return it. In fact, just this past weekend, I was actually told to keep coming back, try different products until I find one that I like, and it's fine if I keep returning. I thought that was a little overboard and not anything I would do, but I imagine if I was told that, many other people must have been told that as well.

 

While I do my research for almost everything I purchase, I'm sure if a customer is told every time they visit a store to purchase and return if they don't like it rather than being offered a sample, that is what he/she will do. Then again, it could also be the stores I happen to visit.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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And this is why you're not a demon spawn for returning. On the front end, they get their sales that day. On the back end, they have to accept a debit when that sale didn't work out. Net neutral.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

I agree with many of the comments in this thread. I rarely return an item to Sephora. I do a lot of research before purchasing expensive products and skincare products. Because my local Sephora doesn't stock all brands I purchase from, I do a lot of research (read reviews, look at swatches, look on YouTube for reviews, etc.) prior to purchasing. I don't buy foundations off the web site unless I've been swatched or use the Color IQ system and know that I'm 99% sure the foundation will match my skin color/tone. 

 

There are times where I purchase something and try it and hate it even though a lot of other people rave about it. This happened for me with the Bite Beauty Deconstructed Rose lip gloss set. I tried several of the colors, but I didn't like the formula or the smell and the lighter colors were so un-pigmented that it looked like I applied a clear gloss on my lips, which aren't even that pigmented. So I exchanged it for the TF Chocolate Bar palette, which I knew I would like.

 

I think I return maybe 1-3 items a year at most from Sephora. I actually feel guilty about returning used products, but I will return something if I know it absolutely won't work for me and it's something I can't give to my daughter. 

 

I agree that a lot of people just buy things on a whim and don't do due diligence to find out if they'll actually like the product, but to each her (or his) own I suppose.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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They said they would trash them, who knows? I got an used lipstick, and when I called, they sound like I made it up.

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It would be nice if we all try to practice a bit more restraint when purchasing beauty products. I often see members on BT try to justify returning products that total to hundreds of dollars because they spend thousands of dollars during their impulsive shopping spree. I always do extensive research on makeupalley, paula's choice, blogs, etc. and try to get samples if I can before I purchase a new product so the chances of my having to return an item is as slim as possible. This mentality/approach has worked well for me as I have only returned three items to Sephora since I started shopping here eight years ago. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I'm always surprised at how lenient Sephora is with its return policy. Outside of North America, I think returning items (clothes, makeup, etc.) rarely happens. Buyers' remorse, basically.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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"I often see members on BT try to justify returning products that total to hundreds of dollars because they spend thousands of dollars during their impulsive shopping spree. "

 

Can we all just agree that Sephora's entire market is luxury fluff? Nearly nothing they sell is a *necessity*. Also they rarely have coupons, so their prices are usually more expensive for the same products as competitors.

 

Hypothetical scenario: I'm interested in purchasing the new DiorShow mascara. I've used the previous formulation, but I'm not sure about this one. A luxury department store currently has the mascara at 15% off with a coupon, while it's full price with tax at Sephora. Why in the world would I purchase the mascara at Sephora then??

 

Well, the only reason for me is their amazing return policy. When I pay Sephora's higher price for cosmetics and other fluff, I calculate in that I'm paying a "tax" for their amazing return policy. I have unnaturally sensitive skin, and I may react to the mascara not immediately but 3 weeks after using it daily and loving it. What if by then I've thrown away the packaging and the receipt because I figured everything was going smoothly with my new mascara.

 

Or, let's say a month after using my new mascara from Sephora, a competitor brand gives me a sample for a better mascara. I want to be able to swap my old DiorShow for the competitor because when I bought the original mascara, part of my Sephora price was that the mascara I bought would be the best mascara I have ever used.

 

I love, love, love that Sephora guarantees the products so that in these cases and many other hypothetical ones, I can return/exchange without a problem. And in the long run, I've spent quite a bit of money at Sephora even with my many returns. Makeup is really not expensive to make and even package. The markup is tremendous, and I'm sure it would take a billion returns to cancel out the overall profit that can be made for a GOOD product.

 

Anyway, what I think the real problem is here is that packaging is wasteful and not biodegradable and the ingredients in makeup are so toxic that it's considered hazardous waste. If it's not good for the earth when it's in a landfill, how good could it be when it's sinking into your skin? This can be changed if only manufacturers took the initiative to make their products more biodegradable. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I've heard the official answer that returned products aren't re-sold, but when I was recently in a Sephora to pick up the Caudalie Hand and Body Duo from this past holiday season that recently went on sale, I saw that there was one on the shelf that was stapled shut.  I've seen this set at various Sephoras and at Space NK where it was also available, and all are sealed with clear stickers.  I'm positive that the stapled one didn't come from the factory that way, and it was a bit concerning to see it on the shelf for sale.

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I just got an Urban Decay Naked 2 palette today by mail. It was used. I am really disappointed. I will definitely return it. And maybe, i won't shop at sephora.com any more. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

Was it used or did it have a fingerprint mark in it?  Urban Decay is notorious for having these fingerprint marks in their palettes.  It's from the workers who make them placing the pans.  UD says they wear gloves so they are sanitary.  I've seen quite a few people post about this issue.

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When I got my Naked 3 palette (by mail from Ulta) it had a finger smudge in it. I read many, many instances of others finding the same things in their palettes. I sanitized it and decided to forget about it. I could tell it hadn't been actually used and returning didn't seem worth the hassle. Your explanation makes a lot of sense. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

Hi ladies! Thanks MGJM!

 

Hygiene is key in the cosmetics world. Most of our stores either destroy or make products into testers, things that cannot be contaminated...like hair spray.

 

Items that you receive in the mail should be brand new. If you get something that is not up to your standard please reach out to me or one of the other mods. Thanks.

Whimsically yours,
Janine

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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Just curious--why wouldn't other things be used as testers also? For example--a lipstick. You've got lipsticks as testers in the store, and obviously people use those to try out colors, and I'm sure some people use them in unsanitary ways (without using alcohol first, for example). Just wondering as it does seem like such a waste! 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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lipsticks cannot be used as a tester because you have put your mouth on it.  while in the store, you use a disposable lip wand to get product off the the lipstick.  

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

Probably because that would be a huge liability for a company.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

Sorry ladies...I don't know why my computer is not allowing me to respond to your actual comments. 

Kalex and Katty- It's very possible that the SA that said that everything gets destroyed really didn't know what she was talking about. There is a very specific way of handling the returns, and not all of the associates know the procedure.  The only reason I know is because I was the one that always scanned them out.  Also, maybe not all stores do the same thing.  All I know is that when I came across a return that was barely used, I would turn it into a tester (this was mainly skincare, foundations, concealers, the occasional palette if it was almost untouched, etc). 

Jcmb-I have no idea how warehouse returns get processed, but it sounds like someone didn't do their job when they put that palette back into their inventory.  But yes...sadly, everything else gets trashed.  You have no idea how sad I was throwing so many things away.  However, when dealing with cosmetics, hygiene is a priority.  I'd rather throw things out than risk someone's health.

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I feel sad that most of the returned products get destroyed, especially the expensive ones.  I think the store should make them into testers if possible, or donate the lightly used, not contaminated products to charities --- I know there are charities that collect skincare and cosmetic products for homeless women. 

 

I think we all should try to be a responsible shopper -- only buy things that you are almost certain will work for you, and if you are not sure, request a sample at the store first. I hate to see products get wasted, while many women in other parts of the world don't get the luxury of using skincare and cosmetic products. 

Re: What does Sephora do with used returned products?

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I absolutely love the idea of donating products to a women's charity. There's a lot of groups like Dress for Success that help women dress for interviews. I would imagine makeup could be a key to help with finding a job. Something to consider!

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