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Post in Beauty Confidential

Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I got to thinking about shopping for beauty items in the days before Sephora was so ever-present.  Where did you go?  What was it like?  What did you buy?

 

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Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

Before Sephora, I was going to the MAC counter or Clinique. MAC used to be THE place to go for all things beauty. Sephora opened up a whole new world full of everything. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

Hey hope your doing well. do you have any fave hairsprays or hair gels for hair up. Any fave that help for hold and volume for getting cute high bun look 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I don't think I'm quite old enough to have been shopping for beauty products pre-Sephora lol, but I didn't really discover Sephora (and Ulta) until a couple of years ago. Our local Ulta opened in 2020, I believe. And I didn't start shopping for beauty online until relatively recently, either. Before that I wasn't as into beauty as I am now, but I did get some makeup, skincare, hair care, nail polish (during stretches of time when I managed to stop biting my nails) etc, mostly at CVS. I also remember I used to get my shampoo and conditioner at the supermarket most of the time.

 

For the makeup I got at CVS back in the day, it was mostly the big brands like Maybelline, Covergirl, L'Oreal, Revlon, etc. - way more lipsticks than I ever actually used, various concealers, lip glosses and shimmers, eyeliners, some single eyeshadows, and mascaras. The first mascara I can remember ever using was I think by Physician's Formula, and it was marketed as "natural" with packaging shaped like a green leaf. I also had a relatively extensive collection of drugstore brands of nail polish in just about every color of the rainbow, considering how infrequently I actually did my nails lol. I still buy some beauty products at CVS, only from cruelty-free brands these days, like Burt's Bees (a longtime favorite for their lip shimmers especially), Milani, Flower Beauty, etc.

 

The first product I ever bought from Sephora - which meant taking a trip to the nearest mall, which I never shopped at - was a single item I purchased several years ago, long before I was seriously shopping at beauty retailers. I know it was a dark green eyeliner, but I don't remember why I chose that particular item, or why I got it at Sephora instead of the much more convenient CVS. I have no idea what brand it was, and I don't know what happened to it, either. I'd forgotten about that until just now.

 

Thanks for this trip down memory lane - it's so interesting reading everyone's answers!

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I usually shopped drugstore, and I would go to tjmaxx and marshalls and see what was unused and what I liked. I really loved tjmaxx and marshalls because I would find items from sephora for a lot cheaper. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

Drugstore definitely. For me HS was early 2ks so it was all either drugstore CG and Maybelline powder, mascara and gloss. I think VS was probably during college when they had a few sales and then it was the body mists and gloss tubes, or B&BW mists and glosses ha. I vaguely remember getting a Bobbi corrector in the pot in Sephora when I was maybe 19?~ and I think I got bare minerals from QVC when I was 17 or so with the mineral powder and that went into the loose eyeshadows and blushes into my early 20s. Does anyone remember Arbonne? I had a few blush and eyeshadows in the plastic compacts in my bag for on the go makeup, pretty sure one of them was a baby blue. and maybe some bronzer/blush products from my aunt and grandmother that was EL. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

Okay so I’m clearly older than many of you, lol! I goes I mostly had hand me downs from my mom’s makeup, likely GWPs from Estée Lauder and Lancôme.

 

As a younger kid(like maybe preteen/early teen) I remember my best friend  and I would peruse this makeup catalog (not Avon) and save up our change to send in for  one lipstick for like 1.99, and wait  4-6 weeks for it to arrive. I can still picture that catalog and agonizing over what to pick with out hard earned Pennies.

 

We routinely got shooed away from the makeup counters inside Hess, which I think became a Blomingdales and now Macy’s, back in my hometown. 

I remember when we saw mousse in a magazine for the first time, and thought it would change our lives (feathered hair days). We would spend a lot of time in the McCrory drugstore (like a current day CVS or Walgreens). 

 

I remember buying some MAC and Bobbi Brown on eBay, probably right after college-ish.

Does anyone remember those giant sets of Borghese spa body care? And Ultima II? I think my oldest makeup might be some Ultima II palettes. 

 

We thought every product would be “all our hopes and dreams” and were routinely disappointed in those days, lol. @greeneyedgirl107 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@sister13 routinely disappointed sums up most of my high school beauty endeavors, too!

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

Doesn’t it though? 😂😂😂 My friend and I still ask whenever we try a new product “was it all your hopes and dreams??” @greeneyedgirl107 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@sister13 awww!  Cute!

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@greeneyedgirl107 Ohhh I grew up in a small city that wasn't very close to other cities.  For me it was mostly the Clinique counter at Sears in my teenage years.  I'd wait until they did their gift with purchases a few times a year and go in with my mom.  I mostly used mascara and foundation through high school.  In university I moved to Ottawa and suddenly had more options.  I could go into The Bay to get my Clinique and remember visiting a MAC store there as well, but was far too overwhelmed to know what to choose.  In the early 2000s I was living in downtown Calgary and remember going into the MAC counter at The Bay and having the sales women direct me to products.  That was where my MAC and Beauty love in general really took off.  

I think the first Sephora I went into was somewhere in Florida.  I remember buying Bare Minerals for both me and my mom.  It was shortly after that I heard there was one on the outskirts of Calgary and I started making trips.  That must have been around 2005 ish?

Once I really got into BIC my Sephora loyalty started.  

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@greeneyedgirl107   Before Sephora, I shopped in drugstores for makeup.  Mainly CoverGirl, Revlon , wL’Oreal.  Then when I started to work, I went to our local larger department stores. We had Howlands and The Boston Store.  When I moved to the Philadelphia area I discovered Strawbridge & Clothier.  That was great. And I could also shop Macy’s, Wanamaker, Bloomingdale’s too.   In the early 2000’s we had Douglas Cosmetics and then Ulta showed up.  When the department store shopping started I used Clinique, Estée Lauder, & Lancome.  

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I forgot about Douglas Cosmetics @Cissy63 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@CorgiMommy  I loved that store!   My local Douglas Cosmetics went bye bye and now the Blue Mercury that took it’s place is also gone 😔

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@greeneyedgirl107 

 

Hair salon:  Nexxus (this brand used to be available only in salons!), Bumble and Bumble

Manufacturer web site:  Bumble and Bumble

Department store:  Clinique lipstick (rosewood, a brownish shade popular in the 90s!), bronzer

Drugstore:  Pantene, Garnier Fructis, Covergirl, Maybelline, Aziza, Neutrogena, Noxema, Bonne Bell

Merle Norman

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I remember purchasing a lot of makeup from my local hair salon @greeneyedgirl107. They sold their own private label products. I can’t remember the pricing but I felt it was reasonable. I remember purchasing my skincare from the salon that my esthetician worked at . It was a brand that was exclusively sold in salons. I also purchased makeup from Bambergers (now Macys), Gimbels, CVS, Bradlees, and Caldors. Forgot to mention that I also purchased beauty products from my coworkers who sold Mary Kay and Avon.

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I miss a lot of these department stores people are mrntion8ng.  Gimbels was a favorite. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@greeneyedgirl107  Thinking about different periods of my life…

 

High school (1980s): mostly drugstores, specifically for Revlon lipstick & nail polish and Wet ‘n’ Wild lipstick & black eyeliner. We didn’t have readily available black lipstick back then, so black eyeliner (occasionally melted with a lighter to soften it up) was lipstick, creative eyeliner, smokey eyeshadow, and beauty mark maker. And I had a small Avon eyeshadow palette, courtesy of a friend of my mother’s (or maybe one of my friends’ mothers) who sold Avon. 

 

College (1990s): department stores and other clothing/specialty stores. In Michigan, that was primarily Hudson’s. In Chicago, it was Marshall Fields, Henri Bendel, Lord & Taylor, and Carson Pirie Scott for dept. stores. I used to buy Urban Decay lipsticks at Urban Outfitters stores. And I started shopping at Ulta in the mid ‘90s; back then, they were called Ulta3 and were mostly drugstore with a large fragrance selection and a hair salon. It’s been fun to watch Ulta evolve and grow. 

 

2000s & most of the 2010s: this is when I started ordering direct from brands and visiting their standalone shops here in town. I also still shopped at department stores, especially Nordstrom once they opened here. Also Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and my old favorite bargain hunting ground, Filene’s Basement. (I will forever mourn the loss of Filene’s in Chicago.) 2002 is when I opened my online account at Ulta; too bad I couldn’t grandfather points from all my ‘90s-‘01 purchases. 😅

 

I didn’t start shopping much at Sephora til the mid or late 2010s. I definitely didn’t join the rewards program until 2018. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

I miss Filenes Basement SOO much! I used to go in DC most regularly but always tried to get to the one in Chicago when I was there for work! @WinglessOne 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@sister13  We had two Filene’s: one on Michigan Ave and another on State Street. The latter was our Running of the Brides store and was especially great for shoes and housewares. The former had multiple floors and was the best for high-end designer label clothes, shoes, and jewelry: sooo many amazing deals! People who never shopped at a Filene’s have no idea what they missed. They were treasure troves. 

Re: Where did you buy your beauty items BEFORE Sephora was prevalent?

@WinglessOne sounds like you had some great Filene's!!!

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