Working at Sephora: Nightmare or Daydream?

This is What a Job With the Company is Really Like

By: Brielle Sparacino


If you were to type “the truth about working at Sephora” in Youtube’s search bar, you’d get a surprising number of results.

Sephora is not just a high-end, luxury makeup store; it’s the high-end luxury makeup store.

At Sephora, clients are treated with the best customer service and are subjected to a variety of makeup and skincare, such as newcomers like Fenty Beauty, and old favorites like Urban Decay and Clinique.

The Sephora cast, which is another name for the staff, is required to always put their clients first.

However, the needs of each individual cast member go unnoticed; take it from someone who worked there for two years.  

Sephora is the place that nearly every teenage girl dreams of working in.

The discounts are sweet, and the amount of makeup you get to play with is unlimited.

When you apply to this store, you’re praying with every bone in your body that you’ll receive a call for an interview, and in that interview, you are promised the world.

Management will sell the position the way a car salesman ropes you into buying a brand new BMW: it’s shiny, it’s new and it’s worth your investment.

The bottom line is, however, that their delivery on those aforementioned promises will typically come up empty.

Once you’re officially a cast member, you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club, a club everyone wants to be in.

You are free to express your creativity through your chosen makeup looks, but only to an extent, since management requires you to wear a minimum of five cosmetics on your face during every shift.

If you don’t wear the “right” shade of red lipstick or have an eye look that’s too neutral, you’ll be warned to change the look or be written up.

When it comes to elevating your position, that’s even more of a disappointment.

A common theme in Sephora is after you’ve been in the cashier position for a significant amount of time, you are supposed to let the managers know you want to move into one of three “worlds” in the store as part of your Plan for Development.

“Color,” “Skincare” and “Fragrance” make up these “worlds,” and “Color” is usually the most popular, where you’re able to walk the floor and perform makeovers on clients as opposed to being restricted to ringing people up for their purchases for your entire shift.

Transitioning to a new “world” is an exhausting uphill battle. It’s where you’re constantly reminding management that you’re not supposed to be on register anymore and you should have received your own personal brush belt to perform makeovers, but have to wait months to attain.

It takes even longer to become certified as an official Sephora Color Artist.

This certification is something essential to being part of the “Color” world, but your needs are almost always either forgotten or put on the backburner for other, more pressing issues.

As far as management goes, every store is different.

You will always have at least one manager you don’t like as much as the rest, but some stores are luckier than others.

Nonetheless, certain members of management act completely unprofessional.

For example, they will humiliate you on the sales floor in front of paying clients, or they’ll play favorites with certain cast members.

Even resigning from the job is difficult; there’s nothing like your manager using manipulation tactics to get you to keep a position you no longer have a passion for.

The situation gets even worse when they imply you wouldn’t be welcome back as an employee if you ever decided to apply to the store again in the future.

When you work for a retail cosmetics store owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, one of the most prestigious luxury companies in the world, you expect to be treated much better than you are.

This isn’t to say that all cast members are treated terribly because everyone has their own experience, but there is obviously a flaw in the system if young women from various places and backgrounds are speaking out on similar, if not the exact same issues of mistreatment.

Sephora may be a great place to shop, but you might want to think twice about filling out that job application.

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