Sephora VIB Sale What to Buy and What to Skip

**UPDATE 11/10/17: Looking for the Fall 2017 Sephora VIB Sale discount codes? Check out my Sephora Fall 2017 VIB Sale – Shopping Tips + 7 Must Try Products post!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… the time where Sephora sends those of us who have spent way too much (aka Sephora VIB) at their stores a 20% off all purchases coupon. I spend hours researching, reading reviews, watching YouTube videos, adding products to my “loves” list then to my shopping cart then take them out again. I deliberate over what I “really need” and then finally make some decisions and spend a bunch of money. Let’s back-up if you’re not familiar with Sephora VIB program.

Sephora VIB Rewards Levels:

1. Beauty Insider – Free to join, no minimum purchase, you get a free gift during your birthday month, and a few other perks. You do not get the 20% off coupon in the mail every November, but you can use a friend’s coupon in store or they actually have AMAZING gift with $25 purchase options. Honestly I’m pissed that these aren’t available to VIBs because I really want all of them. You can sign up to be a Beauty Insider and shop immediately. Even though you won’t get the 20% off these gifts alone are worth a purchase. (Edit: These gifts were available at the Sephora VIB Sale in Fall 2014)


Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders
Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders

Kat Von D liquid lipstick, Pharrell’s new fragrance, UD eyeliner, MJ lip lacquer, like are you kidding me??

Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders
Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders

That GlamGlow alone has to be worth like $15 with how expensive that stuff is! CoverFX and Fresh!?

Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders
Sephora free gift with $25 purchase for Beauty Insiders

Prada candy, Bliss Body Butter, another GlamGlow!? Sephora this is just rude that it’s only offered to Beauty Insiders!!

2. VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) – You get this when you spend $350 at Sephora in one calendar year (January-December). The perks include this coupon- GIFTVIB, you get to shop sales first, get advice and recommendations from their hotline, try new products early, and you get 1 free makeover. I think this sale is the #1 best perk of the Sephora VIB program.

3. VIB Rouge – For those big ballers who spend $1,000 or more in one calendar year. They get invited to free events, are the first ones that get access to the sales, free shipping on every order, free makeovers, and an on call beauty concierge. There are some VIB Rouge exclusive products (a Bite Beauty lipstick, a Smashbox eyeshadow palette, etc.) that only Rouges can purchase. Their free birthday gift contains bigger products too. I’m happy to say I’m only in Sephora VIB and not VIB Rouge, but of course I’m jealous of the VIB Rouges and I assume both groups are pretty ashamed about how much we have spent on makeup. Also I think if I didn’t have an Ulta so close I’d be a lot closer to Rouge status. So let’s go back to last year and see what I bought for 2013:

My purchases during the Sephora VIB sale in November 2013
My purchases during the Sephora VIB sale in November 2013

Reviews of my Sephora VIB 2014 Sale Purchases:

1. Smashbox Full Exposure Palette ($52) – This has 14 eyeshadows 7 matte and 7 shimmer, a double-ended brush, and a mini mascara. This palette looked so amazing and perfect and like just what I needed and I did use it a lot last year. Then I went back to MAC’s Soft Brown eyeshadow and realized what piss poor pigmentation/color payoff these Smashbox shadows have. You really have to pack it on to get it to show up which is just annoying especially for a high end brand/expensive product. I do still use the brush it’s fine and occasionally I’ll use the palette if I need one of the colors, but I rarely reach for it. I would not purchase this again. If you’re dead set on this and enjoy natural looking makeup, save some $$ and just get the Smashbox Full Exposure Travel Palette for $25 and if you want eyeshadows that actually show up without 10,000 layers then just go get some MAC, Makeup Forever, or Stila shadows. Update 11/12/17– I still never reach for this palette and recommend the other brands mentioned as well as Tarte or even Morphe for better color pay off. I do still like the brush though!

If you love a very light wash of color that you can barely see or are looking for something for your mom for the holidays...
If you love a very light wash of color that you can barely see or are looking for something for your mom for the holidays…

It looks so cute, but yeah no go. I really love MAC’s eyeshadow palettes I usually get at least 1 item from their line every year and if you wanted something like Full Exposure, but actually worth the money you should check out the MAC ‘Amber Times Nine’ Eyeshadow Palette for $32.

The MAC Amber Times Nine Eyeshadow Palette

2. Drybar 100 Proof Treatment Oil ($36) – I use the VIB sale to splurge on items that I would otherwise deem way too pricey like this hair oil by Drybar. I just absolutely love how this stuff smells. I put it in my hair and it smells so fancy and luxurious. It works just fine, it hasn’t totally transformed my hair or anything. One thing I do like about this is that a little goes a long way so I still have about 80% of this bottle left. I can’t use it everyday because my hair gets oily quick, but I do like it. If you have thick, coarse, dry hair and you’re looking for a hair oil to make it more manageable and shiny I would recommend this one. Update 11/12/17– I’ve actually been savoring every last drop of this stuff so I still have some left YEARS later!! Love this it smells incredible!

DryBark 100 Proof Treatment Oil

3. NARS Guy Bourdin Holiday Collection Limited Edition One Night Stand Cheek Palette ($65 and LE so no longer available) – This palette contained Devotee highlighter which I talked about in my October Favorites, 4 blushes- Mistinguette, Goulue, Orgasm, and Deep Throat, and Laguna Bronzer. I do use this for the highlighter and bronzer, but I could have done without this palette especially at $65. I think that NARS blushes are overhyped and they are way too sheer for my taste and don’t last as long as I’d like. NARS released the Virtual Domination Cheek Palette for $65 and it is similar containing Miss Liberty highlighter, 3 blushes- Sex Fantasy, Deep Throat, and Final Cut, and a larger Laguna bronzer. Unless you’re just absolutely obsessed with Laguna and like a sheer wash for your blushes, I don’t think this palette is worth it. It does look pretty though.

NARS Virtual Domination Palette for Holiday 2014NARS Virtual Domination Palette for Holiday 2014

Update 11/12/17– The Guy Bourdin palette was Limited Edition, but the NARS has the NARSissist Unfiltered I  Cheek Palette for $59. The colors are: Unfiltered I (left to right): -6 x 0.12 oz/ 3.54 mL Blush shades in Watch Me (opalescent gold sheen), Me First (apricot sheen), Takeover (copper rose sheen), Out There (deep russet matte), Chic (rich raspberry matte), Exhibit A (red matte). I think this would be excellent for medium to deeper skin tones. 

NARS NARSissist Unfiltered Cheek PaletteThey’ve also begun coming out with limited edition holiday highlighting kits and this year’s NARS Bord De Plage Highlighting and Bronzing Palette ($59) looks super pretty. It contains: – 4 x 0.12 oz/ 3.4 g Wet/Dry Highlighters in Rifage (glistening pearl), Corniche (soft pink shimmer), Crique (pale gold shimmer), Galet (golden bronze shimmer); – 2 x 0.12 oz/ 3.4 g Sun Wash Diffusing Bronzer in Laguna, Casino

Bord De Plage Highlighting and Bronzing Palette

4. Make Up For Ever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in 117/Y225 Marble ($43) – I thought this shade was too light and actually brought it in to exchange it, but then I was color matched and realized that this is probably my only foundation that actually matches my skin. Again this was another splurge because $42 (now $43) is a lot to spend on a foundation! I had heard a lot of good things about this and I concur with them. This is a medium build-able foundation that photographs very nicely and never looks thick or cakey. I would recommend this and will probably repurchase.

Make Up For Ever HD Foundation

If you’re interested in this foundation you should consider the Make Up For Ever PRE. COVER. SET. Customizable Ultra HD Invisible Cover Foundation Set which includes a smoothing primer, a full size of the Make Up For Ever HD Foundation, and a small Mist & Fix Setting Spray for $59!

Make Up Forever PREP. COVER. SET. Foundation Set

Update 11/12/17– This review was actually on the old formula of the HD foundation and I have yet to try it since it’s been reformulated maybe 1-2 years ago, but I still hear great things. I have been using their new Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick Foundation ($43) which is not my favorite because I have oily so it doesn’t last all day on me, but it’s great for shorter amounts of time or at night or would be best if you have normal or dry skin.

Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Stick Foundation

5. Jack Black Intense Therapy Lip Balm SPF 25 ($7.50) – This is a nice solid lip balm nothing too special about it. I like that it’s minty and it feels good and has broad-spectrum sun protection, but I don’t think I would rush back to the store to repurchase. Update 11/12/17– I actually did repurchase this, but in the Grapefruit scent/flavor because I’m always looking for a good lip balm with SPF. This is not my Holy Grail by any means, but it’s pretty nice.

6. DERMAdoctor KP Duty Lotion ($10 for 1oz. at Sephora) – I was really hoping this was going to help with my Ketosis Polaris (little red bumps) on my legs, but no such luck. I would not recommend and will not be repurchasing. It was a fine lotion, but I spent $10 on such a little guy so I could see some results!

DERMAdoctor KP Duty Lotion

The Urban Decay Essentials Kit was a Beauty Insider 500 point gift that was nice, the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration was a 100 point gift that was good enough for me to use in my travel skin care bag, but not good enough to purchase the full size if you know what I mean. The Dolce & Gabbana The One was a free sample that I liked a lot (and included in my How To Smell Sexy, and the Escada was a free sample that was not memorable.

More Sephora VIB Sale Purchases

These ones I bought during the April 2015 VIB sale (which is always 15% off)

1. Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask ($26) – This stuff is stupid expensive, but I do really love it. It’s thick and I put it on at night and it’s still on in the morning. It also smells and tastes amazing. I use it nearly everyday and it’s still not empty yet. The only thing I don’t like is the packaging- the black part flakes off which is ridiculous for a $26 lip balm (Update 11/12/17– they’ve improved the package! Luckily it doesn’t flake anymore!). I would recommend this if you’re looking for something nice to splurge on and your lips are so chapped that it’s making you desperado. I still have yet to repurchase this even though I really did love it.

Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask
Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask

2. First Aid Beauty Fab Faves To Go Kit ($30) – (Update 11/12/17 I previously said that I wasn’t a huge fan of this kit, but I turnt on it and changed my mind! I use the face wash and moisturizer in my travel bag and they’re really nice and gentle and work well. Give these a try if you’re looking for something simple that won’t irritate your skin!) I had heard so many good things about this brand and thought this would be a good way to try a few products out, but God was I disappointed. It includes a face cleanser, facial radiance pads, and ultra repair cream and none of them did anything for me. These are nothing special I would definitely not recommend them or repurchase them. Save your money.


First Aid Beauty Fab Faves To Go Kit
First Aid Beauty Fab Faves To Go Kit

3. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in #4 ($64) Again, another insanely priced item that I justified with the discount. All the YouTubers raved about this stuff and it’s what Amrezy on Instagram wears like 90% of the time. This foundation is really beautiful. Like the MUF HD, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk has no SPF so I typically wear it at night. I also have oily skin and since I live in LA I’m way less likely to sweat at night and go from luminous to oil spill disaster. It’s light, really nice coverage, doesn’t get cakey, and I would definitely recommend it and I will probably repurchase. Update 4/19/17 I have repurchased this foundation (twice!) and still love it for night time, date nights, and it looks great in photos!


Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Remember- this sale ends Monday November 10th, 2014. I will do another post on what I decided to buy this year. Have fun shopping the 2014 Sephora VIB sale! Be sure to check out my other posts: Sephora Fall 2017 VIB Sale – Shopping Tips + 7 Must Try ProductsSephora VIB Sale Spring 2017 – How It Works, Post Round-Up, and EbatesSephora VIB sale purchasesreviews of my Sephora VIB sale purchases, Sephora VIB Sale Spring 2015, Sephora VIB Spring 2015 Wish List, or find out why not every girl wants a Tiffany box!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Read more about what that means and how it works on my Disclosure page.

UPDATE 4/19/17: If you need the Spring 2017 VIB Sale discount codes or want to know how it works this year check out my Sephora VIB Sale Spring 2017 – How It Works, Post Round-Up, and Ebates post. I have included updates to this post about my thoughts on these products and updated the prices so even though this post is from 2014, it’s still relevant! **UPDATE 11/2/16: Check out Sephora VIB Sale Recommendations 2016 which includes links to all of my Sephora VIB sale posts. **UPDATE 4/3/16: Check out my round-up of all of my Sephora VIB Sales posts including reviews and recommendations about what to buy and what to skip. **UPDATE 11/4/15: I have created an updated “Sephora VIB Sale What to Buy and What to Skip 2015” post! For the 2014 products on this page, I still love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation, Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, and the Drybar 100 Proof Treatment Oil 🙂**

Author: Lindsay

Lindsay is the creator of Blushing in Hollywood a beauty, dating, travel and lifestyle blog based in Los Angeles, California.