When I found out Sephora was launching a website in my country, my heart was in my mouth and I was already mentally budgeting my next three paychecks.
I have a long and complicated history with Sephora. I remember visiting one in France as a teenager and being overwhelmed, eventually buying a woefully underperforming Sephora-brand Touche Eclat knockoff. After I got into watching beauty YouTubers, I became more familiar with the brands Sephora carries and the website became a real Aladdin’s cave to me.
If you’ve ever shopped for cosmetics elsewhere, buying makeup in store in New Zealand is a pretty disappointing experience. We don’t have access to most of the brands available in the States and everything’s significantly more expensive. I get it; there are overheads and risks associated with importing brands to a small, isolated country where most consumers have never heard of them.
On top of that, we can’t shop from most Stateside beauty websites. International shipping is either astronomical or non-existent, and brands like MAC have distribution deals which means they just can’t be shipped here at all. This means I’ve become pretty well-versed in freight-forwarding services, but Sephora.com has always been one step ahead and now refuse to ship to these addresses. Everyone I know who lives in America has definitely been asked by me at least once to facilitate my beauty shopping (thanks Wendy!)
New Zealand’s Sephora is online-only for now, and they don’t stock everything, but I’ve already found some awesome things that I don’t believe I’ve missed out on up until now.
Danielle taught me not to overlook the store brand, and while I’ve encountered a couple of misses I’m super-excited that I can now get my favourite waterproof eye makeup remover without using it as an excuse to make a giant and convoluted international order.
Kat Von D
Kat Von D products come with no shortage of hype and I figured if I was going to go for it, I’d go all way and pick up the Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita. No regrets here: finally I’ve got a liquid lipstick that isn’t either a) a weird colour or b) disgustingly crusty on my lips. Bonus: it costs about the same as a ‘drugstore’ lipstick in store in New Zealand. I’m not making this up.
I also went for the Kat Von D Monarch Eyeshadow Palette and again, was massively impressed by the price-to-quality ratio. This palette is a little bit dusty, but so are most of my favourite eyeshadow brands and the design and colour selection make up for it.
I couldn’t get on the Sephora hype train without checking out the brand at the centre of the last year’s obsession with highlighting, or strobing, or whatever you want to call it. The Afterglow palette is my first exposure to the brand and if everything else they make is as good as this, I’ll be collecting every slightly-differently-toned reflective face powder they make. I’m a big fan of wearing the rose gold highlight shade on its own as a blush/reflect hybrid.
Anastasia Beverly Hills
This isn’t a new brand to me, but I’m stoked as hell that I can buy a replacement Brow Wiz in Medium Brown whenever I goddamn like—or at least, when I need to. I can’t begin to tell you how many brow pencils I’ve tried in the hunt for something more accessible than the Brow Wiz, but that’s no longer a problem!
Another brand that’s not new to me, but is a dangerous threat to my wallet now that it’s so easily accessible. I have the Bite lip primer on my lips right now and can assert that it is definitely delicious, and thank goodness it’s food-grade.
Next up—once I’ve saved up some money—I’m keen to look more at the Korean brands they stock, like Laneige and Dr Jart, as well as maybe splurging on some luxuries like Marc Jacobs Beauty and Zoeva.
What other brands should I check out from Sephora? What would you miss having easy access to if Sephora was taken away from you?