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Sephora Return Policy: The Ultimate Guide [2024]

With an unrivaled selection of cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and beauty tools, it’s no wonder Sephora is the go-to retailer for makeup mavens and beauty addicts.

But navigating returns can be tricky for first-timers. Sephora offers fairly flexible return windows and policies compared to other retailers. However, some limitations still apply.

This comprehensive guide will explain Sephora’s return policy in simple terms, allowing you to get refunds with confidence. You’ll learn when you can return, how to start the process, what you need to provide, and what to expect for your refund. We’ll also cover tips for easy exchanges and potential pitfalls to avoid.

So grab those shopping bags of impulse purchases and unfinished samples. It’s time to master the art of no-fuss Sephora returns!

Reasons to Return Sephora Purchases

Why might you need to return an item bought at Sephora? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Wrong shade or color – With makeup especially, the color or tone might look off once you try it. Sephora accepts returns for shade mismatches.
  • Skin reactions – Certain products can cause irritation, rashes, or acne breakouts. You can return any cosmetics your skin doesn’t agree with.
  • Item defective – Sometimes beauty products arrive faulty, dried out, or contaminated. Sephora will refund or replace defects.
  • Didn’t like scent – Fragrances can smell different on skin. If you don’t like the actual scent, Sephora allows returns.
  • Changed mind – With beauty products, you may simply have buyer’s remorse after trying something out. Sephora grants returns in such cases.
  • Expired product – Makeup, skincare, and fragrances have shorter shelf lives. Sephora refunds if the item expires quickly.
  • Received wrong item – Mistakes can happen, especially when buying multiple products. Sephora fixes incorrect orders.


Having a valid reason within policy guidelines is key for a smooth return. Now let’s look at how Sephora’s return system works.

Sephora was founded in 1969 in France and is headquartered in San Francisco, California and now operates over 2500 stores in 33 countries. Sephora is also owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH, which also owns Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands.

How the Sephora Return Policy Works

Sephora aims to “deliver awesome experiences” with all purchases. Their return policy has some flexibility to back that promise:

  • Most gently used, unexpired items can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund or exchange. Extends the window to test products.
  • Without a receipt, most products can be exchanged for a merchandise credit equal to the lowest selling price for up to 60 days. Allows returns without hassle.
  • Defective or damaged products can be returned at any time, even without a receipt. Ensures satisfaction with all products.
  • Online purchases can be returned by mail using Sephora’s printable shipping label. In-store returns usually process immediately.
  • Refunds are issued back to the original payment method within 1-2 billing cycles after the return is received and approved.
  • To prevent fraud, Sephora monitors return frequency and may refuse returns deemed excessive. Policy aimed at fairness.


The key is keeping your receipt and not waiting until the last minute. Sephora’s policy makes returns accessible to shoppers.

Types of Items Accepted for Return

What kinds of products can be returned to Sephora? Here is an overview of their policy:

Items Accepted Within 60 Days

  • Makeup – Eyeshadow, lipstick, foundation, concealer, mascara, eyeliner. Gently used or swatched only.
  • Skincare – Cleansers, toners, moisturizers, masks, anti-aging creams. Used condition with at least 75% remaining.
  • Hair products – Shampoo, conditioner, styling products. At least 75% full.
  • Fragrances – Colognes, perfumes, body mists. Decants and atomizers must be unsprayed.
  • Beauty tools – Brushes, sponges, mirrors, tweezers, razors. Undamaged and sanitized.
  • Kits and sets – Holiday sets, makeup palettes, bath sets. At least 75% unused. Individual items can be returned too.


Items Not Accepted for Return

  • Missing or used samples – Testers must be untouched.
  • Gift cards – Non-returnable and not redeemable for cash.
  • Salon services – Hair, makeup, skincare, waxing, etc. appointments cannot be returned or refunded.


Review the specific return policy before purchasing questionable items. Sephora aims to be reasonable within their guidelines.

Sephora's Return Windows

Sephora offers three key return windows shoppers should be aware of:

  • 60 days – Full refund period for most items in new or lightly used condition with a receipt. Allows ample trial time.
  • 90 days – Extended window for sale or discounted merchandise. Compensates for not being able to sample first.
  • Lifetime – Damaged, defective, or expired products can be returned at any point, with or without a receipt. Ensures product satisfaction.
  • 1 year – Policy for sale items purchased with the Beauty Insider loyalty credit card. Provides even more flexibility.
  • 30 days – Applies to tools classified as “professional use” only. Shorter trial period since used frequently.
  • Immediate – Beauty Insider members have instant return privileges for 3 items per year. Earns loyalty perks.


Stay mindful of return windows – Sephora grants longer ones than most retailers. Check your receipt for terms.

Receipt Requirements and Exceptions

Sephora’s return system works best when presenting the original receipt, but they make exceptions:

  • Without a receipt, returns are allowed within 60 days for merchandise credit. This allows flexibility if the receipt was lost or accidental purchase.
  • Beauty Insider members can look up receipts online in their purchase history and present digitally for returns. Convenient for forgetful types.
  • Defective, damaged, or expired products can be returned anytime without a receipt for a refund. Sephora stands behind product quality.
  • If you have the gift receipt, returns are processed as if you made the purchase yourself. The refund goes back to the original payment method.
  • For gifts missing receipts, the recipient can exchange for something else but cannot get a cash/credit refund without proof of purchase.
  • If you have the original credit card used, store associates can look up the purchase with your ID and process the return.


The bottom line is Sephora tries to make returns possible even without receipts. Their policy accommodates common mishaps.

Common Return Problems and Solutions

While Sephora aims to make returns easy, a few issues can arise. Being aware of potential problems means you can resolve them quickly:

  • Missing window for receipted returns – If past 60 days, you may get store credit only. For exceptions, call customer service and kindly explain.
  • No receipt – Without proof of purchase, options become limited. Try looking up past orders online or providing original payment details.
  • Used or expired products – Sephora thoroughly examines returns and will deny refunds if usage or freshness limits were exceeded.
  • Damaged by customer – You can only return items in original condition. Damage from misuse or poor storage is not covered.
  • Online shipping mishaps – If return delivery fails or the package gets lost, work with carriers then Sephora to trace it and get your refund.
  • Refused returns – If Sephora believes you are abusing the return system, they may deny additional requests. Exchanges still allowed.


With patience and care, most return issues can be resolved. Sephora aims to satisfy shoppers within reason.

Receiving Refunds from Sephora

Once you’ve started a return, here is an overview of how Sephora processes refunds:

  • Original payment method – By default, refunds go back to the original gift card, debit or credit card used to make the purchase. No extra step needed.
  • Store merchandise credit – Alternatively, you can request gift cards equal to the item’s value. These never expire and can be redeemed online or in-store.
  • Products exchanged – For defective or wrong items, you can simply swap for a replacement on the spot rather than wait for a credit refund.
  • Account credit – If the original payment method is unavailable, your refund can be applied as store credit to your Beauty Insider account.
  • Check – In rare cases for large amounts, Sephora may issue a refund check by mail. Takes longer to process and receive.
  • Timeframe – Allow 1-2 billing cycles after Sephora processes the return to see the credit appear on your account or statement.


Returning is easy, but actually getting your money back takes patience. Know what to expect regarding Sephora’s refund methods and timing.

“Sephora has always been my go-to for beauty products. Their innovative and cutting-edge products are why I keep coming back.” – Rihanna

With ample return windows, options for lost receipts, and free shipping labels, Sephora offers exceptional flexibility compared to other retailers. Their policy allows worry-free beauty purchases.

Following their guidelines for gently used products in original packaging, acting quickly, and keeping receipts makes returns smooth. In-store exchanges offer instant gratification, while online refunds take just a bit longer but are still convenient.

Some abuse is inevitable with lenient policies, however informed shoppers can minimize unnecessary returns through samples and research. And Sephora continues improving their services to please customers, like extended windows for Beauty Insiders.

Sephora’s return policy generates confidence in trying new beauty finds. So shop fearlessly, get creative, and sample new looks – if it doesn’t work out, returns are easy. Their focus on delivering awesome experiences shines through.

Tips for Smooth Sephora Returns

Follow these tips and best practices for seamless Sephora returns and quick refunds:

  • Keep all receipts and confirmation emails for future reference. Digitally storing them makes lookup easy.
  • Return sooner rather than later – don’t wait until the end of Sephora’s 60 day window or restocking fees may apply.
  • Check online purchase history or call customer service if your receipt is lost. They can still assist.
  • Carefully repackage items in original containers and with any parts or accessories for the return. Keep it pristine.
  • Never return used tools or samples – swatched makeup, unsealed creams, or missing tester strips will be rejected.
  • Opt for in-store returns and exchanges when possible – online returns take longer to process and refund.
  • When returning by mail, insure expensive items in case the package gets lost or damaged. Sephora cannot replace what they don’t receive.


Following Sephora’s guidelines combined with these tips will make returns smooth and painless. Their system is designed to satisfy customers.

FAQs About the Sephora Return Policy

Sephora offers returns within 30 days for a refund, and 31-60 days for store credit. Items must be unused with original tags when applicable. In-store purchases can be returned within 60 days.

Yes, but the refund method depends on if Sephora can find the item purchase in their system for verification. Unverified returns only get store credit.

You can return lightly used makeup and products, but it’s up to Sephora whether they issue a refund based on condition and usage. Heavily used items will be denied.

You have 60 days to return products to Sephora. The refund time frame depends on whether it’s within 30 days or 31-60 days from purchase date.

No, original shipping fees on online Sephora orders are non-refundable, even when you return the order. Unless the return was due to a Sephora error.

If you return a Sephora gift without a gift receipt, you’ll receive a Sephora store credit rather than a refund to the original payment method.

No, Sephora doesn’t allow exchanges by mail. You have to return the product, then place a new order for the exchange item separately.

Instacart Sephora purchases can only be returned in-store within 30 days. After 30 days, contact Instacart support for refund options.

No, Sephora gift cards and eGift cards are final sale and cannot be returned or refunded per Sephora’s return policy.

No, customized products are not eligible for a Sephora return. 

Points are removed, so use them wisely.

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