15 Rules Sephora Employees Have To Follow (+ 5 They Always Break)

Sephora is the one-stop shop for anyone who loves makeup. The retail giant carries everything from Benefit to Kevin Aucoin to Kylie Cosmetics, which is likely why most customers leave with more than they came in for. Needless to say, for aspiring beauty gurus, Sephora is the ultimate place to work. Employees are often gifted free makeup products and samples as well as receive extensive beauty and makeup training. But as cool as it sounds to work at Sephora, it’s not without its drawbacks. The makeup mogul makes their employees abide by various strict rules in order to maintain professionalism, even though not all of them are followed as closely as others.

20 Their Makeup Always Has To Be Done


Given that it’s a makeup store, this rule makes sense. All employees are expected to wear a full face of makeup and are also encouraged to use products that are sold at Sephora since customers will often ask what brand they’re wearing. “We had a minimum amount that we had to wear every day, and we got written up if we didn’t wear it,” former Sephora employee Garnetstar28a wrote on Reddit.

19 Work More, But Not Paid More


Unlike many retail jobs, Sephora doesn’t pay their employees a commission. Thus, it doesn’t matter how little or how much a worker sells; they’ll still be paid the same rate. While this might make the job less stressful and give customers a better shopping experience, it doesn’t reward employees who work a bit harder to push the product.

18 Prepare To Give Makeovers On Demand

via mental floss

Many Sephora shoppers don’t realize that they’re entitled to a free 45-minute makeover- so long as they spend over $50, that is. That’s right. Anytime a customer asks for some help applying makeup, the employees must stop what they’re doing and give them a makeover. Even if the customer isn’t spending over $50, they’re still entitled to a 5-minute glam session.

17 Employees Can Only Use Certain Words

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Evidently, Sephora employees have their own lingo that supposedly makes the job more efficient and organized. For instance, according to Mental Floss, they refer to the stockroom as the ‘backstage area.’ Shop floor employees are called ‘cast members,’ whereas managers are called ‘directors.’ Work uniforms are also called ‘costumes.’

16 Give Out Free Samples

via the fashionball

Many Sephora shoppers don’t know that you can get free samples of almost any products in the store- all you need to do is ask. Employees are required to send shoppers home with a small bit of product any time it’s requested. “We’re there to help and to give out as many [samples] as possible. If you’re having trouble choosing between two foundations, we want you to take them home and try it out,” Sephora employee Kim Carpluck told Mental Floss.

15 Keep Nails Neat And Tidy

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Many stores have rules about employees’ manicures, and given how often Sephora workers are dipping their fingers into products, it’s not surprising the store requires them to have short, clean nails. Long talons or sharp claws won’t be allowed on the selling floor, let alone close to someone’s face if the employee is trying to give them a makeover.

14 Clean Up The Customer’s Mess (With A Smile)

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Sephora employees are expected to always keep a smile on their face- even when customers are literally destroying the products. “Every day I'm replacing at least one tester, if not multiple, because someone decided it would be fun to gouge out all the eyeshadows in a palette,” Reddit user Narcimetamorpho wrote about their experience working at the store.

13 Employees Have To Be 18 Or Older

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One hiring rule that Sephora sticks to closely is that all employees need to be over 18 years of age. According to The Fashion Ball, the store does this to increase the look of professionality among their employees. It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding beauty guru. If your age isn’t up to par, then you’ll be turned away with your resume in hand.

12 Provide Multiple Recommendations

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Regardless if you have a favorite brand or not, when a Sephora employee is asked for product recommendations, they have to provide at least several options to the customer. This ensures the opinion isn’t biased and that the shopper leaves feeling well informed. Not to mention, it increases the likelihood the shopper will buy multiple products.

11 Always Read The Product Instructions

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One interesting rule Sephora has for its workers is that employees must read the manual or instructions on a product’s packaging before they’re allowed to use said product. This ensures that all employees will be as knowledgeable as possible in case a customer asks them a question. Don’t take this job unless you’re really interested in makeup!

10 Don’t Go Overboard With The Jewelry

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Just like Sephora employees must wear their hair and makeup a certain way, it’s the same with their jewelry. The store has a ‘less is more’ policy when it comes to rocking accessories. Not only can jewelry not be too in-your-face, but they also have a strict limit of only two rings per hand. We hope your wedding band isn’t too bougie!

9 All Returns Must Be Accepted

via the fashionball

Sephora is known for its super relaxed return policy. It’s so lax that employees are obligated to accept any and all returns, even if they can tell someone is taking advantage of the system. “I’ve seen entire articles written about how to take advantage of Sephora’s generous return policy by returning half-usedsephora_rules03 products,” Sephora employee Ivy Boyd recalled for Mental Floss.

8 Participate In The Store Challenges

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In order to boost team morale, Sephora stores often have ‘challenge days’ in which all employees are expected to participate. After all, being a team player is a huge asset to any retail position. Sometimes the store will require employees to show up in their best festival look or recreate a smokey eye. Luckily, the winner often gets a prize at the end, which gives the employees an incentive to take the challenge seriously.

7 Always Treat The Customer Like They’re Right

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Anyone who’s worked in retail knows the slogan ‘the customer is always right.” Even in cases where the shopper is clearly in the wrong, employees are expected to keep their cool and do all they can to make the situation right. Sephora employees have had their fair share of cringey encounters.

“It seemed that NOTHING I did was good enough,” Redditt user _cpop recalled of giving a customer a makeover. “I don't remember much of the details, but at one point she told me that I should stop doing her makeup and that she'd go home and do it herself.”

6 Keep Cool Around Celebrities

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Many Sephora employees have stories of meeting celebrities while on the job. After all, even the stars need to replace their concealer every now and then. But one of the rules of working at the makeup giant is having to keep all celebrity encounters on the down-low. This ensures the celeb has a normal shopping experience and is likely to come back again. So, no bragging about it online.

And the 5 they love to break...

5 They Don’t Always Wash Their Hands

via the fashionball

Since Sephora employees are constantly swatching makeup and touching people’s faces, they’re strongly encouraged to wash their hands as much as possible. However, it sounds like some workers get a bit lax with this rule.

“I’ve seen people with cold sores, people with really nasty chapped lips, and people who were visibly sick using lipsticks and glosses on their mouths,” Garnerstar28a wrote on Reddit.

4 Hair Doesn’t Always Stay Tied Back

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To keep their employees looking professional and polished, Sephora often requires them to wear their hair back in a sleek ponytail or bun. This also ensures that the worker’s tresses don’t get in the way when they’re giving someone a makeover. However, many employees still show up with their manes flowing, as evidenced by this photo above.

3 Tattoos Should Stay Hidden (But Often Don’t)

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Despite promoting experimentation with their employees’ makeup looks, one thing Sephora reportedly doesn’t like is visible tattoos. Employees are expected to cover up their ink, whether it be with a long-sleeve shirt or some tattoo-hiding makeup. However, just as this photo demonstrates, not every employee is quick to cover their ink.

2 Brushes Aren’t Always Cleaned Beforehand

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Anyone who loves makeup knows that brushes should be cleaned regularly to prevent a build-u of dirty and grime, which can negatively affect the application and cause acne. However, with the number of people Sephora employees are working on each day, don’t expect them to always wash their brushes between application. Gross!

1 Employees Are Known To Steal

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Obviously, one of the number one rules of working at any store is not to take any of the products home with you without paying. However, there are many anonymous Sephora employees who admit to copping products. “The only reason why I work at Sephora is so I can steal makeup,” one ex-employee wrote on Whisper. “I’m a guy,” he added.

Sources: Mental Floss, Whisper, Reddit

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