Sephora Points: Spend or Save? A Mathmatical Analysis

I am not going to lie. I am one impatient motherfucker when it comes to Sephora points. I am not sure that I have ever managed to save up for a 500 point perk, let alone one of the laughably gigantic free-vacation-to-Paris ones. I’ll just have to pay for my own trips abroad. (Just kidding. I never get to take vacations.)

So I decided to analyze exactly how much I am screwing myself by deciding I need this 100 point perk RIGHT NOW. It’s important to note that this is list is not currently up-to-date; it is from earlier this month. Thus, I have no idea which of these samples are currently in stock at the present date.

All perks are organized alphabetically by brand. (“Oz” refers to fluid oz where appropriate.)

100 Point Perks:

Alterna CC Crème (.85 oz), approximate retail value $8.50

Anastasia Brow Gel in Clear (0.085 oz), approximate retail value $6.68

Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel (0.2 oz), approximate retail value $4.80

Bite Beauty Lip Shine in Prosecco (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $20

Bobbi Brown Makeup Remover (1 oz), approximate retail value $7.35

Boscia Self-Defense Vital Antioxidant Moisture SPF 30 (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $12.86

Bumble & Bumble Bb. Texture Hair (Un) Dressing Creme (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $2.80

Bumble & Bumble Straight Blow Dry (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $2.90

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray (1 oz), approximate retail value $3.50

Chloe See By Chloe (0.13 oz), approximate retail value $5.96

Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector (2 x 0.24 oz), approximate retail value $3.96

Clinique High Impact Mascara (0.14 oz), approximate retail value $8.00

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense For Very Dry To Dry Combination Skin (0.5 oz), approximate retail value $10.88

Dior Hydra Life BB Crème SPF 30 (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $5.27

Dr. Brandt Glow by Dr. Brandt Ruby Crystal Retinol Hydracreme (0.25 oz), approximate retail value $9.56

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (7 pads), approximate retail value $3.27

Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $8.32

Korres Volcanic Minerals Volumizing Mascara (4ml), approximate retail value $10.37

Lavanila Pure Vanilla Fragrance (0.13 oz), approximate retail value $5.46

Lady Gaga FAME (0.23 oz), approximate retail value $7.44

MUFE Smoky Extravagant Mascara (4ml), approximate retail value $14.61

Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer – St. Moritz (0.31 oz), approximate retail value $6.85

Nude ProGenius Treatment Oil (0.16 oz), approximate retail value $12.48

Ojon Rare Blend Oil Total Hair Therapy (0.20 oz), approximate retail value $4.67

Ole Henriksen Perfect Truth CC Crème (0.19 oz), approximate retail value $6.84

Philosophy Love Sweet Love Shampoo, Bath & Shower Gel (1 oz), approximate retail value $1.50

Philosophy Purity Made Simple (1 oz), approximate retail value $2.75

Philosophy Take A Deep Breath Oil-Free Energizing Oxygen Gel Cream Moisturizer (0.4 oz), approximate retail value $6.80

Sephora Collection Instant Moisturizer (0.169 oz), approximate retail value $2.00

Smashbox Classic Primer (0.25 oz), approximate retail value $9.00

Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox Facial Mask (0.10 oz), approximate retail value $7.60

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil (0.23 oz), approximate retail value $6.22

Tocca Graciella (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $6.80

Too Faced Primed & Poreless (0.17 oz), approximate retail value $5.10

Median= $6.80

500 Point Perks:

Benefit Next Big Fling, contains They’re Real! Mascara (0.10 oz), The POREfessional (0.75 oz), approximate retail value ($7.66 + $30) = $37.66

Benefit Sweet to Meet Ya, contains Girl Meets Pearl (0.4 oz), Benetint in Rose (0.13 oz), BADgal Lash Mascara in Rich Black (0.14 oz), approximate retail value ($30 + $9.29 + $10) = $49.29

Buxom Glow & Tell, contains Buxom Lash in Blackest Black (0.2 oz), Divine Goddess Luminizer (0.23 oz), Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Polish in Tonya (0.07oz), Hot Escapes Bronzer in Tahiti (0.07 oz), approximate retail value ($19 + $3.22 + $8.87 + $5.16) = $36.25

Caudalie Brighten & Renew, contains Make-Up Remover Cleansing Water (1.69 oz), Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (0.33 oz), Vinoperfect Day Perfecting Fluid SPF 15 (0.33 oz), approximate retail value ($7.06 + $26.07 + $16.25) = $49.38

Clinique Best-Loved Kit, contains Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (1.0 oz), Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector (0.5 oz), All About Eyes Serum De-Puffing Eye Massage (0.17 oz), Almost Lipstick in Black Honey (0.04 oz), approximate retail value ($6.19 + $23.75 + $10.20 + $8.57) = $48.71

High-Shine Hair Kit, contains Ojon Damage Reverse Instant Restorative Hair Serum (0.5 oz), Phyto Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Shampoo (1.0 oz), Living Proof Prime Style Extender (1.0 oz), Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil Dry Oil Mist (1.0 oz), Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Split End Sealer (0.38 oz), approximate retail value ($7.35 + $2.84 + $4.00 + $5.95 + $5.59) = $25.73

Laura Mercier Flawless Best-Sellers, contains Foundation Primer (0.5 oz), Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Nude (0.5 oz), Shimmer Bloc in Golden Mosaic (0.14 oz), Eye Basics in Wheat (0.1 oz), approximate retail value ($9.41 + $14.33 + $26.67 + $13.89) = $64.30

Living Proof Styling Essentials, contains Prime Style Extender (1 oz), Amp2 Instant Texture Volumizer (0.25 oz), Restore Mask Treatment (1 oz), Restore Shampoo (0.33 oz), Restore Conditioner (0.33 oz), Nourishing Styling Cream (0.33 oz), approximate retail value ($4 + $3 + $5.25 + $1.16 + $1.16 + $1.49) = $16.06

MUFE The Greatest Hits, contains HD Microperfecting Primer in #0 Neutral (0.16 oz), HD Microfinish Powder (0.035 oz), Aqua Eyes in 0L Matte Black (0.025 oz), Sens’Eyes Waterproof Sensitive Eye Cleanser (0.84 oz), approximate retail value ($5.39 + $11.88 + $5.96) = $23.23

Stila Must-Haves, contains Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Stingray (0.01 oz), Lip Glaze in Apricot (0.05 oz), Stay All Day Waterproof Volumizing Mascara in Black (0.10 oz), All Over Shimmer Liquid Luminizer in Kitten Shimmer (0.05 oz), approximate retail value ($20.00 + $13.75 + $7.86 + $2.00) = $43.61

Summer Starter Kit, contains Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream + Broad Spectrum SPF 40+ (.57 oz), Lancôme Hypnôse Star Mascara (.068 oz), Anastasia Brow Gel – Clear (.085 oz), bareMinerals Multi-Wrinkle Repair Serum (.17 oz), Dr. Jart Black Label Detox BB Beauty Balm (.33 oz), Hourglass Mineral Veil Primer SPF 15 (.16 oz), approximate retail value ($9.00 + $14.10 + $6.68 + $8.50 + $7.92 + $8.32) = $54.52

Tarte Amazonian Treasures Collection, contains Lights, Camera, Lashes! (0.10 oz), Amazonian Clay Waterproof Cream Eyeshadow in Shimmering Moss (0.10 oz), Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in Exposed (0.05 oz), Pure Maracuja Oil (0.23 oz), Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder (0.07 oz), approximate retail value ($7.92 + $19.00 + $6.50 + $6.22 + $6.34) = $45.98

Tocca Cleopatra Fragrance Viaggio, contains Rollerball EDP in Cleopatra (.17 oz), Mini Candelina in Cleopatra (2 oz), approximate retail value ($6.80 + $7.17) = $13.97


So, what is the verdict? Spend those points or hoard them forever?

Well, in all likelihood, none of you will be completely shocked by the answer: it depends. The mean of the 500 point gifts is $39.13, which is just a hair over five times the mean of the 100 point gifts ($35.30) meaning that, on average, it is slightly better to save up your points. However, some low-value crap gifts (worth less than some of the high-value 100 points gifts!) are definitely dragging down the median.

The median for the 500-points gifts is much higher than the mean, meaning that most of the gifts are higher value with a few gifts dragging down the score. On the other hand, the median for the 100-points gifts is lower than the mean, meaning a few higher value gifts are dragging up the mean; this is another point in favor of, in general, saving your points.

However, I was expecting to see the 500-points gifts being valued at dramatically more than five times the 100-points gifts… and they just aren’t. When you factor in the number of products you may not even use (e.g. tinted moisturizers that are the wrong color, products you already own, etc.) it may not affect the approximate retail value as I calculate it, but it will certainly affect what the gift is worth to you personally.

As a result, I think that the data here suggests that if you see a 100-point perk you want… you should get it. Unless you plan on waiting for that perfect 500-point perk where you love every single product you sample, you’re probably not gaining a lot of value by hoarding those points.


1. wow, such a great post! Thanks!

2. Great post. Sephora seems to get really great perks every few months, and those perks go very fast. I am obsessed w/ calculating the value of any perk or bonus. I figure I want about 10% back on my purchases in terms of perks – Currently I am hoarding them in hopes of something really awesome coming along (100 pt or 1000 pt or whatever). I don’t see myself making it to 10k and getting a trip to Paris, cool as that may be.

3. 10% back seems like a really solid goal!

4. This is a great post. I’m a point hoarder, but I need to rethink that strategy on occasion, it seems.

5. Great analysis! I notice perks involving hair products seem to be comparatively poor value, I wonder what the average values would look like broken down into categories like skincare, fragrance, makeup, hair products, and if there is one that is consistently more valuable than others. I suppose the most important thing is that you actually use the product and see if you enjoy it enough to buy a full size though, regardless of how much money it’s worth.

6. I plan on doing skincare and fragrance versions of this, as well, but I haven’t gotten around to it just yet!

7. I love this post, it’s exactly what i always wonder and look for. Today got an email from Sephora for YSL 500 point perks (online only) includes
– Mascara Volume Effet Faux Shocking Black (0.06oz)
– Dessin Eye Pencil Waterproof black (0.028oz)
– Instant Eye Make-up remover (0.27oz)
– Charm Bracelet, it doesn’t say the material

I want to calculate the value but the bracelet has no reference, what do you think about this set?

8. Almost a year late, but I do find this post to be helpful. I think we forget that *technically* these aren’t exactly free. You get one point per dollar, so you must spend $100 to get something worth a couple bucks? Sounds like we are getting the short end of the stick here. I cannot bring myself to trading (essentially) $500 for something worth $30-$40, especially with the choices lately, seems like a cheap collection of samples or things you get as gifts with purchase. (eye makeup remover, mini mascara, etc) I’m gonna need Sephora to do better with the 500 point perk