Why Is Sephora So Expensive? (10 Reasons Why)

Expensive is relative, but a substantial portion of Sephora customers consider the shop among the most expensive in the cosmetics arena.

But why is Sephora so expensive? Are these prices justified? If you wonder the same, come along and see what I discovered!

Why Is Sephora So Expensive?

1. Sephora Stock High-End Brands

Sephora largely deals in high-end luxury beauty products, which have to cost more.

Some of these luxury brands command extravagant prices because of their exclusivity, superior quality of packaging, and association with celebrities.

For instance, brands such as Aveda, Tarte, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and Clinique receive rave reviews for their ease of applicability, aesthetics, and staying power.

And, in most cases, their prices match the hype. For instance, SK-II Facial Treatment Essence costs $95 to $299. A Jo Malone Nectarine & Honey Cologne will set you back $145.

Some high-end brands stocked at Sephora include Armani, Tom Ford, Dior, Aveda, Huda, Jo Malone London, and Pat McGrath Labs. This list is in no way exhaustive.

2. Exclusive Brands

Uniqueness is its luxury, and when a brand is carried exclusively by a retailer, it sometimes pushes the price up.

Some brands have a particular product carried exclusively by Sephora, increasing their desirability and, ultimately, their prices.

Fenty Beauty by Rihanna has some of its items exclusively sold by Sephora, as do Huda Beauty, Haus Labs By Lady Gaga, Versace, Pat McGrath, and many others.

3. The Sephora Brand Is Attractive to Consumers

Sephora is known for its higher-than-usual prices. 

However, the brand is also known for its innovativeness, convenient shopping experience, variety of high-quality products, and generous loyalty program.

Nowhere else can all these features be found under a single establishment, and getting them all together has costs naturally passed down to the consumer.

However, many are willing to pay for the convenience.

4. You Are Shopping the Wrong Way

Sephora is expensive if you walk into a store and regularly shop without loyal customer benefits. That means you will be paying the regular non-discounted prices, which can be steep.

It’s better to register for the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty program and become eligible for a variety of benefits whenever you make purchases.

As a non-member, you pay the regular prices as indicated on the product. For instance, while a beauty insider member pays $68 for a set of fragrance samples, the non-member pays $130.

Furthermore, the member gets a Sephora Scent Certificate, which they can redeem for a free full-size scent.

Not shopping as a Sephora Beauty Insider member is a good reason you wonder why Sephora is so expensive.

5. Sephora Has No Control Over Pricing

Sephora Has No Control Over Pricing

The bulk of Sephora’s offerings is hosted brands, which it sells through various channels. Currently, only a few of the brands are Sephora-owned. 

The hosted brands set the prices of their products over which Sephora has little control.

Sephora has little control over the price of most of the products they carry, and if you wanted to make a complaint about the prices, you would have to seek out the brand owners.

6. Sephora’s Integrated Shopping Experience

Sephora has made a hefty investment to create a personalized customer journey by providing a quality experience for each shopper across various channels.

Each shopper that walks into a Sephora store or goes online to shop can look forward to customized customer support.

For instance, to reduce the customer’s risk of buying an unsuitable product through a lack of information, Sephora provides a virtual makeup kit that shows how the product looks.

This is only possible through the integration of various platforms through technology.

Sephora has had to invest in digitalizing over 1500 products, physical stores, data collection, and analysis processes – all of which are expected to make a return on investment.

However, one way to recoup such investment is to pass its cost to the customer, making the product pricier than the competitors’.

7. Generous Rewards Program

Sephora customers are some of the most rewarded in the cosmetics sector, which no doubt comes at a cost.

Using the Beauty Insider program, Sephora separates its customers into tiers and rewards them according to how much they have purchased in the year.

Rewards range from redeemable points, discounted shipping and products, celebratory freebies, free samples, and early-bird privileges.

Overall, the cost for all this finds its way into high prices.

8. Sephora’s Target Customer Can Afford It

Sephora’s target market is primarily women between the ages of 24 and 36. At this age, they rely highly on their peers and role model recommendations.

This explains why Sephora has invested in communities where product reviews can be made. Also, this demographic prizes their looks and the quality of their products.

As long as the product comes recommended as superb, this target market will make the necessary sacrifice to meet the price.

9. Sephora Stocks a Wide Variety of Products

Not many beauty shops have the variety that Sephora does. It’s a great convenience but requires substantial investment in space and processes.

Eventually, this and increased operational costs are passed down in the product’s price.

10. Smaller Selection of In-House Brands

In-house brands are usually much cheaper than hosted brands and help give an establishment the air of affordability.

Compared to its closest competitors, Sephora’s in-house brand selection is limited to Sephora Collection, which is one of the most affordable.

The bulk of the hosted high-end brands makes Sephora look expensive.

To know more, you can also read our posts on Sephora Price Match, Sephora Squad, and Sephora Beauty Insider.


Though it’s considered expensive by many of its customers, Sephora is also a very popular shopping spot for beauty products.

It earns its reputation for being pricey from the many luxurious products it stocks, over whose pricing it has no control, and the incomparable shopping experience it provides for its customers.

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Florence Howard

Florence Howard has been freelance writing for over a decade, and has a vocational background in retail, tech, and marketing. Outside of work, she enjoys listening to rock and metal, and playing with her dog and cat.

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