January 27, 2021

Sephora Your Algorithm Is Broke

Sephora Beauty Wins is an interesting concept that started happening last month! It’s basically a “secret offer” that Sephora extends to you via e-mail and sometimes on a pop-up on their website. I’ve gotten two so far and both of them we’re rubbish.

Allow me to explain.

Sephora says these offers are based on my past purchases. The most recent offer I got was 20% off hair care.

Wait, what?

Ok, so, we all know that during the pandemic I got a little hair crazy. Pigtails, crown braids, space buns, I was really getting wild and crazy with my hair styles and buying all sorts of spray in conditioners and hair products. BUT….! None of it was from Sephora. I purchased much of it from Ulta, Target, and Walmart. But Sephora? The last time I purchased something hair related from Sephora was about a year ago.

I guess this isn’t really a “curated offer based on my past purchases”. Or maybe Sephora has some insight into my shopping habits and decided hey, let’s toss her a discount so she’ll buy some hair care from us.


Sephora I appreciate the discount but I think your algorithm is broke.

Has anyone gotten any of these Sephora Beauty Wins?

Did it apply to your past purchases or was it as random as mine?

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Kimmwc03

    Now that you mentioned it, I think I received an email discount for brow products about a month ago. Can’t remember the last time I bought something brow from Sephora since I mainly just use boy brow. Wish they’d send me a skincare coupon since that and perfume is the main thing I buy at Sephora now.

    • Isabella Muse

      I GOT THAT TOO! It’s like hello? Do you not know who I am! I never buy brow!

    • Jen R

      Hah, I got that brow one too and was like, uh…what? I guess I used to buy the Anastasia clear brow gel like five years ago, but I’ve been using Glossier boy brow for at least the last two years! Think that’s the only one of these random offers I’ve gotten so far though.

      • Cindy

        Pretty sure they’re giving discounts on stuff you DON’T buy. Think about it, why give a discount on stuff you’re actually paying full price? They’re trying to get you to purchase things you don’t normally purchase, there by getting more of your business. Pretty smart of them, actually.

  • SleepyTimeTay

    I received one for fragrance, but, like you, I haven’t bought from that category in Sephora in over a year. I usually go with Ulta for the multipliers or when I have a 20% off. Oh, Sephora….

    • Isabella Muse

      oh I’ll trade you the fragrance for the hair one if you want it LOL!

  • kjh

    Suspect it’s based on hacking. They know what you bought elsewhere. I’m one of the bought virtually nothing, still Rouge bunch. On email strike, but will check. The few times I logged in to S.com, nothing. (They are wise to give up.) Anything they might offer me would be based on my U purchases or previous history. I may be a paranoid crackpot, but I suspect some form of industrial espionage. Or else, they read your blog, and they’re not smart enough to do that.

      • kjh

        Why would you think Sephora IT, etc did not/could not find out what you bought elsewhere? It’s not as if it hasn’t been done before, in other cases. Plus, Every time you sign in to a site, you get targeted sidebar ads for different company’s versions of what you have bought. I bought a Japanese mascara at an Asian marketplace with a debit card, and was targeted by 5 different brands of mascara. The Amazon Asian (and US) mascara brand’s ads did not stop for 3 months. Clearly, the Asian marketplace DOES sell your data, whether or not they are allowed to do so. I use cash there, from then on. I know a couple of hackers who have done almost exactly this…illegally, of course… for non-cosmetics companies. One is an employee of the company it hacks/‘data mines’ for. The other is freelance (my word, not hers, yes, it’s a tech woman.)

        • MDW

          My husband has so many scripts disabled on his computer. He also avoids those more commercial operating environments. And he refuses to get a smartphone/device!

  • Frozendiva

    Not so far. Just the spend $88 on products Jan. 25 to get $10 off a beauty purchase in February, an email letting me use points to get a discount, and reminding me that I must be running out of Dior Capture Totale cream. Not right now. I bought some during the discounts and cashed in some PC Optimum points to get the night cream refill. Will keep an eye out for it.

  • kimkats

    I haven’t gotten those, but I get ones that say “we saw you looking at this” and then show me something I’ve never looked at and would have no interest in!!! I find it insanely irritating, not to mention creepy that they are following me that closely. Sephora is falling off my radar in favor of Ulta more and more these days…. Ulta is absolutely eating Sephora’s lunch with the brands they’re getting and the offers they have and the rewards system. SO much better than Sephora! And less spooky too…

    • Isabella Muse

      yeah they also send me ones that say we see this in your cart and ummm it’s not in my cart?! eh!?

  • Christina

    LOL! I got the exact same offer as you. Clearly, it’s not curated or private.

  • Dee

    Yes, I got one for fragrance and thought….what? Over a year ago! Sephora is a little nutty me thinks.

  • Katie

    Sounds like a case of non-buyer marketing to me! Sephora knows you’re loyal in other categories so they’re trying to make you a more profitable customer by encouraging purchases of products you don’t typically buy. Although I agree…their language is a bit weird that it reference past purchases. Sneaky…

  • Chantelle

    I did get a targeted coupon for fragrance last week and in the email it said something along the lines of, “it’s been awhile since you bought a fragrance,” which I thought was funny because I just bought some during the VIB sale in November.

    • Isabella Muse

      the marketing is weird as in one sentence they are saying or we hand selected this for you and in another they are like btw you haven’t purchased this in a while!

      • Kay

        I bet you’re right and they’re just trying to get you to buy from categories you don’t usually! Why bother with all the based on your past purchases stuff, surely that’s more off putting when YOU know you don’t buy haircare etc, than an email that is like “Hey thanks for being a great customer, here is a code” or whatever

  • Violet

    I checked just now & I received 20% off mascara. I don’t remember ever buying mascara from Sephora. I stock up on my favorite for the year at Nordy’s mascara sale. Also the “Recommended For You” is usually stuff that I recently viewed. Sheesh!

  • LS

    I did! I got one for 20% off fragrance, which I have never purchased from Sephora.

  • TC

    I guess it is based on your past purchases, as in you never bought that stuff from Sephora, you just have bought it from somewhere so here’s an offer to try to get you to buy it.

  • Manal Niazi

    I got the haircare offer too although I never buy haircare from ANYWHERE. Ever.

  • MDW

    Back from when I used to work in the cosmetics section of a major department store. I wonder if they are trying to unload a surplus of products so they are re-marketing it as a secret deal or exclusive or something like that.

  • Rina

    Yup. I got one yesterday for perfume and I rarely buy perfume from Sephora so it was a wasted discount. I’m trying not to buy just because I can. There was nothing I really wanted. They did, however, extend my VIB so I’m happy about that but they took till the middle of Jan. to tell me.

  • Mercury

    I got one for skincare but I wanted haircare! I haven’t bought skincare from Sephora in at least a year. All my skincare purchases were from Ulta and Target!

  • Eileen

    I think we are being followed. Every time I browse on Amazon and check out something for a few seconds – the next time I go to a cable news site an exact item I looked at shows up in an ad. And now I’m getting strange emails from the FBI wanting to recruit me, home security, erectile dysfunction ads and all kinds of things I’ve never looked for so everyone is selling our info. Not to mention the 800 phone calls I never answer who call and never leave a message. Annoying!

    • Isabella Muse

      um yeah you are lol welcome to the internet and cookies ;-D hehehe!

  • Maxine

    So glad you posted this Muse!

    I have gotten two or three in the past year for 20% off foundation. I HAVE NEVER BOUGHT A FOUNDATION from Sephora because I don’t wear foundation. In fact I’ve only ever bought 1 bottle of foundation once in my life and it was from Walgreens (No.7).

    So useless and clearly broken. Yet another reason I don’t shop Sephora anymore.

    • Isabella Muse

      LOL you too huh? It’s a weird promo that are using to stir up sales I guess but I’m not even tempted to buy!