Lighting in Sephora

Lighting in Sephora

Over the weekend, I went to get matched to foundation. As usual, ColorIQ was neat but ultimately useless. I was looking to try the new Makeup Forever Ultra HD; we tried 117, 118, and a third I can’t recall. 117 seemed to be the best in the (fluorescent!) lighting in Sephora.

The sales associate eagerly asked if she could, “go grab one of those off the shelf for (me) today.”

GirlWoman, please. You work here. You should know better than anyone that the lighting in Sephora is god awful for getting an accurate shade match.

I know it isn’t her fault; she can’t control the lighting. The store has metrics to meet. I get it. But it’s worse for the bottom line for a customer to buy a foundation, have it be wrong, return it and then take a hit on the loss.

“No thank you, I would like a sample, though, so I can see if it is right in natural lighting.” She cheerfully puts one together for me, I’m on my way.

It wasn’t right. Lighting in Sephora – 1, Sephora Employee – 0.

It isn’t only foundation. Someone might buy an eyeshadow because it looks a certain way under those fluorescent bulbs and warm spotlights and find it is totally different elsewhere. It would be in Sephora and their customers’ best interests to at least try to provide lighting that is closer to natural.

My gripe isn’t with the employees. They have no control over what lighting in Sephora stores is like, but goddamn it, Corporate. L I S T E N. No one can reliably get an accurate match in florescent lighting. If they do, it was lucky. Outfitting the whole store with natural spectrum bulbs would be costly and nigh-unnecessary, but if the Beauty Studio had them? You’d make more same-day sales with fewer returns due to shade mismatch.

Just sayin’.

4 thoughts on “Lighting in Sephora”

  1. “Do you spend a lot of time outside? Then don’t worry about that so much. If it looks good in here…” Really? That’s just about the dumbest comment I have heard from an employee regarding a color match, ever.

    • That employee sounded desperate to close the sale. Messed up, really – it isn’t as though they’re commissioned!

  2. So, I work for Sephora inside JCP and lemme just say this is the one way we have a leg up. Before I have a customer even let me apply a foundation color to their fade completely I have them step outside our little portion and go look in one of the mirrors with a more normal light. Because of this I have a solid client base that sends their friends my way. If you’re really desperately looking to buy a foundation immediately. Step out of the store and take a look at it. It really does help.

    • Good strategy! My local store is a Sephora in JcP – when I’ve asked to dart out to the main store (or even outside, there’s an exit to outdoors fairly close) really quick to take a look, responses were, at best, mixed. I don’t know if it’s a training issue (not realizing the impact of lighting), a staffing issue (too few people on the floor to support customers), or what.

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