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I tried $1,485 worth of products from Sephora — here's what I would re-buy (and what I would skip)

I have tried thousands of dollars worth of products from Sephora — here's what's actually worth re-buying.

Everything I would re-buy — and what I would skip — from the Sephora Savings Event (photo via Kayla Kuefler).
Everything I would re-buy — and what I would skip — from Sephora (photo via Kayla Kuefler).

As someone who reviews and writes about products for a living, you would be right to assume that I've tried my fair share of Sephora goodies. From the extremely expensive — Clé de Peau Beauté's The Serum — to the surprisingly affordable — Sephora Collection Foot Mask — I have dabbled in a good chunk of Sephora best-sellers.

That said, my access to beauty products has turned me into a very nitpicky consumer. If I am going to recommend a product with a triple-digit price tag, it has to be worth its weight in gold. So, to help you navigate Sephora's ever-growing collection of makeup, hair, body and skincare products, I decided to break down some of my recently-tried products and let you know which ones are worth buying — and which you're better off skipping. To read my honest reviews, scroll below.

As someone with historically oily, acne-prone skin, I was surprised by how much I liked (really, truly liked) the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Firming Oil. Not only does the oil not break me out, but it leaves me with glowy, nourished skin. If (like me) you've played it a bit fast and loose with actives and have a stressed-out skin barrier, this face oil works wonders to calm your skin while simultaneously leaving it feeling and looking supple.

$100 at Sephora

She is beauty, she is grace, she is the Caudalie Premier Cru Skin Barrier Rich Moisturizer with Bio-Ceramides. Y'all, let me tell you: if anything is worth the splurge on this list, it's this decadent, refillable face cream. 

Premier Cru expertly repairs the skin's barrier and reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and redness. I use doctor-prescribed tretinoin in my skincare routine, and while it's transformed my skin for the better, it's also done a number on my skin barrier. Whenever I use Premier Cru, my face feels immediately softer and more hydrated, and my sensitive areas find relief. Is it expensive? Yes. However, if your skin barrier could benefit from some (or a lot of) love, I promise this is worth a try. 

$168 at Sephora

If you're looking for a do-it-all night cream, this is it. Loaded with magnesium, peptides, ectoin and squalane, Biossance's powerhouse night cream reduces inflammation and helps replenish the skin's moisture barrier.

As someone who has been known to overdo it with her retinol, I often turn to the Squalane + Ectoin Overnight Rescue when my red, scaly skin needs a bit of TLC. It calms my stressed-out skin and is super moisturizing to boot. 

$92 at Sephora

While I secretly roll my eyes every time a celebrity launches a new beauty brand, I actually enjoy them more than I would like to admit. I think Hailey Bieber's Rhode Skin and Rihanna's Fenty Beauty are worth the hype; however, in the world of celebrity beauty, I have been less than impressed with Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop.

And honestly, it pains me to write this because, truthfully, I love Gwyneth Paltrow! She's an icon! But whether I'm simply trying the wrong products for my skin type or the formula itself is the problem, I'm passing on anything Goop-related in the future. Call me crazy, but when I try a $132 moisturizer, I kind of want it to change my life, not just break out my T-zone.

$132 at Sephora

I have so much love for Dermalogica's Daily Microfoliant. Unlike other exfoliators, it's a dry rice-based powder that you mix with water, so you can really customize your experience. It's gentle enough for sensitive skin yet minimizes the appearance of blackheads, uneven texture, and hyperpigmentation.

The Microfoliant is designed for daily use; however, I usually use it 3-4 times a week. If you love a physical exfoliator that sloughs off dead skin, this may not be for you, but if you're looking for something gentle to smooth and brighten your skin, this is a winner. 

$92 at Sephora

While I know many people who are obsessed with First Aid Beauty's Facial Radiance Pads, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to pass on this one. The daily treatment pads are formulated with lactic and glycolic acids and are designed to exfoliate, tone, and brighten your skin.

If you have normal or acne-prone skin, you might love them, but for my semi-sensitive face, they were a no-go. We're more of a gentle parenting household, you know? 

$51 at Sephora

If mile-long lashes are on your 2024 bucket list, I suggest you get your hands on Lancôme's Cils Booster XL Super-Enhancing Mascara Primer. I wear this mascara primer every time I want a little more za-za-zoo in my daily makeup, and nine times out of 10, someone comments the following: "Are you wearing fake lashes?" or "Are those your real lashes?" followed by, "Your lashes are so long!" 

The mascara primer is not cheap by any means, but if you're looking to captivate an audience or make intense eye contact with a handsome stranger, it's worth the investment. 

$45 at Sephora

Benefit's Fan Fest mascara was my favourite mascara of 2023 — read my full review here.

What I like about Fan Fest is its ability to define and build. I am a two-to-three-layer mascara kind of gal, so I always look for formulas that can build without clumping.

If you want the look of fake lashes without the hassle, I suggest you try this product. It doesn't flake and leaves lashes full, sans mess or residue.

$39 at Sephora

I could list a handful of Benefit Cosmetics products that I would happily re-buy, but the brand's BADgal BANG! Volumizing Mascara does not make the cut. First off, I don't like the applicator brush. I find it clumps your lashes and is messy to put on. It's also quite smudgy, so if you're an oily eyelid kind of person, you can expect it to transfer to your lids and under-eye area. 

$39 at Sephora

This mascara is a strong pass for me. It's super clumpy, and the wand was awful. I even tried using another wand to see if that was the root of the issue, but alas, both the mascara and the wand are below par, especially for $18. It's only (small) saving grace is it's really pigmented, so at least there's that. 

$18 at Sephora

As someone who prefers to wear as little makeup as possible, I feel like the Origins tinted moisturizer was made for me. The formula evened out my complexion and, true to its claims, gave me an instant glow. It's the embodiment of the no-makeup-makeup look. Because it's a tinted moisturizer and not a foundation, it doesn't provide full coverage but gives a nice and natural finish. Most importantly, it offers SPF 40 — a must-have for the summer months.

$64 at Sephora

If we're talking about products worth the hype, I would be remiss not to mention the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Repair Perfector. I truly love this product. If you're lazy like me, it's mildly annoying to use because you need to apply it for at least 10 minutes to damp hair before shampooing/conditioning, but if you're willing to stick your neck under the tub child-style before you jump in the shower, it's worth the hassle. 

The bond-building formula tackles damage, split ends and breakage and waves adios to frizz and dryness. It's a forever-buy, in my opinion. 

$41 at Sephora

This may be a controversial opinion, but the K18 Leave-In Molecular Repair Hair Mask didn't really do anything for my hair. That said, I have a massive caveat to add: I have never coloured my hair. This feels important to mention because friends with damaged, colour-treated hair love the mask. So, I would say this: if your hair is bleached, damaged, etc., K18 might be worth your buck. However, if you do not have colour-treated or damaged hair, save your money for something else.  

$102 at Sephora

Anytime someone asks me what my favourite beauty products are, Living Proof dry shampoo always tops the list. I don't know how they do it, but this dry shampoo actually cleans your hair instead of just masking any smells or excess oil. It gives you that fresh-out-of-the-shower look and feel and a few extra days between hair washes. I love it; I will always re-buy it; it's a holy grail. 

$45 at Sephora

I really wanted to love this as I think Amika does a great hair mask; however, their Perk Up Plus dry shampoo fell short of the mark. For $42, I expected way more. The packaging is adorable, but I felt the dry shampoo itself didn't make much of a difference in terms of making my hair look less oily.

$42 at Sephora

Dae's Cactus Fruit 3-in-1 Styling Cream has gone viral time and time again and for a good reason. I first tried the multitasking cream in 2022, and it's been a staple in my haircare routine ever since. Whether you're looking to tame frizz and flyaways, smooth your ponytail or define your curls, the Clean at Sephora styling cream does it all with ease — and smells phenomenal to boot.

$41 at Sephora

Jonathan Van Ness might risk getting "arrested" for their Complete Hydrating Air Dry Hair Styling Cream; however, I'm personally a bigger fan of JVN's Nurture Intense Hydration Hair Mask. It's intensely moisturizing and smells incredible — two things you want in a hair mask. My only critique? While a little goes a long way, for $46, I wish the mask provided more product. Us thick-haired folks need XL options!

$46 at Sephora

I'm on the fence about Salt & Stone's aluminum-free deodorant. I love the smell and the packaging and texture are very luxurious.

I'm new to the natural deodorant world, so I don't have anything to compare it to, but I can say that from an all-day wear and workout perspective, it's not the best. If I go for a workout, I need to switch back to one of my old deodorants; however, if I'm just going about my day, the Salt & Stone deodorant works fine. All in all: if you want to work out, I wouldn't suggest this, but if you're having an easy day, it's a nice aluminum-free alternative.

$27 at Sephora

Buying a perfume scent-unsmelled is not for everyone, but if you're willing to gamble on my advice, I'd suggest adding The Maker's Lover Eau de Parfum to your Sephora cart. I've been using this perfume for a couple of weeks now and am not exaggerating when I say someone comments on how good I smell every time I use it. It's sexy and woody, with notes of fig, jasmine and oud. If you give it a go, you won't want to spray yourself with anything else come date night. 

$236 at Sephora

I may be the only person on the planet who isn't adding Sol de Janeiro's Brazilian Bum Bum cream to my Sephora cart, but hear me out. I really liked it, I did! I like the smell; allegedly, it's firming (though I didn't notice anything), and it's always fun to try a viral product. 

However, in my opinion, it's just a body lotion. I don't know if I go through body lotion at abnormal speeds or if others are just chronically dry, but at the rate I go through a tub, I would be spending $65 every two weeks to keep this in my bathroom. All this to say: if you have a lot of money, it's a great body cream. If you don't, the Bum Bum cream won't change your life. Try Aveeno instead.

$65 at Sephora

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