I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. I’ve always thought of VIB Rouge as a ridiculous rewards level that only rich people or shopping addicts would hit. I became a VIB Rouge member in 2016 and renewed my status for 2017 back in September. Woopsie. So is VIB Rouge really all that fabulous like Sephora cracks it up to be? I go over my experiences with every benefit they advertise.
Like many of us, I started off as a Beauty Insider– I mean free yearly birthday gift and points on purhcases, why wouldn’t you join? Back then I only repurchased makeup when I ran out of something – LOL, what a concept! I also really wasn’t wearing much makeup aside from winged eyeliner and powder foundation.
When I started this blog as a procrastinating university student in 2015, my makeup skills were a lot more finessed and I quickly became a VIB member. I was super excited to hit the second tier of rewards and get access to VIB Sale discounts and all the other perks. It really wasn’t that hard to become a VIB- a few palettes here and there, a new foundation and concealer, throw in a beauty blender and you’re $350 deep before you know it.
Soon I also found myself also buying more high end products. I fell in love with the gorgeous bottles, the decadent packaging and obviously, the high end results of high end makeup. For a price, my life became easier and my makeup looked nicer. Gone were the days of buying mediocre lip gloss, of trying to de-cake my cakey L’oreal True Match and trying to make watery liquid eyeliner work. I had discovered YSL, Too Faced and Urban Decay, and it was fucking great. Doing my makeup no longer had so much uncertainty- “will my shitty concealer blend better this time?” I was a woman on fire, and with my new love for high-end products came my VIB Rouge status.
MY WELCOME EXPERIENCE:
I remember when I became a VIB Rouge, I got an email welcoming me to ‘the top’. I actually was mildly horrified with myself. The email said to pick up my welcome kit in-store or at checkout on my next online order. Seeing as I’d already spent an obscene amount of money I decided to go pick it up in-store. This was actually really tiresome because I had to go in THREE seperate times over a one-month period because they were constantly out of VIB Rouge welcome kits. They cashier assured me that my card would be updated on the Sephora app, but come on guys! I found it super anti-climactic that Sephora wasn’t prepared for its ‘top level’ clientele.
The welcome kit came with a pitifully small Marc Jacobs red lipstick supposedly for VIB Rouge members only. It was so small it looked like something you’d get easily as a 100-point reward. I thought this was so cheezy- could they not give out a full sized lipstick? This year when I renewed my status I got a teeny tiny Nars blush in ‘Goulue’.
The kit also contained a beauty-studio all access pass. Luckily where I live, my local Sephora actually has it’s own VIB Rouge private studio overlooking the store so this was actually exciting. I also got my shiny red VIB Rouge card.
The birthday gift upgrade was false as myself and my other VIB Rouge friends got the exact same birthday gifts as regular people. So WTF.
Free 45 Minute Makeover
I went for one and only one 45-minute makeover in the exclusive VIB Rouge studio during 2016. I got a mini facial which was lovely and the girl was so nice and funny. Then they switched staff and I got a different girl who wasn’t as nice at all. I asked for full glam for my birthday with a nude lip and metallic foiled smoky eye. The makeup artist didn’t listen to me and I didn’t like my makeup at all. It was so boring and plain and the metallic shadow was barely noticeable. I also had to go back and fix her mistakes- like reapplying the lashes (they were too flat), putting mascara on my lashes (she didn’t put any), and taking off the harsh looking cool-toned lipstick she put on (I look better in warm tones). Overall I left the makeover feeling worse than when I went in. Obviously I must have gotten an uninspired artist, but it was a disappointment and I didn’t want any future appointments after that.
Premium VIB Rouge Events
During 2016, there was only one actually VIB Rouge ‘event’ and it was put on by Makeup Forever but you had to use 750 points to attend. I thought this was a bit annoying- why put on a VIB Rouge event and then charge people points to go? The MUFE event was wonderful though I must say. There were canapes, an open bar, live performers and we got four free MUFE products. I did a complete blog post on that event. To read it and see more photos click here!
The private shopping events were RSVP only and filled up fast. They usually also included VIB members and would be held either before or after the store was open (usually 8am-10am or 7pm-9pm). Waking up early to go shopping at an ‘exclusive event’ didn’t feel very exclusive. They would offer first access at new products before they were sold to the public and they usually offered a sample bag with purchase (though the sample bag was offered online as well). They would have refreshments which included little cookies, coffee tea and VIB Rouge water bottles but honestly, the refreshments were lame! I’ve seen better from days where a brand like Fresh would have representatives in-store, and they’d have cute things like sparkling water bars with assortments of garnishes.
First Access to Top Product Launches
I really didn’t find this perk very good at all. The first access to ‘top product’ launches usually always included VIB members as well, and the products they offered were usually more niche items and very expensive- like the Hourglass Modernist Eyeshadow Palette that no one liked. I was personally never excited by any of the first access products.
I actually really enjoyed having a private concierge as the people working on it were usually way more helpful than the regular Sephora line. They have better phone etiquette and just way better customer service skills!
Twice a year Sephora holds a VIB/VIB Rouge sale. I love this perk as you get a 15%-20% discount on anything you purchase, so it’s a great time to stock up. As a VIB Rouge, you would get first dibs on getting your 20% off discount (VIB’s would only get 15% off and would have to wait until the next weekend, then Beauty Insiders the next). However, if you missed your sale weekend, you couldn’t order anything online with your discount code after the chosen dates. I was able to go in store and pickup something that was sold out online and they honoured my Rouge discount. I would prefer if they just let you use your Rouge discount ALL of the sale dates.
Free Shipping on Every Order
This is for sure one of the best perks of being a VIB Rouge member. I no longer feel like I need to spend $50 to get free shipping. This is SO great because I often wait until there is a good code for a gift with purchase (usually with a min. $25 or $35 spend) and then I order whatever I need, get a gift, get the 3 free samples and don’t have to go into the store.
VIB Rouge-Only Exclusive Products
Online, there is a section where you can shop VIB Rouge exclusive products. There are only two products, and one of them- the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in ‘Firenze’, has only just restocked after being sold out for months and months. Wow, what an exclusive selection.
This is probably one of my biggest disappointments with being a VIB Rouge. The in-store experience needs serious work by Sephora as I notice ZERO difference. I expected to be given more samples and better service but I feel like they have cut back on in-store samples altogether as I rarely get them anymore. The cashiers also show no recognition to you as a VIB Rouge. If anything, they are slightly nicer when I present my card yet they never say anything like “Thank you for coming in ___”, or “Oh great you’re a VIB Rouge, I’ve got a gift with purchase for you today.” This is a big part of why I mainly shop online now.
MY OVERALL FEELINGS:
If you can’t tell by my opinionated review, I’m disappointed with the VIB Rouge program. They hype it up to be so amazing but it’s really not. Everything has been half-assed from the lacklustre ‘early access’ products, the slim pickings of exclusive products, the boring AF refreshments at private shopping events, and the non-existent exclusive gifts and no in-store recognition. The best part was probably going to the Makeup Forever exclusive event, but charging points for it was irritating.
I don’t think you need to spend extra money trying to become a VIB Rouge, but if it happens anyway enjoy it. Aside from the free-shipping and extra 5% discount during sales, I was just as happy being a VIB member. Sephora seriously needs to step it up with their rewards! I hope you’ve enjoyed this very long post my dears. Also if you’re a VIB Rouge let me know your thoughts in the comments.