Last weekend marked a very special occasion for Melburnian beauty enthusiasts. At 12pm last Saturday, Sephora Australia opened its doors to the city's first store and after having two in Sydney for the past year now, it was about freaking time. It should come as no surprise to you that I, of course, was there opening day. I wasn't sure where on Level 1 in Melbourne Central the store was located, but as soon as I spotted black and white striped pillars, I knew I had made it to the motherland.
When it was announced early last year that Sephora would be landing on our fair shores, I was over the moon. Finally, Australians would have access to brands a 30-hour flight across the other side of world could only get us. Sure, there are online retailers stocking a selection of our favourite brands, but there's nothing like the physical feeling of adding to cart. After opening their first two stores in Sydney, my excitement for Melbourne's, however, started dwindling. The markup of cosmetics in Australia is extortionate and even though we were promised similar pricing to those in the US, that didn't end up happening. Then there was the brand selection. With Mecca Brands owning the exclusive rights to popular brands such as Urban Decay, NARS, REN, Hourglass, Stila and many more, it didn't seem like there was a whole lot to be excited for. When I really thought about it, there wasn't anything I was dying to get my hands on because they had all been previously purchased during past overseas trips.
Last Friday, there was also a fiasco with Sephora Australia's newly launched online store. As I signed up to become a member, I received an email with 20% off my order for Black Friday. No matter how many times I tried, the 20% off was not deducted and when I contacted Sephora through their website, they didn't respond to me until after the sale had ended! Luckily, I complained over social media (even then, it still took two hours for the whole thing to get sorted!) and they said my discount code was working fine, but I was never even given that discount code in the first place! In the end, I never placed an order because half of the things I wanted were out of stock and for the things they did have, I wasn't willing to pay $15 postage. I still have a $10 Welcome White Card Member voucher waiting to be used too, but I'm not willing to spend over $55 in order to be entitled to free shipping. It would probably be more easily doable, however, if the product selection weren't so poor!
This all happened the day before the grand opening. At this rate, I'm pretty bummed out and my expectations aren't all that high. Nevertheless, I headed straight there after work the next day and at 5:30pm, the queue was still pretty hectic! I was overwhelmed, but it went by pretty quickly and I think I waited in line for about half an hour at the most.
When I finally entered, all those negative thoughts seemed to have washed over me and I was ecstatic! Sephora. In. Australia. I know it's been in Sydney for ages now, but I still can't believe it! While I prefer the brands stocked at Mecca, Sephora still welcomes Kat Von D, Tarte, Bite Beauty, It Cosmetics, Marc Jacobs, Elizabeth and James, Anastasia Beverly Hills, BECCA, Makeup Forever, Lavanilla, Nudestix, Beauty Blender, Butter London and Formula X, to name the most well-known brands. Then there were brands I didn't even realise were making its way Down Under like Percy & Reed, Aromatherapy Associates, Sachajuan, Pixi, Zoeva and Dr. Jart. Supposedly, more brands will be stocked as time goes on, but we'll see. I'm hoping for Fresh, Living Proof and a wider selection of rollerball fragrances!
Despite going to Sephora almost everyday after work this week, my first haul is relatively restrained! At least for me, anyway. Like I mentioned, there wasn't a lot I was super keen on and I didn't want to buy anything just for the sake of it. I don't have that kind of money, but more than financial reasons, I've accumulated quite a few beauty bits lately (as you can see from my posts, A Belated Birthday Haul and '90s Grunge Makeup Look and First Impressions) and it kind of made me feel sick buying even more! Beauty is my favourite thing to spend my money on, but even I have my limits!
Beauty Blender Original
Amongst the crowds of people swarming each counter, this is what I managed to get my hands on first! For the longest time, I had been indecisive whether or not to try the Beauty Blender because wetting it for each use seemed like too big a task for someone who's almost always rushing to get ready. Nevertheless, I added it to the wishlist after being persuaded by my sister who uses one and I'm glad to have it! I'll let you know how I get on with it, but for now, I have high hopes.
Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper
The Kat Von D counter was by far the most overcrowded. I barely got a look at the entire range and it was getting too much to deal with, so I grabbed the Tattoo Liner in Trooper and got out of there! This is a favourite amongst many popular YouTubers and after I ran out of my Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black, I thought I'd give this one a go next. Thanks to Jennifer's bad influence on me, I've got my eyes on the Tom Ford Eye Defining Pen too because after using hers, I don't see how any other liquid eyeliner in the world could top this. One day, I'll be able to drop $80 on an eyeliner. One day.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana White Mini Rollerball Ornament
I was pleasantly surprised to see Elizabeth and James at Sephora as I thought it'd be one of those brands we missed out on. Finally, I got to smell the perfumes everyone travelling to the US goes on about! While I'm slowly getting more into deeper scents, there was no doubt that the fresh and floral Nirvana White was my preferred over Nirvana Black. It smells similar to Diptyque's Eau Rose EDT, which is my favourite fragrance of all time. They had the regular sized rollerballs, but I opted for the adorable Mini Rollerball Ornament, a holiday exclusive in red packaging with a little hanger for the Christmas tree. Overall, the selection of rollerball fragrances was quite disappointing - it mostly consisted of Marc Jacobs Daisy variations and a brand I'd never even heard of. I was hoping to buy the Chloé Rollerball as I absolutely adore this perfume, but never mind.
Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist
Pixi was another brand I was surprised to see. I'd never tried anything from this British brand before, so I decided to purchase their Makeup Fixing Mist to replace my Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray when it runs out. I contemplated their most famous product, Glow Tonic, but I'm still tossing up between this and the REN Clarifying Toning Lotion. Has anyone tried both before? If so, which do you prefer?
Marc Jacobs Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer
This is perhaps what you'd call my "grand daddy" purchase. I had recently watched Alix mention the Marc Jacobs Primer in her November Favourites and I became intrigued. I love coconut-scented things and I mean, that packaging. So sleek and sexy! After trying it on the back of the hand and being really impressed by the finish and my minimised pores, I just had to have it. I did contemplate the Style Eye Con No 7 Plush Eyeshadow Palette in The Lolita, but with so many shades being dupable within my MAC palettes, I managed to convince myself I didn't need it (for now!).
Sephora Sleeping Masks in Pearl and Pomegranate
On my way to pay for my items, I knew stopping by the Sephora Collection face masks would be a bad idea, but I did it, anyway, and I have no regrets. I'd never tried their face masks before and I particularly loved the idea of their Sleeping Masks, which you leave on overnight. I got the Pearl one, which is perfecting and brightening and the Pomegranate, which is anti-fatigue and energising. They're $5 a pop, which is pretty good considering they're $4 USD. I think I'll be able to get about two or three uses out of each of these.
No lip, cheek and eyeshadow products! I told you I was restrained! It was never my intention to go crazy, but to simply try a few things from brands new to Australia that I was really interested in. I spent a long time at the Bite Beauty counter, but none of the colours really stood out to me and for those that did, I already had similar colours within my collection. It was the same story for Formula X too and I couldn't justify owning even more nail polish than I already do! I was excited to check out the Sephora Cream Lip Stains, but shade range in-store was pretty rubbish. I'm hoping the stock gets better with time.
So, there you have it, my first ever Sephora Australia haul! Sephora plan on opening 25 stores around the nation, so hopefully my friends back home in Perth get one soon and I'd love to see a big flagship store open up on Bourke Street Mall here in Melbourne. It's crazy to think that this isolated country now has better access to all the big name American beauty brands than the UK! Sephora Australia is still a far cry from its US counterpart and we'll never have those amazing VIB-type sales across luxury brands (Mecca never have sales) in this country, but maybe that's a good thing because it keeps the prospect of shopping overseas still really exciting.
Is there a Sephora store where you live?