Sephora: USA vs. Italy

In this post, I return from my 2-month sabbatical to talk about the VERY IMPORTANT differences I’ve noticed between shopping at Sephora in the US and shopping at Sephora in Italy!

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Remember when I said one of my New Year’s resolutions was to be more consistent at blogging? Did I actually even say that? It’s been so long since I’ve actually posted anything (my last post was in January… whoops) that I don’t even remember!

Well… I’m back! *cue obligatory predictable American Horror Story gif*


What have I been doing in my 2-month hiatus, you ask? The short answer is: literally nothing.  The long answer is: l i t e r a l l y  n o t h i n g.  Ok, nothing includes moving back to Italy, eating a lot of Italian food, and buying a lot of makeup, so basically just the usual for me.

Remember that lipstick addiction I’ve mentioned a few times? Fun fact… I am now up to 99 lipsticks, which is 19 more than my last update on January 20th.  Don’t ask me how much I’ve spent on lipstick.  It’s better for both of us.

The bulk of these lipsticks are Colourpop (I own 44 Colourpop lipsticks to be exact…), followed by Jeffree Star (13), and then Sephora (6).  Because I’m a little bit rusty at blogging and desperately looking for a tie-in to what I want to write about today, we’re going to go from here and pretend that I made some kind of witty observation about my Sephora obsession due to an assumed positive correlation between my feelings for the brand and amount of money I’ve spent on its lipstick, because the topic of this post is Sephora.  More specifically: a few observations about shopping at Sephora in the US vs. in Italy.

Pls just play along here

1.) Size… Matters?

Piacenza, the town I currently live and study in, actually (thankfully) has a Sephora right in the center.  Compared to the Sephoras I’ve shopped at in the US, it’s teeny tiny, but it’ll do.


I’m not sure if I just haven’t hit up the right places yet or something, but both the one in Piacenza and the one I’ve been to in Milan (as well as the one I went to in Madrid, actually) were about a quarter of the size of the stores I’ve been to in the US.  Again, this might just have been due to me not knowing where to go yet, or it could be due to the fact that Italy hasn’t really jumped into the whole huge department store thing that we’re crazy about in the US, but this tinier size also means a smaller selection of in-store brands.

On a side note, I’m beginning to realize my sample size of 3 is really small… that’s just not normal! Get it? Anybody? Statistics? n = 30? No? Ok.

Anyways… brands that I found consistent across all THREE Sephoras include Too Faced, Tony Moly, Urban Decay, and of course, Sephora’s own Sephora Collection label (which actually called “Made in Sephora” in Italy).  I only found Kat Von D in Milan and Madrid, and brands, such as MILK that are beginning to gain more popularity in the US, are completely absent here.  In fact, judging from the Italian website itself, it doesn’t even seem like Sephora Italy carries MILK products at all… would it be called LATTE here?? *ponders*

Well, no, actually.

This isn’t to say that the US Sephora is better than Sephora Italy!  Sephora Italy actually has a full range of shower gels and hand soaps from their Made in Sephora line that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in the United States.

There’s only 1 product for the Shower/Bath category on the US website and 27 on the Italian website, sooo… is everything better in the US? Maybe no.  *sad trombone slide*


This one is *pretty* expected since, I don’t know, ITALIAN IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT LANGUAGE THAN ENGLISH, but many of their product categories are actually in Italian! Go figure!

Italian ≠ English????

Shopping at Sephora in Italy is a bit confusing if you want a certain type of product and don’t quite know what you’re looking for if you don’t know the actual Italian translation of the English version, so here are a few translations (made in Excel, of course):

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 8.06.40 PM.png

You’ll notice that a few words in Italian (in pink) are actually the same word used in English.  Other words… not so much.  A few, like “primer” as “base” and “foundation” as “fondatinta” are pretty similar and self-explanatory.

Also… I personally find the translation for “eyebrows” to be really funny.  I think it’s a mix of “sopra” + “ciglia,” where “sopra” means “above” and “ciglia” means “eyelashes,” so is the literal translation… “above eyelashes”???


3.) SHOW ME THE $$$ (or €€€ in this case)

Ok get ready… this one is a doozy.

According to ye olde, the Euro currently equals ≈1.07 US dollars (as of 3/30/17).

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 8.13.58 PM

Generally speaking, even though prices in Euros are less numerically than the prices listed in the US, after the whole conversion nonsense, many of the products in Italy are STILL MORE EXPENSIVE than if you got them in the US… what is this garbage??

Take the Urban Decay Naked Palette, for example.  Listed at €53, some fancy not-so-fancy math tells us that converts to approximately $56.86.  Meanwhile, on the US website, the Naked Palette is listed for $54, so if you’re an American living in Italy and want to buy a Naked Palette, you’d technically be paying $2.86 more than you would have if you had just bought it in the US.  That might not seem like that big of a price difference, but it’s the difference between me and that slice of pizza my lactose intolerant body is screaming at me not to eat, to which I say TOO BAD.

Me: You’re lactose intolerant. // Inner Me: Eat the pizza. Destroy yourself.

But, fear not, fellow Americans, as not all is lost… there are actually some products where currency conversions work in OUR FAVOR! My favorite eyeshadow palette, the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette, is listed at €45, which converts to $48.27 – with the palette being sold at $49 in Sephora in the US, you’re saving a cool $0.73! Wow! Amazing!

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 8.31.51 PM
Euro/Dollar conversions for the Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette

Of course, like memories, prices are fleeting – within the past 30 days, the conversion rates have changed.  If you look at the chart above, courtesy of Excel once again, you’ll see that your savings vary depending on the conversion rate for the day.  For example, on March 27th, you would have only saved around $0.11, while on March 2nd, you would have saved around $1.73!

What does this mean? Well… nothing, really.  I just wanted another opportunity to use Excel like the extremely extra person I am.  I guess what I’m TRYING to say here is that, yes, some products are more expensive in Italy than they are in the US, and vice versa, and although the differences are usually very slight (depending on the day), they STILL EXIST.

For things like eyeshadow palettes, which I am assuming are more of a one-time buy-type deal, this might not be that important to you.  However, for certain products, like lipstick, who CERTAIN PEOPLE (*nervous laugh* not me… haha…) have a tendency to buy maybe like… every other week… or every week… this difference might add up.


Specifically, I’m talking about the Sephora Cream Lip Stains, which I’ve become quite fond of recently.  In Italy, they’re listed at €10,90 which, taking today’s conversation rate, comes out to $11.69 – Sephora Cream Lip Stains are sold at $14 in the US, which makes it a $2.31 difference.  Now, as I said earlier, this difference depends on the daily conversion rate, but if you consider the fact that the average exchange rate for those listed 21 days is around 1.069, this translates to an average conversion of $11.65, which is then an average savings of $2.35.  Again, not that much, but if you then take into consideration the fact that I own 6 Sephora Cream Lip Stains, that’s a total savings of $14.06, aka ANOTHER ENTIRE LIPSTICK, plus 6 cents.

Me trying to figure out how much I’m saving per-lipstick based on historical conversion rates

Tl;dr – due to exchange rates for Euros to Dollars, you might be paying more or less for a product in Italy than you would in the US, but these differences are usually small and depend on the actual conversion rate itself, which can differ day-to-day.  I don’t know about you, but the whole “full faith and credit of the government” property of paper money is starting to lose its luster for me.  Anybody miss the stability of the gold standard? I sure do! #only30skidsremember #thanksFDR


Ok, in conclusion, uh…

Me trying to figure out what the hell the actual purpose of this post was

Ok, let’s try again.  In conclusion, shopping at Sephora in the US is a tad different than shopping at Sephora in Italy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing!  It’s easier to find larger Sephoras in the US, which means there are more product offerings in-store, but Sephora Italy actually offers an entire gigantic line of hand soaps and shower gels that I have yet to see in Sephora stores in the US, so that’s pretty cool.  Additionally, because of exchange rates and whatnot, you may or may not be paying more for the product in Europe than in the US, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’m not saying that you should fly all the way to Europe for some sick hand soaps (although the cherry blossom one I’m currently using makes me smell like a sweet summer child who just rolled around in a field of petals in Japan while a full orchestra played an instrumental version of the Sailor Moon theme song), or that you should fly to Europe because it’s *technically* cheaper to buy Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Italy than in the US (I’VE SAVED ENOUGH MONEY TO BUY ANOTHER LIPSTICK, WHICH I WILL PROMPTLY DO TOMORROW, PROBABLY), I’m just… saying.  So, yeah.

Alright, we’ve done it – we’ve reached the end.  In my usual fashion, I went off on a tangent, was a little bit extra, and used Excel just for the sake of using Excel, but it was nice finally blogging again! Hopefully I’ll stop lying to myself and actually start trying to be more consistent… somebody hold me to it!!

Featured Data:

EURO/USD Exchange Rates

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9 thoughts on “Sephora: USA vs. Italy

  1. Buonasera! Have you ever tried to return or exchange a product at Sephora in Italy? I am wondering if the policy is the same as in the US… Grazie mille!

    Liked by 1 person

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