Wow! That sounds like a mysterious thing to be. Not really. It is simply Sephora’s great promotion. Warning: (This is going to be a ‘chick flick’ column, but Sephora does have a men’s department also).

They feature quality shaving and skin care supplies and a good selection of men’s fragrance. Even Brad Pitt uses Kinerase, a very high end skin care line for men and women. Some of the sales people are men as well as some of their makeup artists.

Sephora is the well known beauty chain. They used to have just one store, in San Francisco. (Now they are ‘everywhere’). I remember going there as a must thing to do, if you were visiting that city. They featured beautifully colored and flavored bath products that they gift wrapped in the same color wrapping.

Sephora has a very nice presentation for their gift cards. They are packed in their signature black and white striped box nestled inside their double mirror compact. Always the perfect gift in any denomination.

If you sign up (for free) to be a Beauty Insider, you qualify for lots of freebies. First of all on your birthday (or birthday month), you get a nice present.

Sometimes it is a lipstick or a set of eye shadows. This year it is a mascara/highlighter set from Benefit.14day_edtr_02When you are an ‘Insider’ nearly every day you get an email from Sephora tempting you with a special sale. There is always a ‘gift’ with purchase if you shop online.

Insiders get one point for each dollar spent. It is like a beauty bank. Whenever you have 100 points, you can cash them in for a deluxe size sample of something. There are usually three choices and these change weekly.

If you save your points up and have 500, then you can cash them in for the Big Gift. This is usually a one of a kind special set of some minis from a famous brand. (Usually about a $25 value)

I like to go to the store and then make my purchases online. The ‘free gift’ is a great way to try new items and there is also a section to choose three free samples with every order. These can range from shampoo/conditioner to little perfume vials.

If you shop online there is free shipping with a $50 purchase. There are also lots of Value sets and even a Sale department.

The store has a makeover department staffed with makeup artists. If you have a special event or just want to try a new look, they are very good. Beauty insiders get invited for free makeovers from time to time.

One of their most clever promotions is their fragrance sampler. There are several to choose from, usually about $50 for seven good size little minis. Then when you find the one you really like, you take a voucher into the store for a full size bottle of that fragrance.

They have this for women and men. Makes a great gift for that hard to shop for person. (They also have a version of this with deluxe shaving creams for $25).

When you have the various fragrances home, you can better choose the one you like the most. Or give your husband or boyfriend his choice.

The stores are fun to browse around and it is almost impossible to shop without purchasing something. The salespeople are very knowledgeable and helpful.

Every counter has testers of every product and well placed mirrors so you can try to your hearts delight. There are also good supplies of cotton, swabs, and makeup remover well placed around the store. Unlike most department stores cosmetic departments, the lighting is good and you can actually see what you are looking at.

The sales women and men all wear black, so it is easy to spot them. They are helpful but not pushy. And there are lots of them, so it is easy to get waited on.

Besides having most major cosmetic lines such as Nars, Lancome, Chanel, Benefit, Yves St. Laurent, Guerlain, etc., all the major perfumes and on and on, they have Make Up Forever, which is exclusively theirs and Sephora brand which is of course theirs. The Sephora brand is the most reasonably priced in the store.

The Sephora brand is good quality and features hundreds of colors. If you want a lipstick or eye shadow to match an outfit, they have it.

They make a great waterproof jumbo eyeliner for $14 that comes in 24 colors. This is my current favorite item. It is very creamy and just glides on. All the colors are beautiful, but if you put the green on and then the matte blue over that, you will feel like a peacock.

You can play with any of the products in the store, and it feels like playing dress up when you were a little girl.

Every Christmas they feature a Blockbuster by Sephora. This is a Special assortment of makeup. Usually about fifty eye shadows, blush, lip gloss, brushes and such. The value is around $400,if you were to buy all the parts, and they sell this for $49.95.

This has become so popular that during the year they have smaller versions available for $34 or so. These are always packaged in clever cases with expanding drawers and shelves.

They also make a purse size little kit featuring nine eye shadows, four lip colors, and a blush. These come in various color combos and are $15. When they go on sale they are only $7. These make a great stocking stuffer.

So, next time you are in a mall and see a Sephora store, check it out, sign up to be a Beauty Insider and Voila! (by the way they have a Sephora in Waikiki now and also on the Las Vegas strip just outside of the Venetian.)