Woe Canada: US Prices v. Canadian Prices – Sephora

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I’ve been eyeballing some items from Sephora that I really, really want to try…but the cost can be quite prohibitive, especially if you look and see the cost of the product in US dollars.

Because the value of our Canadian dollar sits so close to the American dollar, sometimes this price difference seems downright ludicrous. I’ve been keeping a running list of items to purchase cross-border when I get to Myrtle Beach — there’s a small Sephora in the mall (it’s actually in JC Penney) so I can either go and visit the store in person or do a mail order purchase to arrive during my trip. Oh wait, I can’t do a mail order purchase using the US site and a Canadian credit card. LAME.

Switching my Sephora basket is really easy — you just change this link (https://www.sephora.com/basket/basket.jsp?country_switch=US) to this link (https://www.sephora.com/basket/basket.jsp?country_switch=ca) to get the price change. It’s as easy as that.


s1486786-main-heroTARTE BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
Canadian Price: $44.00 / American Price: $34.00


s1468511-main-heroOBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE COSMETICS Lip Tar
Canadian Price: $19.00 / American Price: $16.00


Ds1471994-main-heroOLCE & GABBANA The Foundation Perfect Finish Creamy Foundation
Canadian Price: $66.00 / American Price: $66.00


s1469949-main-heroSUNDAY RILEY Blush
Canadian Price: $30.00 / American Price: $30.00


s1200997-main-heroCLARISONIC Mia Skin Cleansing System
Canadian Price: $139.00 / American Price: $119.00


s988899-main-heroMAKE UP FOR EVER Aqua Eyes
Canadian Price: $20.00 / American Price: $18.00


s1432384-main-heroLORAC PRO Palette
Canadian Price: $55.00 / American Price: $42.00


s929513-main-heroBecca Beach Tint
Canadian Price: $30.00 / American Price: $25.00


You can see that some make no difference (Dolce & Gabbana foundation, Sunday Riley blush), some have a minimal change (MUFE Aqua Eyes for $2, OCC Lip Tar for $3), and some have a significant ($5+) change in price. That’s a pretty huge hike when you consider the loonie is usually within $0.10 of the dollar. Not to mention that they offer free shipping on $50+ in the US, whereas the shipping is free with a $75 purchase in Canada. Oh, and there are better promo codes on the US site than there are on the Canadian one.

Let’s do a comparison, shall we?

Sephora US Order Sephora Canada Order
LORAC PRO Palette
American Price: $42.00

TARTE BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
American Price: $34.00

Order Total: $76.00
Shipping: FREE
Tax: $4.56

Beauty Insider Points Earned: 76

LORAC PRO Palette
Canadian Price: $55.00

TARTE BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
Canadian Price: $44.00

Order Total: $99.00
Shipping: FREE
Tax: $12.87

Beauty Insider Points Earned: 76 (?)

Total Cost: $80.56 (CAN $80.64) Total Cost: $111.87 (US $111.76)

Same product, same store, different countries, $30 price difference thanks to a discrepancy in product prices as well as the taxes in Ontario versus South Carolina.  A 38% markup. Insanity.  I guess we pay for all the wonderful perks of our country in many ways, eh?

The price hike has been discussed in the Sephora forums, and one of the answers is roundabout and very unhelpful:

Hi again, ladies. At this time the Canadian price is based on the suggested US price, including adjustments for exchange rate, customs and brokerage fees. As stated earlier in the discussion, your concerns have been forwarded to the appropriate contacts within the organization for consideration. Thanks again!

Other bloggers have mentioned some similar annoyances.

All this to say, be very careful when placing your Sephora orders online from Canada.  Obviously, some product prices are similar, and if you’re ordering more than $75.00 worth of product, the only real difference will be the taxes — and not much you can do about that.

What are your other options?

Well, obviously one is driving into the US and making a purchase from there. Another good option is to use Murale – you get SDM Optimum Points, you get occasional promos (i.e. a $30 Beauty card for purchases over $100), you get five samples (and, unlike Sephora, they aren’t all fucking douchebag fragrance samples), and you get free shipping over $75.  So realistically, you can split your Sephora and your Murale purchases in a savvy, smart way to maximize the value of your purchases.

Unfortunately, Murale doesn’t offer some of the brands (i.e. LORAC or Tarte) so you still can’t really capture savings from the Sephora price discrepancy.  They do have a number of brands, though, like Benefit, and the cost is the same as Sephora. For those missing brands, I’m not sure how you can get them without paying the markup.

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