Sephora UK relaunch – A few thoughts

So rumours (strong ones) are abound that there’s a Sephora UK relaunch happening at Westfield Stratford. It’s not 100% confirmed so the excitement levels and potential hysteria are on a bit of a holding pattern for now. So until the news is official, I wanted to share a few initial thoughts.

Now, I should state here that I LOVE Sephora, as soon as I hit US shores I am that stereotype girl rushing to the aisles. Getting Ollie to head elsewhere and leave me in my happy place for as long as his patience allows whilst I comb over the shelves picking up all the exciting items that I generally can’t get my hands on over here in the UK. Filling up those signature black and white bags with a whole load of OMG I NEED THIS products, and a few non-need splurges too.

Brand wise, my favourites to pick up in the US are generally all ones I can’t easily get elsewhere (which makes sense) so Bite Beauty, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Milk Makeup, Kat Von D, Marc Jacobs, Formula X. The thing is, that list used to be much longer than it is now. More and more of these hard-to-get brands are now available over here. Ok, so not all quite as easy to get our hands on as others – some are online only and of course a few aren’t available here yet. But the majority – you can get them via UK retailers. From Debenhams (Kat Von D), John Lewis (Marc Jacobs), Cult Beauty (Anastasia Beverly Hills).

Now, don’t get me wrong – this UK trickle of US brands has changed little about how excited I am when I am in the US to visit a store and have a splurge. But that’s the thing, it’s part of that holiday feeling when you can splurge. The exchange rate is a touch more generous, the guilt a touch less… that’s part of the appeal. The novelty of it. You might note that I only mention the US really here, as much as the European stores are great and I still get a buzz at being able to visit one. I don’t find them quite as exciting as those in the US – mostly again because of the brands available. Which is probably the biggest question mark over the UK relaunch is about what brands they will or will not be able to bring over here. Then also what the prices are going to be like.

Sephora relaunching in UK

I do really think Sephora are being a little late to the party. After Forever 21, American Eagle and Victoria Secret launched over here a few years ago – I think that would have been the prime time for them really. But now a vast number of the cosmetics brands they are known for stocking are now on sale elsewhere here. Which maybe makes the appeal a touch less exciting? Plus when Forever 21 is struggling in the UK, having already closed it’s Stratford store and others around the UK…the rumours there are that Oxford Street is to follow…which is a real shame as I was one of the most excited about their UK launch. But I guess they just have so much competition over here in the fast fashion market of cheap goods it’s hard to see them keeping up.

This doesn’t change the fact I’ll be there with bells on shout it launch. But will I make it a mission to go to Sephora over other places I can already purchase the brands I want from? Who knows, it really does depend how it’s all done. I’m excited, but quietly so – but can’t help but think the timing isn’t great.

I’d love to know your thoughts on Sephora launching in the UK? Will you be shopping to VIB level before you know it or maybe not quite packing in your Boots points just yet…




  1. September 19, 2016 / 5:58 pm

    If the Sephora isn’t like the ones in Europe and sells brands like ABH where you can get their products like liquid lipsticks which no UK stockist seems to sell then I’ll be all for it! Cult Beauty sells some ABH products but not their eyeshadows and liquid lipsticks and they’re the two things I really want to get my hands on. I went to multiple Sephora’s when I was in Paris and they were crappy compared to the US ones so I’m hoping the one in the UK won’t be the same as those!

    Gemma Louise

    • Jen
      September 19, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Agreed, the US ones definitely stand out on both service and stock. If they follow that model then amazing. If like Europe then not quite so much! I picked up an ABH lipstick when I was in NY in June – so good!

  2. Ellie
    September 19, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    I completely agree, it is exciting BUT I am cautious to see how it’s done.
    Part of the fun of travelling to the US is the obligatory trip to Sephora, and it’s not just about the brands, the level of service (not just this store but any US store) is top form. Nothing like the UK could manage. (Think we all have witnessed beauty counter girls who look like the last thing they want to do is serve an actual person).
    Also, For me it’s the ritual of planning what to purchase, taking my dollars, then going in and throwing away the list and picking up all the new shiny things I didn’t even know I wanted. Also a trip to ultra is just as magic and they are more drugstore end, so I don’t necessarily think it’s about luxury items.
    Somethings just don’t translate, maybe it’s best to keep it at arms length to save its special status.

    • Jen
      September 19, 2016 / 7:02 pm

      Hitting the nail on the head there. Totally agree, I’m excited but a little worried it might lose some of its gloss by being more accessible!

  3. September 19, 2016 / 6:57 pm

    Haha to be fair, I want to leave Sephora out of the UK, because my holidays revolve around visiting one. I once went to Milan cause I mentioned I wanted to shop in Sephora! They even have a Sephora in India!
    Anjna Harish 

    • Jen
      September 19, 2016 / 7:04 pm

      I think that’s exactly it – it’s is exciting because it’s out of the ordinary! Bringing it here might take the shine off a little. I am excited though and done well, could be amazing! Fingers crossed!

  4. September 20, 2016 / 9:30 am

    I’ve always been surprised that Sephora haven’t launched a store in the UK. I think they would do so much better in somewhere more iconic like Oxford St. rather than westfield. I agree that most of the other brands are available in the UK but I’m still excited to have everything under one roof! x

  5. September 20, 2016 / 9:36 am

    I think it’s about time we have a Sephora in the UK, I mean a lot of other places have them (not just the US) so why not have them here? I agree about the stock and service – also mainly so that I could try all these good things I read in blogs and watch in Youtube in real time. Sometimes a trip to the US just to go to Sephora is a yearly thing by the time you get there a gigantic load of products have come and gone and you’ve missed out on the chance. Plus Sephora has a really good points system and they offer all these lovely travel sizes you can try before splurging on the full item!

  6. September 20, 2016 / 11:03 am

    My initial reaction was of excitement at all the goodies. We also don’t really have anything like it in the UK, no place where you can go purely for cosmetics and beauty brands. Generally, us Brits have to go to Department Stores to get our fix, but I like the way Sephora is less informal and I can look at and touch everything without a sales assistant leaping on me like in a department store.

    My one concern really is what products will be available. I think a lot of the things that we love so much in America might not be possible to have here because our laws on ingredients and manufacturing are very different, so it could be that our favorites just don’t make it over. But we will have to wait and see!

    • Jen
      September 24, 2016 / 4:31 am

      Agreed! Hope they do follow the US stores not the Europe ones though!

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