VIB Rouge – my thoughts a few months later
In late July, Sephora unveiled a new member level of their Beauty Insider program – VIB Rouge. A little over four months later, “VIB Rouge” is still one of the top search terms that brings people to my blog (hi new people!). Apparently it’s something that folks want to know about, so now that the intitial hype has died down and we’ve made it through most of the fall sale cycles, it seems like a good time to share some of my thoughts about the program. How well did it live up to the hype, and is it worth it? I’ll break down some of the advertised benefits vs whether I actually benefited from them.
Exclusive VIB Rouge Events
Maybe they have these in bigger cities, but there haven’t been any at my store. I did go to a special event when they unveiled the ColorIQ system, and there have been a few after-hours events with brand reps – but they weren’t Rouge-exclusive.
Special Surprise Gifts
This is another supposed benefit that I haven’t actually seen any evidence of. People on various forums have said that they’ve received extra samples in their orders, or that they got a copy of the lookbook from the Marc Jacobs Beauty line that was launched earlier this fall. I have not, so far. Not that I’m upset, because I give most samples away anyway, but I do wonder how they decide what gets sent out. The Rouge info page also mentions special gifts “sometimes just because” – I definitely haven’t gotten that, nor have I heard of anyone else who did. What I have seen is a lot of folks wondering where those surprises are. There’s been at least one Rouge-only code (the compact mirror that’s currently available with a $25 purchase) and the mini Bite lipstick you get in the welcome kit, but I haven’t seen anything aside from that.
Access to the Beauty Studio
I think this is an ok perk – if you use it. I haven’t taken advantage of it since Rouge started being a thing though, for a couple of reasons. For one, I love the staff at my local store, but the makeovers I’ve had were kind of hit or miss. The lighting in the store is terrible (not necessarily their fault, since they’re just renting a space in the mall), so the foundation matches and color choices are pretty far off sometimes. I also question whether this is really a service that’s attractive to Rouge members. The way I see it, if I’ve spent more than a few hundred dollars on makeup in a year, it’s a pretty safe bet that I like to use it. That’s the other reason I haven’t gone into the beauty studio lately – I don’t really have a good reason to. Sephora is about a 30 minute drive from my house once you account for traffic – so having them do my makeup (which I may or may not end up being happy with) actually adds an hour of getting-ready time , plus I have to deal with the rage of trying to drive on the most congested road in the city. Plus I enjoy doing it myself, and I don’t have to worry about whether I’m putting on makeup that’s been in a toddler’s mouth (yes, I’ve seen small children eating lipstick testers). So doing it myself is faster, more fun and less likely to give me weird germs. Mostly though, I don’t think this makes sense as a benefit because with the amount you need to spend to get Rouge status, you could have been getting the beauty studio services all along. A 45-minute makeover requires a $50 purchase (so you could have had 20 of these with what you’ve already spent), or $125 for a 90-minute session (the amount you spent getting to Rouge pays for 8 of these). And of course, if you don’t live near a store the beauty studio perk is useless to you.
This has been the main benefit I’ve seen so far, but again I think it’s going to vary a lot as to whether it’s very useful. Since I got Rouge status I’ve placed four orders that were less than $50, so that’s saved me $23.80. If you do all your ordering online and only buy a couple things at a time, it could potentially save you a lot more. Technically I guess you could split your orders up to get more samples/deluxe minis, but there have been reports cropping up recently about people getting banned from online ordering and/or losing their Rouge status for doing too much of that.
Aside from what they list on their website, I was also hoping that they’d do something a little special for Rouge members during sales. So far that hasn’t really happened either. Rouge and VIB got the same discount during the VIB sale, and the same gift card for the current $20 off $50 event. Rouge did get more points during the last points multiplier event (4x instead of 3x for VIB/2x for BI). So far there haven’t been any Rouge-only sales.
So overall – I think it’s nice to have, but it’s not everything I expected. Which is fine – I hadn’t been expecting to get anything extra before they announced Rouge. I do think for the way they advertise it – exclusive, special, you’re one of our best customers, etc, etc – there should probably be more of a differentiation between Rouge and VIB. In any case, I’m not likely to purposely shop at Sephora next year just to keep my Rouge status, especially since they don’t carry some of the brands I like. If it happens, that’s cool, but if not, I won’t be too sad. Then again, it’s only been a few months, so maybe there’s cool stuff in store for next year.