sephora stores
photo: Sephora

Sephora seems to finally be getting the memo about inclusion, diversity, and what that really looks like in its stores. The retailer has been plagued for years by instances of racial profiling against black people and people of Asian descent. It all came to a head a few weeks ago when the store was called out on Twitter by SZA. The classy callout snowballed into the retailer being dragged on Twitter by the singers' fans and other fed-up shoppers. Days later, Rihanna sent her own comforting and subtle statement directly to SZA.

And now we're here. Sephora is shutting down every single store in June to try and get things right. But will it work? Sip the tea and browse the receipts ahead. 

"On the morning of 6/5, every Sephora store, distribution center, and corporate office in the US will close to host inclusion workshops for our employees," the brand shared on Facebook.

"These values have always been at the heart of Sephora, and we’re excited to welcome everyone when we reopen," the brand continued. 

"Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences," the message in the video shared. "We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included.  We belong to something beautiful."

Sephora also invited its Facebook followers to join the "Belong" community. 

The official Belong landing page on Sephora does provide a tad more information about the workshops. "Our programs address the needs of entrepreneurs, communities in transition, Sephora employees, and our planet. Sephora Stands is dedicated to inspiring the fearlessness to make bold choices."

The page doesn't address anything concerning race, sexual orientation, physical ability, or any other important issues that a blanketed diversity campaign would typically mention. However, Sephora does include some images of people from those marginalized groups in its visuals. 

One Sephora employee did reveal a few of the topics the retailer is addressing with its team. 

It looks like Sephora has already started its inclusion training even before the official workshop day on June 5!

"Next week, Sephora is closing the store for two hours for us to do a trans inclusivity training and it makes me really happy honestly. :) Today we had a training about pronouns," a person revealed on Twitter. Let's also hope that Sephora will tackle a variety of inclusion topics for the LGBTQ+ community, people of color, disabled people, and more.

Sephora also didn't reveal what led to these inclusion workshops, but we can't help but remember that the retailer was recently called out by the singer SZA for racial profiling.

"Lmao Sandy [at] Sephora location 614 Calabasas called security to make sure I wasn’t stealing. We had a long talk. U have a blessed day Sandy," the singer wrote on Twitter. "Can a b**** cop her Fenty in peace er whut?"

Translation: SZA hit up a Sephora to reup her Fenty Beauty stash and was racially profiled in a California location because an employee assumed she was there to steal. 

Beauty influencer Jackie Aina, who's also a California resident, also put her two cents into the Twitter conversations about Sephora.

"In Calabasas. Kinda not surprised," Aina noted. What the beauty influencer means is that Calabasas is a city occupied by predominantly affluent white people. That's, unfortunately, a recipe for bougie racism. Pair that with the fact that black people get racially profiled in retail stores all the time, and yeah, it's not surprising to hear about a black woman being falsely accused of stealing — not even if she's a rich R&B music superstar. 

Rihanna even had her say on the racial-profiling situation at Sephora.

Rihanna may be busy with launching the Fenty luxury house and recording her ninth album, but she's always paying attention. Of course, the Bad Gal heard about SZA having her Fenty fun dampened by the Sephora employee. She sent SZA a gift card with a sweet note. "Go buy yo Fenty Beauty in peace sis! One Love, Rihanna," the note read. 

And the SHADE of it all?! The gift card is for the Fenty Beauty website and NOT Sephora. Bahahahahahahaha. We stan the petty queen that is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. So what Sephora carries Fenty Beauty? So. What. 

Aside from the SZA situation, Sephora has had other instances of racial profiling at different locations. 

"Extremely offended by [a] @Sephora worker when confronted about racial profiling. Her excuse was 'I'm from the hood,' " a woman wrote after her experience in the store. The Sephora employee (who probably doesn't work there anymore after the viral tweet) tried to confirm that she was profiling the shopper using the excuse that she's also from "the hood" as though that translates into not being a racist. 

It was an unfortunate incident. This video also made for the most terrible Sephora branding thanks to the woman wearing the signature employee uniform and the shopper holding her Sephora bag right in front of the camera. 

Then there was the 2014 lawsuit filed against Sephora.

In 2014, four women of Chinese descent filed a lawsuit against Sephora for racial profiling on its website, according to Fashionista

"Four women of Chinese descent have filed a class action suit against the beauty retailer and LVMH, its parent company, for discriminating against minority customers — in this case, deactivating and blocking accounts of shoppers 'of perceived Chinese/Asian descent based on the ill-founded and discriminatory belief that all Chinese/Asian customers abuse discount sales to engage in bulk purchase for resale,' " Fashionista reported.


Shoppers are relieved that Sephora is finally taking inclusion more seriously. They're sharing their uncomfortable experiences with shopping in the store directly with the retailer on Twitter.

"I'm glad they want to talk inclusion to staff. Last year, Altamonte Fl Sephora had security come and stand and talk while I shopped," the woman shared on Twitter. "Then they followed me through the mall. And a truck watched me while I waited on Uber. I took pics. I'm a nurse. I got the cash."

That is straight-up disgusting.

One mother also shared her daughter's experience at Sephora.

"@Sephora, the location in So Charleston, WV will need more than two hours for the inclusion training. I told my daughter a year ago to never go back because of how she was treated," the mother tweeted. 

"Hi there, We’re sorry to hear about your store experience and appreciate you bringing it to our attention," Sephora wrote back to the mom. "We strive to provide our clients with a welcoming environment and take pride in our client service. We will forward your feedback to our Retail Division for improvements."

Let's hope Sephora's inclusion workshops will be genuine, thorough, and actually spark change, because way too many people, from the famous to the regular-degular, have similar stories. Enough is enough.