Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

“Sephora believes in championing all beauty, living with courage, and standing fearlessly together to celebrate our differences. 

“We will never stop building a community where diversity is expected, self-expression is honored, all are welcomed, and you are included.” -Sephora Manifesto

During this year’s Essence Fest, I was treated to a special experience: a makeover at the Sephora Beauty Fun House. I was very excited – to me, makeup isn’t about hiding flaws but about highlighting my personality. Sephora supports me in that through their values, and it’s one of the reasons that I love shopping there.

One of the first things that I noticed when I walked into the event was the large mural set up in the middle of the store.

Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

“Show Us How You Define Beauty Through Color. Help Us Complete Our Mural.”

I was really pleased with the diversity shown on the wall. For some, defining beauty through color meant bright makeup and bold choices. For others, it meant being unapologetically proud of the skin they were born with. One square featured a Pride rainbow. Everyone found a place and could find themselves represented. If they didn’t – they were encouraged to add themselves.

Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley
Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley
Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

After walking around a bit, it was time for my makeover. The makeup artists at Sephora are always top-notch but for this event, they had brought in the best Sephora artists from across the country. The woman working with me was very complimentary despite my awkwardness, and I found myself having fun as she helped me with a look for the next day’s more formal events. She had a way of talking about my facial features that made me feel proud of them rather than critical – something that I appreciated greatly. She explained which colors, techniques, and brushes she was using and why turning my makeover into a fun learning experience.

There wasn’t any point in the day that I felt pressured to buy anything. The whole event felt rather like a gathering of friends; everyone was simply there to have a good time, to talk and learn and teach in an open, welcoming atmosphere.

That, really, is the heart of Sephora. Accepting of everyone, welcoming each person who walks through the door. And most importantly, celebrating the unique beauty that every individual brings in with them.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News,, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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