I Went To Ulta For The First Time And Now I’m Obsessed

Ulta: better than drugstores, better than Sephora, possibly even better than heaven.
Publish date:
November 15, 2014
Urban Decay, ulta, drugstore beauty, hair tools, beauty shopping, salon services

A couple weeks ago, my small town finally got an Ulta. A mecca of low- and high-end beauty supplies and salon services, I walked around the store, open-mouthed, in a state of bliss. I had a feeling that Ulta was going to be awesome, but I didn’t know just how awesome until I got there. Looks-wise, it's not quite Sephora, but it's a vast improvement over the dingy brown carpeting of CVS.

What I Found

On one side of the store, there were drugstore brands such as Revlon, NYX, Eco Tools, Boots No7, Maybelline, Physician’s Formula, and the budget-friendly Ulta brand.

On the other side, there were more upscale makeup and skin care brands, such as Ahava, Too Faced, Benefit, Perricone MD, Urban Decay, Philosophy, Mario Badescu, Japonesque, and Stila. You can sample the higher-end products and some of the more budget-friendly options with testers.

Help or makeovers come from the trained and friendly salespeople scattered through the store. I had a great conversation with one salesperson about Lipstick Queen’s Hey Sailor. We both agreed it would be better if it actually was royal blue because crazy makeup is fun.

There was also a large selection of both designer and what they called “fashion” perfume (here Prada rubs elbows with Beiber), small travel-size and gift-set goodies by the checkout area (similar to those at Sephora, except these are actually cheap!), and hair supplies and other beauty tools such as mirrors in the back by the salon area.

Shop And Get Your Hair Cut? Yes, Please!

The store also included a salon, offering cuts and other hair treatments, as well as manicures and facials. Some locations even offer lash extensions and waxing. My pixie needed a trim badly--my duckbutt was starting to turn into a mullet--but I’d been putting it off because it’s hard to find a good hair salon in my area. Ulta’s prices were only a little above Great Clips and I had a 20%-off coupon, so I gave it a shot and ended up with a really nice trim.

My Take-Aways

Feeling like a million bucks after my haircut, I found myself browsing the store's pricier offerings. Since it was opening day and everything was still untouched by other people’s germs, I tried out Urban Decay Naked 3 Palette.

I’m sorry to report that every shade was amazing and now I have to somehow justify spending $54 on eye shadow, which I usually never wear.

I also tried Too Faced's Lip Injection Extreme. After 30 seconds of what was admittedly extreme pain, I had the most ridiculously flushed, swollen lips of my life. I was sold.

On the way out, I noticed that NYX lip plumpers for $6. Next time, I’ll try those too, in the spirit of scientific comparison, of course.

So yes, I’ll definitely be going back way to Ulta, probably way more than I should. It offers the thrill of discovering new brands and products, with a wide range of price points that allow me to stick to my budget.

I should probably also mention that they have tons of coupons, sales, and rewards. As if I needed another reason to return.

  • Do you have an Ulta near you?
  • What do you buy there?
  • I’ll share what’s on my purchase list if you share yours. See you in the comments!