Ulta Ulta- whole store

3.1

200 reviews

71% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.3

Price: $$$

INGREDIENTS



Age: 30-35

Skin: Normal, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Sigh... where to even start with Ulta. I have such a love/hate relationship with this store. On one hand, they carry a lot of stuff I love and sometimes the points do add up and you can get some really good deals. But on the other hand... good luck actually finding anything to buy because everything is always out of stock! There's always a truck coming on thursday, but I have seen some brands be out of stock for 3 months on end. They claim its the ordering system's fault, that it's automated and doesn't always order enough product. Okay... fair enough... but to that I say- FIX THE ORDERING SYSTEM! Just from these reviews there are clearly lots of customers who are driven to buy elsewhere by the consistently bare shelves, and a smart business would at least try to fix that. And can I please crucify whoever made the brilliant decision to only order maybe 3 of each color for high-demand collections like NYX Wicked Lippies and Macarons?! Yes, I DO love missing out on these just because some higher-up doesn't think more than 3 people per town want teal lipstick. (Hint: WE ALL WANT TEAL LIPSTICK)

8 out of 10 times I leave empty-handed and angry because everything I came in too buy was either sold out or else the one item left in the color I want has been opened(and btw if you do this, please go die in a dumpster fire). I know the employees can't be everywhere at once, but for how much they stalk you all over the store waiting for you to steal something you'd think they could do just a *wee* better job making sure people don't rip open sealed products.

This isn't just my local store either, this is every store I've been to from TX to OK to WI. The ones in WI were better, the one near my house in TX is tolerable(though often chronically out of stock too), but the one in central OK where I used to live is a nightmare. The shelves look like a pipe bomb just went off, most items are opened, and the employees don't even TRY to disguise the fact that they're watching your hands the whole time. One time the manager followed me all over the store and then said to the cashier- as I was standing RIGHT there getting ready to pay- that she didn't see me take anything but she's going to check the cameras later anyway. Just... seriously?

They mark up the drugstore items too- Maybelline lipstick is $6 at Walmart and almost $8 here- and they seem to make up the rules for the sales as they go along. There have been lots of times when I try to buy prestige polish on one of their BOGO sales but when I get to the register, mysteriously none of the brands I want are included in the sale even though they're literally listed right there on the sign. "Oh, uh- you can't mix brands" Sigh... okay, whatever.

Its a rare occasion when they don't put up a fight over items that ring up wrong either. Display tag says $4.99, it rings up $6.99, and they will stand there and argue with me until I drag them over to the display and show them the price. Then it's always "Oh, okay". No apology, just a begrudging price correction and an "omg, go away" attitude.

Don't even get me started on the salon either. I've gotten 2 haircuts there by 2 different stylists, and both times my hair came out uneven, too short, and completely different than what I asked for. I don't cut my hair very often and I don't usually have lot of money to spend when I do, so a $45 salon haircut is a major splurge. I should NOT have to go home and fix it myself >:[

Sigh... I dunno. I keep going there mainly for NYX, but this store just frustrates me to no end.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.



on 7/16/2015 12:06:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Love my local store but have gotten to where I hate shopping them on-line. Every time I order on-line I receive damaged product, all due to their poor shipping preparations. Seriously, how can someone pack delicate eyeshadows, blushes and powders in a box without wrapping in protective bubble wrap, adding packing peanuts or some other type of packing material to keep my anticipated purchases safe in shipping. Four orders in a row I have received damaged products and quite frankly am tired of dealing with the poorly trained customer service personnel and having to explain and justify my return and request a replacement.

I will say that Sephora.com has them beat hands down. I get my purchases in 2-3 days, items are carefully packed and in the event that something is damaged I get a replacement shipped overnight. Nothing is more irritating than waiting 2 weeks to get our purchases from Ulta, receiving damaged items, dealing with getting a replacement (which these orders have to go through an approval process that takes a week) and then waiting another 2 weeks while they ship via snail mail. It is extremely irritating when your replacement item arrives in a thin bulk envelope and it too is damaged.

Yes my preference is to shop my local store, where I am treated like a rock star due to my purchase habits and makeup, skincare and hair care addiction. But there are brands that are only available on-line so I have no choice but to roll the dice, order on-line and keep my fingers crossed that the person prepping my order for shipment actually has some pride in their job and wants to perform it properly. Nine times out of ten I am left disappointed and have to deal with returns.


Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I LOVE Ulta! The stores I have been to are: the Green Valley location in Las Vegas, Nevada on Stephanie Street; the Silverado Ranch location on Eastern Blvd in Las Vegas, Nevada; the location in Waldorf in Maryland; and the location in White Marsh in Maryland. All of these locations have been clean and the employees, for the most part, helpful. There have been a couple employees in the Las Vegas locations that were snobby, unhelpful, and even ignored me. It was in the Stephanie location where a man passed by me and asked, "Do you need help with anything?" while walking past me. He didn't even LOOK at me or pause, he just continued walking. I said, "Yes, please. I have a question..." and he continued walking past me. I walked in his direction and said, "Excuse me?..." and he turned around, looked at me with a confused expression, and then continued walking away and went in the back of the store. That was incredibly rude. It literally seemed like he was just asking to ask because that's what employees are expected to do and was disturbed that I had the gall to actually request his presence.

It seems that different locations carry different products. If you're looking for something in particular, I suggest calling the store you're going to before you go in to ask if they have that specific product in the specific shade you need available. I have done this and most employees are kind enough to get the product and hold it up front for me so I can come in later that day to pick it up. I have gone to Ulta countless times to get something in particular and found they don't have it all or don't have it in stock. It just is what it is. Perhaps you can call and ask the location nearest to you to order something if they don't have it. I don't recall doing this yet, so I don't know how that will work out.

The main reasons I love this store are because of the coupons. You can get a free membership card to use online and in store. With this card they usually send you a monthly or bi-weekly catalog with new products, on sale products, and a $3.50 off coupon for purchases over $10 before tax. Yes, it includes sale and clearance items! I don't think it applies for certain products though, so read the fine print. I've never purchased a product yet that it didn't apply to. However, I downloaded the app Shopular on my iphone which gives me coupons to the stores I walk into. I can use the same $3.50 off coupon inside the app with the barcode I receive as many times as I want instead of using one coupon every catalog I receive. This is much more efficient. For example, over the weekend I went in and purchased a self-tanner that was $13. I got it for $9.50. Later on I went back in and bought quite a few clearance and on sale items that were originally $10.50 altogether and only paid $7. I am planning on going back this week to purchase a foundation that is $12 and I'll only pay $8.50. So you can see how having a free membership and using the coupons can really be economical.

Plus, at the end of the year in December, depending on how many products you purchased during the calendar year and how much money you spent, they send you free things and take additional money off of purchases. Great when buying Christmas gifts from there.

Lastly, the reason I love Ulta is because they finally have started carrying my favorite self-tanner, St. Moriz (the St. Tropez knock off). Formerly this product was only available in Europe because it is manufactured in England. The only way to get it was by buying it online through places like Amazon, which could lead you to end up with tampered, false, or watered down products. Now that Ulta has it I can purchase it from an American retailer any time I need to and I know it's authentic and safe.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.


on 7/12/2015 12:36:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Cool

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

The good:
-carries drugstore products (plus NYX, which can be hard to find)
-provides far more coupons and discount opportunities than Sephora does
-more down-to-earth staff compared to Sephora

The bad:
-never seems to be well-stocked
-SA's not particularly knowledgeable
-drugstore products more expensive at Ulta for some reason
-testers are always disgusting or broken
-online orders take an eternity to arrive

My most consistent problem with Ulta stores is lack of stock. I rarely have this problem with Sephora. However, Sephora stores always seem to be loud and cramped, and while their staff are more knowledgeable, I can be pestered by 3 or 4 different SA's in a single visit to Sephora whereas I find Ulta SA's will usually give me some space until I ask for help. Ulta also has a better rewards system and more opportunities for discounts. Truthfully, though, if it weren't for Ulta's more comfortable atmosphere, their sales/rewards, and the NYX products, I would probably never go.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.


on 4/30/2015 5:14:00 PM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

The Ulta closest to me is well stocked and clean. The problem is the company policies overall. I LOVE the return policy but some of the prices for drugstore makeup is SO much more expensive than other places. Like the Revlon just bitten lip crayon in $6.75 at Walmart but its 9.99 at ulta. What?? The only reason I go is because its a dedicated makeup store and i really only shop drugstore, occasionally mac, because thats what I can afford. If i buy a lot at once, it would be $90 at ulta and like $80 at walmart.


on 3/3/2015 6:54:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Blue

After reading some of these reviews, I have to voice my opinion about Ulta's return policy. Nowadays, people in the United States expect to be able to return items for any reason whatsoever, and stores make it easy. Some don't even require a receipt any more (Kohls, and Ulta if the item was purchased in store and you are a member of their rewards program).

I admit that I also return a lot of products; I hate spending hard-earned money on cosmetics (or anything) and then not having them work out...because the color doesn't flatter me, or because I develop a reaction (I have sensitive eyes). I buy a lot of nail polish and fairly often the color looks totally different on than what it looks like in the bottle.

That being said, each store has its own return policy, and if you expect to return an item, learn what the policy is! I do agree that it's a bit annoying to print out the email confirmation if you buy an item online......but if that's what you have to do, then do it. At least you can still return the item to the store instead of having to ship it back. Following the policy, I have never had any problems with returns and the SAs have always been wonderful about it.

Ulta has a lot of great products at great prices with coupons going all the time. I love the combination of ds and he items available, and the store is always clean and pleasant. It's a fun place to browse.....and spend my money.

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.


on 2/18/2015 5:39:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Olive, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

I see a lot of reviews mentioning problems trying to return items to the store that were bought online, so I'll start with that. I'm not a big returner but the one time I went to my local Ulta with a return, the SA pretty much fell all over herself trying to help me. No problems whatsoever. I'm guessing that everyone's experience is going to vary from store to store. Which isn't fair, but I'm glad to say my experience was a positive one.
Overall, I have to say that I LOVE ULTA! I go in there about once a month and it's always a treat for me. The only other store that I can compare it to is Sephora, and I definitely prefer Ulta over them. Ulta's rewards program is the bomb (you earn points for every dollar spent and the points equal $ off purchases) and they are extremely generous with their multi-point events and coupons. Every time I go in there I have some type of Ulta coupon with me, be it $3.50 off or $5.00 off or 20% off. More often than not though the coupons exclude the high-end brands, which can be annoying. But here's where Ulta has got Sephora beat in my opinion- they carry the best mix of high and low all under one roof. Drugstore and department store brands together. What I love about them is that they sell so many things that I actually NEED along with the "splurge" type items as well.
As far as the knowledgeability of the staff, I can't really speak to that because I've never felt the need to ask them anything about anything. Everything in the store is really easy to find. And I do all of my product research online (mostly on MUA) so I pretty much have my mind made up before I buy anything. It honestly wouldn't occur to me to ask a SA what their opinion is of this product or that product. But that's just my shopping style. They're always really nice there though.
If you are a nail polish lover (which I am) they carry OPI, Essie, China Glaze, and Zoya. Sephora doesn't. And if you're a hair product junkie (which I also am) they carry all the salon brands like Redken and Joico too. And twice a year, they have a fantastic sale on their liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, 50% off. I save so much money shopping there! The points system alone makes it worth it for me to buy all my miscellaneous items from them when I can.
Love it!

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.


on 2/6/2015 9:30:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Had the exact same experience as reviewer swimblock. Tried to return an online purchase with the packing slip, was told I needed the original shipping confirmation email. I didn't even have the email anymore. It was a while later until I got back there, by this time it was over 60 days and I could only get store credit. Before I went back, I read the instructions on website for returning online purchases to store. It does say the packing slip can't be used, that you need the email, and it tells you how to bring it up through your Ulta account. So, I give them half a pass. On one hand, it was my error for not reading the return policy beforehand. On the other hand, they should make returns easy like other stores and not make us jump through hoops. Why not print the pricing information on the packing slip? I usually have to ask for my free gift with purchase if there is one, and I'm usually not informed if I have points reward dollars available and asked if I would like to use them toward purchase. The Ulta's near me are all clean and well organized. For the most part, the staff is pleasant and moderately helpful, though not very knowledgeable overall.


on 2/6/2015 7:44:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Combination, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

I disagree with CordulaM (who is an SA at Ulta and as of now it looks like her review has been deleted) and agree with Shannon804. I recently returned an item I bought online and received such a hassle from the SA and had the same experience as Shannon. I took what I thought was the sales receipt which was in the box when it was delivered and the SA said, it was the packing slip, not the receipt and that I had to find the email, print it out and bring it in. I hit the roof! What I thought was the receipt had the UPC label printed on it so I thought it contained all the sales info. I told the SA that Ulta needed to take it one step further, to include the receipt on the packing slip and that it was really stupid to expect a customer to wade back through their emails to find the original confirmation email, print it out and bring it in. I am an accountant and IMHO, ULTA is doing this to discourage returns. Plus I don't like the fact that ULTA does not give out samples. I am tired of buying products that do not perform like they claim they do and then I have to return them. So I've adopted a policy that I want to sample any new product before I buy it. Nordies and Sephora are both great at giving samples so perhaps Ulta will loose my business to them if they do not make improvements to the store's policies and procedures. As it is now, I am only shopping at Ulta if it is a product that I normally use and/or I can use a coupon. I also agree that the SA's at Ulta do not appear to be as knowledgeable about products as the SA's at Sephora.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.


on 2/6/2015 7:28:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Wow, Critical!!

I work at a high-grossing Ulta and I have to say my experience is very different. (AND I only work there because I LOVED SHOPPING at the store!! Duh. And my reviews not deleted, but I think I make good points so hear me out.)

It's not perfect, we could each do with thousands more hours to make the store better, but it doesn't exist in the budget. Everyone who works in my store is so nice and friendly and educated. We do know a lot about products but some requests are ridiculous. 'No, I haven't tried every single type of hair gel for YOUR hair type, I don't even use gel.' It's frustrating when you try to learn about as many products as possible but the customers want a million details that you can't offer. And new products come out constantly.

And we do gladly accept returns, no problems. I'm never nasty about that, if SA are then that's wrong. As far as internet returns, the slip that comes in the box does not say the price paid for the items, that's why we need the email confirmation to show the price paid, or people return for more than they paid. We just need confirmation of purchase, so we know it was purchased from an Ulta. People come all the time without a receipt. As long as it's on their account, we can look it up. But we need some sort of proof of purchase and the price paid. I know it's frustrating. They should update so that the bar code could be scanned and pull up the price paid, but the thing is, please understand that the bar code price is NOT always what you pay, since there are coupons and sales all the time. It wouldn't be fair to return an item at full price if full price wasn't what was paid. It's not about disagreeing, it's just how it works. YES I agree it could be better, and they should show the price paid on the packing slip, but until then, it's only fair to show and receive the same amount of money back.

Also, the customers are pretty bad at times. We try to never assume people are stealing unless it's seen, but we find so many empty boxes and used products - it upsets us too. Nyx started having testers and started shrink wrapping lipsticks, so less people use them. I think that's great. As a customer, I also hate it when people open all the products!!! Remember, I shop here too!!

As far as "find in store", I agree. You can actually search some prestige items to see if your local store has it. If it's not an option online, call and ask. If we don't get back to your right away, it's because the calls go up to the register and as you know, the cashiers are usually extremely busy with a line, but they do get someone to look for the product for you. I've had people complain that I can't find a simple product on BLACK FRIDAY on the phone, even though I left to check a few times and it was busy as hell. Give a little credit to the other side, people aren't lazy, they're probably just very busy, or new.

As far as truck, we have NO control over what comes, it's from the warehouse, we just put it out and hope the right products come. And it's a lot. Often we do get most things in they just sell fast or the company doesn't want to release lot (like the Wicked or Macarron, those were limited edition). We come in at 5am to unload truck and 6am the days we don't get truck to finish putting it out. Because guess what? If we do it when the store is open, we don't get far because people always ask us for help, which is understandable, but this is why we have to get most of it done during off-hours. Personally, I love it. I love making the store nice and neat. Stocking doesn't make me feel low class, I take pride in it.

If you learn what the coupons are eligible for, it's really easy. (Hint: It's only drugstore brands, the large post card coupons that come out a few times a year are for (most) Prestige brands, but the flyer ones never are.) Plus there is a point system for any product which is more than fair. The gifts with purchase change so often, you sometimes have to remind the staff. Sometimes we forget or run out. It happens.

I liked shopping here before I worked at one of the stores. The sales and coupons are awesome. I always get such great deals. It doesn't pay a lot as a job, the hours aren't enough and we could always use more help to get the store clean and organized, but it's one of my favorite stores, and I think over all it's a place I would continue to shop at, working there or not.

UPDATE: We since had gotten new management at my store and it improved SO MUCH. We had more hours for truck and stocking and organizing and they were much better with customer service. I then moved and after a few months decided to work at the one in my new location. I liked the job and knew what I was doing and wanted the discount back lol. This one is super clean and neat, the staff is amazing. They were even more intensive in training and guidelines which I found helpful. I've been to so many Ulta's from even before working for them (from NY to CA!) and the biggest complaint I had as a customer was some were messy, had long lines and were understaffed. Sometimes products I wanted were out, but would come back in on Fridays. But stores some are pristine, the staff is warm and welcoming and I love the selection overall. As an employee, I actually don't hate going to work, at all. So still a big fan. :)

7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.




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