The only reason anyone should go to Ulta is because of their coupons. I think that's the only reason they stay in business because otherwise they sell the drugstore makeup for 1 to sometimes 4 dollars higher I've noticed and the girls that work there are like the girls who work at the MAC counters and stores. Who is hiring these snobs?! Not to mention, I hate buying makeup from these people when they look terrible, fried hair and caked on makeup faces. Every time I've gone into Ulta I've been glared at, and it's not just paranoia because it only happens there and at MAC.
I really dislike Ulta, which is unfortunate because they carry both prestige makeup as well as drugstore brands. They have good sales, but horrible customer service. I've had run into big issues with them (including extremely rude SAs that were loudly calling other customers horrible names) and when I emailed corporate, I got no response. It's really too bad, because I have one down the street from my house and would have love nothing better than to shop there, but my experience with them is far from ideal.
Ulta is just "meh" for me. Any products sold at Ulta I can get at either Sephora, CVS or from offline. The customer service is poor and they are a little snooty (with no reason to be, it's basically a drugstore/salon, seriously). Sometimes they have good sales but, Ulta is barely on my radar. I live about 3 miles from a Sephora and less than 1 mile from a CVS so you already know which ones I'd have to pick if I need some beauty items. Plus they are super nice at my local Sephora.
Wow I didn't know there was so much hate for Ulta!
I haven't had any bad experiences with the customer service. Sometimes they're not so cheery, but that's like any other store. As far as the makeup selection, I like that they have a combination of high end and drug store products so I can compare and decide what I want. They carry NYX (but very limited choices, not sure if NYX or Ulta is to blame). I've noticed in the past month or so that the supplies have been depleted, but I noticed the same for Walgreens and CVS so it could be the brands themselves and not the store.
As far as testers go, ya, they don't have them, but again, it's probably the brand and not the store. Have you ever seen a Revlon or L'oreal tester ANYWHERE? And have you NOT seen testers for UD or Cargo?
The only beef I have is the hair salon. It's overpriced. Highlights and and a trim should not cost $150.
As far as the return policy, I've never had a problem with it. I return what I want when I want used or unused. Once I lost the receipt and one of the ladies that worked there told me I can call corporate and have them Email the receipt to the store so I can return my stuff and I did.
Overall, my Ulta experiences have been great. Oh, and AWESOME sales!
There are no Ultas very close to my house, but there are 3 within about 30-40 minutes of where I live. Every time I have been in the area of one and stopped by, I've been consistently disappointed. Not only does their rewards program suck, which wouldn't bother me if it was a great store otherwise, but no matter which of the three I visit, they always seem to be out of anything that catches my eye. Also, a lot of their testers seem to be missing or broken. I wouldn't complain so much about this if I hadn't experienced this lovely bit of customer service after I needed to return a foundation that was the wrong color and ended up breaking me out: Me: Hi, I need to return this foundation. It's the wrong color and it ended up breaking me out. Salesperson: You know, we have testers for a reason. Me: Yes, but the tester for this particular shade of foundation was missing, so I guessed based on the two colors on either side of it, plus it broke me out. Her: Sigh. I need the receipt, plus your driver's license, and you need to fill out your name, address, phone number, etc etc in this book. You are also only allowed 3 returns per year, and yes WE DO TRACK THEM, so be sure you want something before you buy it next time. Me: ........
I filled out the information and got my money back, but I don't appreciate being treated like a criminal for trying an item and not liking it/it being the wrong shade/it breaking me out, especially when I have the receipt! That was my first and last purchase at an Ulta, and though I do occasionaly pop in to browse if I'm near one, but that experience has made me wary of ever buying anything there again, not to mention they're always out of everything anyway. I have a Sephora 5 minutes away from my house and will continue to shop there instead, since they appreciate my business and I don't have to make a special trip anyway.
I'll never forget the most horrible haircut I ever got - at an Ulta "salon" (ha!). I had made an appointment well in advance, showed up on time, and had to wait in a chair for 45 minutes. Then the stylist basically ripped through my hair in less than 5 minutes, pulling the whole time, and didn't even have time to blow dry my hair! Told me I couldn't request that!!!!! (Basically, an $8 Supercuts haircut, with extra rudeness, for $50!!) Then when I went out to pay at the counter, the saleswoman asked really loudly if I wanted to leave a tip, and the stylist just happened to be walking past at that moment. What a ripoff - I paid well over $50 for worse service than a Supercuts. SKIP the Salon - I was appalled! I haven't been back in an Ulta since.
I love this store!! One-stop shopping for higher end products and also drugstore products. Everytime I am there, they have sales on the drugstore items. Usually, cheaper than CVS, Target, or Walgreens. Will continue to go here.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ulta! I live about 10-15 minutes from one and I go there as often as possible. IMO they have everything you could ever want like hair tools, accesories, and products, makeup, fragrance, mens products, accesories, nail stuff. I really like that they have "drug store" makeup and high end makeup all in one store. They ALWAYS have sales on their drugstore things so you dont even have to buy from cvs, target etc. There are just so many options when shopping at ulta, i love it and will continue to go there.
I dunno why everyone has had such huge problems with Ulta. Ulta is my favorite store to buy beauty needs! I like that they don't clean out your wallet like Sephora does. Everyone else must have terrible SA's and luck because the Ultas I've been to have been wonderful and it is my absolute favorite place to go to shop for makeup and beauty supplies. I like that they carry lower end and higher end products so you can pick up a lot of your staples in one place. And the coupons are great. And the sales are amazing. So... there you have it. My thoughts on Ulta.
I was so excited that a new Ulta was opening 5 minutes from my apartment. Even went with hubby for my birthday. The store is such a let down.
I rarely find good sales (buy two get two free?!?!? I don't have room in the apartment for two of the same thing, let alone four!), and if I do they are always out of the item I want! Their sales people are lousy, and I'm sick of the whole 'S card' thing. Ulta and Sephora are as comparable as a drugstore and Macy's. Ulta does sell some expensive lines, but the selection and expertise pales in comparison to Sephora. I go to Ulta for drugstore type cosmetics only, especially when it comes to their draconian return policy- Sephora I can buy on a whim, Ulta no.
If you are forced to shop there be sure to hand over your Sephora card and let the drama ensue...
Overall, ok for staples if you catch a good sale, but not worth the trip if you are from out of town. When venturing in always be sure to bring a fully charged iPod and headphones.