I live in the sticks. The nearest Sephora is an hour away, so when an Ulta opened nearby recently, I thought I'd give it a try. I've been in the store three times now and they'd need to improve a number of things before I'd go back.
Pros: good selection of drugstore makeup lines, some premium lines. Good selection of haircare products. Good sales.
Cons: regular prices very high. Testers missing, often out of stock on products. SAs hopeless. I suppose you shouldn't even call them SAs since I've never seen them actually help customers - overheard one today tell a customer who asked what shade of eyeshadow would look best on her, "it's all personal choice - whatever you think looks best." Honestly, the cashier at my local Walgreens would do better than that.
I would guess the company is trying to cut costs by not hiring enough SAs and not training the ones they have. Until that changes, it looks like I'll continue schlepping to Sephora.
I am neither in love nor hate with Ulta. I do like having so many beauty products in one place, and not just high-end ones. However, I agree with other posters that the stores often seem to be out of product. To me, Ulta is best if you need to restock a bunch of beauty products at one time and you can just go in there and get them all quickly without running through a whole Target (every Target near me has horribly stocked beauty sections that are always half empty), having some independent beauty-supply owner give you the hawk-eye the whole time like you're a shoplifter, or driving 30 minutes to Sephora (which are few & far between in my area) and dealing with mall parking.
Ulta is not touchy-feely, but that's fine with me since I don't like people talking to me when I shop. I have never had a problem with the discount coupons because I use them to stock up on drugstore-type products, not to buy expensive stuff.
In short, I'm glad they exist as one more option for getting product.
Going into Ulta is hit or miss. I typically don't need a whole lot of assistance while there, but one time I had good luck asking "what should I use to fix this?", where the other time I asked for a big palette of as many different eyeshadow as possible. The sales clerk sighed loudly, and without a word took off across the store and then stood waiting for me to catch up with her before she said "we have these two." She never went over into the makeup department to show me other palette sets they did have in brands like Urban Decay, which I knew about already, but might have been worth mentioning in an attempt to sell me something. Once I went in and bought some lip liner, false eyelashes, and some of the Urban Decay liquid liner, had a nice chat with the cashier about the eyeliner she was wearing and she told me what she used and how she did it, but then realized once I got home that someone had already opened the packaging for the liquid liner and smeared eyeliner all over the bottle. I took it back and she fixed it right away (after saying "eww!), but I was bothered that I had to make an extra trip, and now I check things much more carefully when I buy.
Once I bought a couple of the NYX Round Lipsticks, and the NYX section was a total disaster, half of the slots were empty, a lot had either been unwrapped or played with and a lot of things were in the incorrect location. They only had 4 or 5 different lip colors, even though there were maybe 12 different slots, and they were all mixed together, not even sorted properly. There were a lot of spots where there were it looked like price tag stickers ripped off. When the girl rang up my lipstick, they rang up at $3.99 each, instead of the marked $1.99, and I asked about it. She seemed like she was new, and asked another girl to help her, who didn't look up from her magazine to say "some colors are more than others." I said that it seemed like they were all marked $1.99, and she went "oh yeah?" and stomped back to the NYX stuff and said "yeah, there are like seven different prices that are marked CLEARLY right here just for those lipsticks, but I'll give them to you at the price you think they are." Now, I don't have a problem paying the REAL price for things, so she either should have charged me $3.99 if that was the real price and say "whoops, these are labelled wrong" or admit that they rang them up wrong. I have the feeling she just didn't want to admit they had made a mistake. I won't be buying any NYX products from them anymore, because it's such a mess to sort through and since they clearly haven't restocked it in a while, there's nothing else for me to buy from that particular store location.
I like being able to look at what I'm buying before I buy it, maybe test out colors or compare to other products before I purchase, and I do like not having to wait for what I ordered to show up or having to pay shipping, so I'll probably continue to stop by Ulta if I'm in the market to browse, but only because I don't have many other options.
Yesterday 1/4/2010 has to have been the WORST day of my life. I was accused of stealing.. Let me start by saying I have never stole any thing or been accused until last night. I was at work & went on my brake & wants some coffee so I headed off to starbucks, on my was I stopped at Ulta (they are a cosmetics, makeup, fragrance company) Well I was looking at the new fragrance they have because I work in a perfume store & donít always have what people want. I like to tell people where they can find what they are looking for (I always send people there way) after looking at & smelling some perfumes I left got my coffee then went back to work. 20min later someone from Ulta with the cops come in to where I work & accused me of stilling in front of my boss!!! They girl told the cop she did not see me take anything & they were not missing anything but till she felt the need to come to where I work & accuse me of stilling with a copÖ I even gave the cop my CLEAR purses & jacket I was wearing so he could look at them. I have nothing to hide!
As I read the reviews, I'm glad to see that I wasn't the only one who had similar thoughts about Ulta. I was just in a different city for a business trip this past weekend and was excited to see an Ulta not far from my hotel. This was my very first (and quite possibly last) Ulta experience. My hometown just has a MAC counter and a Sephora store, along with the other typical dept. store counters. I went in hoping for a great experience and thought it was going to be like Sephora...WRONG! First of all, the SA's weren't very friendly or attractive, and the chick at the Benefit counter came up to me, and snidely said, "I also wax eyebrows, too" and then kinda looked me up and down, judging my eyebrows (which I'm trying to grow in- which is none of her d#mn business) and everything else. I managed to spend about $35 on products in there, but won't return to one again. I love Sephora so much better. Long live Sephora!
I live in Virginia and sometimes shop at the Fair Oaks Ulta. So so sad. The SA's don't know anything about any products or what the store carried. The line has always been slow... and you have to wait around for the SA to show up and check you out. The point systems is kinda silly. The only reason that I go there is for the L'oreal Profession shampoo's that they have. None of the salons in my area contain the specific shampoo and conditioner that I want. So... thats the only reason I go. I don't expect the women to talk to me.. and I once overheard a SA telling a young customer that sleeping in your mascara is actually good for you eyelashes....... wtf.
Point is, I don't go there unless I need my shampoo. And thats it.
I HATED MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS STORE!!!! Even though I read the reviews about Ulta from MUA, I still wanted to go to the new store near my town. Well, needless to say it was a bad experience. The good thing was they were having this great Buy 1 Get 1 Free sale on the NYX pencils, trios, singles, L'Oreal HIP, etc. So, I decided to buy a few items. Upon leaving the store I noticed my total seemed a tad higher than I expected so, I checked the receipt. The SA charged me an extra $8.63 b/c she did not give me my trio for free. So, I proceeded to go back to the store and inform her of her mistake. I assumed this would be a simple problem to correct. However, this was not the case. She proceeded to LIE to me and say that the sale was only for certain colors...even though this was not specified and the sign said clearly 'all shades'. However, I was like whatever "I'll just change colors." Then, she get annoyed and starts exhaling her breath and said "She'll have to go check again." So, mind you I was left waiting forever. She comes back and LIES again and says the sale didn't include the trios. She has the manager on duty with her at this time. And I proceed to then say, "Well, why does the display in the center of the store say NYX trios and pencils B1G1 Free???" At this point they both get an annoyed expression on their face and she proceeds to throw the trios at me, swipe my card excessively hard, and refund my $8.63. And then I get "Sorry, it didn't ring up."---very dry and unapologetic.
Besides this incident the experience was not as enjoyable because me and my sister were stalked throughout the store. "May I help you?" Another "May I help you?" Even though we are clearly stuffing our Ulta bags with our purchases. Then, as we go to the other side of the store the same chick comes back and says "May I help you?...Still". I'm thinking "What?????". But, through it all I held my cool and was like "No, thank you."
What's so ironic to me is that they will hound/badger you when you don't need their help then, as soon as you need it they are either nowhere to be found or clueless.
This was definitely my last Ulta experience and I will continue to go to the Mac counters, drugstores, and online.
i love the store! Ihave always hated the snobby feeling you get when you go into Sephora so I was so happy to have an Ulta to shop at instead. The employees have always been pleasant, not overbearing; However not incredibly helpful. How could you not like a store that carries every beauty product you could possibly want!
Today, after my last ever trip to Ulta, I filled out their online survey where I said I would not recommend their store to anyone, so the purpose of this review is to fulfill that promise. I recommend you don't go to Ulta. I don't have anything new to say about Ulta, I suppose. They do have a wide selection of products, but I don't quite understand why everything is so overpriced. Unless I need something obscure, I generally won't go there, as I can find the same products at other stores for less money. My biggest gripe with this store has to do with customer service. It's ranged from average to the worst customer service I've ever had. I've sometimes felt hurt and offended by the responses from employees in this store if I ask for products that they don't know about (which apparently means they're awful products) or for whatever reason don't approve of. I don't even want to go into specifics because it's just too annoying to think about.
I hate Ulta because of their SAs. The store concept is great. High End and Drug Store/Low End cosmetics and beauty products together. It's like my mu stash. They have good sales and their store brand is decent.
But it takes a lot to get me to go there. I'll make the trip to 3 stores & 6 counters because it's honestly less hassle.
I've gone to every Ulta in an hours drive (which is 14). At every single one, the SAs were rude. They act like it's a favor to you that they work there.
I've talked to store managers, district managers, regional managers & customer service reps. Every single one was rude.
They are very much a "Buyer Beware" store.