I love Ulta. The stores I go to are always clean and organized. I don't ask for help when I shop but whenever I check out the girls are always cheerful and friendly. It is true that the drugstore brands (Revlon, Loreal, ect) are waaaay overpriced, sometimes costing $2-$5 more than anywhere else. However, they also have brands that are a bit difficult to find (NYX, China Glaze) and often have buy one get one, or some other sales promotion going on. I have gotten some great deals here as a result of sales combined with a coupon. I can shop without getting hounded by employees and I've never had any trouble finding anything. One other downside is their coupons are a bit confusing, and sometimes exclude things you'd think would be included in the promotion.
There are two Ultas where I live; one gets a five-star and one gets ONE star. Guess which one is closest to my house? Yes, the one that is the most hideous. I go out of my way (and almost 20 miles) to go to the GOOD Ulta store. It's staffed by very young but very NICE gals who let me shop, don't ride my a$$, and are nothing but great every time I go in.
I have had an ongoing issue with the manager of the closer store. She is short, and has thin hair plastered to her skull in blonde, black, and pink tones. I only give this description in case she frequents the MUA boards and might perhaps recognize herself here. I can only pray.
Whenever I go into the "bad Ulta", this manager treats me like a shoplifter with a communicable disease. My first experience with her, I had to return an online order and she treated it as a return with no receipt and tried to force me to take store credit; um, no thanks. Open your eyes and read the papers in front of you! Halfway through our transaction she took a personal phone call and left another employee to 'finish it up'. That poor girl messed the entire transaction up and I had to wait for Hello Kitty Hair to drop her personal phone call. Several times I have been fruitlessly searching for something, and had to find someone to help---and there was HKH, putting on makeup directly from the high-end makeup testers! Dipping the brushes back into the testers, putting on her face, back in the testers: I was so grossed out. She did not even wash the brushes when she put them back on the end of the counter! She looked up to see me watching her and got a really snotty, snobby tone in her voice when she asked me if I was finding everything (as she kind of looked me up and down as she always does).
I once went in to see if I could find some curl styling cream, praying that she not be the one to accost---er, help--me. Sure enough she ignored me while I cruised the cheap side of the store (Cover Girl, Revlon) but as soon as I hit the Pureology section, she was on me like flies on poop. As she walked toward me hurriedly to ask me if I needed help (eyeing my hands and purse as she did so) I told her what I was searching for, knowing she would be clueless since her hair is so thin and straight. Mine is thick and curly and dry and looked a mess that day due to some crazy wind, I hoped that the state of it would show someone what I needed. Miss Kitty started leading me all over the hair care area, showing me stuff that would work on HER hair. I told her several times, I need some curly hair styling cream--she wasn't listening. So I found the Deva Curl area and she cooed, "Oh they have great shampoo!" But I'm looking for a styling cream. "Oh they have great hair gel!" But---I need a styling cream. As I found the bottle of cream MYSELF, she chirped, "Oh that's great styling cream!" YOU THINK??? Then---she said--"I have thick curly hair myself, that's great stuff!" I told her, I will get this and hope that it works. She said--brace yourself---"Well it can't look any worse!"
Really? I can see your SCALP, your hair is so thin and fine!! Maybe she is trying to 'relate' but I almost fell over when she said this to me. It took all I had not to react.
She also offered to carry the cream to the front for me--when has anyone at Ulta tried to 'babysit' what you picked up so that you don't shoplift it? This isn't the jewelry counter at Wal-mart! I'm probably old enough to be this twit's mother and she acts like I'm some kind of felon. (I have redeemed SEVERAL 1000 point rewards, obviously spending quite a bit of money in there)
Maybe all the times I've filled out surveys and specifically mentioned this woman's behavior, she's figured out that I tattle on her and she's annoyed? She never has a name badge on so I don't know what her name is, and I truly don't want to ask her because her entire demeanor is such that it seems like her lip is curling as she talks to me. I am not a confrontational person but I finally hit my saturation point with her and started talking to her like Mrs. Thurston Howell III when she approaches me. (Then I find someone else to help me if I need it) If she seems to be hovering while I browse, I no longer pay any attention to her. If she's watching me, she's not talking on the phone or putting on makeup from the testers and contaminating them.
This review is for the Ulta.com website. Truly one of the worst websites I've ever ordered from. Twice, they have screwed up my order and they were just languishing somewhere in Illinois. I talked to customer service several times and they assured me that I would receive them the next day. Well, I didn't so I filed a dispute with PayPal and I finally got my money back. I placed a couple more orders there and everything seemed ok. I placed an order on January 4th and have still not received it. I got the UPS tracking number and it said it would be here on Friday, January, 11th. Friday came and passed and nothing. I checked the UPS website again and it said that it had been transferred to my local post office for delivery. It is now Thursday, January 17th and nothing. Why the heck couldn't UPS just deliver it directly??? I checked the USPS tracking and it said it hasn't been updated since last Friday. So my package is lost somewhere in the Houston postal system. I really don't know why Ulta sets up their shipping this way. It is very very frustrating.
Love the stores, hate the website.
The Love for the Stores:
You can test out products before buying. The range is comparable to Sephora plus has drugstore brands which is a big plus. Rewards system is neat: I've redeemed enough to get three $100 shopping trips on their tab. They do offer frequent coupons, though be warned that many of the coupons will not work on the "prestige" brands, i.e., the really good stuff. At least Sephora offers specials on most of their products.
The best thing is the returns policy: they will accept opened cosmetics for refund/exchange, so I can shop without fear of being stuck with the wrong color/shade/product.
The Hate for the Website:
It takes FOREVER to get an order from the Ulta website delivered. I don't understand it: other online companies I've ordered from also use UPS for their standard shipping, and their deliveries get here fairly promptly. It's now going on almost two weeks, and I still don't see my order. It's as though Ulta sends stuff by the slowest possible shipping category.
I love ulta ! They have a wide variety of products and brands . My ulta has everything seperated into sections making it easy to find what your looking for. The SA are very nice and helpful! They ask if you need help but they also give you space. They always accept my coupons, answer any questions i have , and inform me of any deals. Ultas a great store. I guess it just depends on the people who work there that decide whether your trip will be a happy one .
ULTA is brand new in our city and the SAs are awful! I returned a product after 60 days and was purchasing new products and one SA said they cannot take it back after 60 days. I said I was applying it to newly purchased products and she said they could not do it. I returned to my car and read the back of the sales slip and it said after 60 days you could only get store credit, so I had to go back in and show the SA her own receipt so she could re-run my purchase to credit me with my return - she was not happy. Also, poor job on matching BE products to my skin. She looked at me and said "You're a medium" and that's the only color she applied all over my face. In the store it looked okay, but in the car I looked like a pumpkin! Every time I go in there with a coupon, they find a reason for me not to be able to use it on what I have in my shopping bag. And, they are ALL clueless about where to find certain products. Once they told me they were all out of something and I found it at the checkout counter on the travel size display! Another time I picked up Revlon lipstick - buy 2 get 1 free - and the SA argued with me at the register that it was buy 2 get one 50% off, until she ran it up and it said buy 2 get 1 free and she just blew it off saying "Oh I must be thinking of another brand." I'll take Sephora and BB&B any day!
I like Ulta...I do. And I still go there, and will continue to go there mainly because of the wide selection of brands they carry and their cheap Stila travel palettes with the adorable designs on them. They carry Esscence, whose lipglosses I'm obsessed with, and NYX, whose Soft Matte Lip Creams and other lip products I adore. They also have a wide range of other brands that I like all in one place, and their mix of drugstore and high end cosmetics make it easy to get everything I want in one place. Now, this is about where the good things end. Ulta is insanely expensive! I know it may not look like it, but they are. Compared to Target, their Revlon Super Lustorous lipsticks are two dollars more. That might not seem like a lot, but those lipsticks are some of my favorites. I have around five of them, so I'd be paying ten dollars more for all of them at Ulta than at Target, and with that ten dollars, I could buy two more of those lipsticks at target. Before I shop at Uta, I check prices on the products I'll be buying so I won't get ripped off. Like others have said, they're very vague on their free gifts with pruchase. I've ordered online from Sephora before, and they've given me free samples I didn't know I'd be recieving, along with the promised free gifts. Also, at Sephora, the sales assistants are always very helpful and happy. They rarely look like they don't want to be there. At Ulta the other day, I was looking for my Exuviance concealer (I was in a new city and the Ulta was set up completely differently), and asked a SA for help. After aimlessly following her around, she called the manager and asked, who only told her what I had told her, that it was with Exuviance. After that, I told her it was around 22 dollars. She led me over to a different section and finally found it. All the while, she managed to look unenthused and annoyed. Not a very welcoming feeling.
I think Ulta needs to work on their welcoming atmosphere. My Ulta back home has a lot nicer employees, but after seeing other Ultas, I think I just got lucky. Most of their employees have no idea what's going on around them. I really can't understand their sour attitudes. Lastly, like many others have said, the store is very unsanitary. Especially the NYX section. That area is full of smeared lipsticks and broken shadows, andmost things are without caps or seals. I love NYX, so that's a big issue for me. Things around the store are very unorganized. I prefer Target for my drugstore makeup shopping nowadays. It's all very clean and less cramped. I will continue to shop at Ulta for NYX and Esscence and their mix of brands, and I do enjoy shopping there. They just have so many issues they need to have fixed. If there was a Sephora closer to where I live, I don't think I'd be going to Ulta quite as frequently.
I generally love going to Ulta because of their selection and deals with a loyalty card. I do agree though with the others--cleanliness and sanitation could be better, especially when it comes to the tester products. I don't really test out the products because of this and I tend to buy the same essentials time and time again so a test product isn't necessary (or the item is cheap enough for me to bypass the test altogether and just take a risk).
Customer service hasn't been a problem for me. The people at the store near me are friendly and will ask if I need any help finding something. I've never had an issue with getting their coupons/booklets in the mail.
I ordered from Ulta.com during their big promos and they never sent me my free gift with purchase. They had a big advertisement on their website that tells you you are going to get this free gift with purchase (some of them cost just as much as the item you are purchasing). Then you place your order and never get it in the mail. Surprise surprise! This happened to me and happened to one of my friends. They assume that you will not complain and wind up getting away with it. In addition to the fact that you now have you wait 24-48 hours until a manager gets back to you when you call customer service and when they finally do (if you are lucky enough to answer your phone when they call) they are very rude, talk over you, talk in circles, and then only offer the $10 gift card and claim that is all they can do otherwise they will get in trouble. BULL! Classic bait and switch. I had ordered a Pur minerals pressed powder and a free chisel brush was being offered with the purchase. I just happened to take a print screen showing my basket with the free gift. When I spoke with the manager (who insisted on seeing proof) I sent her this print-screen. Well all of a sudden her e-mail doesn't work and when I explain that it said free gift with purchase underneath the item she says "Well it didn't say what the free gift was." I told her that the advertisement said that free gift was the chisel brush with the purchase of a compact. She then told me that it could have stated that there was a minimum purchase requirement and that it might not have been a full sized brush so all she could only offer the $10 gift card. I told her that was unacceptable and that it didn't make sense to get a $10 gift card in lieu of a $23 chisel brush pre-tax. She said I had no proof of the free gift and that if it "fell out of my basket" it was not Ulta's fault. I then asked her for proof of the minimum purchase requirement and that to prove that it wasn't a full sized brush. She couldn't and then told me that was all she could do. I am planning on calling them every day until they send me that brush. I have been a loyal customer for almost 10 years but will not be spending any more of my hard earned money at Ulta or Ulta.com. I will be shopping at Sephora instead as they offer better samples and do not try to gyp you on your free gift with purchase.
So...I used to go to Ulta to get Iman Cosmetics. But, I haven't worn Iman for years, so I usually just go to Ulta to get Real Techniques brushes. At Ulta, they're usually Buy One get One 50% Off, which I like.
However, on my last visit, I asked for a sample of the new Urban Decay Naked foundation, and I was told that "they don't do that." I was told by the sales associate that she could color match me and I could purchase the product, and I could return it if I didn't like it.
Now, I have no qualms about returning a product that does not satisfy me. But, making the return without having the opportunity to sample the product seems incredibly wasteful to me. Almost backwards.
I hardly ever make a foundation purchase, without trying the foundation for like 2 days. I mean, foundation goes on my face, the first thing people see on me. I need to make sure the color looks right, it doesn't oxidize, that it wears well...Ulta needs to get with it. Honestly, I don't really know how they compete with Sephora and with these "mini cosmetic store pop-ups) that Macys and JC Penny has.