Ulta Ulta- whole store

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3.3

72 reviews

80% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.0

Price: $$$

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on 3/24/2017 9:15:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Didn't realize we could rate entire stores. Ulta would get a solid 2.5 for me...

Here's the thing. People are more and more beginning to favor ulta, especially over sephora as the sephora perks suck and when they are nice they go OOS insanely quickly (I agree). Ulta perks result in cash... Which is always good. Also Ulta is slowly but surely beginning to carry more brands.

I have been spending a good part of 2 years trying to force myself to favor ulta more. Also I am soon moving to a place with no sephora and ulta being the only game in town. I am not a happy camper :/

So ulta to me is mediocre at best. Itemized reason why they continue to irritate me :
No 1 is the biggest and rest in no particular order

1- they can't keep sh*t in stock. My most recent pet peeve was the 21 day sale where all I wanted the whole 21 days was a buxom lip cream. OOS before 8am??! Are you serious? People on fb slammed them with complaints and everyone received the same annoying generic response. Not even an attempt to make it right. This isn't sour grapes bc ulta is forever not having in stock the one thing I need. It seems to happen almost every last time. Whether it's my lotion I use (soap and glory), razor heads, body wash, lipstick. It doesn't matter. More than half the time when I arrive there they don't have the onnnne item I went in there for. Without fail
(Doubly annoying bc in the end I wind up having to go to sephora or whichever other store instead anyway)

2- you have to activate their rewards. If you're not diligently opening every last ulta email. You will miss the days the stack rewards. Honestly if I am entitled to a reward benefit bc of my membership status-- then just activate it on your end. Why do I have to stalk your emails? I consistently miss these

3- cashiers never inform you or seem to be aware when things are gratis. When I redeemed my birthday coupon I was supposedly also entitled to a UD eyeshadow last year. No one told me. I had no idea.. This always happens. A few months back they were giving away mini Becca opal highlights. Went in and the SA insisted they didn't have them and had no idea what I was talking about. As did the manager. Finally they LOOKED. Lo and behold a large box of Becca opal highlighters in their possession to hand out. Why is it so hard to give free highlighters to customers that you were sent gratis to do such?

4- the coupons suck. Im not mad that they are only for drugstore items. But when it's $3 off $15 and they price their drugstore stuff $2-$3 more than the actual drugstore they certainly are not fooling me.

5- rewards expire every 3 mos. It is incredibly difficult for me to spend any amount of money there over 3 mos. I guess it'd be easy if you use the brow service and salon, but just buying items I can only spend so much there. Especially when they are consistently out of stock of the item I came in for.

6- zero control over their inventory. Lotions regularly have giant fingerprints in them. My gwen stefani palette was swatched blatantly. I had to go back and exhange it. Of course this speaks lower of the customers than the staff but seriously. When sephora carried soap and glory I didn't have to open 4 of them to find one that didn't have finger smudges up in it.

Maybe ultas vary greatly by location. But I live by 3 in central jersey, there's a Staten Island one also guilty of the same nonsense. And the website doesn't seem much different-- also always has what I want OOS. So hopefully the one im moving by now is way better.

Otherwise I'll be ordering from sephora A TON online

12 of 14 people found this helpful.



on 9/7/2016 11:27:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Now that I live in the suburbs and there is no convenient Sephora around - I go to Ulta about once every 4-6 weeks. Also I have a tween/teen daughter so we are there more often for her and her friends. I have not used the hair or skin care salons - but for cosmetics and beauty tools it's fine. Lines are super long around the holidays.


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.

15 of 15 people found this helpful.


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.

2 of 2 people found this 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.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.


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

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Other, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Edit: I totally hear what you guys are saying. I have issues with them too. Sometimes I feel like we're a tight-knit family where the siblings get along but we don't like our parents. LOL. I've actually had to edit this post since I wrote it because the policies changed. I still really like most of the staff, and the store, but corporate needs to fix a lot of shit.

I work(ed) 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!! 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 for the stores. Could they do it in theory? Probably, which is what sucks. But that's retail. But 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.

The return policy has changed since I've been there and that frustrates me too. As long as it's on their account, we can look it up. However the store associate should be nice about it. At least they were when I was there. As a matter of fact the store employees are still really nice when I go in and shop (even at different stores) but again the problem is corporate and the rules they make. 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. This is another thing that corporate should change so that the bar code could be scanned and pull up the price paid, 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.) I like the points system overall, and I like that now will refund the points that you used if you return an item. 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 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 stock days. But stores some are pristine, the staff is warm and welcoming and I love the selection overall.

I actually really did like working for them because I loved my coworkers but there are things that frustrate me and it's definitely upper management things. So bothers me when the employees get a lot of flack when really it's not them that's causing it most of the time.

9 of 13 people found this helpful.


on 1/15/2015 12:16:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Hazel

I have a huge love hate (more hate) relationship with this store. While online is fantastic, in store... not so much. The last time I was there, I felt like I was followed the whole time. I work retail, so I get it -- to an extent. Beauty at our store is a huge theft problem. Other times, I stand up front wondering where the heck their employees are. I really hate that. I have walked out of stores for that reason. Usually, the associates are super friendly at the store I go to. I usually don't have huge problems with customer service.

My major problem is their -severe lack- of in store stock. I hate driving all the way out there for them to not have 90% of what I'm looking for. Their drugstore section is heavily shopped. A "find in store" option on their website would be amazing. ULTA, in store, is usually my last resort for purchasing something I need ASAP. The Wal-Mart across the street from my job is stocked 1000% better, sadly.

I LOVE that most of their products have testers (I seriously appreciate this. Most drugstores do not have these!) but that does not stop most of their customers from opening the products anyways. Most of the time, one of the products I am looking for only have ONE left, and it's always open! This is why I'm a huge online shopper.

My store can be really slow at getting new arrivals too. A new line or product that the community has been talking about for months can take months to land. We are in a pretty prominent city. I just don't get it. They seem to have been getting better about this on my last visit. I also wish they had better drugstore selection, in general.

I love the concept of the store. I hate fighting traffic in other big stores when I just want to look at beauty items. They need to keep their stores stocked better.Their sales are pretty awesome. They ALWAYS have a coupon floating around as well.

5 of 5 people found this helpful.


on 7/17/2014 7:37:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Dry, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Man, after reading some of these reviews, I'm just puzzled. But to be completely honest, it really all does depend on location and the people you get. My Ulta, in Colorado Springs, CO, is amazing. People there are never too pushy, nor do they ever ignore you. When I was looking confused and puzzled about something, a girl came up to me and simply said if I needed any help, I said "No thank you" and she walked away. After 5 minutes of trying to figure it out myself, I gave up and went up to the same girl and she smiled at me and jokingly said "See, I knew you would need my help!" and she was super super helpful. Every single girl I have talked to there has been awesome. Another day I wanted to try something and had done some research but I still wasn't sure what would work best for me, so I walked up to one of the girls who just happen to be around the Urban Decay section, and asked her. Though it seemed like her main focus was Urban Decay, she walked me over to the drugstore section and actually recommended a few things, and even told me not to get a certain products I was looking at due to my skin tone being too pale, she recommended getting a different product instead, which just so happened to be cheaper!

Every single item I'm looking for (except new stuff, sometimes those go flying off the shelves!) is always there. They keep the whole place clean and tidy, and all the girls there working are knowledgeable. I never leave with something I dislike, and I am always able to return it, even if I opened it and used it.

I can't say I have ever had issues with the rewards point system. Nor have I ever had issues with the coupons not being taken (I never buy anything but drugstore though, because I just can't afford it, even with coupons and deals, etc.).

TL;DR: I really like my Ulta, I never have issues there, and I am always treated nicely and not like a thief. Store is always clean, friendly staff, and stocked reasonably.


on 1/9/2014 12:11:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I'm going to try to keep this brief. This is for both locations that I have visited.

Customer Service Fails:
-Treating me like a criminal because I tried to use a coupon from my phone, not printed.
-Treating me like a criminal for trying to return an item, with receipt, in a reasonable amount of time. Seriously, I am a grown woman in my 30's, and do not appreciate their attitudes at all.
-Continuing to push products on me when I am clearly working off a list and politely, smilingly, asking to be left alone. On its own this wouldn't bother me, I know it's their job.
-Refusing me my GWP, then stating they don't have any. If you didn't have it, why did you say at first that you wouldn't give it to me?
-Constantly being out of stock on 7/10 items (avg.) I'm looking for.

Win(s):
-Carrying a few brands that I'd otherwise have to get online
-Mixing drugstore w/mid-range in one location.

12 of 14 people found this helpful.


on 12/18/2013 2:31:00 AM

Age: 18 & Under

Skin: Dry, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Terrible place to shop; in store and online. When I go in one of two things happen. I'm ignored or bombarded with questions. On top of this I'm 18 and treated like a thief when I spend hundreds of dollars here! The first time I was refused my free gift with purchase, when I qualified for 2 of them from different brands. She didn't bother checking in the back and she flipped through the current ad without even caring. I could clearly see it. Snotty attitude. Secondly I spent at least 250 during one period for point redemption and my flyer did not include any coupons. I emailed and they didn't understand me, and said it was my fault for not "using them in time" which is not what I even complained about. So they resend a voucher for 3 rewards points, which should of been 5 but whatever. I go to redeem them in store with the voucher they sent, and the associates act like they think Im lying and just printed out this paper. They say they can honor 1 dollar off for each point because they didn't know what they were doing. Also they had no wifi in store so I couldn't pull up my coupon on my phone, and they couldn't honor it I suppose, so I just left very upset being treated like a clueless liar. :--/ I hate this store, truly, the online experience is a joke, prices are better at drug stores lol. No thanks

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


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