Ulta Ulta- whole store

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2.9

86 reviews

65% 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.



Age: 36-43

Skin: Other, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

There are a lot of pro's and con's with shoping at Ulta.
Pro's-
Drugstore & High End products- Clinic, Bare Minerals, Too Faced, It Cosmetics, Stila, Lancome, Urban Decay, Tarte, Becca (finally in my store), drugstore- Makeup Revolution, L'Oreal, Maybelline, Revlon, Physician's Formula, Ulta brand products, etc. etc. etc.

Awesome sales such as BOGO, online offers, special offers emailed coupons to get a deluxe sample for any purchase or brand deluxe samples for same brand purchases, $3.50/$5/20% off coupons that can be used and combined with MF coupons on specific items or at times any item.

Ulta Member Reward points for all purchases, special offers to 2x/3x/4x/5x points on specific purchase during a given time. Earn and redeem them toward a future purchase before they expire. Platinum members get bonus offers, sometimes free shipping on Platinum Perk offers, and Platinum perk steals at awesome prices.

Stores have testers now on even drugstore brands, and most prestige brands.

Innovative & new products to see and test out in the store. You don't have to be stocked across the counter for assistance or experience mental pressure just because your curious about an item.

Clearance section- on discontinued, & out of season items

Special gifts sets that are free on certain purchases during certain times of the year.

Free gift & coupon to spend for your birthday.

Con's-
Need more constant well trained staff. I've had a few unpleasant experiences, but it changes. Though I appreciate most of the staff I use to feel turned off with incredibly young associates assisting me with anti aging products. Let me tell them about sagging and wrinkles because I'm past forty, not the other way around. I'm happy to see they are making room for mature women who are wonderfully presented on the staff.

Sometimes I feel the staff is hard to keep because they are pressured by cooperate to push sales, & manage store responsibilities than what is reasonable to expect from any human.

Not all brands listed in advertisements are at all locations.

They don't have 6 hr beauty steals in stores, only online.

Some products are only offered online.

To remain Platinum you must spend $400 now to keep status every year, when it use to be $300 so your points don't expire. But they have offered better deals for Platinum members lately.

3 of 5 people found this helpful.


on 4/1/2016 5:08:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

Customer service is hit or miss. I would really love it if the cashiers would tell me I have points about to expire. But most of the time, when I am at the cash register, I feel like I am in a drugstore, except that my local Walgreens has friendlier and more helpful cashiers. I blame it on Ulta corporate culture. Any company with great customer service trains employees to be customer-oriented. Oh well, there are plenty of other places for me to spend my hard-earned money.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


on 9/5/2015 7:18:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair-Medium, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

I usually shop at Sephora.
I recently placed an order online at Ulta's website.I picked up a few fragrances, and as we all know they aren't cheap. I chose the fragrances pack for my free sample.The picture that depicted the free fragrances samples showed five miniature bottles. You know the tiny kind with the little sprayer?
When my package arrived I was surprised to see that only two of the five fragrances they sent were bottled. The remaining four were the folding-paper type that you could get in a magazine.
They were free, and I'm glad that they sent them. But they need to go ahead and show online what they actually look like.
I would have picked the skin care sampler had I known.


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!


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.


Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium Brown, Warm

Hair: Brown, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

If it is possible to buy something at a physical store other than Ulta, I will go out of my way to get it there rather than have to brave Ulta. First, the staff is CLUELESS and doesn't even try to learn or pretend like they know anything. I mean, anyone can Google "best mascara" and have a random suggestion when customers ask what they should try. When I have asked for specific palettes or products, they look at me like I have three heads. My Ultas have products out that you can test, but no testing tools or alcohol to clean the testers with . . . gross. The one lippie is for the coupons, but 90% of the time, they aren't valid on the brands I want. They also don't give samples, so you can't try anything, and their return policy is not generous. Their customer service is the worst in the beauty business. I bought the wrong shade of a powder online, and brought it into the store to exchange it, with my receipt, product still sealed in plastic. They made a huge fuss and tried to tell me that I couldn't exchange it, then tried to tell me they didn't carry that brand in the store, despite the fact that they do, then told me the problem was that they needed my e-mail confirmation. Any time I order online, it takes two to four weeks to receive my order (!). I have placed Sephora or Target orders and received my items within 3 days-- meanwhile, I'm still waiting for Ulta to process my order from two weeks ago. Why would I pay the SAME PRICE as other stores for CRAPPY service? Thank goodness Target started carrying NYX. I may never set foot in this place again.

4 of 4 people found this helpful.


on 2/6/2015 6:03:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I don't like Ulta's customer service. Not much help offered, plus if you need to return anything, you're made to feel like you're robbing them or something. A few times, the cashier even forgot to give me the free gift with purchase I am entitled to. I never shop at Ulta, unless absolutely necessary!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.


Age: Unknown

Skin: Very Oily, Olive, Warm

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Coarse

Eyes: Brown

Ulta stores are NOT created equal. I think with this store it all comes down to the staff. I have three Ulta's within a 10-30 minute rage from me. One of those stores is the next town over and I ONLY go to that one in a pinch or tight on time. The SA's are usually miserable and lack motivation. I know this isn't an exciting job at NASA but some enthusiasm would be greatly appreciated and customers will want to spend money! For spa services or I want to do a haul or take my time, I have to drive to the 30 minute location. Of course, the furthest one is the best one. So, I give this particular furthest store five stars. The sales associates are always eager to help and will go check to see when things will be back in stock. They will, get this, tell you if you have points you can use without you even asking! Also, this location is the largest with the most inventory. The one that is right next to me has dedicated three rows just for Benefit and the whole front store is all Clinique. I'm not a fan of these brands so that is just all wasted space for me. My favorite location is an all in one stop shop! A lot of brands and variety.

As for spa services, I've been extrememly happy with the three facials from this particular location. Icing on the cake, I recently had to use a 50% spa coupon and it was the last day to use it. I had an appoinment for a facial at 2pm. On the way to the appointment, there was an accident on the off ramp and was stuck in traffic making me 30 minutes late to my appointment. I called the store and told them what happned and they said they were booked after me but to come down anyway and they would take care of me. They gave me one of their 20 minute facials which in the end, worked out for me since my day was already shot. The esthetician wasn't moody about my extreme tardiness even though she could tell how frazzled I was. She changed my mood to disgust and embarrassment to calming and content. She really made my day and the service was outstanding. She took the time to go over steps and even warned me of then things might tingle.

I'm a spa junkie. I've been known to get $200 facials. I'm also very critical of them. If I'm paying $200 for a facial, don't lean over me with your garlic breath and use cold fingers! I had one esthetician even sit in the room and chow on her lunch while I laid there with a mask on my face. Granted, there are down times in facials but at least go into a different room!


on 1/15/2015 10:22:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Normal, Other, Warm

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Ulta is somewhat of a necessary evil for me, since they're the only store in my area (that I know of) that carries certain products and brands (like NYX). My two biggest pet peeves: 1) many of the employees are frequently apathetic. It depends on who is there on any given day. And they are very serious about watching you, I can attest! And 2) (this is my biggest pet peeve) the testers are often missing -- or several perfectly good items, even several of one kind (like one particular color of lipstick or eyeshadow), have been tested by customers, rendering them useless for purchase. I realize this latter pet peeve is not necessarily the store's fault, but I would expect them to monitor this situation and ensure that testers are always available, even if that means compensating for theft of testers (yuck) by ordering extra stock. And speaking of ordering stock, rarely do I find what I came to purchase. They are ALWAYS out of stock on things and telling me that their "truck is coming on Thursday." When I return on Friday, I always find that what I want STILL hasn't been received, and it goes on and on this way forever. :-(

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


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