When it comes to shopping in the beauty world, the controversy of Ulta Beauty vs Sephora is always apparent.
For years I faithfully stuck by Sephora’s side, not only was it conveniently located in my favorite mall, it was all I knew. I maintained a VIB Rouge card for many years and felt like I was the coolest thing whenever I’d whip out that red, shiny membership card at the Sephora register. It never occurred to me that Sephora didn’t really do much for me in return after I’d spent way more money than any thirteen year old girl should on makeup. I earned thousands of points and ALWAYS saved them. But what was I saving them for? So they could give me some mediocre, microscopic sample that I would most likely never end up using? No thank you.
After years of me describing Sephora as “heaven on earth” and “an out of body experience” or even as far as “shopping there is more addicting than a crack!” to my confused, father every time I begged to go; I realized that it truly isn’t any of those things, yes their products are amazing, but the place itself just isn’t. Shopping for beauty related products is 70% joy from the product and 30% experience, and from where I stand, Sephora is really lacking in the fabulous experience department.
I stepped out of my comfort zone one day and wandered into Ulta Beauty for the first time. Similarly to my feelings about Sephora, my heart started racing. (the sight of beautifully packaged, and crisp, new makeup has a REAL affect on me, okay??) At a quick glance, most of their brands looked the same as Sephora aside from Ulta’s substantial drug store selection. I kept my cool until I caught sight of the Anastasia Beverly Hills stand. The walk over to this section quickly transitioned into a run when I noticed the Liquid lip collection that to my knowledge could only be purchased online (at the time). At that moment, all dignity was lost and I couldn’t help but stuff my shopping basket with as many shades as I
could fit. After I got my heart rate down to a more natural level, I approached the register to check out. The sweet girl at the checkout asked me if I was apart of their membership program, obviously I was not, I had a Sephora VIP Rouge card burning a hole in my wallet to prove it. Needless to say that when she mentioned the cash back rewards, my heart rate shot right back up and the mild heart palpitations commenced. She signed me up immediately and since then I have earned well over $200 worth in points. Compared to the useless samples “awarded” to me by Sephora (gee thanks) THIS is “heaven on earth”. I can actually describe Ulta to my father in that manner without exaggerating because it really is true.
So yes, Ulta has an AMAZING rewards program but thats just one of the countless reasons why it really is heaven on earth. The Ulta near me recently added a Benefit brow bar which is equip with professionals which they call “arch experts”, which really is an accurate term for the beautiful work they do. For many years Ulta has also prided themselves on the in store salon they have. Recently this on location salon has really stepped up their game. The stylists there, like the “arch experts”, do beautiful work.
I would personally get my hair done there, and that’s coming from an over opinionated, hard to please, cosmetologist.
Ulta provides a full experience as far as I’m concerned, they have and do everything from selling every drug store product imaginable, to top notch Turbo hair dryers, to servicing a walk in perm. What more could you ask for from such a beauty empire?
Some may argue that Sephora offers ideal organization through their sections of: fragrance, makeup, and skin care. For those of you who are unaware, Ulta does the same, but BETTER. They offer an even higher level of organization along with their additional sections of: drug store, salon, thermal tools, AND hair products. Once again, HEAVEN ON EARTH.
If I haven’t been able to sway you in Ulta Beauty’s direction, then I really don’t know what will. But if my love note to Ulta has enticed you in the slightest bit, go check out all of the amazing things that Ulta has to offer, and sign up to become a member. With all of that excitement, you’ll be a platinum member with full rewards in no time. And to Sephora, “Let’s Beauty Together”? Let’s not, because I’ll probably be at Ulta.