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Sephora and Ulta Beauty have quickly become beauty lover’s favorite places to shop for all things beauty. The beauty market is so wide that the options are nearly endless. Many people love Sephora for carrying numerous brands and different types of products ranging from skin care, to hair care, to fragrance, to makeup, and everything in between! Sephora carries higher end/luxurious brands that range in price anywhere from $10-$100 (higher prices also of course). They’ve even come out with their own store brand, which is amazing by the way, if you aren’t looking for drug store brands and aren’t looking to pay for pricier brands, the Sephora brand is smack dab in the middle. The prices are affordable to meet budgets, the quality is very nice, and there is a huge selection! I’d say the Sephora brand is a very good start for girls (or boys) in high school that want to start wearing makeup, beginners that are figuring out what works for them, and pros! The brand really accommodates to a wide audience so anyone can find what they need which is important, I can’t stress inclusion enough. VIB Rouge. Yes, VIB Rouge... The exclusive level of the Sephora rewards program that I am kind of, maybe, sort of, proud to be in. It means I love makeup (maybe a little too much) and I’ve spent $5,000+ in a calendar year. Yeah, you read that right! The rewards program also offers two lower levels, Beauty Insider and VIB. It doesn’t matter which level you are, the rewards are about the same! A free birthday gift, exclusive events in store, and holiday discounts! As if you needed another reason to run to Sephora right now, I know, I’m sorry! Another great thing about Sephora is the free samples. Ah, samples! You can literally go in and ask an employee to give you samples of all the products you’ve been wanting to try with no obligation to purchase them that day. Sometimes the Giorgio Armani foundation is looking really good to me but not to my bank account and that’s alright! I don’t have to starve to get that $64 foundation when I can get a sample or two to hold me over until I can purchase it. The Sephora samples I’ve gotten over the years is what has kept my face matte, my hair shiny, and my savings full.
Now let’s move onto Ulta Beauty, the other beloved makeup heaven. There’s been many comparisons of Ulta and Sephora, some negative but mainly positive! Ulta features a broader spectrum, if you will. Not only are there higher-end products, (i.e. makeup, hair, skin, nails) but they also have more affordable/drugstore brands such as Maybelline, Essence, NYX, and Covergirl. Again, the options are there for any budget but Ulta really caters to a tight budget. Brands like Real Techniques, Sleek, and, NYX really offer high quality for minimal prices. The Real Texhniques sponge has been compared to the pricey Beauty Blender that is sold at Sephora and consumers were pretty surprised at how well the more affordable option held up! The Beauty Blender retails for $20 where as the Real Techniques sponge retails for $5.99, prices are dramatically different but the quality? I’d say just about neck and neck. That’s just one example of the dupes for higher-end products that Ulta has to offer! There’s even YouTube videos dedicated to finding the best dupes for expensive brands which are my new guilty pleasure, for sure! Ulta really has it all. The amount of high-end and the amount of drugstore items they carry is refreshing and it makes me not as embarrassed for buying a Covergirl mascara at target because I ran out of the Too Faced better than sex mascara and couldn’t afford a new one. Nope, no embarrassment at Ulta! In fact, I get points! The reward system works similar to Sephora’s where $1 is one point, there’s different levels of point statuses, and you get a free birthday gift. Ulta’s system does let you cash in points for money toward your next Ulta purchase though! This is my favorite part, you really don’t have to feel guilty for breaking the bank because you get it back instantly! Ulta Beauty also has a store brand like Sephora does but the price difference and quality aren’t really close. Ulta’s self brand isn’t really my cup of tea, its quality isn’t the greatest but definitely not the worst. You definitely get what you pay for in this case but I still think it’s fair and does the job. Let’s move on to why I really love Ulta! They carry more hair, skin, and nail products which is nice because you can pretty much get everything all in one place. Joico is my favorite brand of shampoo and conditioner, I have blonde hair so investing in a nice purple shampoo and conditioner is important! Especially when you’re not a natural blonde, *wink wink.* Ulta carries so many different types of hair products to fit your specific need! Curly, frizzy, colored, etc. Not to mention that they have a mini-hair salon in store! Not sure which shampoo to get? Ask a stylist if they aren’t with a client, or an employee! Trust me, you’ll find whatever your hair needs.
Like Sephora, Ulta does get really good holiday sets! The cool thing is they don’t just get sets from the high-end brands, they get them from drugstore brands too! When you thought it couldn’t get any better, they throw all your favorite drugstore brands into little bundles that are affordable and amazing. They even have stocking stuffers that are usually $5 for five items. You can choose from lotions, hand sanitizers, lip glosses, makeup brushes, and so many more (all mini-size of course)! Their black Friday deals are even better. Honestly, each year they get better, unlike Sephora that doesn’t really do black Friday deals, they just sell you a mini-product for $10 and call it a sale, but hey, sometimes that works too.
I do find myself going to Ulta a bit more than Sephora now just because of the convenience. The selection that Ulta offers, I can’t get enough of it. I can do everything but grocery shop at Ulta! At Sephora, I leave with a not so cute bank account and maybe three to four products. If i’m breaking the bank, I want to have something to show for it! I do love both stores very much and will forever continue to shop at both because makeup is what I love the most. These are just my personal opinions and comparisons on the two best stores for beauty out there! I hope this helps you all and feeds your love for all things beauty! Xoxo