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Post in Besides Beauty

Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I've been a VIB for a few years now, and my local Sephora is within walking distance of that "other" brand. I've heard rave reviews about their rewards program, most especially about their generous giving of free product with each new level reached and not samplers.


Today, I headed to my Sephora store for the VIB event, got my bag loaded up, and then...went to Ulta. I was actually there to get a tube of NYX lip gloss since I've heard so much about it, but I went through the whole store out of pure curiosity.


The verdict? While Ulta does carry drugstore brands and their rewards are pretty lofty in comparison...Sephora has my heart. Ulta felt too "superstore-ish". No offense, but a little...below...the standard and prestige of Sephora.

So, Sephora, heed our call! Amp up our VIB rewards. Tidy up the shelves and demos in your stores (our store is a tad lacking in that dept.). And, keep up the great work! = )

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

serioustree-- thanks for answering. Another question then-- this "LOVE" thing here on the site. I've been using that to basically bookmark items that I want to learn more about. Do other people see that? I wouldn't want someone to think I "LOVE" it when I didn't even use it. (I'm referring to the red heart symbol that you can click)

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Oh yeah, I forgot that they split it up, you can click on loves and on the left hand side, you can click on purchases. I like to see all of them together, so I think I found a way to add my "purchases" to my "loves" 



Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I feel the same way!


I love the many different brands and products Sephora has, which Ulta has a limited selection of.


ALSO I feel like I can trust the sales associates more at Sephora because they always have BEAUTIFUL make up on.


Sometimes, when I'm at Ulta, I hesitate to ask for an opinion when a sales associate has a foundation on two shades too light or overdid their bronzer... (I know I'm so judgemental I'M SORRY, I'll punish myself by not snacking on chocolate today..)




But just as a disclaimer, I do still love and go to Ulta for most of my nail care needs.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

It wasn't really THAT judgy. Go ahead-- have the chocolate Smiley Happy

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Stupid Question Alert-- Please bear with me since I'm new to the forum.


I've never ordered anything online from Sephora. I use the site all of the time to learn about products, ask questions, and read reviews, but because I'm away from home a lot I don't order because I never know where I'll be when the package comes.


I shop in Sephora stores very very often in states all over the country. My question is-- you all keep talking about this VIB thing and perks and whatnot. Is that why the sales people always ask me if I want an Insider Card? I always say no  because every store seems to want you to have a card and I find them a pain to keep track of and I didn't realize there was a benefit. I thought it was just so they could track your purchases.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

It is really worth it and it's not complicated. Get one! Warning: it's addictive.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I love reading about all the Sephora loyalty!  I personally have never visited that other store, but reading all your experiences about shopping there, I don't plan to anytime soon.  Thank you all for being loyal Sephora clients and we hope you enjoy the offers coming your way!   Smiley Happy -Laura

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I enjoy shopping at both stores for different reasons.


I go to sephora for specific high end brands and for most of my general makeup purchases.


I go to ulta when I need to also purchase things like razor blades, sunscreen, makeup wipes, candles, stuff like that.  I also LOVE their nail polish selections... one by me just started carrying deborah lippman!  I love their sale bins.  I find they often have very nice GWPs on certain high end brands.


Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora all the way. The customer service, return policy, perks, etc. I love it all. Also every time I'm shopping in Sephora stores everyone is so helpful Smiley Happy

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora all the way! the best thing is the exchange policy at least for me, at sephora its a no questions asked easy return and it makes my life very simple. if i take home something that was 40$ and i don't like it i don't have to worry about wasted money. ulta asks a million questions and all these forms its like why? i just don't like the product. i bought alot of things i disliked one month and they wouldnt let me return more then 80$ of product, so i was stuck. plus sephora just feels classier. sephora offers the hundred and 500 pt perks, and the free samples, and promos and ulta has none of that, every month they'll send me a coupon for 3 bucks. not worth it to me. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

MAJOR "agree" with the cleanliness at Sephora vs. other brands.  My last stop at Ulta made me feel like I needed to go wash my hands.  Oh, and their packaging/boxes were all dented and just messy.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora hands down over Ulta!  I spend about equal at both stores, as Ulta does carry some brands that Sephora does not.  However, I always get nice discount and better free goodies from Sephora.  I literally have a drawer full of nice full size freebies from Sephora and nothing from Ulta.  If Sephora started carrying my shampoo and conditioner (Sexy Healthy Hair), I would shop there exclusively. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

what kind of full size freebies do you get? I can't recall ever recieveing anything full sized from sephora...


Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Me either...

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict



1) Staff: Sephora staff have always been more knowledgeable and helpful in my experience. In several ULTAs I have had a hard time just getting help from the staff, but at Sephora they always ask me if I need help. 

2) Atmosphere: Sephora just feels more luxe vs. ULTA which I think as someone else put it is more superstore like. I definitely feel more awesome shopping at Sephora.

3) Rewards: ULTA rewards are super restricted. The only thing that is nice is once every few months they have 20% entire purchase and sometimes they'll do $10 off a purchase. I think that Sephora's rewards are much better, you just kind of have to save your points until something really awesome comes up. Plus, I love the birthday specials they give out at Sephora too.

4) Returns: this is definitely the most important to me, Sephora staff have always been much more understanding with returns (even trying to suggest other products for me to try). They never seemed annoyed or rude about when I am making a return which I really appreciate. I absolutely hate returns at ULTA. Plus, I'm pretty sure Sephora has a much more lenient return policy anyways. 

5) Overall, if you need drugstore products you can go to Walgreens or something--In my experience their sales are better than the price you get at ULTA anyways. If you want the more higher end products, I'd stick with Sephora. 

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Wow, this says SO much to me about how important the store managers must be, because my experiences at my local stores are SO different!


1. Sephora staff are more knowledgeable, but I find their attentiveness to be pretty equal. In fact, my local Ulta is sometimes better than my Sephora!


2. Sephora definitely wins in atmosphere. Smiley Happy


3. Rewards - apparently depends on which rewards program you're in at Ulta. Even still, I get SO much free stuff from Ulta because of all the GWPs that don't need a code.


4. Returns - My Sephora's staff always gives me attitude and a big hassle when I make returns. My Ulta's staff is always super nice about it, even when I have a PILE of stuff I'm returning.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Most def agree with #1, 2, and 4!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Sephora definitely is winner by me, although better perks are more than welcome. Considering my loyalty and the fact that a huge percentage of my earnings end up there, I would expect more appreciation...At least just for us VIBs!!!!!!!

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict


Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

I can comment on the Ulta premier level perk for your birthday- $10 off ANYTHING.  No "premiere" restrictions, just not on salon services, and you can't combine with any other coupons (like the F+F that starts today- which is ok on salon services (!)).  And you have a month to use it.


I don't know if I'll even use the Benefit gift for this year- so it was nice to be able to buy what I needed with that discount instead.

Re: Sephora vs. Ulta - The Verdict

Aw, geez! We don't get that in the Club at Ulta! As far as I know, we don't get any borthday gift. I'm only now beginning to understand how bad the Club rewards program is. Smiley Sad