Ulta is a relatively new store to me. I have not been one to shop there in the past, but I keep hearing about it. So, I decided it was about time I take a look to make sure I wasn’t missing out! So, I decided to do a quick comparison of pricing and selection of Ulta vs. Sephora.
Now the nerd in me wanted to have a way to definitively decide which was better based on price and selection. So, of course, I went to excel and whipped up a quick spreadsheet. I randomly entered in the top mid to high-end makeup products that I use or have been contemplating trying out recently.
Here are the results of my Ulta vs. Sephora comparison:
|Becca Champagne Pop||*||n/a*|
|Benefit Porefessional Primer||$31.00||$31.00|
|Anastasia Contour Kit||$40.00||$40.00|
|Born This Way Foundation||$39.00||$39.00|
|Laura Mercier Translucent Powder||*||n/a*|
|Double Wear Foundation||$39.50||$39.50|
|Bare Minerals Foundation, Original||$28.50||$28.50|
I can sum up the findings in one sentence: Sephora and Ulta have almost identical pricing, but Ulta does not have nearly as wide of a selection. In fact, Ulta did not carry 5 out of the 11 products I looked for.
Now, in doing this research, I realized that Ulta and Sephora are quite different in that Ulta is more like a mashup of a drugstore and Sephora. So, perhaps it wasn’t a totally fair comparison to just look at Ulta vs. Sephora.
So, I decided to compare Ulta vs. Target drugstore makeup prices and selection as well. So, I pulled the list of makeup products from my post on Drugstore Makeup Favorites of Top Beauty Youtubers and added a couple other products that I use to compare.
Here are the results of my Ulta vs. Target comparison:
|Lumi Cushion Foundation||$14.99||$16.99||13%|
|Revlon Colorstay Foundation||$8.69||$12.99||49%|
|L’oreal Infallible Foundation||$9.89||$12.99||31%|
|Maybelline Fit Me Concealer||$4.99||$6.99||40%|
|Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer||$6.79||$8.99||32%|
|L’Oreal Carbon Black Mascara||$5.29||$8.49||60%|
|L’Oreal True Match Lumi Liq. Foundation||$9.89||$12.99||31%|
|Physicians Formula Bronze Booster||$9.99||$14.99||50%|
|Ardell Wispies Lashes||$3.89||$3.99||3%|
|Nyx Matte Gel Liner||$6.99||$6.99||0%|
|Maybelline Gel Liner||$6.79||$8.99||32%|
|Maybelline Color Tattoo Eyeshadow||$5.29||$6.99||32%|
|Covergirl Super Sizer Mascara||$5.99||$6.99||17%|
|Nyx Butter Gloss||$4.99||$4.99||0%|
Even before adding my 5% Target Red Card discount, Target clearly had much better prices than Ulta for these drugstore makeup products. On average, products tended to be 30% more expensive at Ulta, with the main exception being Nyx products. However, none of the drugstore makeup products were cheaper at Ulta.
Ulta vs. Sephora Shipping Comparison:
- Ulta: Free Shipping over $35 (3-8 days)
- Sephora: Free Shipping over $50 (3 day)
- Target: Free shipping on all orders with Target Red Card (3-5 day)
While I have heard that people love Ulta for their rewards program, that only seems to be significant if you are buying mid to high range beauty products because drugstore products are marked up so much compared to Target. So, the rewards would simply be reducing the price of an already marked up product to make it more reasonable. I can see the allure of this because you feel like they are saving by being a loyal customer, but are you really?
Now, Ulta does match Sephora’s prices for mid to high range makeup products. However, the deal breaker there for me is their selection. Only being able to buy half of the items you want and having to go to Sephora for the rest is a hassle in my mind.
So, what is my final answer in the Ulta vs. Sephora comparison?
- When shopping for mid to high-end makeup, I will stick to Sephora.
- When shopping for drugstore makeup, I will stick to Target.