SEPHORA VS ULTA: You Decide

Hi Ya’ll! I’ve been away for so long I forgot how good it felt to write a blog. As you can tell by the title we are going to compare the two biggest makeup retailers in the US: Sephora and Ulta. We will be comparing the two on:

1. Rewards Program

2. Employee vs Consumer

3. Atmosphere

4. Coupons/Sales

1. Rewards Program

SEPHORA: As a consumer, purchasing hundreds of dollars worth of makeup at sephora honestly makes me cringe. Because after finally being able to get a reward from all the money you’ve spent there, you get what? A small deluxe rinky dink moisturizer?  like are you kidding me?! I’ve spent 300$ in sephora and all you can give me is a sample size? Like are you shitting me?  (This should honestly be the end of this rewards program story because this alone is balogna, but i’ll continue.)  The rewards you get are small and your points DO expire after a certain amount of time. This is all that the rewards program gives you, is small sample sizes of items and once in a while you will be able to get double, or triple the amount of points based on your ranking in the rewards program. Which brings me to say that you need to spend thousands of dollars on makeup to make the rouge club, which if i had the money and wasn’t worried that i’d have no money for food the next day then yah, it’d be easy. But for the average consumer it’s hard to do.

ULTA: Alright, i’ma let ya’ll finish but I’m going to say that Ulta has the best Rewards Program of all time. You heard that right, Ulta. ULLLLLTTTTTAAAA. First of all, every few months they have a sale where every day a few items (prestige included) would be half off, or things would go on mega sale. For instance, a few months ago they had a skin care sale- which is called the “21 days of beauty”-where my murad face cleanser was $14 instead of $28. I mean Sephora never, NEVER, does anything even close to this. That’s one perk thing, another is  that every time you buy something and you reach 100$ you get $3 in your rewards account, yes you read that right. THREE ACTUAL REAL DOLLARS. So if you were like me, and wanted to save those dollars up, you could walk into ulta and spend $100 and not have to pull your own wallet out, because it’s the points and the money that you spent in the store beforehand that helps you pay for larger purchases. For example,  last year I purchased two fragrances and didn’t have to actually “pay” because it was my rewards points that payed for my purchase. AMAZING. Plus if you are platinum (which means you have to spend more than $400 yearly) you have multiple opportunities to receive 3x,4x, even 5x the points on any purchase you make in a certain time frame or on certain products.

2. Employee vs Consumer

ULTA-  Personally I have never worked at Ulta, but one of my coworkers from Sephora had, and basically said it sucked. They never really got a gratis bag officially, it was more sporadic and random as to when they’d get a goodie bag. They also (allegedly) didn’t receive good quality products like Sephora gave their employees. My coworker from sephora also said that Ulta paid minimum wage and that it just wasn’t a good company to work for. I am not sure about this, or if it was just a bad experience for her, but that is what I heard through the grape vine ya’ll. They also work off of commission-which is anything they help to sell in the store- or it could be mostly prestige items, (which is everything that is not drugstore ie Too Faced, Benefit, Etc.)  i’m not 100% on this.

SEPHORA-  Okay so I have to say Sephora is my winner in this category, ONLY due to the fact that I used to work at sephora for a little bit. Working for sephora was pretty great I have to say, especially because I worked at a Sephora inside JCPenny-which was great for coupons. ( I’ll go into more detail about this later on in the Coupons category.) During my time at Sephora, we had a beauty educator come in and teach us about the ingredients in a few products and let us know the upcoming trends to look out for. At the end of that class we all got a free bag of goodies called “gratis”. Which honestly is what everyone always looks forward to, because it’s basically like christmas. (Santa where you at tho) And these are full sized items 75% of the time. Another thing that was great was being able to get samples! Samples rock, seriously. If you work at Sephora you’ll know what i’m talking about. You could have three samples every time you worked, and at one point I had created a little mini fragrance sample bag for my BF that lasted him 8 months lol. I also never had to buy foundation again because i’d just get a sample of it. (Can I get an AMEN for that?!) Sephora also pays its employees above minimum wage and really respects their employees, for this Sephora is my go to if you want to be an employee.

3. Atmosphere

SEPHORA- The reason why I put this as a category is because you get two different vibes when you walk into either store. For sephora it is supposed to make you feel more luxurious, more high end, more prestige. That is the market they are shooting for. Sometimes Sephora (depending on which store you go into) makes you feel like they are possibly judging you, looking down on you, are rude, or snarky. If I am bare faced and wearing sweatpants walking into a sephora you bet your ass that they will give me the look down, and not pay attention to me because of the way I look. It’s more of an uptight environment, in my opinion. And when customers first step into the store employees always have to go and great them and ask if they needed help finding anything. Now of course this in itself is a pro and con, con being that the customer just wants to be left alone and look without feeling like someone is watching or interrupting their girl to makeup time. But it is helpful if a customer is feeling too shy or nervous to ask for help.

ULTA- For me, walking into Ulta was easy, quick, and felt very welcoming. The store felt very bright and cheerful, and it was nice to just look and go through items by yourself without the sales associates always coming over to you and asking what you needed/wanted. Sometimes a girl just wants to look and shop on her own. Personally i enjoy this environment vs walking into a sephora, I just want to spend my time looking and searching and playing with the product instead of being constantly asked if i’m doing alright. It’s more of a “chill” environment, which clearly i’m a fan of.

4. Coupons/Sales

ULTA- I honestly don’t really need to go too in depth with this, but basically Ulta always has some type of coupon, or something on sale. Normally every month they have a coupon available for you, either a $3 off of 15 or 20% of one item/entire purchase. And during their 21 days of beauty it’s basically a whole month of things being on sale. Also, sometimes if you spend a certain amount of money you get a little goodie bag FULL of samples. And I mean full.

SEPHORA-  Wahhh wahhhh WAHHHhhhhh. Nothing, and I mean nothing. They literally have that one sale for VIB’s at the end of the year and I think give out one coupon. It’s kind of unreal how they never do coupons or sales compared to Ulta, but that’s why Ulta has surpassed Sephora in revenue in 2015 😉

I also just wanted to add a few other insightful tidbits to this list, to you know, help you fully understand the pros and cons of Sephora and Ulta. If you have ever walked into a Sephora, you can ask them to give you a mini makeover i.e, your eyebrows, simple eye look, or a lip look. You can also request to have a full 1 hour makeover done if you needed a full-on look for prom, wedding, etc. The only catch is you’d have to spend over $50 on products in order to get the full makeover, which honestly is pretty easy to do in sephora.

Also, if you are offered tips from a client after doing their makeup, you are not allowed to accept it- it’s against the rules. At Ulta however, I know that they don’t do full makeovers like Sephora, but they still will match foundations and apply different types of products on you so that you can find your best match. Obviously if you want a more intimate experience, and you want to be shade matched with the Foundation IQ, then Sephora would be the place to go.

For Ulta they usually have a hair salon and a brow waxer in the store, so if you needed your hair done, or a brow wax, then it’s very convenient for you. These purchases can also go towards your points rewards program. How great is that?

With all the pros and cons about sephora and ulta, I hope that whatever your personal preferences are that you find which store works best for you. Thanks for reading and yes i know it’s long, so god bless you that you read through the whole thing lol.

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