The Beauty Battle: Sephora Vs. Ulta

If you’re a lover of all things beauty, you’re definitely familiar with Ulta Beauty and Sephora. In fact, whenever you need to restock your makeup stash you most likely debate which store you should go break your bank at. Both stores offer a plethora of makeup and beauty products. From makeup to skincare and even fragrances, both stores have you covered. However, there are some key differences between these two beauty stores that make them very different. 

Ulta storefront

The main difference between Ulta and Sephora is that Ulta carries drugstore brand makeup, while Sephora does not. This makes Ulta more desirable for those who are not wanting to go completely broke over a new eyeshadow palette. Ulta is divided into two sections. One side is the drugstore section, and the other is the higher end beauty brands. On the drugstore side you can find anything from L’Oreal to Physicians Formula. They have also recently started carrying Morphe products, and select products from Kylie Cosmetics. Ulta also has a separate hair section where you can purchase styling tools and hair products, such as spray or gel. 

In Sephora, on the other hand, you can find more ‘luxury’ brands. Sephora carries products from renowned brands such as Bobbi Brand, Charlotte Tilbury and YSL. These brands are not found in Ulta. The two stores do carry many of the same brands, though. If you need something from Too Faced, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Tarte and many others, either have you covered. 

Sephora storefront

Another key distinction between Sephora and Ulta is their rewards programs. Both have a loyalty program, but have obvious differences. At Sephora there are different levels of the points system. You can start out as a Beauty Insider, and gradually move up to being a VIB and VIB Rouge member. The higher up you get, the more rewards come your way. When you earn enough points being a VIB or VIB Rouge member, you can earn free makeovers.

Same as Sephora, Ulta’s Ultimate Rewards system has a hierarchy. You start out as a basic member, then climb the ladder to becoming Platinum, and eventually Diamond. Like Sephora, you can get free birthday gifts with your level. The main difference between these points programs is the way they are redeemed. At Sephora, you can cash out your points for select products. At Ulta, your points transform into cash discounts for your purchases in the future.

As for services, you can get a makeover at both stores. Employees are happy to color match you or assist you with applying lipstick at either location. If you want to get your hair done, Ulta even has a salon in the store where you can get a blowout, cut, or any style of your choosing. Also, at most Ulta locations, they have a brow bar where you can your eyebrows perfectly shaped! You may end up entering Ulta with the intention of just buying a new mascara, but leave with a new hair-do and sculpted brows. Doesn’t this always happen?

At the end of the day, both stores are a great choice to expand your beauty collection. To decide which store to go to, think about what you’re looking to buy. Have your eye on the new Fenty Beauty foundation? Sephora is your spot. Are you anxious to try the new NYX blush? Ulta is calling. If you want a new highlighter from Nars, both have you covered. If you aren’t sure which store has what brand, a quick Google search is your best friend. Both stores have beautiful products that any makeup enthusiast will want to get their hands on. Whether you prefer browsing at Ulta or Sephora, you’re ultimately going to end up accidentally buying $200 worth of makeup at either without realizing. Trust me on this!

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