Ulta Beauty opening was, at least for me, one of the most anticipated news for this year. For those unfamiliar, Ulta is a beauty chain with a strong presence here in the United States. In New York, this scenario was a bit different. Until November this year, the chain had only one store in the city, located in Queens, at Rego Center – a location that was sub estimated by many people who did not even know about this location. A few months ago, Ulta announced a store opening in Manhattan – more precisely in the Upper East Side. Everybody was so happy about it like it was the first location in the city. The place opened in early November and, last Sunday, I finally visited the place!
The store is located in a cool area of the Upper East Side – click here and check out things to do – and near some subway stations. Before starting to talk about Ulta, I think it’s good to give a general concept of the store. Ulta is a direct competitor to Sephora – but I’d say it is quite different from the rival. I like to sum up Ulta as a mix of Harmon (or drugstore), Sephora and Ricky’s. Why is that? Because you will find the popular brands – available at Harmon and at pharmacies – other more “refined” brands – available at Sephora – and a complete selection of hair products – that’s why it makes me remind of Ricky’s. Could you get the idea? However, the great difference of Ulta – in my opinion – is the fact that it carries some different brands, which are not available in any of these three stores. I took advantage of my visit to the store to highlight the brands you should keep an eye on!
It Cosmetics – Jamie Kern Lima created this brand 9 years ago. As a news anchor in 2008, she would often get to the office at midnight to prep for her live morning segments, and if you’re going on camera early in the morning under bright lights and in front of unrelenting HD cameras, you need to wear the right kind of makeup— but she could never find products that really worked for her. That’s when she set out to create a makeup brand that wasn’t about artistry or how many shades of lipstick it could make, but about solving real problems that women have in finding and applying makeup. The brand became very successful – and L’oréal bought it. The main focus is makeup – and the best seller is the Your Skin But BetterCC+Cream with SPF 50+, with high coverage. Besides that, you should defintely check out the makeup brushes. Price range: from $10 to $58. (Infos from Allure)
Skinfood – the K-Beauty phenomenon is no longer restricted to stores specializing in Asian cosmetics. Sephora and CVS have already incorporated a portfolio of products in their stores and Ulta is different! The highlight is Skinfood’s selection – one of my favorite Korean brands. My tip? The Egg Pore Mask, a wonderful facial mask! Price range: from $4 to $48.
Anastasia Beverly Hills – the brand is famous for the eyebrow product expertise – there is a variety that ranges from pencils to stick and gel eyeliners. However, Anastasia also became popular in the market with the contour and highlighters palettes, as well as liquid lipsticks in wonderful colors. At Ulta, the advantage is that you find the complete collection of products – unlike Sephora, where there are only eyebrow products. Price range: from $12 to $48.
Pür Cosmetics – makeup line without talc, parabens, sulfates, mineral oils. The highlight is the variety of foundations – powder, moisturizer, CC cream. You should try the Bare It All ™ 4-in-1 Skin-Perfecting Foundation – the coverage and finish are incredible! Price range: from $8 to $42.
Mario Badescu – awarded skincare line, with more than 50 years and customized and effectiveskin care solutions . Among the highlights, there is a line based on glycolic acid, excellent for hyperpigmentation and wrinkles. It is also worth checking the products for acne and oily skin. Drying Lotion is one of the best sellers: it helps to treat and dry pimples. The Facial Spray With Aloe, Herb and Rosewater is another best-seller, it is a mist to be used at any time of day and refresh and moisturize the skin. Price range: $5 to $46.
BH Cosmetics – a makeup brand that stands out because of the cost-effective eyeshadow palettes. Ulta does not carry the complete collection from BH, but you can find some products. Pallets from $11.
Skin Laundry – Yen Reis created Skin Laundry after spending a lot of time-fighting skin problems that became increasingly severe as time went by. Living in Asia, she discovered affordable laser technology that improves skin health. The treatment was quick and effective. When she moved to California, she could no longer find the same treatment for an affordable and convenient price. It was when she sought out experts in the field and founded Skin Laundry, which now offers 15-minute facials with locations in New York, California, Arizona, and even Hong Kong. Parallel to this, Skin Laundry has also have its own line of products. Price range: from $20 to $50.
Soap & Glory – UK brand, sold at Boot’s and also available here in the USA. The focus is on body care products, but the line also includes makeup and skin care. The design is fun with vintage packaging. It is worth trying the body scrubs and also the cleansing gel for the face. Prices are very affordable! Price range: from $4 to $30.
Sebastian – this hair care brand does not require more presentations, right? There are products for treatment and styling. My recommendation: Penetrait mask and Trilliant, shine spray. Price range: from $6 to $43.
Paul Mitchell – another hair care brand that is super famous and with the complete line available at Ulta. There is probably the only place where you will find all products. There are products for the most diverse kind of needs: repair, color treatment, volume – a collection that I strongly recommend. Price range: from $5 to $48.
Dermablend – this makeup brand is focused only on face makeup – that is, the line include foundation, powder and concealer. For those who are looking for products with high coverage, I strongly recommend. Even if you are looking for a good concealer, it is worth testing the brand. Price range: $24 to $40
Dose of Colors – this brand started only with liquid matte lipsticks, but today it already carries items like eyeshadows and highlighters. At Ulta, you find only the lipsticks and they are worth the investment: the variety of colors is wonderful, the pigmentation is high and the lasting is excellent. Price range: $18.
In addition to the brands mentioned above, it is worth remembering that you will also find Clinique, Mac, Laura Geller, Redken, Clarins, Shiseido, Vichy, Dermalogica, Lorac, Joico. Not to mention the classic drugstore brands – such as Revlon, oréal and Maybelline – as well as well-known brands like Lancome, Benefit, and Estée Lauder. There are a lot of fragrances as well! Anyway, the variety of brands is VASTA same!
Another highlight: the sytling tools, curling irons, hair dryers and flat iron area. Ulta offers a wide range of this products and the best part is that you can actually try the hair dryers!
More tips to take advantage of your Ulta shopping experience:
Ask for samples – like Sephora, you can ask for a sample of any product. Explain to the seller that you want to try the product before buying. You can ask f a sample of any product of the store, including makeup, skincare and fragrances.
Sign up for Ulta Rewards – Ulta has a rewards program – you can sign up here – and there are also samples with every purchase. Besides that, the website also has a Sale section and other special deals.
Birthday gift – There is no purchase required to receive a birthday gift, but it must be picked up in person. Ulta mails a coupon (required for redemption) on your actual birthday, and it is good for 30 days afterward.
Salon – Ulta also has a beauty salon, with services that include hair cut, hair color, treatment, facials, eyebrow design, nails and makeup. Click here to learn more.
Did you like the tips? If you are a beauty lover like me, Ulta is a true amusement park! I hope you enjoyed the tips on the post!
Location: 188 East 86th St.
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Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.