My first-ever Ulta haul!

While on my summer vacation in Oregon I was excited to take my first-ever trip to an Ulta store. The nearest Ulta back home is a 40 min drive each way which seems like a big waste of gas to me. So it was great to have one right around the corner from my friend’s house out west. I was expecting it to be similar to Sally’s Beauty Supply, not realizing that it’s more of an up-scale beauty retailer. I scoped out the store for good deals but the only good prices I found were on their clearance items so I grabbed a few discounted Ulta polishes. Most of them had gunk around the tops because they’ve been opened and messed with… but for $1.99 I figured it was a good way to test out their products without much of an investment. I found that their prices for other top brands were a little too steep for me. OPI was $9.00 at Ulta but I have a beauty store near me back home that sells OPIs for $3.99 and they’re often on sale for $3.49! So I decided to make a bee-line for the more affordable Essence display. Can you believe that I’ve never tried Essence before? I just can’t seem to find them near me! Supposedly Target sells Essence, but I’ve never found them there. Unfortunately, the Essence display at Ultra was wiped out… so I grabbed almost one of whatever they had left… mostly some Colour & Go polishes, and a French tip striper, some nail art kits and some cute adhesive nail stickers. OK, then I got really psyched when I found their Butter London display. Spend $25 and get a free full-size bottle of a red glitter called Chancer. So essentially, it was buy two get one free. I couldn’t resist that deal! I walked away with Tea with the Queen, Royal Navy and Chancer. Can’t wait to try those babies out! Here’s a pic of everything I bought!
I am glad that I finally tried out Ulta… now I know that I don’t need to go out of my way to get there! If I lived really close I would love to check out their sales quite often (especially since they started emailing me coupons). But I think I can get better deals at some other stores or online. What do you think? Where do you find good prices on nail stuff?

38 thoughts on “My first-ever Ulta haul!

  1. I don’t have one for 400+ miles of me…so like you, was a treat when I got to one finally – but oh dear – what a disappointment – they did not have what I needed let alone wanted – the store was a torn up mess of inventory everywhere and nothing priced so you could tell how much anything was – rude non helpful sales folks…I have been back to that area since and only went to Ulta because it was a really long stay and I needed to get something I was out of…and the store looked the same as it had 9 months before – a real mess and holes in the stock inventory all over the place. I am no longer a fan – if I want anything and it’s a good deal I don’t mind ordering on line but seeking out a store experience – not my thing which is sad…i am a good look-e-loo and they would sell me easy if they just had the act together with good stocking and the store in order (as in put things were they are supposed to be).

  2. There is a hole-in-the-wall nail store near me that sells retail and wholesale. Think, 5 gallon buckets of hand scrub, smells like acetone, etc. They have the best prices on polish and know what to recommend if you say “purple creme with gold effects”. Or such.

    Other than that, I go to FiveBelow or Target. One Walgreen’s in this city, in a bad area so to speak, has Essence and it is the only place I have found it so far 🙂

    • I really like when stores have knowledgable staff like you said. Oh and being nice is a bonus. I remember one time i asked a clerk if they had matte topcoat. And she said “uh, no…we had that like last year. Thats when matte was like in style.” Lol! Ok guess i’m not in style then haha

  3. Yikes, first of all I’m really envious of your haul and also that you actually got Ulta in your country. I’m from sweden and your prices are so good compared to what I can find in physical stores. A OPI in a swedish store is equalent to 17,50 dollar!!! On sale maybe 13 if being “lucky”. However I buy mine online for about half original price, but still that is like the double of what you can get them for. Thank god for online shops! 😀

  4. Hrm…so I guess I’m spoiled. ULTA just opened a 3-floor flagship shop about a 10 minute walk from where I live. It is still orderly and clean, although I agree that it is overpriced! When I want cheap things I wait for sales at Rite Aid, or Zoya. :-/

    • Awesome! I went to philly 3 wkends ago… but we were only there for a couple hrs to meet for a family dinner. I walked around with my bofyfriend for like 20 min trying to find the restaurant… i saw an ulta and some other cool stores and i was like WAIT i wanna go there! But we did not have time so I had to walk right by them. Wahhh!

    • I always find great deals at the neighboring towns’ walgreens and walmart… theres a rite aid right in my town but it it’s pricey. But rite aid is where I found my most favorite LA Girl stuff! Now i just buy la girl online 🙂

  5. Here in South Africa, Essence, Catrice, 2true and Sinful are really cheap, and are found nearly everywhere! They have the full ranges too. Sally Hansen is here too, but about $9, compared to about $2 for the Essences and alike.

  6. Yay for your first Ulta haul! I can’t wait to see you use the polishes 😀
    Ulta’s definitely not my favorite place to shop either. I buy nail polish almost exclusively at CVS because of the extrabucks rewards and the way that they handle coupons.

  7. OOOhhhh, Ulta. I’m happy you got a good haul, but it sounds like your experience was pretty typical – the store’s a mess, they’re out of everything you want, and the salesgirls are rude!
    Looks like you lucked out with the Essence though, yay. Glad you got a nice haul, whoohoo Butter sale!

  8. I have shopped there but don’t do it very often. They have a lot of polish but no real art supplies other than appliques. One good thing about them is that if you are a member (with a card to record purchases) or have a receipt and try an product that you’re not really thrilled with, they WILL take it back for store credit. I tried a Deva Curl gel ($40) and just didn’t like it one bit. Brought it back and got credit, so they are very good on some ways. My store was always well stocked and has friendly staff, also, that helps a great deal. 🙂

  9. I’m so jealous that you’ve found a store that sells OPI polishes for so cheap! Here they’re always at least 8.99, more for the limited edition bottles 😦

  10. So funny to read how much location determines pricing.
    Overhere in lovely Holland, OPI sells for about 17 Euro (I think something like $19 or so?) and is somewhat hard to find, while Essence (sold in Kruidvat, there seems to be one of those stores on every corner) sells between 1.30 Euro and 1.70 or so. That’s less than 2 dollar?
    I’ve not seen any store here selling China Glaze, nor Seche Vite. 😦
    If you want to keep an eye on Essence’s latest, their website is

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