Ulta Or Sephora

Beauty enthusiasts or not, we have all heard of Ulta and Sephora- two major beauty retailers that have been competing in the market for years, offering thousands of products under one roof. But how do they differ, and which one should you choose? In this article, we’ll break down the differences between Ulta and Sephora, and help you decide which one is a better fit for your needs.

Ulta Beauty:

Ulta Beauty is an American chain that was founded in 1990, offering both high-end and drugstore brands to its customers. It’s known for its wide range of products available in-store and online, which includes makeup, hair care, skincare, fragrance, and more. Ulta also offers salon services, with over 1,200 locations across the United States.

One of the biggest perks of shopping at Ulta is its rewards program. The Ultamate Rewards program allows customers to earn points on purchases, which can later be redeemed for cash off of future purchases. It also includes exclusive offers, birthday gifts, and access to Ulta’s annual 21 Days of Beauty event.


Sephora, on the other hand, is a French beauty retailer that was founded in 1969. It’s known for its vast selection of high-end brands such as Dior, Chanel, Gucci, and more. Sephora also sells its own brand of skincare, makeup, and fragrance products.

Sephora’s Beauty Insider program is similar to Ulta’s reward program but includes more perks. Customers can earn points that can be used towards purchases, access exclusive events and experiences, receive free samples, and more. Sephora also offers a subscription service called Play! by Sephora, which sends customers a monthly box of deluxe beauty samples for $10 a month.


Now that we know what each retailer offers let’s compare them side by side:

Product Selection:

Ulta Beauty offers a variety of drugstore and high-end products, while Sephora focuses mainly on high-end brands. If you’re someone who prefers drugstore products or likes to mix and match drugstore and high-end brands, Ulta is the better choice. However, if you’re someone who only wants to splurge on high-end products that are more exclusive, then Sephora is the way to go.

In-store Experience:

Both retailers offer a great in-store experience but with different focuses. Ulta offers a luxury feel while still maintaining an approachable atmosphere. They focus heavily on available salon services, so you can get your hair, eyebrows, and nails done in-store. Sephora is more curated and luxurious, with beautifully designed stores and exceptional customer service.

Rewards Program:

Both Ulta and Sephora’s reward programs are excellent- it depends on what type of customer you are. Ulta’s program is more straightforward, offering points for every dollar spent, with each point equating to one penny. Sephora’s program is a bit more exclusive with levels: Beauty Insider (basic), VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider), and VIB Rouge (top tier), offering more perks as you move up each level.


Sephora offers a generous sample policy, allowing customers to take home up to three free samples per store visit. Ulta also offers samples, but it’s a bit more restricted. They usually only offer them during promotional events.


1. Can I return opened products at Ulta and Sephora?

Yes, both retailers allow you to return opened products within a specific time frame. Ulta offers 60 days, while Sephora offers 30 days.

2. Do Ulta and Sephora offer price-matching?

No, neither retailer offers price-matching.

3. Which retailer offers more vegan and cruelty-free products?

Both Ulta and Sephora offer a range of vegan and cruelty-free products. However, some Ulta stores have a designated section for vegan and cruelty-free products, making it easier to find them.


Choosing between Ulta and Sephora comes down to your personal preferences. Sephora is the better choice if you’re someone who only wants high-end products and is looking for a luxury experience. Ulta offers more variety, with a mix of high and drugstore products, and offers a more accessible and relaxed atmosphere. Regardless of which one you choose, both retailers offer excellent reward programs, so use those to your advantage. Ultimately, it’s important to try products out for yourself and see what works best for you.