There are many places where you can get your makeup.  For the longest time, I was a Target and CVS girl.  Since I’ve become more of an online shopper in the past few years, I have leaned more on makeup shopping online.  If none of the major department stores is running a free gift with purchase special, I’ll usually check three places:

Even before I started shopping online, I loved going to the Sephora stores.  It’s so bright and clean, and the sales associates are (usually) very knowledgable and friendly.  The biggest benefits of shopping at Sephora are:

  1. Free stuff: 3 free samples with every order.
  2. Rewards points: Beauty Insiders get an extra sample with every $100 spent.
  3. Variety: Sephora carries a large variety of brands and there are exclusive Sephora items, such as OPI nail polish.
  4. Free shipping: Shipping is free on all orders over $50 and returns are free. Even on orders under $50, shipping is pretty cheap – just $5.95.

Some downfalls are:

  1. Price: I have done some comparison shopping, and after all coupon codes, Sephora’s price point is usually the highest.
  2. Sellouts: If something’s super popular, in my experience, it sells out at Sephora first.  Just try finding the Urban Decay Naked palette.  I dare you.


Ulta is very similar to Sephora, but I believe it’s a bit smaller and lesser known.  I just learned about Ulta in the past few years when a store was built near my workplace.  Some reasons to check out Ulta are:

  1. Free stuff: 3 free samples with every order (sometimes more if you’re lucky!)
  2. Coupon codes: If you can’t find an Ulta code for SOMETHING free, you aren’t looking hard enough.  They almost always have $ off coupons you can use, even on orders as low as $10.
  3. Salons: I haven’t tried Ulta salons, but it gives me more confidence in their haircare advice knowing that professional stylists work there. 
  4. Free shipping: Shipping is free on all orders over $50 and returns are free. Even on orders under $50, shipping is pretty cheap – like Sephora, it’s just $5.95.
  5. Rewards points: For every dollar spent, you’ll earn Ultamate rewards or Club at Ulta rewards, depending on your membership type.

Some downfalls are:

  1. No stacking: Unfortunately, you can only use one coupon code per purchase, so you’ll have to use your noggin as to which one works best.
  2. Less focus on makeup, more on other things like haircare and tools.  That’s fine with me since I don’t wear much makeup and have unruly hair, but if you’re a makeup guru, you’d probably be happier at Sephora.
  3. Customer service: If you visit the Ulta store, there are not as many sales associates when compared to Sephora.  Maybe it’s just my local stores, but it seems like Ulta is more of a self-service type of place. is affiliated with – a retailer I order from regularly. is only available online,  but is a good place to look for makeup deals and freebies. A few reasons to check are:

  1. Combined checkout: If you also need some Drano (a frequent purchase in my household — stupid hair!), you can combine your and purchases into one cart. 
  2. Rewards:  You’ll earn 5% from EVERY purchase directly in cash back, much like CVS or other drugstores.  It’s always nice to see a little bonus like that! 
  3. Free shipping: Shipping is free on orders of $25 (or sometimes $50 depending on the day).  I like to wait until I see the lower cart amount to qualify, but it does help that you can combine a cart from — Drano isn’t cheap!

Some downfalls are:

  1. Variety: There is less variety at when compared to Ulta and Sephora.
  2. Online only:  This makes returns a bit trickier.  I haven’t made returns to, simply because I didn’t want to go through the hassle.

What do you think about these points?  Agree/Disagree?

Are there other retailers I should check when making makeup purchases?

Let me know in the comments!


I am not affiliated with Sephora, Ulta, or  All products mentioned were purchased by me with my own money and all opinions are my own.

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One Response to Makeup Shopping

  1. Ray Marotz says:

    Hey I realy enjoyed reading your blog I found it on Yahoo I book marked it to show to my partner.

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