ULTA’s New Brands and Why I’m Slowly Leaving Sephora

As a beauty blogger, I spend a ridiculous amount of money on cosmetics. This number has greatly reduced since I’ve been on this big push to pay off all my student loans, hopefully, in the next two years plus my taste in cosmetic brands has changed. With that being said I’ve still somehow been a member of Sephora’s VIB Rouge program for the last three years. Sephora originally touted their VIB Rouge program as this prestigious group of beauty enthusiast that got perks on perks on perks. Flash forward to now and our spending $1000+ grants us exclusive rights to a mini size Nars Blush, free two-day shipping that’s not guaranteed, cheaply made totes, makeup bags, and wait for it, the option of bringing a friend to shop with us in stores during their VIB Rouge events. They might even let us shop early during a “sale” for which they give us the same discount as a lower tier VIB member.

Honestly, after they pulled that same discount mess, I knew that I was time for me to break up with Sephora and give up my rouge status. I was so pissed that I gathered up all the items that I’d purchased, but hadn’t used or didn’t like, along with my receipts (this is why you should put all your receipts in a folder and store them safely) and returned them to the store.  When the cashier asked me why I was returning so much, I explained my loathing for their VIB Rouge program, and she informed me this is something she hears on a daily basis. The returning of those products resulted in over $600 of money coming back to me (some of which was returned to gift cards I’d used), the cash I put towards my student loans.

Now, I’ve never been a huge ULTA shopper, there is an ULTA about 3 miles from my home, but it never really carried the brands that I was interested in so I always went out of the way to go to Sephora. When cosmetic brand Nars announced, it was going to start selling a limited amount of SKU’s in ULTA I’ll admit I made the stank face. Again, based on the brands that ULTA was currently selling I just couldn’t see NARS having a place there. To me, it felt it like it would be a game of  “who doesn’t belong”. So, color me surprised when MAC Cosmetics announced they would be sold in ULTA followed by Dose of Colors and the UK brands Models Own and Sleek MakeUp!


Sleek MakeUp at Ulta Beauty www.beingmelody.com

Sleek MakeUP’s entrance into ULTA has sealed the deal for me. One of the reasons I love Sleek MakeUp is because they make a conscious effort to cater to women of color. With budget-friendly prices and bold pigmentation that will leave you gagging, it’s a brand that everyone NEEDS to have their collections. I’ve reviewed a few Sleek products that you can read about here.

With so many big name brands moving to ULTA my coins may very well be finding a new home there.  Now hat I’ve had time to think about it I find that the moves make complete sense. People are shopping differently. They’re spending less time at the malls and more time searching for convenience. This means shopping online and looking for ways to get the best bang for their buck. The procurement of these four new brands in the store, paired with their current lines means that you can do a majority of your beauty shopping in one place and not fight mall traffic to do it. I can get my drugstore store and midtier brands in the same place.

Let’s also talk about how ULTA’s reward program makes Sephora’s look like trash. To quickly break it down for every $1 you spend you get 1 point. Unlike Sephora can turn in these points for cash off your purchase all the way up to $125.00! Spend $450 in a calendar year and you reach Platinum status which earns you more, perks, points, and cash off purchases. I’m not the best with math but $450 is better than $1000 any day to get treated like a VIP.

With all this being said, it doesn’t mean I’m going to completely give up on Sephora. They do still have brands that I can’t pick up at ULTA. However, with the way things are trending Sephora is really going to have to take a good hard look at how it can keep consumers interested in it’s less than an exciting rewards program.


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