When it comes to a one-stop shop for everything beauty, ULTA Beauty is where it’s at. I used to spend my money at department stores and other competing cosmetics stores — until I realized I was basically throwing my money out the window.
From how to make the most of ULTA coupons, hack the point system, get all the freebies and more, here are all the best ways to save money at ULTA.
Don’t forget to download the KCL app and we will alert you when we see an ULTA deal.
1. You can always find an ULTA coupon. Here’s how.
Another super easy way to get ULTA coupon codes is to sign up for ULTA emails. It takes just seconds, and you’ll get special coupons, discount codes for free shipping, free product samples, and sales alerts — like for ULTA’s 21 days of beauty — straight to your inbox.
Sadly, ULTA does not allow coupon stacking and only takes ONE coupon per transaction. That could be a manufacturer’s coupon, but I’ve found that ULTA tends to have better —and more frequent — coupon codes than most cosmetic brands.
And definitely bookmark KCL’s page dedicated to the latest ULTA coupons!
2. But some brands — like Kylie Cosmetics and bareMinerals — are excluded from most ULTA coupons.
ULTA’s coupon policy excludes prestige brands of cosmetics, skincare, haircare, and nail from most of its coupons. Prestige products are higher-end brands — think of them as just a step below designer makeup (Dior, Armani, Chanel) — like Urban Decay, Benefit, LORAC, Too Faced, Tarte and, yes, Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Face, and bareMinerals. You can see a full list of brands excluded from ULTA coupons.
But twice a year, ULTA does send out 20% off coupons that don’t exclude prestige brands; usually once during the holidays and once in Spring. In 2020, Spring must’ve come early because the 20% off prestige products promotion ended in early February. Those coupons are gold and you should definitely wait to stock up on your favorite prestige brand products until you have one in your pocket (and by that I mean on your phone). They only work once, so feel free to save all of your prestige purchases until you have one of these coupons.
Most coupons also exclude services from the ULTA hair salon, the Dermalogica Skin Bar, and Benefit Brow Bar, and fragrance. Basically, when it comes to ULTA coupons, always read the fine print. You might be surprised by what you find!
3. Take advantage of the ULTA sale that happens all year-long.
ULTA’s Buy More, Save More deals are awesome and happen all year. Exact deals range from BOGO offers to full-on 40% off entire lines!
Recent Buy More, Save More sales include:
- BOGO Maybelline Eye and Lip liners
- 5 for $25 Sugar Rush by Tarte deluxe minis (reg. $10 each) Put together a travel beauty bag with a 0.23 ounce oil-free moisturizer, the Mini Squeezy Clean Face Wash, a one-ounce mascara, a cute sparkly makeup bag, and Velvet Liquid Lipstick in Cake Pop for $25 and save $25.
4. Always look for the free gift with a purchase.
- Get a free IT COSMETICS Deluxe Size Lash Blowout Mascara with any $35 IT Cosmetics purchase.
It’s easy peasy to find all the freebie options online — just click on the ULTA Gifts with Purchase page under the “Sales and Coupons” tab on the left nav bar. Some offers are online-only, while others work for in-store too, though that’ll depend on inventory and location.
Finding the gifts with purchase offers in store is tricky. Sometimes each brand will display their gifts-with-purchase deals on top of their makeup displays — but not always. Make sure you check the Gifts with Purchase page before you go, and double-check at the register to see if your purchase qualifies, cause they don’t always volunteer that info, either.
5. ULTA honors promotions based on your total pre-discount purchase price.
Okay, stay with me because this is really cool.
ULTA applies coupon discounts after you reach a minimum spend, not before. Other stores ring up your purchase, apply your coupon, then make you buy something cheap that you don’t need, just so you can get the free gift.
Let’s say you’re trying to spend enough to qualify for a “spend $40 and get a free gift with your purchase” promotion, but you also have the $3.50 off coupon. ULTA will ring up your items, see that they total $40, and hand you a free gift.
…Then they’ll apply your coupon. This is couponing the good way! In the end, you’d pay $36.50 for a free gift with purchase, instead of $40. Yessss.
PRO TIP: Ask your local store then they get their product shipments in, so you can be the first to snag new products and deals!
6. Join the free ULTA points program for coupons codes and freebies.
Make sure you sign up for ULTA’s ULTAmate Rewards (not a typo) to get all kinds of perks.
Simply enter your email and some basic information, and about a day later, you’ll get a welcome email. In my case, it came with a $5 off coupon code.
In addition to alerts about sales, new products, and current promotions, ULTAmate members also get more frequent 20% off coupons that can be applied to prestige brands — about three to five times a year — than those simply signed up for ULTA emails and not part of the rewards program.
7. ULTA’s rewards program has three tiers: Basic, Platinum, and Diamond.
As soon as you qualify for a tier, your status is good until December 31 the following year. I’ll quickly break down the perks:
Regardless of your status, the ULTAmate Rewards program is also your entry point for earning points. You see, the meat and potatoes of ULTA Rewards savings is its points system.
8. Always aim to get more than one ULTA point for every dollar you spend.
You know that saying you have to spend money to make money? Well at ULTA, you gotta rack up the points to get the points.
Platinum and Diamond members get more frequent emails about certain products or brands that qualify for 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, or even 10x the points. Basic members get these too, but less frequently.
In early 2020, ULTA offered 5x the points on a bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Eau de Parfum. That’s 370 points — about $10 worth — on a $74 purchase.
The how, when, and what of point multipliers is tricky. Sometimes point multipliers last an entire month; sometimes it’s a targeted campaign for certain products sent out to select members, like the Yves Saint Laurent one above. The best way to find out when your tier will get extra points is to check your ULTA app and don’t unsubscribe from ULTA emails.
Another way to get double points is to…
9. Get an ULTA birthday gift and double points by timing it right.
ULTA gives you a birthday gift during your birthday month. They send you an email on your birthday with a scannable code that can be used up to 30 days after your birthday to choose between two (usually travel-sized) options. As of early 2021, the free birthday gift coupon can be redeemed in store or online.
But where the birthday perks are really at is the 2x points you earn all-month-long! Getting double the points means that instead of spending $200 to get $17.50 worth of product for free, you’d only need to spend $100.
So, if you want to level up and maximize your points, when you sign up for rewards, “make” your birthday month during a seasonal sale — like ULTA Spring 21 Days of Beauty (more on that in Tip #14) so you can stock up for less and still earn double points.
10. Hoard your ULTA points so you can get the good stuff for free.
The best way to use your points is to save them up for something big. While 1000 points is $50, 2000 is $125 — so you’re getting an extra $25 by spending it in bulk.
11. Basically, cheat the system to maximize your ULTA freebies.
Like I said earlier, 2000 points equals $125 in free makeup or services. It’s easier than you think to hack the system and get as many points as possible — and as fast as possible. For a more detailed how-to, check out this post on how I used ULTA’s loyalty program to get $125 in free makeup and hair products.
12. Rack up points during 5x point promotions at the ULTA salon.
Did you know you can get waxed, plucked, and spruced at ULTA, too? Every ULTA location has an ULTA hair salon, a Dermalogica Skin Bar, and a Benefit Brow Bar, and as of 2019, members can earn points by purchasing any of their services.
The ULTA salon services are definitely salon prices — a haircut starts at $40 — so if you’re planning to spend that amount elsewhere, you may as well do it at an ULTA hair salon where you’ll get the points!
Wait for a day you can earn 5x the points on salon services. About three or four times a year, ULTAmate Reward members will get an email about a 5x point promotion. That means you’ll get 500 points on a $100 service — and you’re already a quarter of the way to 2000 points aka $125 worth of free product!
You can also get a brow service — like eyebrow tinting — done at Benefit’s Brow Bar. Find an ULTA salon near you.
13. Refer a friend to the ULTA Salon and you’ll both get $15 off.
Have your friend mention your name when they make an appointment for a hair, brow, or skin service at ULTA and you’ll both get $15 off. Double win!
14. Mark your calendar for 21 Days of Beauty and other ULTA sales.
One of ULTA’s biggest biannual sales of the year — it happens in spring (March) and fall (September) — 21 Days of Beauty is three weeks of daily deals that each last just 24 hours.
Discounts are often steep at half-off, and extend to even prestige brands in makeup, skincare, haircare and bath products.
Here are a few deals from last year to give you an idea:
- It Cosmetics Confidence In A Cream Anti-Aging Moisturizer (reg. $49) for $24.50
- Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara (reg. $28,) for $14
- Buxom Full-On Plumping Lip Cream (reg. $21) for $10.50
- Murad Nutrient-Charged Water Gel (reg. $62) for $31
15. During the Jumbo Love Hair Sale stock up on shampoo and conditioner.
The Jumbo Love Hair Sale, also known as the Liter Sale, is a semi-annual sale that happens in July and around the holidays (last one was Dec. 25, 2020 – Jan. 25, 2021).
Jumbo Love is not a daily deal sale like 21 Days of Beauty or Love Your Skin. Instead, it is the best time of year to stock up on haircare items (like purple shampoo and conditioner, if you’re blonde and you don’t want brassy highlights.) Like it’s name implies, products are super-sized.
During the Winter 2020 Jumbo Love event, we found deals like:
- A liter of Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Conditioner (reg. $29.95) for $12.99
- A liter Redken All Soft Shampoo (reg. $38.50) for $15
- A liter of Kenra Platinum Thickening Shampoo (reg. $42) for $19
16. Stock up on everything else hair during the Gorgeous Hair Event.
The semi-annual Gorgeous Hair sale happens every spring (usually May) and fall (typically October). It is 21 days of deals on hair products, each lasting one day only. Some deals are also online only.
Products from pricey hair brands like BedHead, Matrix Biolage, and CHI drop as much as 50% off for a 24-hour period. The Gorgeous Hair sale is a good time to buy hair tools, styling products, and smaller bottles of shampoo or conditioner that you want to try before getting the jumbo size (or just need less of, like a clarifying shampoo).
50% off deal examples:
- Bio Ionic OnePass Straightening Iron (reg. $199.99) for $99.50
- Drybar Triple Sec 3-in-1 Finishing Spray (reg. $26) for $13
- CHI for ULTA Beauty 1″ Titanium Iron (reg. $119.99) for $60
- All Love Beauty And Planet products for 50% off
17. ULTA’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are the best times to buy from prestige brands.
You’ll find 50% off (and occasionally more) both prestige and non-prestige brands during ULTA’s Black Friday sale which starts on Thanksgiving day or night. ULTA stores were on open on Thanksgiving 2019, but Black Friday is one of the only times that in-store and online deals align at ULTA — so you might as well shop in your pajamas. ULTA’s Cyber Monday is basically Black Friday 2.0, so you’ll see a lot of the same deals.
Here are some of the prestige brand deals we saw for Black Friday 2019:
- Buy bareMinerals, Smashbox, Urban Decay, Benefit and more for 50% off
- Buy $40 worth of Urban Decay and get a free gift with purchase, like a three-piece Urban Decay gift set. (Same for Too Faced, Benefit, bareMinerals, MAC, Lancome, Stila, Estee Lauder, NARS, and Clinique)
- Urban Decay Naked3 Eyeshadow Palette (reg. $54): $27
- bareMinerals Gift Set (reg. $74): $15
- OPI nail polish (reg. $10.50): $5.25 each
- Prestige brand mascaras from Tarte, Urban Decay, Buxom, Pur, Smashbox or Lorac (reg. $21-24): $10
18. Hit up the 5 for $5 sale for stocking stuffers.
Every holiday season, ULTA has small, perfect-for-stockings goodies priced as low as $1. ULTA’s 5 for $5 sale includes loofahs, Sweet & Shimmer Products, decorative nail files, lotions and more.
And, you can get them for even less than one buck each! If you get 15 $1 things, use the perennial $3.50 coupon, you’ll end up paying just $11.50 (plus tax) for your whole haul! That’s about 77 cents for each item.
19. The best time to get skincare is during a Love Your Skin sale.
ULTA’s Love Your Skin Event takes place each January (in 2020, it was January 2 through 25). It is 21 days of daily deals for up to 50% off skincare products — from cleansers to eye serums — including prestige and high-end brands.
- Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture (reg. $75): $37.50
- Perricone MD Vitamin C Ester Brightening Serum (reg. $69): $34.50
- Dermalogica Age Smart Super Rich Repair (reg: $89): $46
20. Test all the brands that you can’t at Walgreens, CVS, or RiteAid.
ULTA carries some of the same brands as drugstores, like NYX, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Maybelline, and L’Oréal. Though you won’t often find lower prices on these products than at your corner drugstore, there is something ULTA offers that most drugstores don’t: The ability to try on these products!
So, instead of buying that new blush or foundation blind, head to ULTA to experiment, color match, and do a price comparison before you buy. (Though please be mindful of each store’s policy for testing products, especially during the pandemic.)
21. Shop the ULTA clearance section in store.
Located either by the registers upfront or in the back of the store, depending on your store, ULTA’s clearance section is where you’ll find products discounted up to 90% off. Every item has a red or yellow sticker. Look for the yellow stickers for the biggest savings.
We’ve found $39.99 makeup palettes for as little as $9.99, MAC eyeliner, nail polish galore, and skincare items like Kate Somerville’s cold cream.
22. Keep your eye out for ULTA Beauty Break deals on Wednesdays.
Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST, ULTA releases a special online-only sale known as a Beauty Break.
Beauty Break sales only last for four hours, so snatch them up ladies and gents! The deals are brand-specific gifts with purchases, almost always for prestige products. Example: Spend $50 on Anastasia Beverly Hills items, and get a totally free Anastasia Beverly Hills gift set.
Other brands we’ve seen Beauty Breaks for include Estee Lauder, NARS, Clinique, Purity, and Philosophy.
23. Always aim to get free shipping from ULTA.
There are a handful of different ways to do this. Usually ULTA requires you to spend $50 minimum to get free shipping online, but that doesn’t mean you have to!
- If your local store is out of a product, the store will ship it to you for free.
- A few times a month, ULTA will drop its minimum spend for free shipping to $35. Check your email for alerts.
- You can also pick up an item in store for free — just make sure you click “check availability” on the product page.
- Platinum and Diamond ULTAmate Rewards members frequently get special promo codes for free shipping via email, especially during sales like 21 Days of Beauty.
- Every once in a while, ULTA will offer free shipping on a particular item. In 2019, ULTA did free shipping for a Buxom Empty Single Eyeshadow Compact that was priced at just $2. If you had this item to your cart, it will give you free shipping on your entire order. It’s a bit of a treasure hunt, but so worth it if you strike gold!
24. Shop ULTA online through Ibotta and earn 8% cash back.
That’s right — Ibotta isn’t just for groceries.
To use this offer while you’re shopping online, just open the Ibotta app and search for “ULTA.” Once you find it, click through to shop ULTA’s website, and Ibotta will put 8% of whatever you spend back into your PayPal account for you.
Unfortunately, the cash back deal with Ibotta excludes some coupons, like the $3.50 off $15 one.
25. Make the most of the ULTA return policy.
If you buy a product you don’t love, the ULTA return policy states you can return it within 60 days with proof of purchase. There’s no hard-and-fast rule — no one is going to bust out a scale — but for the most part if it’s 40% or less used, they’ll do a full refund.
Let’s say you bought a lotion two-and-a-half months ago, but you’ve just recently opened it and can’t stand the smell. Most likely, you’ll still be able to return it, even though it’s been more than 60 days. You’ll just get store credit instead of being reimbursed via your original payment method.
If you return something you bought with ULTA points, you’ll get all your points back. You will also lose any points you earned on a purchase if the item is returned.
26. The best things to buy at ULTA are makeup sets, palettes, and basics like makeup brushes.
If you use a $3.50 off $15 purchase coupon on an already discounted makeup palette or gift set — the ULTA brand ones frequently go on sale, and so do the prestige brands after the holidays — you can get $200 of make for just $16.49. Alright, twist my arm.
I also like to get my basics — like brushes, sponges, and blenders — at ULTA. No way am I spending $32 for an angled blush brush, which is what you pay in most make-up stores! ULTA sells their blush brushes for $16, but with a $3.50 off $15 coupon, they’re only $12.50.
27. Be mindful that ULTA does NOT price match. Not even themselves.
ULTA doesn’t price match competitors, or honor prices on ULTA.com in-store either. I’ve found that in-store deals are better than online, but of course it varies by product.
If I’m browsing an ULTA and see something I want, I pull the product on my phone to see if I can get it elsewhere — or even on ULTA.com — for less.
28. Look for discounted ULTA gift cards on Raise.
Stack your coupons with the discounted gift card for the biggest savings.
29. Earn extra points with the ULTA credit card.
Normally I’m not the biggest fan of store credit cards — they often have high APR % and are a pain in the butt to pay off — but if you’re a makeup junkie, the ULTAmate Rewards Credit Card might just make sense for you.
The first time you use it, you’ll get 20% off your entire purchase and 500 bonus points if you spend $500 (not just at ULTA) in the first 90 days. After that, you’ll earn 2x the points, all the time, on all your ULTA purchases.
You’ll also get one point for every $3 spent outside of ULTA. So, if you were to use it for all your daily purchases and pay it off before it accumulates interest, you’ll still be raking in points galore to spend at ULTA. Plus, there’s no annual fee.
There is also a regular ULTA credit card, but it doesn’t accumulate points outside of ULTA purchases, so I don’t really think the ROI is high enough to justify it.
30. Don’t forget about that sweet employee discount at ULTA.
Those pursuing an ULTA career get 25% off all retail products and 50% off all salon services! I mean, that’s where most of our paychecks are going anyway, right? Plus, employees still get reward points.