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When it comes to a one-stop shop for everything beauty, Ulta Beauty is the GOAT. I used to spend my money at department stores and other competitor makeup stores — until I realized I was basically throwing my money out the window. Between the frequent Ulta sales, rewards points, and coupons, doing my shopping at Ulta for beauty items is a no-brainer.
And now that Ulta is inside Target stores, there are even more ways to shop for makeup, skincare, and hair care products. I’ll show you all the best ways to save money at Ulta and stock up on prestige beauty brands. I’ll even include my tips for hacking the Ulta rewards system and making the most of Ulta coupons.
For more smart shopping tips and savings hacks, text HACKS to 57299.
1. You can always get your hands on an Ulta coupon code. Here’s how:
The first step to getting an Ulta coupon is to head over to Ulta.com. Ulta always has the latest coupons available on their home page or under the “Sale” section of the navigation bar. The easiest way to see all the latest coupons is to jump right to their Today’s Coupons page.
Another great way to secure Ulta coupon codes is to sign up for Ulta emails. It only takes a few seconds, and you’ll get special coupon codes for free shipping, free product samples, and sale alerts for the best deals. Plus, you can use these Ulta coupons in-store, too.
Sadly, the Ulta coupon policy only allows ONE coupon per transaction, so coupon stacking isn’t an option. Also, some brands (like Kylie Cosmetics and BareMinerals) are excluded from most Ulta coupons. You can see the full list of coupon-excluded brands on their website.
Other Ulta coupon exclusions include beauty services from the salon, the Dermalogica Skin Bar, and the Benefit Brow Bar.
2. When does Ulta have sales?
Basically, don’t shop at Ulta in February, April, or August. They’re the only three months you won’t get to reap the benefits of an Ulta sale. Otherwise, here are the best Ulta sales to add to your calendar, like right now:
Ulta 21 Days of Beauty
Ulta 21 Days of Beauty happens twice a year, in March and September. During this three-week sale, you’ll score up to 50% off prestige makeup, skincare, and haircare brands from Ulta.
Ulta Black Friday & Cyber Monday
The Ulta Black Friday sale basically lasts the whole month of November, since early deals start Nov. 1 (or earlier). You’ll save up to 50% (and sometimes more) on prestige makeup brands and other quality beauty products.
Ulta Jumbo Love Event
The Ulta Jumbo Love Event is the best Ulta shampoo sale. It’s almost four weeks of daily deals that each last for 24 hours. Ulta hosts the Jumbo Love Event two times a year — in late June into July and again in late December into January.
Ulta Gorgeous Hair Event
The Ulta Gorgeous Hair Event happens twice a year, in May and October. It’s another three-week sale with daily deals for 50% off hair products, tools, and accessories. For the last three years, it’s started on the second Sunday in May, so we predict the next Gorgeous Hair Event will begin on May 14, 2023.
Ulta Love Your Skin Event
The Love Your Skin Event starts around Jan. 1 and lasts three weeks. You can get up to 50% off on your favorite products in skincare, makeup, bath, and wellness.
3. The best time to buy Ulta makeup is during their semi-annual 21 Days of Beauty Sale.
Remember — Ulta’s 21 Days of Beauty Sale happens twice a year, in March and September, so you have two huge opportunities to stock up every year.
The three-week event gives you daily deals on Ulta makeup and skincare products. You’ll have 24 hours to score 50% off prestige brands like MAC, Tarte, Too Faced, Urban Decay, and Smashbox. A lot of the deals are online only, but you can get some good ones in stores, too.
To give you an idea of the savings, here are some of the best deals from the March 2023 Ulta 21 Days of Beauty Sale:
- Urban Decay Cosmetics 24/7 Eyeshadow – $10.50 (reg. $21)
- Clinique Facial Cleanser – $11.75 (reg. $23.50)
- Lancome Lash Idole Lash-Lifting & Volumizing Mascara – $15 (reg. $30)
- First Aid Beauty Ingrown Hair Pads with BHA & AHA – $18 (reg. $36)
- Smashbox Primer – $21 (reg. $42)
4. Definitely shop for makeup during Ulta Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
If you miss out on the 21 Days of Beauty Sale in March and September, then Ulta Black Friday is your next best chance to save big. You’ll find both prestige and non-prestige brands on sale for up to 50% off (and sometimes more). In 2022 we even saw some Kylie Cosmetics products go on sale, like this lip-plumping gloss that was just $10 (41% off regular price).
Check out these Ulta deals on prestige brands from Black Friday 2022:
- Stila Stay All-Day Long-Wear Liquid Lipstick, $10 (reg. $22)
- Tarte Sugar Rush Lip Sip Vegan Lip Oil, $10 (reg. $15)
- Kylie Cosmetics Powders, $11.40 (reg. $19)
- IT Cosmetics Makeup Brushes, $12 (reg. $24.50)
The Ulta Cyber Monday deals on makeup were also just as good last year. Plus, Ulta threw out a coupon code for $5 off $15+ orders.
In 2022, Ulta Cyber deals included 40% off all Philosophy skin and bath items, 30% off all Lancome brand beauty products, and 30% off the entire Tarte Cosmetics line. Also, all Ulta Beauty Collection beauty boxes were $19.99 (regularly $29.99).
5. Buy Ulta skincare during the Love Your Skin sale in January.
Ulta’s Love Your Skin Event runs for three weeks in January (in 2023, the event ran from Jan. 1 – Jan. 21). Throughout the sale, you’ll score 50% off skincare products that literally never go on sale at Ulta. New deals drop daily, so once again, you only have 24 hours to snag the products you love for less. But once you see how great the deals are, you’ll be sitting on edge of your seat as soon as the New Year hits.
These were some of the best deals from Ulta’s Love Your Skin Event in January 2023:
- Lancôme Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup Remover – $16 – $21 (reg. $32 – $42)
- Peach & Lily Glass Skin Refining Serum 1.35 oz – $19.50 (reg. $39)
- Kopari Beauty Moisture Whipped Ceramide Cream – $21 (reg. $42)
- Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Multi-Recovery Complex Serum 0.67 oz – $26.50 (reg. $53)
- Clinique Smart Clinical Repair Wrinkle Correcting Eye Cream – $28 (reg. $56)
- Lancôme Advanced Génifique Wrinkle & Dark Circle Eye Cream – $34.50 (reg. $69)
6. Stock up on shampoo and conditioner during the Ulta Jumbo Love Event.
The Ulta Jumbo Love Event, also known as the Liter Sale, is a semi-annual sale that happens in mid-to-late June and about one month after their Black Friday sale. It’s the best time of year to stock up on liter-sized shampoos and conditioners and snag up to 40% off top hair care brands. You’ll find deals on Redken, Pureology, Biolage, Paul Mitchell, and more.
Even better, there’s usually an Ulta coupon you can stack on top of low sale prices, like $10 off $40 hair care or $3.50 off $15+ purchases.
These are some of the best Jumbo Love deals we’ve seen at Ulta in the past:
- Biolage Shampoo or Conditioner – 33.8 oz, as low as $21.49 with coupon (reg. $32)
- Paul Mitchell Botanicals Shampoo or Conditioner – 33.8 oz, as low as $21.49 with coupon (reg. $36)
- Redken Shampoo or Conditioner – 33.8 oz, as low as $26.49 with coupon (reg. $38)
7. Grab all your other Ulta hair care needs during the Gorgeous Hair Event.
The semi-annual Ulta Gorgeous Hair Event kicks off every spring (the second Sunday in May) and again in the fall (the first Sunday in October). The sale is another 21 days of deals that last for 24 hours only, and some deals are only available online.
During the event, products from pricey hair brands like Bed Head, Living Proof, Hot Tools, and Chi are up to 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 may want to try before getting the jumbo size (or that you just need less of, like a clarifying shampoo).
These are some of the best Gorgeous Hair Event deals we’ve seen from Ulta in the past:
- Chi Hair Care, as low as $7.37 (reg. $14.75+) *online only
- Redken Frizz Dismiss Collection, as low as $12 (reg. $24+)
- Living Proof Scalp Care Dry Scalp Treatment, $17 (reg. $34) *online only
- Grande Cosmetics GrandeHair Serums, as low as $32.50 (reg. $65+) *online only
- L’ange Le Volume Volumizing Brush Dryer, $44.50 (reg. $89)
- Hot Tools Pro Artist Quietair Power Dryer, $59.99 (reg. $119.99)
8. Take advantage of the “Buy More, Save More” Ulta sale that happens all year long.
Ulta’s Buy More, Save More deals are awesome and available all the time, so you don’t need to wait for a big sale to snag these savings. Exact deals range from BOGO offers to 40% off entire lines!
Some of the recent Buy More, Save More deals include:
- Tarte Sugar Rush Minis — 5 for $25
- Dr Teal’s — Buy 1, Get 1 40% off
- Benefit Cosmetics Must-Have Minis — 3 for $30
- Pacifica Cosmetics — Buy 2, Get 1 Free
- The Body Shop — Buy 1, Get 1 40% off
TIP: Any time you browse online at Ulta.com, you can filter your results by products that are eligible for the Buy More, Save More deal. At the top of the results page, find the SPECIAL OFFERS box and check off “Buy More, Save More” to only see eligible items.
9. Keep your eye out for Ulta Beauty Break deals on Wednesdays.
Every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CT, Ulta releases a special online-only sale known as a Beauty Break.
Beauty Break sales only last for four hours, so snatch them up! The deals are brand-specific gifts with purchases, almost always for prestige products. For example, one Beauty Break deal was: Spend $50 on Anastasia Beverly Hills items and get a totally free Anastasia Beverly Hills gift set.
10. Take advantage of Ulta’s return policy — it gives you 60 days to return most items.
If you buy a product you don’t love, the Ulta return policy says you can return it within 60 days for a full refund, but you will need your original receipt. Unless you’re an Ultamate Rewards member — they can look up your purchases using your Ultamate Rewards member ID or phone number, so you won’t need a receipt. Without a membership or a receipt, you can only get in-store credit for your return.
Ulta’s return policy is more forgiving than most. They understand that to know whether or not you like something, you actually have to TRY it. That’s why they’ll accept returns on gently used products and still give you a full refund. But don’t push your limits — if you’ve already used more than 40% of the product, you may not get all your money back.
11. The best things to buy at Ulta are makeup sets, palettes, and basics like makeup brushes.
Ulta has a wide variety of makeup sets and palettes from Clinique, Benefit Cosmetics, Tarte, Anastasia Beverly Hills, and other prestige makeup brands. You’ll also find low prices on less high-end brands. I found a Makeup Revolution Reloaded Palette on sale for just $4.80 — and it comes with 15 different shades of matte and shimmer eyeshadow. That’s just $0.32 per eyeshadow!
And if your makeup brushes start to look grimy and saturated with product, Ulta’s the place to stock up on a new set. This five-piece EcoTools Eye Makeup Brush Set is just $9.99. I bought it myself and instantly threw out my old brushes after using these babies for the first time!
12. Join the free Ulta rewards program to get points, coupon codes, and freebies.
Make sure you sign up for Ultamate Rewards (not a typo, that’s how they spell “Ultamate”) to get all kinds of Ulta beauty perks. And if you’re looking for more Ulta coupons, becoming an Ultamate Rewards member is one of the easiest and best ways to keep them coming. Rewards members get more Ulta 20% off coupons than nonmembers who only sign up for emails — and you can even use them on normally excluded prestige brands.
Ulta’s rewards program has three tiers: Free, Platinum, and Diamond:
The higher your tier, the more Ulta beauty perks you unlock. As soon as you qualify for a tier, your status is good until Dec. 31.
TIP: We have a full guide on how to score all sorts of free beauty products using your Ulta rewards.
13. Get an Ulta birthday gift and double points during your birthday month.
With Ultamate Rewards, you get a free Ulta birthday gift during your birthday month, just like the Sephora birthday gift program. With Ulta, they’ll send an email on your birthday with a scannable code and the option to choose between two (usually travel-sized) beauty products. You can redeem your free birthday gift coupon in store or online up to 30 days after your birthday.
But the best birthday perks from Ulta are 2x points for your whole birthday month! Getting double points means you don’t need to spend $200 to get $17.50 worth of free products — you only need to spend $100.
So if you want to level up your points when you sign up for rewards, “make” your birthday month fall on a day that’s during a seasonal sale — like Ulta Black Friday (November) or Ulta 21 Days of Beauty (March or September). We won’t tell them that’s not your real birthday.
Related: Here are even more birthday freebies, rewards, and discounts.
14. Always aim to earn more than one point per dollar at Ulta.
They say you need to spend money to make money. Well at Ulta, you gotta rack up the points to get the points.
The best way to maximize your Ulta points is to shop during a 2x points period or another bonus offer for more points on your purchase.
Platinum and Diamond members get the most offers for 2x, 3x, 4x, 5x, 6x, 7x, or even 10x points on certain brands or products. Free members get these too, but less frequently.
The “when,” “what,” and “how” of point multipliers is tricky. Sometimes these offers last an entire month. Other times it’s a targeted campaign for select members. But you can always find out about the latest bonus offers in the Ulta mobile app (iOS / Android). And never EVER unsubscribe from Ulta emails.
15. Earn even more points on your purchases with the Ulta credit card.
I’m not the biggest fan of store credit cards. They typically have a high APR and are a pain in the butt to pay off. But if you’re a makeup junkie, signing up for the Ultamate Rewards credit card may make perfect sense. First off, there’s no annual fee, so you don’t have to pay to use the card. You’ll also get 20% off your first purchase at Ulta and earn twice as many points on future purchases.
There’s also an Ultamate Rewards Mastercard option that has the same perks, plus these extra benefits:
- 1 point per $3 spent outside of Ulta Beauty
- 500 Welcome Bonus Points when you spend $500 in the first 90 days outside of Ulta Beauty
Related: We dug into all the details of the Ulta credit card.
16. Rack up points during 5x point offers at the Ulta salon.
Did you know you can get waxed, plucked, and styled at Ulta? Every Ulta location has an Ulta hair salon, and you can earn Ultamate Rewards points on all your salon purchases.
Ulta salon services are definitely at salon prices — a signature haircut starts at $57 — but if you’re planning to spend that much anyway, you might as well do it at Ulta and rack up those points!
Wait for a bonus offer, like 5x points on salon services, to book your appointment. About three or four times a year, Ultamate Rewards members get an email for a 5x points promo. That means you’ll get 500 points on a $100 hair salon service — which means you’re already a quarter of the way to 2,000 points (aka $125 worth of free products)!
Ulta has a bunch of other beauty services available, too, like brow waxing, makeup, skin services, and ear piercing. Find an Ulta salon near you to book your next appointment.
17. Stack your rewards at Target Ulta locations.
Target and Ulta formed the perfect partnership a couple of years ago, and we love that we’re able to conveniently shop for Ulta beauty products at Target. Even better, Target Ulta locations let you stack your rewards — so you can earn Target Circle and Ultamate Rewards points with the same purchase.
To double up on rewards, make sure you visit the Target website and link your Target Circle account with your Ultamate Rewards account. That way, you’ll automatically earn your standard 1% back from Target Circle, plus earn Ulta points on your Ulta purchases from Target.
The only downside is you can’t earn bonus points (like the 2x or more points offers) at Target Ulta locations. You’re only able to earn the standard points per dollar you receive based on your Ultamate Rewards membership tier.
18. Always look for the “free gift with purchase” offers.
Ulta always has deals where you get a free gift with a qualifying purchase. These offers are always category or brand-specific, so you’ll see something like this:
- Free IT Cosmetics Deluxe Size Lash Blowout Mascara with any $35 IT Cosmetics purchase
- Free 4-piece mystery fragrance gift with any $50 online fragrance purchase
It’s easy peasy to find all the freebies online — just head to the Gifts with Purchase page on Ulta.com. You can also find them in the Ulta app under “Sales & Coupons.” Some offers are online only, while others are available online and in stores (but that can depend on store inventory).
19. Ulta generously applies promos 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.
That’s when they’ll apply your coupon. In the end, you’d pay $36.50 for a free gift with purchase, instead of $40. Yessss.
Ask your local Ulta store when they get their product shipments in so you can be the first to snag new products and deals.
20. Hit up the 5 for $5 sale for beauty stocking stuffers at low prices.
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. This deal usually drops in mid-November alongside their normal holiday and Black Friday promos.
And there’s a way to get these stocking stuffers for less than $1 each! If you buy 15 things for $1 each and use the perennial $3.50 off $15 coupon, you’ll end up paying just $11.50 (plus tax) for your whole haul! That’s about $0.77 per item.
Related: You can also shop the Ulta gift sets at Target.
21. Test all the makeup brands that you can’t try at Walgreens, CVS, or Rite Aid.
Ulta carries some of the same brands that drugstores do, like NYX, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Maybelline, and L’Oreal. You won’t often find lower prices on these products than at your corner drugstore, but Ulta offers something most drugstores don’t: the ability to try on these products!
So instead of blindly buying that new blush or foundation, 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 post-pandemic).
22. Shop the Ulta clearance section in store.
You can shop the Ulta sale section online, but the clearance deals are only available in store. Ulta’s clearance section is located either by the registers up front or in the back of the store (depending on your store). That’s where you’ll find discounted products for up to 90% off. Every item has a red or yellow sticker, but the yellow stickers indicate 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.
23. How to get free shipping at Ulta.
There are a handful of different ways to get Ulta free shipping. Usually, Ulta requires you to spend $50 minimum to get free shipping online, but that doesn’t mean you have to!
Here’s how to get free shipping at Ulta:
- 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 their 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 get special promo codes for free shipping via email, especially during sales like 21 Days of Beauty.
24. Have a Capital One credit card? Earn 7% back on your Ulta.com purchases.
Capital One credit card holders get to savor the sweet perk of Capital One Offers. These are exclusive, automatic cash-back offers that give you up to 30% back when you pay with your card at certain stores — and there are over a thousand to choose from. You have to add the offer to your card before you shop, but after your purchase, you’ll see the credit on your account within three billing cycles.
Now, subscription brands and services tend to have the highest cash-back rates, like 20% – 30%. But Capital One gives most retailers a rate of around 3% – 10% back. At Ulta, you’ll get 7% back on your online purchases. Stack this with a sale price, Ulta coupon, free gift with purchase, and 2x points for the deal of a lifetime.
25. Shop Ulta.com through Ibotta and earn 3% back.
That’s right — Ibotta isn’t just for saving on groceries.
To get this offer, just open the Ibotta app and search for “ULTA.” Then click through to shop on Ulta’s website. Ibotta will put 3% of whatever you spend back into your PayPal account for you.
Unfortunately, cash back from Ibotta excludes some Ulta coupons, like the $3.50 off $15 one.
Related: Check out all the latest Ibotta coupons and deals available now.
26. Be mindful that Ulta does NOT price match. Not even their own prices online.
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 items in the Ulta store and see something I want, I pull the product up on my phone to see if I can get it elsewhere — or even on Ulta.com — for less.
27. Look for discounted Ulta gift cards on Raise.
Stack your coupons with the discounted gift card for the biggest savings.
28. 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 Ultamate Rewards points.
29. Make totally unrelated online returns at some Ulta stores and get a $5 off $15 coupon.
Ever shop at online stores like Gymshark, Everlane, ModCloth, or Revolve and need to return something? Instead of making another trip to the post office, you’ll want to know about the Happy Returns hack. First, check if an Ulta store near you participates in the program, then take your online returns straight into the store.
An Ulta employee will scan your Happy Returns QR code, accept your return, then give you an Ulta coupon good for $5 off a $15 purchase. So easy!