Kelly Bryant | 

Ulta Beauty Hacks That Will Save You Serious Cash

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I do not have to tell you that beauty products are frickin’ expensive. As my mother-in-law likes to say, “It’s a known fact.” And whether you buy the cheapest makeup on the market or dive into the pricier stuff, you still need to know how to knock your total down. Ulta savings hacks are particularly important, because you can find both drugstore and prestige brands at the retailer.

Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to save at Ulta. First, there are always Ulta coupons and major sales like the Semi-Annual Beauty Event. But then Ulta has actual freebies from their free sample vending machines to free birthday gifts for Ulta Beauty Rewards members.

So let’s get into all of the Ulta savings hacks available, shall we? And text HACKS to 57299 for smart shopping tips sent straight to your phone. You can also download the Krazy Coupon Lady app for easy access to the latest sales and deals.

Ulta Sales and Clearance Events


Shop the Ulta Beauty sales calendar to save up to 50%.

If you aren’t already well-acquainted with the Ulta sales calendar, now is the time to get familiar. Ulta goes big on sales events that feature one-day-only 50% off deals. They follow this model for the Semi-Annual Beauty Event (in March and August), Gorgeous Hair Event (May and October), and Love Your Skin Sale (January). But you do have to jump on the featured daily deals because they truly only last 24 hours, then it’s on to a new set. 

TIP: Ulta typically releases a preview of the upcoming week’s deals during a sale. This way you can plot out what you want to purchase ahead of time. 

How many times a year does Ulta have sales?

By our count, Ulta has major sales approximately eight times a year, not even counting their Black Friday deals.

Does Ulta have a clearance section?

Yes, Ulta has clearance, both in-store and online, but they don’t necessarily call it clearance.

If you're shopping in-store:

In-store, look for shelves labeled "Last Chance Beauty" — that's where you'll find Ulta clearance items. If your store doesn't have "Last Chance Beauty" signs, look for clearance near the registers at the front, or on a shelf at the very back of the store.

You can tell if an item is marked clearance because it will have either a yellow or red sticker. For the record, the yellow stickers indicate the biggest savings. I’ve found $39.99 makeup palettes for as little as $9.99. 

Decoding the price sticker colors:
  • White: If an item in the Last Chance Beauty section has a white price tag, it may not be reduced at all. It's just been placed here because it doesn't have a "home" anywhere else in the store.

  • Red: The red price stickers are typically the first indication that the item is at its first markdown. You can get up to 50% off, depending on the product.

  • Yellow: A yellow sticker is the lowest price you'll find on this product during the clearance process. It's 50% off or more.

If you're shopping online:

Personally, I think it’s easier to peruse clearance on under the ‘Sale’ tab at the top of their homepage. Once I’m on the ‘Sale’ page I click ‘Sort’ on the right hand side of the screen and filter by ‘Price (low to high)’. This way I can see the cheapest stuff first. 

You’ll see markdowns up to 75% off, but most of it generally sits around 50% off. And the good news is that these clearance (or “sale”) purchases do count towards any eligible free gifts. So there’s potential for a freebie on top of a steep discount.

Maximize Your Ulta Beauty Rewards Membership

It’s totally free to sign up for Ulta Beauty Rewards and you can start accumulating rewards points right away. Typically you get 1 point for every $1 spent at Ulta,, and Ulta at Target (though you will have to link your Ulta Rewards account to your Target Circle account). Here’s how to make the most of your rewards account.

Shop during Ulta’s “point multiplier” events when they offer 2x, 3x, 4x, or even 5x points on qualifying purchases.  

So here’s the deal: You can redeem your first Ulta reward when you hit 100 points. That’ll get you a $3-off reward. It equals a 3% return if you acquire those 100 points on an average day when you’re getting 1 point for every $1 spent. But, Ulta often holds “point multiplier” events when they offer up to 5x rewards points for every $1 spent. In the case of a 5x points multiplier period, you only have to spend $20 to hit 100 points for that $3 rewards voucher. That’s a 15% return instead of 3% — I’ll take it.

Combine Ulta rewards with Ulta coupons. 

On any given day you can typically find an Ulta coupon for $3.50 off $15+ purchase. If you have redeemable Ulta rewards burning a hole in your pocket (errr, account), stack them with an Ulta coupon. Just know that some prestige brands are excluded from Ulta coupons, as are daily “Beauty Steals” and Black Friday deals, among other items.

Note: According to Ulta’s rewards program rules, you can redeem up to 4,000 points in a single online purchase, and up to 10,000 points in a single in-store purchase. 

Take advantage of Ulta’s free birthday gift for rewards members.

Aside from earning dollar-off coupons you can earn through Ulta Beauty Rewards, another perk of the program is the free birthday gift you’ll receive each year just for being a member. Ulta revamped their birthday gifts in 2024, offering customers more options. Currently there are five different options to choose from including travel-size skincare, haircare, or makeup. 

During the month of your birthday you’ll receive an email from Ulta which includes a coupon to redeem the gift. It’s redeemable both in-store and at, but not in an Ulta at Target location.

Note: Ulta Beauty Rewards members also receive 2x rewards points on any eligible purchases they make during their birthday month. 

Stack your rewards at Target Ulta locations to earn from both Ulta Beauty Rewards and Target Circle.

Target and Ulta formed a partnership a few years ago, through which Ulta now has an in-store presence in a growing number of Target locations. Plus, you can shop Ulta Beauty at Target through Target's website, if you like.

Why would you do that? Because Target Ulta locations let you stack your rewards — so you can earn Target Circle and Ulta Beauty Rewards points with the same purchase.

To double up on rewards, visit the Target website to link your Target Circle account with your Ulta Beauty Rewards account. 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 Ulta Beauty at Target locations. You’re only able to earn the standard points per dollar you receive based on your Ulta Beauty Rewards membership tier.


Ulta Coupons and Promo Codes: What to Know


You heard it here — Ulta is actually extremely coupon-friendly. While there are some coupon exclusions (sorry, Chanel fans), there are still plenty of opportunities for coupon usage.

The Ulta coupons page houses the latest promotions.

I almost always see these two offers on the Ulta coupons page

  • $3.50 off a $15+ purchase

  • 10% off a qualifying purchase when you sign up for text alerts

Seriously, it’s so comforting knowing those offers are there. And if for some reason the $3.50 off $15+ coupon isn’t available, there’s usually an even better coupon in its place (like 20% off or $10 off $50).

Ulta accepts manufacturer coupons, and you can stack those on top of a store coupon. 

You can find drugstore brands like CoverGirl, Revlon, and Maybelline at Ulta. If you come across manufacturer coupons for these brands, Ulta will accept them at checkout in-store. And you can stack them with an Ulta store coupon, like that $3.50 off $15+ coupon I keep talking about. 

Note: The Ulta coupon policy only allows ONE store coupon per transaction, so you can’t stack two Ulta coupons or promo codes on top of one another. 

Do Ulta coupons work at Target?

Sadly, no, you cannot use an Ulta store coupon at Target. You also won't be able to pick up your Ulta birthday gift from an Ulta at Target.

Some brands, like Kylie Cosmetics, are excluded from most Ulta coupons.

You can see the full list of coupon-excluded brands on Ulta’s website (strap yourself in, it’s a lengthy list). But some call-outs include:

  • All fragrance brands

  • Beauty services from the Salon at Ulta, Dermalogica Skin Bar, and Benefit Brow Bar

  • Chanel BEAUTÈ

  • Dyson

  • Kylie Cosmetics

  • Philosophy

More Money-Saving Ulta Hacks


1. Ulta's return policy is pretty forgiving, allowing you to return products within 60 days, even if you've tested them.

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 Ulta Beauty Rewards member — they can look up your purchases using your 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.

TIP: Don’t push your limits — if you’ve already used more than 40% of the product, you may not get all your money back.

2. Rack up rewards points during 5x point offers at the Ulta salon.

Every location has a Salon at Ulta and you can earn Ulta Beauty Rewards points on all your salon services.

Ulta salon services are definitely at salon prices — a signature haircut can start at $57, depending on the location. 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, Ulta Beauty 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)!

3. “Free gift with purchase” offers

Every few weeks, Ulta lists new items on their Free Gifts page. When these gifts are listed, they share which products you can buy in order to earn said free gift. For example, maybe it's a free Clinique Moisture Surge with the purchase of $35 in other Clinique products.

There are usually between 50-80 free gifts available at any time. So, you’ll likely find a free gift that aligns with a purchase you’re already thinking about making. When deciding whether or not a free gift is worth going for, we like these the best value:

  • Free full-size product offers

  • Travel-size or deluxe samples

  • Free gifts available in-store (many are online-only)

  • Gifts with no minimum total threshold (i.e. "spend $35, get X product)

Note: Online only Ulta free gifts may result in a $6.95 shipping fee if you don’t meet the $35+ free shipping threshold.

Do you have to return your free gift at Ulta?

Mercifully, no. Ulta's return policy states that you will receive a full refund on a purchase that included a free gift, without you returning the free gift. However, you will only get the full refund if you make the return within the 60 day return window.

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.

4. Can you get free shipping at Ulta?

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.

  • Ulta offers free shipping on orders of $35+.

  • 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 Ulta Beauty Rewards members get special promo codes for free shipping via email, especially during sales like the Semi-Annual Sale.

5. Buy discounted Ulta gift cards on Raise to bump up your savings.

I’ve seen discounted Ulta gift cards on — for up to 14% off the gift card value. At that discount you could receive a $100 gift card but only pay $86 for it.

Stack your Ulta coupons with the discounted gift card for the biggest savings.

6. If you join the Ulta team, you'll get a 25% employee discount and 50% off salon services.

If you're looking for a new gig, know that Ulta employees get 25% off all retail products and 50% off all salon services. Plus, employees can still accrue Ulta Beauty Rewards points on those purchases.

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