I buy a lot of beauty products from Ulta, but one of the best surprises is discovering I’m eligible for a free gift when I reach checkout. It's the ultimate Ulta shopping hack. And if you can pair Ulta free gifts with one of the retailer's major sales, like 21 Days of Beauty, the Gorgeous Hair Event, you're really coming out ahead.
I’ve literally seen everything from the random (a free trucker hat with Juicy Couture fragrance purchase) to the luxurious (Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Shampoo with a $30 Alterna purchase). And while it’s always a little fun to get something free even if you’ll never use it (sorry, trucker hat), the best Ulta free gifts are those with products you love or are curious to try.
Because, let’s face it, most of us have enough promotional totes to bag five shopping carts worth of groceries. I want the stuff that feels like someone is handing me cash in product form. A shampoo, mascara, or sampler skincare set are useful, even if they are travel-size.
Here’s How Ulta’s Free Gifts with Purchase Work
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, as of late Sept. 2023, you could get 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. That said, I can’t think of a time I’d buy something I didn’t really want just to get a free gift. No one needs more stuff just for the sake of having it.
Full-size free gifts with purchase are the best and can offer savings upwards of 65%.
If you can get a full-size product with a brand purchase, that is the creme de la creme, in my humble opinion. These are harder to come by but super exciting when they come along. For example, in Sept. 2023 dpHue offered a free full-size Color Fresh Blow Dry Creme with any dpHue purchase. There wasn’t even a purchase amount threshold! On top of that, the brand isn’t excluded from Ulta coupons so I was able to apply a $3 off $15 purchase code to my order. The breakdown looked like this:
Buy 1 dpHue product: I chose the Color Fresh Shampoo, $18.20 (reg. $26)
Receive 1 full-size Color Fresh Blow Dry Creme: FREE (reg. price $30)
Final price after $3 off $15 coupon: $15.20
Considering the value of the purchased product and the free product is $48.20, that’s a savings of 68.5%!
Ulta Free Gifts with no price threshold also reap the best value.
Quite often you’ll find that Ulta Free Gifts require a minimum brand purchase to score the complimentary add-on. It’s usually anywhere from $20 – $50. And while that’s understandable because brands are trying to incentivize you to spend, the free gifts that only require a single purchase with no minimum spend are better.
Take the dpHue example from above, for instance. All that was needed to get the free full-size Blow Dry Creme was to make any dpHue purchase. The product I added to my cart was actually priced lower than the full price of the free gift itself.
RELATED: Ulta Shopping Hacks You Need to Know
Online only Ulta Free Gifts may result in a $6.95 shipping fee if you don’t meet the $35+ free shipping threshold.
Many of the Ulta free gifts are only available online, meaning if you make the same purchase in-store you won’t get that freebie. They don’t physically have that free gift inventory in each location. This also means that you can’t dodge shipping fees if you are under the $35+ free shipping threshold.
Now, typically this isn’t much of an issue because most of the spend requirements for a free gift are over $35. But if they’re not, you have to decide whether or not there’s something else you want to buy to hit the $35 at Ulta for free shipping. Or if the free gift outweighs the bummer of spending $6.95 on standard shipping.
The good news: Adding the free gift doesn’t increase shipping fees.
Ulta offers free standard shipping on any orders of $35 or more, and adding a free gift doesn’t change that. As long as your order is higher than $35, you’ll get free shipping and your free gift.
Some free gift offers are better than others, so shop carefully.
Getting one free gift is great but what if I told you there’s a hack that will give you more free gifts — and it won’t cost you any extra money! Since Ulta’s free shipping threshold is so low at just $35, you can place multiple orders to get more than one free gift.
A previous Clinique offer for example: Ulta offered a free Clinique Moisture Surge with the purchase of $35 in Clinique products. So say you were already ordering $80 of Clinique products — if you make one big purchase, you’ll spend $80 and get one free product. If you split this purchase into two $40 purchases, you’ll score free shipping on both orders and two free gifts — one with each order!
These are the current free offers that meet the above criteria for being the best.
As previously mentioned, there’s a hierarchy that makes some Ulta free gifts way better than others. These are the current offers you can get at Ulta that meet our criteria. Keep in mind while each promotion has an expiration date, they’re only valid while supplies last (and good free gifts go quick).
Free full-size product offers:
Vitamin C Resurfacing Toner full size with $35 Flora + Noor purchase (valid thru 2/17/24)
Offers including a sampler kit or travel-size product:
3-Piece Gift with select Tiffany & Co. spray purchase (valid thru 2/29/24)
Complimentary choice of moisturizer with Clinique Smart purchase (valid thru 3/2/24)
Peptide Wrinkle Relax Moisturizer with $35 BeautyStat Cosmetics purchase (valid thru 3/9/24)
Gloss+ Sheer with dpHUE Root Touch Up Kit purchase (valid thru 3/30/24)
Bonbon Body Lotion with Viktor&Rolf Bonbon spray purchase (valid thru 7/13/24)
In-store free gift offers available:
Kristin Ess Hair Soft Volume Blow Dry Brush purchase (valid thru 2/17/24)
Primer with Clinique foundation purchase (valid thru 2/19/24)
Sugaring Body Powder with $35 Sugardoh purchase (valid thru 3/9/24)