Ulta and Sephora are some of the most prominent names in the beauty products sector and are very close competitors. However, they do offer varied features that attract different kinds of customers.
Overall, whichever you choose depends on your particular needs when you shop. So, come along with me if you want to know what features each store offers to see which best suits your needs!
How Do Ulta and Sephora Compare in 2024?
The features that a customer prefers between Ulta and Sephora depend on their shopping needs at the particular time, as the two cosmetic retailers offer nearly the same range of products in 2024. However, they both provide a varied shopping experience. Sephora has the air of a pricier luxury services provider, while Ulta has a more affordable feel.
Stay on if you want to know how these two shops compare in pricing, loyalty programs, product range and quality, makeup, and much more!
How Do Ulta and Sephora Compare?
Ulta sells mass and luxury cosmetics, fragrances, and skin and hair care products from its 1200 stores in the US, as well as on ulta.com.
On the other hand, Sephora is a multinational beauty retailer with almost 340 brands and its in-house brand, Sephora Collections.
Which Is More Expensive- Ulta or Sephora?
At either shop, the price depends on the brand of the product you are buying. Both shops host other brands over whose pricing they have minimal control.
In such circumstances, the prices are matched at both Ulta and Sephora, and whatever differences exist are very small.
For instance, on both shops’ websites, a Tom Ford Black Orchid Eau de Parfum costs $50-$210.
For mass-market brands, Ulta has gained a reputation as the more affordable beauty shop for pricing and variety.
Sephora, on the other hand, is considered more expensive as a disproportionate portion of its offerings is high-end and therefore more costly.
Many customers prefer Ulta because they can satisfy their desire for a luxury brand and a more ordinary beauty product under one roof.
Which Has Higher Quality Products- Ulta or Sephora?
The quality is nearly evenly matched in these two beauty shops, even though Sephora is geared more towards luxury brands.
Luxury products no doubt put some effort into quality. Nevertheless, it is only in rare instances that the product is far superior to a well-crafted mass brand.
In some instances, the mass brand may even outperform the luxury brand on quality.
The prices of luxury brands are primarily justified by their association with prestige than by anything else.
They bolster this through attractive packaging and recommendations by influential people.
Mass brands, on the other hand, ride on the power of their quality more than anything else and produce items with a rate that matches or surpasses bespoke names.
Which Has Better Rewards- Ulta or Sephora?
Ulta rewards its loyal customers through its Ultamate Rewards loyalty program with the following features:
- The program is divided into three tiers, with the first tier free to qualify for.
- You qualify for Platinum when you spend $500 on products and services in a year, and for Diamond when you spend $1200 in a year.
- You earn 1 point for every dollar you spend. At the Platinum level, it is 1.25 points for every dollar and 1.5 points for every dollar at the Diamond level.
- You earn double points during your birthday month, as well as a gift and a $10 coupon.
- Your points are redeemable in-store or online for any product or service. The least number you can redeem is 100 points.
- 100 points get you $3 off, 250 points gets you $8 off, and 500 points gets you $17.50 off. For 750 points, you get $30 off, $50 off for 1000 points, and $125 off your purchases for 2000 points.
Sephora offers its rewards through the Sephora Beauty Insider loyalty program that contains the following features:
- The program is divided into three tiers- Insider, VIB, and VIB Rouge.
- Insider is free to join. However, you must purchase products worth $350 to join VIB and $1000 to join VIB Rouge. The more you spend, the greater your rewards.
- You earn a point for every dollar spent. This goes up to 1.25 points for VIB and 1.5 points per dollar for VIB Rouge.
- You get a gift for your birthday across all tiers. Insiders have a choice of 2 gifts, while VIB and VIB Rouge have the pick of four options. The nature of the gifts is at Sephora’s discretion.
- You get a one-time custom make-over with both VIB and VIB Rouge to celebrate achieving the status.
- Rewards are redeemable at the Rewards Bazaar, and you can only redeem your points for what Sephora offers, subject to availability.
- 500 points will get you $10 off, and 2500 points will get you $100 off, though this is only available to VIB Rouge members.
Some customers consider Ultamate Rewards better than Beauty Insider Rewards as these points are easier to accumulate and spend.
You can redeem your Ultamate Rewards points in-store or online on any product, while Beauty Insider points can only be redeemed at the Rewards Bazaar for the products offered there.
Which Has Better Makeup- Ulta or Sephora?
Ulta operates salon services on its premises, where it also offers makeup services besides selling makeup products.
Prices for the makeup products are broadly similar across the two stores, especially for similarly hosted brands.
Ulta charges between $10 and $60 for services that range from eyelash removal to formal makeup application.
Sephora, however, charges $50, which you redeem with rewards or complimentary upon buying products worth $50.
Moreover, Sephora also offers free full makeup as a celebratory reward for attaining the VIB and VIB Rouge loyalty status.
Further, Sephora and Ulta offer free makeup samples and advice to help customers decide what to buy.
Which Has Greater Product Variety- Ulta or Sephora?
Ulta offers 25,000 products across the spectrum from over 600 established and less known mass brands. Moreover, Ulta also offers black-owned brands, as do most other beauty shops.
Besides beauty products, Ulta operates a salon in its physical locations where it offers various services.
Sephora, on the other hand, is oriented more toward high-end products. The beauty shop offers approximately 25,000 products from 340 primarily high-end brands.
As well, Sephora sells products from the Sephora Collection, an in-house brand.
As a luxury-oriented retailer, Sephora carries many products not offered by Ulta, though Ulta is increasing its offerings in that respect.
Which Offers a Better Customer Experience- Ulta or Sephora?
Sephora seeks to offer an integrated shopping experience across its physical and online spaces, so customers can transition from one to the other without breaking.
Customers can find out about a product online and order from there or go to a physical store.
Similarly, they can walk into a physical store, scan a product with their phone, and find out from the app if the product is right for them.
Ulta also aspires to provide a cohesive shopping experience, especially between the high-end and mass brand shoppers.
Additionally, Ulta understands that its target customers prefer to mix luxury and mass brands to the best effect.
The quality of the shopping experience they offer is nearly at par, and what differences in opinion customers hold are due to personal preferences.
To learn more, you can also read our posts on how do Ulta points work, is Sephora still in JCPenney, and how to cancel a Sephora credit card.
Ulta and Sephora are close competitors on the US beauty products scene, offering the same products, near similar buyer incentives, and at prices that are not vastly differentiated.
However, Ulta is more oriented towards the mass market, carrying more offerings from less known but affordable brands, unlike Sephora, which chooses to cater to the luxury market.