I always go back and forth between Sephora and Ulta as my #1 favorite beauty store. Both stores have their own branded cosmetic lines, and until recently both have been pretty hit or miss. Ulta has recently stepped up their Ulta Collection product line to the point where they are seriously competing with much more expensive brands, something Sephora has been trying to do for a long time but just keeps falling short. In fact, some Ulta Collection products have become my go-to favorites, something I never would have predicted. Since I’ve been so floored by how great they are, I decided to compile my favorite Ulta Collection skincare and makeup products for you!

There is one other thing that Ulta has that Sephora doesn’t  – mind blowing sales. We’re talking buy 1, get 1 free and buy 2, get 2 free sales, and they happen with somewhat regularity. They’re the best way to try new Ulta Collection products and stock up on your favorites!


Earlier this year, the Ulta Collection skincare line just kind of went dark. Everything was out of stock, then products started disappearing off the Ulta website. Then seemingly out of nowhere something incredible happened – Ulta launched a whole new skincare line. Not just any skincare line – one that rivaled products that retail for at least double the price. The line is focused on hydration and dabbles into Korean skincare as well (!!!!!).

Ulta Dual Action Cleansing Brush System ($25): If you are in the market for a Clarisonic, or a cheaper version of a Clarisonic that does practically the same job for a fraction of the price, then look no further. I was not at all expecting to love this brush as much as the reviews promised I would, but after getting some stubborn blackheads I figured it was worth the low $25 price to find out. The bristles are ever-so-slightly rougher than its pricier competitor when I felt them side by side, but they’re still pretty damn soft. In the end, even with my sensitive skin I don’t find them too abrasive at all – just nicely exfoliating. I have been using this a couple times a week for the past month or so and am amazed at how smooth my skin has become with no redness at all.

Ulta Radiant Skin Sleeping Cream ($19.50): Beware – this night cream sells out often (because it’s amazing)! It is the #1 night cream I have ever tried, and at this price point I don’t feel bad using it every single night. Packed with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, argan oil, jojoba oil, and peptides, this cream is downright transformative. My skin is softer, plumper, and more even-toned every morning. If you have oily skin this one might not be for you, but it is incredible for those with dry skin. This was part of their older skincare line, but when they rebranded it and pared down the products this cult favorite stuck around (YESSSSSSS).

Ulta Waterfull Gel-Cream Moisturizer ($19.50): I stick with a Korean skincare regimen (cleanser, toner, essence, serum, then moisturizer) and because I have dry skin I use products that have hydrating ingredients. By the time I get to the moisturizer step I only need a light one, so gel creams are such a great fit for my skincare routine. I am a huge fan of the Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb gel cream, but it’s a whopping $38! For something I use every day, spending just half for a pretty similar product is a no-brainer. The Ulta version looks and feels the same and contains a little bit more product, but it’s slightly lighter than Aqua Bomb. It’s perfect for summer but I’m not sure how it will handle extra dry winter skin. Regardless, it’s not different enough from Aqua Bomb for me to notice most days, and my skin looks just as good as it did when I was using Aqua Bomb daily.

Ulta Velvetskin Melting Moisturizer ($19.50): I got this during one of Ulta’s famous buy 2, get 2 free sales; I figured it was a great time to try a new moisturizer! I am so glad I did, because this moisturizer is GREAT. It’s a whipped formula that soaks right into my skin, leaving it plump and bright. It’s got hyaluronic acid so it’s great for dry skin; since it’s a bit heavier than the gel cream, it’ll be perfect for winter. It also smells really nice, and while that’s not a requirement, it is a nice bonus.

Ulta Dewdrench Replenishing Essence ($19.50): You all know by now how I swear by adding an essence to your skincare regimen, so I had to try this when the line launched. Guys, this is the most hydrating essence I have ever used. Seriously. It’s a little too moisturizing for me right now while it’s 90 degrees and humid out, but when the cold winds start blowing through I have a feeling this is going to be my best friend. It’s got hyaluronic acid and coconut oil in it, and boy do you feel the moisture. It’s not sticky or oily at all, but your skin will instantly plump and be ready for your serum!


Ulta is taking a cue from high-end cosmetic brands and abandoning the cheaply-made stuff without sacrificing their low price points. Their products are made without parabens (which over time could cause cancer and endocrine issues) and sulfates (which are known irritants and are particularly bad for sensitive skin). I try to be really conscious of the ingredients I put on my skin, so this just makes me love the Ulta Collection even more!

Ulta Tinted Eye Primer in Champagne Shimmer ($12): This is my holy grail eye primer. It is not only a gorgeous champagne color, but once you put your eye shadow on it is not going anywhere. I have used so many primers, and this is among the best I have ever tried. It comes in a few other shades, but the champagne is so pretty and neutral that I haven’t felt the need to try others.

Ulta Illuminator in Pink Diamond ($10): This highlighter is SO PRETTY. It’s blinding and looks downright wet on the skin. For $10, this highlighter is gooooorgeous and has serious staying power. I absolutely adore the pink diamond shade. I am fair with pink undertones and it’s just perfect. There are 3 other shades for various skin tones, but for me the pink diamond is the prettiest.

Ulta Matte Bronzer ($10): This bronzer comes in 2 tones – cool or warm. Can we talk about how great it is that Ulta recognizes that cool toned bronzers are impossible to find? Sure, some brands will claim they’re cool toned, but they’re almost always not. It’s so hard to find a solid bronzer for pale/pink skin. This bronzer, I am thrilled to tell you, is perfect. Not only is it genuinely cool toned but It’s creamy, super blendable, and comes with a ton of product. For $10 (or less if you catch it on sale!) I am super impressed.

Ulta Blush Palettes (Mad for Mauve and Peach Pop) ($18): These cheek palettes are shockingly good! You get six universally flattering shades in each for only $18 – and the formula is great! I was so surprised by how each shade actually looked good on me, had just enough pigment, and blended out so beautifully. I got this during a buy 1, get 1 free sale – $18 for both palettes was such a steal!

Ulta Color Correcting Face Primer ($18): Lauren has been listening to me rave about this primer for so long. This was really my first inkling that Ulta had stepped up their game. This green primer helps reduce redness in your skin, but it’s so subtle that if you have rosacea or serious redness issues then you’ll likely also need to do some other color correcting in addition to this. I like the formula a lot, it’s one of the better primers I’ve used (especially for that price!) and my makeup goes on smoother and lasts longer with it. My one gripe with this primer is that you need to use so little at a time that eventually the formula will separate. While it’s good that the tube will last for so long, the formula is a little too thick to just shake and mix it up again. But if you get it while it’s on sale, it’s not that big of a deal to replace it every now and again.

I think we’re due for a big Ulta sale soon, especially around the holidays, and I can’t wait to pick up more of my favorites and find some new ones for extra cheap. Don’t forget to use Ebates when shopping on Ulta.com! They’ve always got a great Ebate offer, and frequently do double cash back. If you don’t have an Ebates account CLICK HERE to get one and get a few bucks for free as a bonus – don’t worry, it’s free and you’ll get cash back on your online purchases (it’s legit, I’ve been using it for years).

Are you in love with the new and improved Ulta Collection? What are your favorite Ulta products and what should I try next?






All opinions are my own. Post contains referral link.

A foodie, travel junkie, and reality TV aficionado who derives an unnerving amount of joy from dressing her giant dog in ridiculous costumes.

1 Comment on Friday Favorites – ULTA EDITION!

  1. Ashley
    August 25, 2017 at 10:13 am (6 months ago)

    This was awesome – I love Ulta and don’t mind blowing money on their line bc it’s all so cheap. Whenever I get a wild hair to try neon purple eyeliner it’s during a buy 1 get 45 free sale. Thanks, Jill!