What would the budget beauty girl do without Ulta? We have a sincere appreciation for the crowd-pleasing beauty retailer, which does its best to make sure our product addiction is satiated without completely ruining our budget. (Even top makeup artists are in love with Ulta. Click here to see what five celebrity MUAs would buy there with $25.)
But what about Ulta's own product line? We've talked about how underrated Sephora-brand products are, so we were interested to see if the same goes for Ulta's affordable in-house collection. We gathered a group of discerning beauty gurus from our office, women who have no patience for low-quality makeup, to review the top 10 best-selling makeup products from the Ulta range. Some hit it out of the park, and others not so much. Want to know which Ulta-brand products we love most? Keep scrolling to read our honest Ulta makeup reviews.
"The coolest part about this mascara is that, as its name suggests, you can twist the tube to change the shape of the wand from straight to coiled. There are four settings to the wand shape, which promise to increase the drama of your lashes with each one. I found that the first setting where the wand is straight and thick with small bristles creates the most flattering, separated look. The final setting, where the wand is completely coiled, made my lashes a little too clumpy for my liking, but it might work better for someone who already has thick lashes.
The mascara is a bit tricky to remove, but not impossible. All in all, I think you definitely get your money's worth with the product." — Amanda Montell, features editor
"Other than lipstick, blush is pretty much the only makeup product I use. As much as I love the peachy pink shade of this blush, the glitter in it just doesn't do it for me. I prefer something that's more matte. If you like a sparkly cheek, this might be a better fit for you, but it doesn't quite work for everyone." — Maddie Sensibile, Byrdie contributor
"I must admit I largely prefer cream foundations, which I've found have more blending and staying power. However, I can still appreciate this pressed powder foundation for its silky, finely milled consistency. It didn't offer as much coverage as I usually like, but it did give my complexion an even, natural look. I'll definitely be popping this in my bag for midday touchups in weeks to come, especially since it rids my skin of excess oil and shine." — Kaitlyn McLintock, Byrdie contributor
"I only contour occasionally, save for swiping a little bronzer in the hollows of my cheekbones every day. (After all, full-on contouring is out, haven't you heard?) So although I can appreciate the gorgeous contour palettes out there, I don't usually have a real need for one. As for this Ulta version, I appreciate its drugstore price and the variety of contour and highlight shades, which come in the form of highly pigmented powders. (The powders deliver some fallout, but nothing too objectionable.) Personally, this won't be replacing my daily bronzer, but if you're into contouring and want an affordable option, I'd recommend this." — Kaitlyn
"It's tough finding a lipstick that glides on well—but Ulta's does the job. It doesn't dry out my lips, either, which is a major plus, as I often forget ChapStick. Aside from this pink, the lipstick comes in an impressive variety of shades that I'm now excited to try. To me, it's absolutely worth buying, especially for the price." — Maddie
"I am exceedingly picky with primer and I don't consider it crucial to my daily routine, so I'm a very tough critic. But I can see someone who relies on primer day in and day out appreciating this product. The no-frills formula is clear, unscented, applies smoothly, and it does improve the coverage and staying power of your makeup. But, the formula is also very silicone-y, which you either like or you don't. I think this product would work best for oily skin types who are looking for a budget option." — Amanda
"I tried this loose powder foundation twice, both with the Ulta primer and without. I can confidently say that the primer vastly improves the experience; it improved coverage and lent extra staying power. Just like with the pressed powder, this loose variety is silky and as light as air. I was also able to build coverage rather easily, something that's not always possible with cream or liquid formulas. As long as I have my trusty new primer with me, I can see myself reaching for this in the future." — Kaitlyn
"I'm not usually one to reach for a liquid lipstick. I much prefer tubes and usually struggle with the blotchy, heavy, all-around-mucky consistency of most formulas. However, I was willing to give Ulta's best-selling formula a shot since reviews spoke so highly of its finish and texture. For the most part, I'm impressed. The texture is super lightweight and mousse-like and not claustrophobic-feeling on my lips at all. That said, it didn't last as long as I wanted it too and my lips felt a little more parched than I would have liked by the time I reached my end of day spin class." — Erin Jahns, assistant editor
"I was already in the market for a sparkly (but not too sparkly) purple eye shadow, so I was excited to try Ulta's shadow in Hopeless Romantic. They have a very pretty selection of these eye shadows, which come in matte, shimmer, and glitter finishes, and mostly neutral or muted colors. I know 'glittery' eye shadow sounds risky, but when applied, this appears more iridescent, which was lovely. It goes on sheer at first, so you have to build it up to get a high-impact look. (I also recommend wetting it if that's what you're going for.) But it blends very well, and as an everyday eye shadow, I definitely recommend it.
It even earned me several compliments, which is always nice." — Amanda
"I have to be honest here. I'm a die-hard liquid liner fan, and I've struggled to find any formula that will replace the monogamous relationship I maintain with my go-to pen. That said, Ulta's gel formula has this delicious velvetiness (is that a word?), and I'm equally enchanted by the pretty shade range. I want them all and am duly impressed by the liner's staying powder—something I often take issue with when it comes to any gel-based beauty product. I'm a fan! And dear, Ulta: Can I get one of each?" — Erin
Obsessed with all things Ulta? Next, read eight Ulta shopping secrets you're not supposed to know.
This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.