Sephora vs. ULTA vs. Sally Beauty Supply: Top Beauty Supply Stores Compared

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Sephora’s electronic consultation tools make it easier for you to quickly find what skin creams you need for skin problems. ULTA is ideal for those who like getting extra free gifts with most purchases. Sally Beauty is more suited for those who like hav

It’s now easier than ever to get supplies from beauty stores online. Here are a few of the top stores that will let you do this, including how they match up.


Sephora is a famous beauty store that began in the year 1970. There are 1300 physical stores over 27 different countries. The store opened in 1999 in the United States, and 2003 in Canada. You can call them at 1-877-737-4672 in Canada or the United States. They are available from 6 AM to 9 PM PST Monday through Friday, or 8 AM to 5 PM on the weekends.


  • 3 Free Samples-You can get free samples of products like Fresh Fresh Life, First Aid Beauty Cleanser and Desigual Fun. It’s important to note that you have to have a non-free sample in your basket before you can check out, and that you can only order one of each type of free sample. If they’re out of what you want, they’ll substitute it for something else automatically.
  • Free Shipping for Orders Over $50-If you add at least $50 to your order you get the shipping for free.
  • Free Media with Sephora Shares-If you download the Sephora app for iOS, you can periodically download free music, apps, books, magazines and playlists.
  • 1300 Physical Stores-Sephora has a strong physical presence for their brick and mortar store and you can usually find one nearby if that’s what you prefer.
  • Sephora Skincare IQ-This is a feature that allows you to go to a physical store and get free consultation on the best skin products for your particular needs. There’s also an electronic version that lets you answer questions about what kind of concern you have about your skin, such as dark circles, puffiness, dryness and so on. The service will then automatically recommend products you can buy to solve the problem.
  • Color IQ-This is similar to the Skincare IQ but instead it guides you in finding products that match your body’s natural colors.


ULTA Beauty offers more than 20,000 beauty products and it’s been open since 1990. There are now more than 19,000 people working there. You can call them at 866-983-8582 between 7 AM and 11 PM CST every day of the week.


  • ULTAmate Rewards-You get one point for every dollar you spend, and you can redeem points on just about anything in the store. If you sign up for ULTA emails, you get free mascara. You also get double points during your birthday month. The points last for up to a year.
  • Free Shipping on $50 Purchases-ULTA will also give you free shipping provided you buy at least $50 of products. This means you can only get standard ground shipping service for continental U.S. It doesn’t work for PO boxes or oversized packages.
  • Free Gifts-ULTA has frequent gift deals for buying a certain amount. These include things like free rollover bags for spending $30, and free 15-piece beauty kits for purchasing around $20 of other select products, for example. You can tell which qualify for this because of the blue “free gift” label in the product description.
  • Text Alerts- If you want to get alerts via text about deals you can text ULTA to make this happen. This will only give you 4 messages per month and you can stop whenever you want.

Sally Beauty Supply

You can call 1-866-234-9442 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM CST. You can also send in emails that are answered in the same time frame.


  • Free Shipping and Free Returns-Like many other stores, you get free shipping on $50 orders. But a new interesting feature is that you can return items to any nearby store for free within 60 days of purchase. This doesn’t include the online only items which can only be returned to the warehouse. You only get shipping back if there was damage, and this doesn’t include electrical items, jewelry, hair extensions or other select items.
  • McAfee Secure Monitoring-McAFee scans the site daily to make sure there’s no problem with insecure information or viruses.
  • Paid Membership Subscription- The membership costs $5, but you get a $5 reward you can use for the first month. The membership gives you 15% off of products as long as you spend at least $25 during the month. The membership has to be renewed annually, but you get free products whenever you do. Seniors and Military members get a discount on membership fees of $2.50.
  • Entrust SSL Security-In addition to McAfee, Sally Beauty has a seal from Entrust that further protects your information with SSL for data encryption.

Head to Head


Sephora is known for being a premium store. Prices range quite a bit, with an example being Algenist Genius Cream which runs around $110. There’s also Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion+ which is as cheap as $14.50.

Clinique brand items go for closer to $20 on ULTA.

Sally Beauty appears to have more limited products than the other options. Comparable moisturizing creams for $10-$20.

Overall, Sally Beauty is often a bit cheaper though the selection could be more limited.


Sephora has consultation services both electronically and in person that can help you find products to solve skin problems, in addition to products that help you properly match your body’s natural colors with beauty products.

ULTA has more hours per week for phone contact than Sephora does. The phone number is a bit difficult to find since it’s buried in the “Guest Services,” and the site in general is a bit difficult to navigate compared to others. The company is ideal for those who like free samples and a steady supply of free gifts and rewards program offerings.

Sally Beauty has benefits for those who plan on staying local with stores since you can bring most items you buy online straight to a local store for returns. The site also has a number of security features, including more than the other two sites. So, those particularly interested in security may feel safer at Sally Beauty.

ULTA is likely the best for customer service though since you can call them any day during a wide range of hours.