20 beauty products people are obsessed with at Ulta
Great buys for every budget
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Ulta is the best of both worlds: You can find high-end makeup and skincare brands like Clinique and Smashbox, but you can also head there for drugstore staples from Maybelline and L’Oréal. While you’re at it, you can pick up nail polishes, hot tools, shower gels, hair care items, and any other kind of beauty product you can dream up. Of the tons of products on the (virtual) shelves, these are 20 popular ones that reviewers swear by.
1. A powder foundation that actually covers
Let’s be real—BareMinerals changed the powder foundation game. The Original Foundation promises to provide buildable coverage, ranging from sheer to full, while still feeling breathable on the skin. Use it alone or dust a light layer onto your liquid foundation to set it down.
One reviewer writes: “This is the most amazing product I have ever used. The coverage is amazing and it is so quick and easy. I have tried other powder foundations, but I keep coming back to BareMinerals. It has the best coverage for me, and is so light and natural looking. I love it.”
2. A facial spray that refreshes your makeup
If you have dry skin, you’re probably familiar with the tight feeling that coincides with wearing your makeup for long periods of time. Next time you want to retouch and add hydration back, spritz the Mario Badescu Facial Spray, which uses aloe, herbs, and rosewater to moisturize and soothe the skin.
One happy reviewer writes: “I use this every single day. I'm not a particularly brand-loyal person but I never let myself run out of this product. For the price and the quality, it can't be beat. I use this after I wash my face to prep my skin to absorb my serums and moisturizers better. I also love to spray it on after my makeup to make everything feel just a little more natural. Especially on dry days.”
3. A leave-in product that conditions your hair
There’s almost nothing this hair treatment can’t do. The It’s A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product claims to repair dry and damaged hair, add shine, smooth frizz, protect color, detangle, prevent split ends, stop breakage, enhance hair body, and provide thermal heat protection. That’s quite a lot for one spray to do, but it uses ingredients like panthenol (an ingredient commonly used in hair products for hydration), sunflower seed extract, green tea leaf extract, silk amino acids, and vitamin C to complete its long list of tasks.
“I put this on my hair after a shower and after towel drying—it literally is a game changer,” one reviewer gushes. “It makes my hair so soft and shiny, smells amazing, and helps with the frizz. Pro tip: If you have a little one who doesn't like to have their hair brushed, use this. It will make it painless.”
4. An pencil that sculpts your eyebrows
The most recent trend is thick, feathery eyebrows that embody the “messy hair, don’t care” movement. Basically, it’s cool to look a bit tousled. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz is ultra-slim, so you can create thin, hair-like strokes and fill in sparse areas for fuller but natural-looking brows. The brand also claims the pencil is smudge-proof and long-wearing.
One reviewer beams: “I can't say enough good things about this product! I never thought I needed something quite like this and now I cannot live without it. I have never had a pencil this precise and one that glides on so beautifully.”
5. A cleanser that washes away impurities
Finding amazing makeup products is always exciting, but finding the right skincare can be a next-level feat. To properly cleanse the skin, reviewers love the Philosophy Purity Made Simple One-Step Facial Cleanser, which uses essential oils like rosewood, sandalwood, and sage to moisturize the skin as it removes leftover makeup, dirt, and excess oil.
One reviewer justifies the high price tag: “If anyone wants a simple cleanser that won't dry out your face, look no further! A little pricey but it works and even the smallest bottle lasts months!”
6. A pack of cleansing towelettes that gently remove makeup
To remove your makeup before going in with a cleanser, the Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are a longtime favorite of many. The makeup wipes, which are especially loved for how travel-friendly they are, come with 25 pre-moistened cloths that dissolve dirt, oil, and makeup from the face and eye areas.
“These have always been the best wipes by far for makeup removal,” one reviewer writes. “I have tried so many other brands just to save money or try something new and I always come back to these. They just work especially with stubborn makeup.”
7. A primer that smooths out your skin before makeup
Before you pick up your sponge or foundation brush—pause. Did you apply primer yet? Face primers like the Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer can upgrade your makeup look by blurring fine lines, pores, and blemishes before you add another layer of texture with foundation.
One reviewer raves: “This was my first time buying a primer to use with my liquid foundation and this is a great one. Wish I had learned about primers years ago. My foundation blends better, appears smoother and lasts all day (or night) until I remove it. Love this product.”
8. A lip color that adds a touch of shimmer
For a wash of color that makes your lips feel moisturized and adds a subtle sheen, try Burt's Bees Lip Shimmers. Nourish your lips with sunflower oil and vitamin E with this tint, which comes in pink and purple hues.
One reviewer writes: “I love everything about this product! Honestly it's the perfect amount of shine and softness. It smells really good, too! I wear it with no makeup on. This stays in my purse always.”
9. A concealer that erases imperfections
When you want a full coverage concealer that’ll give you a blank slate, look no further than the Tarte Shape Tape. Available in 30 shades ranging from fair to deep, the concealer promises to smooth and blur fine lines and wrinkles, and give the skin a brighter look with licorice root extract.
“I can't live without his concealer,” one reviewer writes. “I apply it under my eyes and it covers my dark circles perfectly. It is great for covering dark spots or breakouts. It doesn't cake when applied. It looks very natural.”
10. An eyeliner that creates the perfect cat eye
Finding a liquid eyeliner that’s easy to apply and lasts all day without smudging is quite the task. After testing, though, we believe that perfect eyeliner is the Stila Stay All Day. It comes in eight shades, has a felt tip for easier application, and it’s waterproof, so you’ll never have to reapply.
One adoring reviewer: “By far my all time favorite eyeliner! It stays on until I want to take it off, and then it leaves without much fuss. The tip is perfect to draw thin lines or bold lines. Doing the cat eye is easier with this eye-lining pen!”
11. A sponge that makes makeup application easy
Everyone knows the BeautyBlender, and for good reason, it’s a great makeup sponge. But for a fraction of the cost, you can snag this mega-popular Real Techniques sponge, which features a flat edge that’s perfect for patting in powder and a pointy tip that lets you get into small creases around the nose and eyes.
One reviewer is a convert: “I use it to apply foundation and it is so much easier than using a brush! Plus, it doesn't leave any streaks or lines like a brush does when applying!”
12. A hair dryer that gives the perfect blowout
Plain and simple: If you haven’t already purchased the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer, you are missing out. The dryer brush takes your hair from wet to completely dry and straight in a matter of minutes, and it’ll have you looking like you just paid for a blowout. Need we say more?
One reviewer agrees with us: “I usually don't write reviews but this one warrants it. I waited a long time to purchase this because I was very unsure. I have naturally very curly hair. I usually have to blow dry straight, then use a flat iron with lots of product to get my hair straight, then it curls back sometimes. Long process. I used this and went from wet to done in 20 mins with no flat iron. [...] Smooth blowout without the fuss!”
13. A nail polish that comes in dozens beautiful colors
Want a sleek manicure at home? Reviewers agree that Essie Nail Polishes are the go-to when you want a polish that’s easy to apply, long-lasting, and fast-drying. Plus, you can choose from tons of colors, from vibrant shades to sheer hues.
One reviewer writes: “I’ve been obsessed with doing my own nails for a couple years now and this is my go-to brand from first base to top coat. Every product I have used has been fantastic from this brand. Wide variety of colors and finishes, love love love. It doesn't dry out, odor is minimal, color payoff is great, and it doesn't chip quickly like other brands.”
14. A color-correcting foundation that protects your skin with SPF
For a foundation that protects and hydrates your skin while covering it, try the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream with SPF 50+. The foundation claims that collagen firms the skin for a smoother appearance, niacin improves the skin tone and texture, peptides reduce wrinkles, antioxidants protect against free radical damage, and hyaluronic acid moisturizes. Makeup that’s also skincare? Sign me up.
One reviewer writes: “I love this. It covers everything. I have very weird combination skin. Sometimes I'm so oily and yet dry at the same time. It's always different and difficult. This stuff is amazing!!!! It makes me feel like I'm naked faced but yet so covered and I'm living for it!”
15. A mascara that lengthens your lashes
Still looking for your perfect mascara? The Benefit They’re Real Lengthening Mascara claims to lengthen, curl, volumize, lift, and separate your lashes. Plus, the formula claims to be long-wearing so you can avoid smudges or crumbling.
One reviewer keeps coming back to it: “I love this mascara! I am super low maintenance, but I like to look nice. This mascara makes your eyes pop. It seems to create lashes that just weren't there. Everytime I wear this mascara, I get compliments. I feel this is an expensive splurge buy because all my life I've worn drugstore brand makeup. The splurge is totally worth it! I buy one tube each year. I feel pretty when I wear it and the boost to my self confidence is priceless.”
16. A moisturizer that hydrates your skin
Moisturized skin is happy skin, and this lotion from Clinique has got the goods. The Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion claims to strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier using sunflower seed cake, barley extract, and cucumber fruit extract. What's more, it’s lightweight enough that you can use it whether your skin leans dry or oily.
One reviewer writes: “I have been using this product for 15+ years. I've tried others, but always come back to this. I have sensitive, combination skin, [that] tends to be oilier in the summer [and] drier in the winter. This keeps my skin balanced, clear, and hydrated, not greasy. I have a pretty simple skin care routine and, at 38, I have very few lines or wrinkles and contribute a lot of that to this product.”
17. An affordable concealer that erases dark circles
If you have hard-to-cover, dark under-eye circles or pesky pimples, reviewers say this drugstore concealer is the perfect remedy. The concealer claims to erase dark circles and fine lines, and brighten the skin with goji berry and Haloxyl (an anti-aging ingredient).
One reviewer writes: “After searching countless high-end concealer offerings and spending buckets of money on concealers I ended up 'hate' using, I decided to give the 'brightener' shade a try. Brighten it does! It knocks out the majority of my dark circles with a nice light weight finish. I top it with the 'neutralizer' shade, and between the two, I look bright-eyed and well rested!”
18. A long-wearing foundation that covers all
Yes, here’s another complexion product. But think about it: Primers, foundations, and concealers are the backbone to your makeup look, so finding one that works is something to shout about. The L’Oréal Infallible Fresh Wear 24HR Foundation claims to give buildable coverage that lasts all day without feeling heavy on the skin. It’s also waterproof, sweat-resistant, and comes in 30 shades to help you find your perfect match.
One reviewer says it’s a dupe: “I don't normally write reviews, but this foundation is amazing (especially for the cost!). I was using the Estée Lauder 24hr foundation, which is also great but I wanted to find an everyday foundation that was less expensive and looks like my actual skin when I wear it (instead of a thick mask of foundation). This one feels light on the face yet it still has high coverage. It holds the whole day!”
19. A liquid lipstick that’s actually comfortable to wear
Wearing a matte lip often means dry, flaky lips at the end of the day. With these NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams, you get the best of both worlds: A matte, bold lip that feels moisturized and lightweight. The lip creams claim to be long-lasting and highly pigmented, so you can’t go wrong with any of the 22 shades.
One reviewer is hooked: “This is a great lip cream. It stays on well, it smells good, it's very pigmented. I have five different colors and they all last me sooooo long. I want more.”
20. A pencil liner to accentuate your eyes
If you haven’t tried Ulta’s own brand of makeup, don’t sleep on it! The brand makes some gems, including the Automatic Eyeliner, which comes in 18 colors, including matte, metallic, and glitter finishes. The liner is retractable, waterproof, and claims to easily glide onto the eyes.
One reviewer writes: “I love this eyeliner. It's automatic so no sharpening. I found this after searching for a replacement for my discontinued eyeliner brand and have been super happy with it. It's been two years now and I will continue to buy it and use it as long as Ulta keeps making it.”
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.