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Good Skin For All: Ulta Edition


I have such a love-hate relationship with Ulta. They have awesome deals and coupons…with a dozen limitations. It’s cool that they have a drugstore side and high-end side…until you wander over to the high-end side with a drugstore product in hand and the sales people shame you for your choices. I could just go visit family if I wanted to be shamed for my choices. But, it is a popular destination, and carries an assortment of brands. I’ll be including both drugstore and high-end options. I’m also going to include eye creams and treatments in the Ulta and Sephora editions. While I do think eye creams are necessary, I think they’re a waste of money if they aren’t concentrated, just like serums. So I left them out of the more drugstore editions, and have given them their own category at the end of the post. I’ve left out Dermalogica, because there are plenty of professionals retailing the line who you should be buying from.


Goals for oily skin: to balance and keep clear without stripping.

What to avoid:

  • drying, irritating ingredients
  • skipping moisturizer
  • avoiding sun care since oily skin ages slower

The routine:


Goals for dry skin: to hydrate and repair compromised protective barrier.

What to avoid:

  • drying alcohols in moisturizers
  • harsh cleansers
  • comedogenic ingredients

The routine:


Goals for combo skin: to balance the skin and treat each zone as needed.

What to avoid: one size fits all skincare.

The routine:


Goals for acneic skin: to treat the acne without damaging the healthy skin.

What to avoid:

  • menthol and other drying ingredients
  • harsh abrasives

The routine:

  • Cleanser: Choose from the oily options; there are no denatured alcohol-free cleansers when you select “acne” under cleansers on their website.
  • Toner: Once again, choose from the oily options. The search specifications only brought up Clinique, and the Ulta website does not list Clinique ingredients.
  • Exfoliant: Hey…so…guess what. Yeah.
  • Masks: I’m just gonna end this here and refer you to the oily routine because ULTA’S WEBSITE SUGGESTS SHIT FOR ACNE.


Goals for anti-aging: deep but gentle exfoliation, intense hydration, and proper usage of anti-aging ingredients.

What to avoid:

  • products that claim to have surgical results
  • sun exposure
  • harsh, drying ingredients

The routine:

Eye Creams

Eye creams are pretty universal in the sense that everyone really needs the same thing: hydration, ingredients that address dark circles and sluggish circulation, and DON’T contain “cheap” (i.e. drying) alcohols. So regardless of your skin type, you should choose from the following:

Algenist Complete Eye Renewal Balm ($68); SheaMoisture SuperFruit Renewal Eye Cream ($12); Clarins Extra-Firming Eye Cream ($63); Juice Beauty Green Apple Brightening Eye Cream ($38); Skyn Iceland Icelandic Relief Eye Cream ($45); Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Eye Cream ($55; I hesitated to include this one because of the ambiguous “alcohol” towards the bottom of the ingredient deck, but given its low concentration, I included it anyway); or the Andalou Naturals Luminous Eye Serum that I cannot seem to find on the site. That’s the one I use, and I bought it for around $20.

What are your thoughts on shopping at Ulta? Let me know in the comments below!




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