I'm A Beauty Editor—Here's What I Tell Everyone to Buy at Ulta

best ulta products
15 Products You Should *Absolutely* Buy at Ulta

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The day my tiny hometown finally got an Ulta, my heart sang. I remember the first time I waltzed in, taking all of the best Ulta products in one spot—retinol serums, the newest mascaras, life-changing curling irons, and luxury perfumes as far as the eye can see. But with so many options, how are you to know what the best Ulta products really are? Well, that's where I come in.

As a beauty editor, I've been researching and writing about the best beauty products for the last six years, which has left me with a pretty extensive list of what's actually worth it. I have access to everything (I love my job sm), so I'll only use what I really love and what I would genuinely convince my best friend to buy. And I'm officially cluing you in on said list.

But first! Let me clue you in on why shopping at Ulta is the frickin' best: Their rewards program. You earn points on every single dollar you spend, which add up to give you $$$ off (FYI: 500 points = $17.50 off). And, they often offer double and triple points throughout the year, like on your birthday or on special products and categories. Not to mention, you also get exclusive discounts and gifts (hello, birthday present!) depending on your membership tier. And so long as you spend $25, you get free shipping too, and in my experience, it's hella fast.

With that, peep my favorites below:

Keep scrolling for all of my top picks.

Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

If you've been on skin-Tok, guaranteed you've seen this essence from CosRx. It uses snail mucin, which sounds weird af (it is the secretions of snails, after all), but is majorly hydrating and protecting for your skin. Most of this essence is simply snail goo (lol, sry), but it also includes hydrating hyaluronic acid and soothing allantoin. After cleansing, just pat this lightweight gel-like essence on your face, then follow with other serums and moisturizers.

Glowing customer review: “This product is amazing! My skin is very oily but flaky and VERY prone to acne. This product did not cause any acne AT ALL. It really seems to soothe and hydrate my skin. I am very pleased with this product and have just purchased more items from their product line to try. Would highly recommend!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fadvanced-snail-96-mucin-power-essence-xlsImpprod15641052&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$25.00</p>

The POREfessional Deep Retreat Pore-Clearing Clay Mask

When my skin feels congested af, I love swiping on this clay mask from Benefit (you know, the makers of our favorite pore-minimizing primer). The base of this mask is kaolin clay, which helps soak up excess oils that can lead to breakouts and blackheads. But don't be fooled—it's way gentler and actually much more soothing than other clay masks I've tried. It's packed with hydrating glycerin and vitamin E, as well as soothing bisabolol to calm down any potential irritation.

Glowing customer review: “The only thing that has helped me with sebaceous filaments, and I have tried everything. They aren't gone completely, but 80 percent I would say. Pores are smaller as well. Just wayyyyy less congested. And I have only used it three times."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fporefessional-deep-retreat-pore-clearing-clay-mask-pimprod2038018&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>The POREfessional Deep Retreat Pore-Clearing Clay Mask</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$39.00</p>

Glass Skin Refining Serum

This is one of Ulta's top-selling serums, and I ~get~ it: It's loaded with hydrators like hyaluronic acid, peptides, beta glucan, and peach extract, as well as niacinamide to give my skin a smooth, brighter look over time. The lightweight texture sinks into my skin immediately and pairs well with everything else in my skincare routine too. Truly, the GOAT.

Glowing customer review: “After two weeks of using this every day in my routine, I am shocked at how much better my rosacea looks.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fglass-skin-refining-serum-xlsImpprod18971035&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Glass Skin Refining Serum</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$59.00</p>

Protini Polypeptide Firming Refillable Moisturizer

Whether you're hoping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles or just make your skin look plumper and smoother, you should absolutely be slathering your face in a peptide-rich moisturizer like this one from Drunk Elephant. Quick peptide lesson: These short-chain amino acids basically signal to your skin to create more collagen and elastin, which is what gives your skin a firm, bouncy look. Plus, they also help improve and strengthen your skin barrier to reduce moisture loss, which can lead to dullness and irritation.

Yup, peptides are a powerhouse, especially in this formula, which combines a whopping nine (!) peptides, as well as hydrating sodium PCA and hyaluronic acid. And it's all house in an airtight container that helps keep the product fresh.

Glowing customer review: “It is super nice, and it felt so good on my skin.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fprotini-polypeptide-cream-pimprod2028061&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Protini Polypeptide Firming Refillable Moisturizer</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$99.00</p>

Fade Away 5% Benzol Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment

When a raging whitehead takes over my face, the answer is always a spot treatment like this pick from Bubble. It uses 5 percent benzoyl peroxide to help kill acne-causing bacteria, which can potentially bring down the inflammation that makes zits red and swollen. After using it for a few days, I saw a reduction in my pimple size, and the zit faded away by the third day. It also incorporates licorice root extract, which can help reduce hyperpigmentation after a breakout.

Glowing customer review: “I've used so many spot treatments for deep/newly forming acne and this one completely clears any spot in two to three days. Such a miracle product for TWELVE dollars?! I can't wait to try more from this brand!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Ffade-away-5-benzol-peroxide-acne-spot-treatment-pimprod2041050&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Fade Away 5% Benzol Peroxide Acne Spot Treatment</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$12.00</p>

Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40

This silky cream sunscreen goes on clear and leaves a matte finish, making it a dream for practically every skin tone and skin type. Seriously—team Cosmo is obsessed with Supergoop's Unseen Sunscreen, because it not only provides broad-spectrum protection and helps filter blue light (which comes from phones and computer screens), but it quickly absorbs and feels so good on skin. I consider it "sunscreen for people who think they hate sunscreen," because it's nothing like the goopy, ghostly creams of yore.

Glowing customer review: “Will never use any other sunscreen, this is simply the best.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Funseen-sunscreen-spf-40-pimprod2029930&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$38.00</p>

Wrinkle & Acne Clearing Light Therapy Mask

LED masks are one of my favorite at-home skincare tools, since you just throw 'em on and live your life while they help stimulate collagen production. And of all the devices I've tried, this Solawave mask is one of the most affordable and effective I've found. The silicone material feels v comfortable and snug around my face, and it's easily rechargeable and portable so I can wear it doing laundry, dishes, watching Housewives, etc. Plus, it offers both red light, which is thought to smooth and prevent fine lines, as well as blue light, which can potentially reduce acne-causing bacteria.

Glowing customer review: “I wish I would have bought this ages ago. This did wonders on my acne scars, dry skin, and fine lines."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fwrinkle-acne-clearing-light-therapy-mask-pimprod2037948&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Wrinkle & Acne Clearing Light Therapy Mask</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$279.30</p>

Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Oil-Free Foundation Makeup

Trust me: I love bougie foundations like Nars Light-Reflecting Foundation and Estee Lauder Double Wear as much as the next editor. But I've also been a massive fan of this drugstore formula from Maybelline for nearly a decade and still reach for it when I want smooth, natural-looking skin that lasts. It's reached cult-favorite status (just a casual 6,400+ reviews on Ulta rn), and not just because it's affordable. The creamy, lightweight, medium-coverage foundation is available in a wide range of 32 shades from ultra-fair to deep dark, and, IMO, can last up to 10 hours without fading.

FYI: It also comes in a Dewy and Smooth formula if you prefer a glowy finish.

Glowing customer review: “The product is of super good quality, and l love how it blends.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Ffit-me-matte-poreless-liquid-foundation-xlsImpprod11861007&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Fit Me Matte + Poreless Liquid Oil-Free Foundation Makeup</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$10.99</p>

GrandeLASH MD Lash Enhancing Serum

I hate to break it to ya, but nothing but prescription Latisse can actually make your lashes grow faster. However, GrandeLash's lash serum is my go-to for enhancing mine, as it makes them stronger and healthier, which helps them *appear* a lil bit thicker. This serum includes soothing ingredients like grapeseed extract, honey, and aloe, as well as strengthening peptides. I just run the brush across my lashline every night, and it dries clear without a sticky or irritating residue.

Glowing customer review: “I started using this product after having lash extensions and it's seriously improved the length of my lashes. ”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fgrandelash-md-lash-enhancing-serum-pimprod2003445&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>GrandeLASH MD Lash Enhancing Serum</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$68.00</p>

Voluminous Panorama Mascara

A few weeks ago, someone complimented how natural my false lashes looked. Plot twist: I wasn't wearing falsies, just this volumizing mascara from L'Oréal. It gives my lashes a fanned-out look that makes my eyes look so fresh and awake, and it doesn't clump or flake at all, even after multiple coats.

Glowing customer review: “Love this new mascara! Lengthens lashes and does not clump! It does clean easily with soap & water but flakes a bit, really not an issue.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fvoluminous-panorama-washable-mascara-pimprod2042577&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Voluminous Panorama Mascara</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$15.99</p>

Chromaddiction Shimmer Eye Paint + Eyeliner

FYI: All of our fave girlies donned Half Magic at Coachella this year (including Chappell Roan, Sabrina Carpenter, Katy Perry, and Asia Monet—oh, and me!). And my #1 go-to product from the line is this shimmery liquid eyeshadow. It has a multi-dimensional shimmer that catches light but also is buildable depending on the level of opacity you want. Once I swipe it on, it's fully transfer/smudge-proof and lasts all day—perfect for sweaty concerts, bars, subway cars, etc.

Glowing customer review: “The Chromaddiction shimmer was great for the shimmer I needed when I want to shine. It was easily applied and didn't slip off during the day/night and when I was sweating."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fchromaddiction-shimmer-eye-paint-eyeliner-pimprod2040561&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Chromaddiction Shimmer Eye Paint + Eyeliner</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$25.00</p>

XPress/On Special Effect Press On Nails

When I'm in a rush and need a manicure stat, I always reach for OPI's press-on nails. In one kit, you get everything you need to quickly stick on a set of nails. But what I love most is that these have major staying power. I've gotten over a full week of wear from my OPI press ons, which is more than I can say for some professional gel manicures I've had in my day.

TBH, though, OPI's styles are so trendy that I often save them for special occasions, too—not just when I'm in a hurry. I've worn my OPI press-ons during New York Fashion Week, on my birthday, to concerts, and on vacations. Dare I say, I'm obsessed.

Glowing customer review: “I have had these on for close to 3 weeks and I have received so many compliments! People are shocked when they learn they are glue on nails from OPI.”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fxpresson-special-effect-press-on-nails-pimprod2035347&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>XPress/On Special Effect Press On Nails</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$13.99</p>

Dual Voltage Rotating Curling Iron

Curling my hair has never been easier since I got my Beachwaver. The ceramic iron rotates with a press of a button, pulling my hair and essentially curling it for me. Because it always curls in the right direction, I never get that dreaded crease, and my hair always has a perfect beachy wave once I brush through it and spritz in some sea salt spray.

Glowing customer review: “Absolutely love this! I have never been great at curling my hair, but this is so easy and the curls are perfect every time!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fs1-dual-voltage-rotating-curling-iron-xlsImpprod19041003&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Dual Voltage Rotating Curling Iron</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$149.00</p>

Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer

If you are looking for hydrated, ~juicy~ curls, then you have to try this curl cream from TGIN. It helps moisturize the F outta dry curls with vitamin E and shea butter and minimizes frizz and flyaways. Just smooth it through damp hair to add moisture, or rake it through dry hair to help add shine to your curls.

Glowing customer review: “This product is amazing! It's incredibly moisturizing and defines curls very nicely. I've purchased this countless times now. Highly recommend!!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fbutter-cream-daily-moisturizer-pimprod2005387&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Butter Cream Daily Moisturizer</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$11.19</p>

Cloud Eau De Parfum

Of every perfume I've tested as a beauty editor, I am most likely to recommend Ariana Grande's Cloud if someone asks me what perfume to buy from Ulta (or anywhere, really). This warm, coconut perfume is loaded with vanilla and praline—but it's also got sparkly bergamot, pear, and lavender to brighten up the scent. In my experience, it's a crowd-pleaser, which is why I'm confident suggesting it to people who wanna blind buy.

Glowing customer review: “I smell like a sweet fantasy wearing this!!!”

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ulta.com%2Fp%2Fcloud-eau-de-parfum-pimprod2000100&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cosmopolitan.com%2Fstyle-beauty%2Fbeauty%2Fg60550705%2Fbest-ulta-products%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Cloud Eau De Parfum</p><p>ulta.com</p><p>$45.00</p>

Why trust ‘Cosmopolitan’?

Beth Gillette is the beauty editor at Cosmopolitan with six years of experience researching, writing, and editing beauty stories that range from hair dryer brushes to microcurrent devices to clear sunscreens. She’s an authority in all beauty categories, but is an expert when it comes to the best Ulta products after testing thousands of products over her career. She's also tuned into favorites amongst the rest of the Cosmo team, as well as what's popular on social media and with experts like dermatologists, makeup artists, and hairstylists.

Neimra Coulibaly is a beauty contributor at Cosmopolitan where she writes about hair, nails, makeup, and skin, including winter nail colors. She's an expert in all things beauty, especially the best products at Ulta, after researching and testing products on herself.

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