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Ulta, one of America’s most loved makeup stores, has had an explosive presence in the States since its founding in 1990.
From concealer to foundation to haircare (including a salon in every store), this is a mecca for people who need their daily beauty products or a complete makeover.
Whether you’re coming to the UK for a few minutes or a few years, you’re probably wondering…is there an Ulta in the UK or is there an Ulta in London?
Dreaming of moving to the UK (or planning on it)?
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It’s natural to wonder – you may also be wondering if there’s a Sephora in the UK – as it can be hard when your beauty routine is disrupted and you’re in a foreign country and you don’t know where to go to find your products.
So, the question is…
“Is there an Ulta in the UK or England or London?”
Sadly there isn’t an Ulta in the UK or London, but there are alternatives to Ulta in the UK that I’ll talk about later on.
Before we discuss the history of Ulta and how you can get your makeup and hair products in the UK, I wanted to take a second to let you know about some other resources I have that have been designed especially for people who are visiting or coming to live in the UK.
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Firstly, no matter your reason for being here, you need the best book on living in the UK for Americans ever written – the book is called “Girl Gone London: An American’s Guide to Surviving Life in the UK” and you should click here and check it out.
I also may have written it, so I’m biased.
But truly, if you’re coming to the UK as an expat, a study abroad student, or even a visitor, my guide to life in the UK contains both personal anecdotes and maybe too-honest experiences, as well as resources and advice on topics ranging from homesickness in the UK (or how not to rage book a flight to America like I did), driving in the UK, being a student in the UK, and more practical advice about bank accounts, buying houses, and more.
It’s truly a one stop shop for all of the weirdness and wonderfulness (is that a word?) that comes along with life in the UK, and also there is plenty of opportunity to laugh at me as I share all of my expat fails so there’s that.
If you’re an expat, you’ll want to make note of the culture shock resource that talks all about the struggles I’ve faced moving abroad.
You will also want to hear my stories about driving in England as an American so you can decide if you want to do it yourself or if you want to live the rest of your expat life in fear of driving on the other side of the road (spoiler alert: you don’t).
If you’re just visiting London or England for a short time, check out my resource on understanding UK money so you’re not stuck at the check out for 100 years.
Also be sure to read about my top tips on navigating the London Underground, as the tube is a world unto itself and it will do you good if you understand how it works ahead of time.
- Culture Shock: The Things We Don’t Talk About
- An American Girl’s Guide to Surviving the London Underground
- Understanding UK Money: Pence, Not Cents!
- Driving in England as an American: An Apology to UK Drivers
Anyway, on to talking about Ulta in the UK.
Ulta was officially opened in 1990 in the US, and today it has over 600 stores.
Each store sells both low end and high end makeup items, and there are also makeup artists on hand to help you test out products and show you the best tones for your skin or the best products for your hair.
At one time, Ulta did sell non-beauty products like vitamins, but eventually it turned into the store we know today selling only beauty products.
The idea was to make women (and men, I suppose, but it was 1990 so not too progressive yet!) comfortable shopping for makeup without people trying to sell them samples every ten seconds.
Ulta’s revenue continues to grow in the US, and you can also shop Ulta online from the States, but there are no Ulta stores in the UK or London.
Just like Sephora, what is a popular brand in the US doesn’t always translate to to the UK whether that’s because there are already other brands like it or because the UK market shops differently than in the US.
Alternatives to Ulta in the UK and London
If you’re missing your Ulta shopping experiences, here are the closest things to Ulta in the UK.
Sadly you can’t order Ulta to the UK through the online website, but if you are just dying to have a range that they carry that you can’t get in the UK, you can order it through a company like Parcl that will basically have your products shipped to them and then shipped to you elsewhere in the world.
Boots or Superdrug
Don’t go in here expecting to find nice lightning and a brilliant shopping experience, but do check to see if they carry any of the cheaper products you might find as Ulta.
Especially at larger Boots (the multi-storey) ones, you’ll often find a larger range of makeup than you would expect.
John Lewis, Debenhams or Selfridges
The next best place to go to find the Ulta equivalent in the UK is major department stores like John Lewis and Debenhams.
They sell many things from homeware to electronics to clothing, but they also do have make-up sections that are going to sell your higher end brands that you can find in the UK.
Because the whole purpose of the store isn’t make-up, there will be a different experience shopping here than shopping at Ulta or Sephora – but that’s part of living and working in the UK.
Not everything is the same!
Own Brand Make-up Stores
Your closest bet to finding the closest thing to Ulta in the UK is to shop at an make-up store that is exclusively for a particular brand.
You can find stores featuring Urban Decay, MAC Cosmetics, and more.
Read more in my full guide comparing UK and US stores and restaurants.
Coming to London Soon?
Since you’re here I’m assuming you’re intent on visiting this amazing city soon!
Getting the lowdown on the hottest spots in town can be time consuming so I took the liberty of picking out some great ones below. Hope you enjoy!
Open Top Bus London Tour: Double Decker buses are not only a way of transportation in London, but a definitive pastime of the city dwellers.
This tour lets you see London by night and experience a true right of passage that every Londoner must complete. A two for one YAY!
Kew Gardens: If you want to explore some of the calmer areas of the city, I highly recommend exploring the botanicals at Kew Gardens.
London’s largest World Heritage site boasts acres of gardens in a royal glass palace because, yes, everything here gets the royal treatment.
Afternoon Tea Cruise on River Thames: Oh so you’ve come to London looking for tea? Lucky for you theres literally MILLIONS of options to choose from… it can actually get overwhelming.
So I made it easy for you and found one of the best teas in town, complete with the best setting as well!