What's The Difference Between The Product Selection At Ulta And Sephora?

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Coke or Pepsi? Pizza Hut or Domino's Pizza? Forever 21 or H&M? When playing the "this or that" game with similar brands and retailers, it's common to prefer one over the other for subtle yet noteworthy reasons. For example, you may think H&M has a better variety of jeans than Forever 21. In the beauty industry, you can't forget about Ulta vs. Sephora. Both are beloved relaters with extensive websites and great products, but they have recognizable differences.

To start, Sephora is more popular on social media, with over 21 million followers on Instagram at the time of this writing, while Ulta has around seven million followers. This difference may be due to Sephora having about double the amount of posts that Ulta has. However, the differences between the two retailers aren't limited to social media — there are variations in product selection, too. So, what should you keep in mind when determining the best place to shop to meet your beauty needs at any given moment?

Ulta has more eye makeup options

Many beauty enthusiasts would agree that mascara is a crucial product for any look. When comparing Ulta and Sephora, Ulta offers the most mascara options. Sephora's website currently features just over 200 mascaras, which include noteworthy brands like Rare Beauty by Selena Gomez and Too Faced. Meanwhile, Ulta's website features almost 400 mascara options, which include an impressive variety of brands, such as Too Faced, Benefit Cosmetics, and Essence.

Eyeliner is another eye makeup favorite, and Ulta offers over double the eyeliner selection that Sephora does. Sephora's website currently features less than 150 eyeliners. Its eyeliner brand roster is impressive, featuring its Sephora Collection eyeliners, as well as other well-known names like Make Up For Ever, Urban Decay, and Bobbi Brown. However, Ulta offers about 300 eyeliner options, with companies including Urban Decay, Clinique, and Nyx.

Finally, eyebrow-related products are another beauty staple. Ulta offers nearly double the amount of Sephora's brow-related items at the time of this writing. While both Ulta and Sephora carry Anastasia Beverly Hills brow products, for instance, Ulta has a much larger selection of eyebrow options.

Ulta's website also has more hair products

Ulta and Sephora both offer impressive selections of shampoos and conditioners, including highly-talked-about names like Olaplex. However, Ulta offers nearly 1,400 shampoo and conditioner options, more than double Sephora's collection of about 550 shampoos and conditioners. Ulta also offers dry shampoos and leave-in conditioners. Ulta and Sephora also sell hair tools, such as straighteners, blow dryers, and curling tools with excellent ratings, but Ulta sells over 100 more of these items than Sephora.

Sephora's website keeps its relatively small hair accessory collection under the same category as hair tools, while Ulta has a subcategory for over 350 hair accessories, including extensions, hair ties, and hair scissors. Similarly, Sephora offers about 50 brushes and combs while Ulta sells over 250 of them. Sephora has some intriguing products in this section, such as scalp massagers, but Ulta has many more options to explore, ranging from classic hairbrushes and combs to unique items like a shampoo massage brush or brush cleaner.

Sephora has more fragrance options

Ulta boasts a wide range of eye makeup and hair-related items, while Sephora has a more impressive selection of fragrances. Both offer luxurious perfumes, such as Chanel, as well as more affordable options. However, at this time, Sephora offers about 1,000 women's fragrance options, including floral, spicy, lighter, and wood-inspired scents, whereas Ulta sells around 600 women's fragrance choices. This means there should be a fragrance for everyone at Sephora.

It's worth noting that both stores offer men-focused fragrance items, with Ulta providing a great variety in men's fragrance categories, including cologne, aftershave, and shower-related products. However, Sephora presents over 100 more cologne options than Ulta, making it easier for men to find the perfect signature scent. Additionally, both Ulta and Sephora offer candles and diffusers. However, Sephora offers over 100 more home fragrance options than Ulta, with scents ranging from aquatic to gourmand to wood-inspired.

Sephora has more gift options

Ulta and Sephora are not just our go-to places for treating ourselves to beauty products, but they're also great options when it comes to gift shopping for our loved ones. At the time of this writing, Ulta's website has just over 1,850 suggestions in the gifts section, offering a wide range of hair, fragrance, and makeup products to appeal to all tastes and budgets. For instance, you can find a lip gloss that sells for as low as $6 or splurge on a $600 Dyson hair styling item.

On the other hand, the Sephora gifts selection features about 2,500 options and offers a wide range of gift choices beyond typical beauty-related items. Sephora's gift section features many sets, such as the Laneige Besties Set for anyone who enjoys skincare and lip products, as well as kits like the Glow Recipe Fruit Babies Bestsellers Kit for people who appreciate fruit-themed skincare. These carefully selected items make for great presents that show more thoughtfulness than just a single beauty product. Therefore, while Ulta carries an extensive range of makeup options, Sephora provides more variety for specific categories, such as gifts.