If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Ulta accepts a lot of coupons. Most expired coupons (other than the $10 birthday coupon and old $10 referral coupons) are not accepted online. The birthday coupons usually extend about a month past their listed expiration date so try ones you did not use on time. Old referral coupons listed a 30-day expiration date but even ones earned in January did not expire until the end of the year. Sadly, referral coupons (at least the way they used to exist) are no longer a thing. Coupon codes are usually cut off within hours of the expiration so there is at times a tiny grace period. With rare exception, an expired coupon is not accepted in person either. If the coupon is Ulta (not a manufacturer’s coupon) issued for a product they still have in stock, employees have been known to somewhat honor the coupon. The coupon before it expires would take off the $0.01 charge Ulta adds to the product. Once it expires, it does not remove the $0.01 charge. Some employees will let you have the product with the expired coupon if you pay the penny. Other employees are strict and will not let you use an expired coupon at all. Those are usually the same employees who refuse to substitute products that are out of stock on an active coupon. In fairness, MOST employees will tell you items are not in stock and not offer to substitute the freebie. Rarely have I encountered ones who do. Because they have to override the system to do so, I would never ask them to either.
Unless you’re only buying prestige items outside the typical prestige coupon dates, there is a chance your order qualifies for a coupon. When you cannot use a coupon for any reason, there are usually other deal opportunities, including: flash sales, point multipliers, Beauty Breaks, GWP, pop-up gifts, sales, specials, hot buys, Platinum Perks, beauty steals, and more. You should almost never pay full-price without getting something extra in return for an Ulta order. My Ulta Page has current offers for Ulta, and my article on Getting The Best Deal covers everything else you need to know. You can also redeem points with any coupon.
Important notes for all Ulta Coupons. General coupons have six numbers for online orders and ten numbers on the bar code for in-store orders. Unique coupons typically have ten characters for online orders and 20 characters on the bar code for in-store orders. You can use a general coupon as many times as you want until it expires. While you can give away a unique code you are not planning to use (because they are not really tied to your specific account), it can only be used one time online. Once you redeem a unique online code, it is invalid. Even though the codes for the online offer and in-store offer are different, Ulta has tied them together. This means you cannot redeem the online offer once you’ve redeemed the in-store offer and vice versa.
Some offers are unique in store but general online and vice versa. Remember to look at the numbers to see the difference. Coupons do not affect the GWP minimum, but they do affect the shipping minimum. This means if you have $50 in your cart and apply a $5 coupon, you can get a GWP that has a $50 minimum, but you will pay the $5.95 shipping charge for falling below the normal $50 minimum. In this scenario, add something that costs $5 and save yourself the $0.95. Diamond members would face the same scenario if the amount after the coupon falls below $25. Make sure your subtotal after the coupon amount gets applied goes above the shipping minimum.
How many coupons can you apply online? Sadly, the answer is only one. There is only a single promotion code box, so stacking does not work. You can use multiple coupons in-store (although you can only use one Ulta issued discount coupon per order). Of course, you can always split orders if each order qualifies for the coupon you’re using. Follow me through the in-store purchase (listed at the bottom) to go over coupon stacking, and I will touch upon and link to other articles that mention coupons I did not use today. Ulta is running a Buy Two, Get Two Free promotion on select Ulta Beauty Bath, Smoothies, Hand Soap, Anti-Bacterial Gel, Skincare Brushes, Wipes, Suncare, and Haircare products through 06/04/16. My main goal was to pick up items from that sale, but I redeemed coupons as well.
The most common promotion is $3.50 off $15, which is code 402907 through 06/04/16. That coupon is usually valid on any drugstore items or anything Ulta branded. As long as you’re not purchasing anything prestige (items sold at Sephora or department stores are usually prestige), it should work. This type of offer also comes in: a $5 off $15 coupon, 20% off a single item, or 20% off your whole order. Should the fine print make your head spin, just test the coupon with the items in your cart. If it works online, it will work in-store. It is important to note that while you can combine coupons in-store, you cannot combine discounts. Select the one that works best for you. One of these general offers is always available. There is never a time where Ulta has no general offers.
A less common offer is a unique coupon code for Ulta branded items. It is for $5 off $15 on Ulta Beauty Collection items. This usually comes with online orders, but it works online or in-store. There are times when Ulta includes these with every order. Other times, they are only included in gift with purchase bags. Since the buy two, get two free items I went to purchase today were Ulta branded, this is the coupon I used today. Just as the $3.50 off $15 was once $3.50 off $10, this was once $5 off $10.
For the first time in 2018, I saw a general coupon for this $5 off a $15 Ulta Beauty Collection Purchase. It came with an Ulta Beauty GWP. This one is valid from 03/18/18 through 06/02/18. Use code 676311 to redeem online. Because this is general, it will work as many times as you want to use it between the valid dates.
If you buy drugstore items from Ulta, it is important to remember that they accept most manufacturers coupons in-store. Never purchase online if your coupon is more valuable than the time and gas it will take to get to the store, because these coupons cannot be redeemed online. Ulta’s online promotion field only accepts Ulta created coupons, which uses 6-11 digit codes that are not compatible with bar codes. Prestige brands do not release manufacturers coupons (short of sales on their own personal sites).
Some coupons are specific to a certain brand. This one offers $10 off a Smashbox purchase. In 2013, I purchased a few Smashbox sets from Ulta, but I have not purchased anything from the brand since. These are targeted coupons and almost always unique. They are usually for prestige brands, but NYX is a drugstore brand that at times gets this coupon. I am not using this coupon in-store or online so someone may claim this if s/he wants it through 07/30/16.
Though brand specific coupons are usually for a specific dollar off amount, there are coupons that give a percentage off. These are unique offers that typically work online and in-store. The targeted offer is not available to all UltaMate members. Laura Geller is a brand I’ve purchased from Ulta many times. I am not using the coupon above so the first person who sees it can claim it.
Everyone with purchase history gets a birthday offer. New accounts can get activated up to 30 days after the birthday, but customer service will have to manually send offers after the first day of the birth month passes. Ulta emails it on the first day of your birth month and must be picked up in-store by the end of your birth month. This is one free gift that ties to your account. Associates must scan your membership number first, which I removed in the photo above. After scanning the membership number, the associates scan the unique code assigned to your coupon. It is a unique coupon so it will only work once. Each quarter, the gift changes so this is only the gift for quarter 1 of 2018.
Platinum and Diamond members also get a $10 coupon for their birthday that is good toward almost anything with no minimum. It claims to have a 30-day expiration date, but it works past the deadline. If you spend $10 or less, you get the item for free. This works in-store or online, but there is almost always a shipping minimum online. Like other unique coupons (the picture is of a general coupon, but I will add a unique one after my next birthday passes), it is only valid once in-store OR online. I used this for Mario Badescu in 2014, Butter London in 2015, Stila in 2016, and Too Faced (no article) in 2017.
Ulta started mailing $10 off anything coupons in 2018. These are the same as the $10 off birthday coupons, because they only exclude services and gift cards. Although they advertise a $50 minimum purchase, they only require a $10 minimum purchase.
I do not know what triggers these $10 coupons, because my son, who has a regular UltaMate account, received one. This is one I still have not received.
*The Refer a friend option changed in 2017 (after this article was written). Members now use their referrals to give and get $15 off a $30 salon purchase. I am leaving the rest of what I wrote (somewhat) intact so people can read about how it used to work. Hopefully, Ulta brings it back at some point.
If you refer someone to the UltaMate Rewards Program, you each get an offer for $10 off a $30 purchase. See my detailed article on how to send a link and rules for the program. These coupon codes have a 30 day expiration listed, but they work past the expiration date. I’ve used it multiple times past the expiration date online and once in store. When I used it past the expiration date in store, the cashier had to call someone else over to get it to work. That could have been because that code customer service sent me did not have a bar code as the usual ones do. It did have 20 characters on it, which would have gone below the bard code though. I used the online code for this coupon earlier today (and the person who used my referral link used the coupon the day I received the email), but I am not planning on using the in-store coupon (which is different). It is a unique in-store code (which makes sense because we print these ourselves), so it will only work once. Should it be gone by the time you try it, someone reading the article used it. It works toward everything other than the salon or the Benefit Brow Bar. This gives 33.3% off (if you stick to $30). The discount reduces as you spend more, but it still works on more items than any other coupon other than the Platinum birthday offer. There are limits to how many referral credits you get (10) and only so many people have not shopped Ulta yet, so this discount is not always available.
A rare coupon is one that only includes one type of item. This one offers 20% off one hair tool. There are limitations, so I’d play with the options online (if I was planning to purchase in store) before going to see which tool removes the 20%. It uses a general coupon code but has a limit of one per customer. General coupons can be used as many times as you want, so you could use this again with a separate order. An associate in store may not allow you to use them on back to back purchases, but it will work online in back to back orders. It will also work if you purchase from the store at another time.
The most universal coupon is 20% off prestige, which comes out at least 5 times a year for UltaMate members and 6-7 times a year for Platinum and Diamond members. At times, there is only a code for online redemption. When there is a bar code for an in-store redemption, this coupon will work either in store or online. If you receive a code by email and a second code by mail, look at them. So far, they have always been different meaning you have two codes.
See my 20% off Prestige article for more details. Members can rely on this coupon in: late January, early summer, late October, and early to mid December. The fifth offer will fluctuate. In 2015, the July code dropped to 10% for non-Platinum members. It dropped to 10% in early April 2016 for non-Platinum members, but only 20% offers went out in 2017.
This coupon does have some exclusions. It always excludes: Chanel Fragrance, Beauty Steals®, Beauty Deals™, Dyson, Salon Services, Dermalogica Skincare Services, clearance, and Benefit Brow Bar Services. When 5 for $5, 5 for $10, Hot Buys, and super hot new releases come out, they have been excluded. Past exclusions, which I have not seen in a long time, are on Fragrance, Lancome, Clinique, and Dermalogica.
If you go a long time without shopping at Ulta, you may get an email with a unique code inviting you to come back and shop. I actually started regularly receiving these in 2017 and documented every time I received one in the article tracking dollar off coupons. Hopefully that helps me see if the 2018 offers follow a release pattern.
The most common offer is $15 off a $50 purchase, but I have seen $10 off a $50 purchase before. I have received $10 off for shopping a specific brand before. The we’ve missed you discount or “this” brand needs love discount always has a unique online code and a unique in-store bar code. It will only work once in-store OR online. These are targeted discounts. A targeted discount means only select accounts will receive the offer.
There is special criteria for selecting who receives it. While the we’ve missed you discount is obviously targeted to those who have not shopped in a while, the brand discounts are likely from purchase history. It could be because you’ve purchased or sampled that brand in the past or because you never have and they want you to try it.
Some catalogs include coupons for services at the salon or the Dermalogica Skin Bar. The services will always vary.
At times, the coupons are only open to new customers. Other times, they are available for everyone. If you get services at the salon or have ever considered getting services at the salon, check the catalog for coupons before going. They are always general coupons though and almost never need a bar code.
Most catalogs are posted online in the static left column called current ad. While the online catalog excludes many coupons, it usually includes the salon coupons if they’re in there.
When it comes to coupons or online offers to redeem freebies, there are three types. These are targeted coupons that are only emailed to select members. I have a master list of targeted coupons. One needs a coupon code. The second is an add to cart option utilizing a link. My favorite is the one that automatically loads once you qualify. Coupons cannot be combined online. There is only one promo code field, and trying to enter a second promo code will not work. I only redeem freebie offers that need promo codes if I do not have a discount coupon that applies (which is normal on prestige orders) or if the freebie is more valuable to me than a coupon that gives a discount.
Ulta does not limit how many freebies you can add through links or ones that apply automatically. Before placing an online order, you should check all Ulta offers, because deal stacking is easy and encouraged. You are only limited by how many you know about. Sometimes, there are none. Other times, there are up to four. No one gets all the offers and some people get none. Many of these freebies have no purchase minimum, so you can pick them up in person with a cheap item to avoid the online shipping minimum. Some GWP options that do not require coupons are also available in store, but you have to remember to ask for them.
I used three coupons to place this order in person. As I mentioned at the top of the article, the first (which needs a promo code to redeem online) was the $5 off $10 Ulta branded coupon. The second also needs a promo code online. My last one is an online add to cart option. That means I could not have redeemed these items in a single order and would have paid shipping since the total was under $50.
Trying to track points on an order that redeems freebies and coupons is usually confusing. Ignore all the wonky math on your account. Everything here is at 1.25 points. Multiplying $6.99 by 1.25 comes to 8.7375, so it should get 9 points. Ulta always rounds down though. It would only award 9 points if the subtotal was $7, instead of $6.99. This rounding method never rounds down to more than a point though, so this is on track. To keep the math simple, I always calculate the final number, but Ulta calculates each item individually. That helps Ulta round down a bit more.
Reminder: These are all targeted coupons that are following. While these are expired, I have a master list. The first freebie is the one that requires a coupon code online. This also has a unique 20 character in store code along the bar code, which means it is unique online and in-store. It is for a 1oz dpHue Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse. I am not using the online coupon code, because I used my $10 off referral code earlier today and could not combine that with this. Should this online code be invalid by the time you try it, someone who read this article used it. This is self printed, so the in-store code is unique. If you try this in store, it will no longer work. Freebies that look like this are limited and targeted.
The second freebie is the add to cart option, so I was able to redeem it online earlier today as well. It is for a 1.5oz Devacurl Low-Poo Delight Weightless Waves Cleanser. Notice the difference on the bar code from the one above it. This coupon uses a general bar code, so multiple people can use it. It does not need a unique online coupon (or any coupon), so it can also be added to an online cart by multiple people. I usually do not redeem freebies more than once but only redeemed this in store after my online order to prove it is possible. To rectify getting two, I gifted these to my son’s preschool teachers. There is probably fine print that limits each person to one freebie. Freebies that look like this are targeted, but not limited.
I came across another coupon that I used for a purchase after this that is unique in store but general online. This article goes over all coupons, so I wanted to show what it looks like. It has 20 unique characters along the bar code, but there is no online code to redeem. That means anyone with the link who purchases anything can use this online. I’ve already redeemed the in-store coupon, so it will not work again in-store. This offer is for a free 1oz Matrix Total Results Miracle Creator Multi-Tasking Treatment with any purchase. It is valid through 07/30/16 or while supplies last. See a picture of it in the article I received it in.
Although this is all about the coupons, I will quickly go over the items I purchased on sale, because I always go over everything when I present an order. Feel free to skip this if you’re only here for the coupons. I’ve purchased the $5.99 Ulta Sunless Mitt in the past and found it is decent. It is a bit more porous than its slightly more expensive St. Tropez ($6.50) competitor, but that one is not on sale. As long as I wash my hands right after applying, the small amount that seeps through does not stain my fingers. This does have a very even application, so I have streak free color with my tanning products. In the past, I’ve always tossed these after a single use, mainly because I do not apply tanning products often. The older ones were also a lot lighter, and stains bother me. Even though they are hand washable, I’ve never tried. I look forward to seeing if these darker ones hide stains without hindering application (from not seeing the product as well if it blends in with the mitt).
I decided to get two mitts since the second one was free, and I have another on hand if the stains bother me or the product does not work as well once I’ve hand washed it. Getting two for $5.99 is why I can forgo getting one St. Tropez one for $6.50, even though it is a better product. Although I have not used the $5.99 Ulta Bronze Glow Sunless Tan Applicator Mitt For Face yet, I assume it works like a miniature version of the body one. It comes with two already, so I did not see the point of picking up a second set.
I selected something in the same price range to make sure my free item cost the same as the item I pay for. The $6 Ulta Moisture Cleanse Hand Soap is only a penny more, which is close enough. My sons were with me, so I let them pick the scent. They selected the 8.5oz Eucalyptus Mint, probably because it is green. This really smells like Eucalyptus mixed with mint. If you love those scents, you will love this. Likewise, if you hate those scents, you will hate this. Those are not scents I would select, but the smell fades on your hands after 20-30 minutes. Thankfully, I do not hate the scent. It does produce a beautiful lather and rinses very clean. Those are the two things I look for in a soap. At $6, I would not purchase this. On sale, I would purchase this again, in a different scent.
I will continue to post offers I am aware of, so no worries if you happen upon this post after the offers above expire. Targeted Offers are exclusive to UltaMate Members, so I do recommend joining. New members get $10 of their first purchase with a referral. Remember to check all Ulta offers before placing an online order, because there are always general or brand specific offers that are not targeted. Deal stacking is not only allowed, it’s encouraged. See all Ulta articles. Read Tips For Getting the Best Deal at Ulta. View my main page for the guide map to the site and deeper deal exploration.
Disclosure: Affiliate and Referral Links