If you have to buy it, get the best deal!
Ulta accepts a lot of coupons. 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 deals, 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 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. When you use a unique coupon in-store, it uses the 20 digit bar code, not the 10 character online code. This means you can use a coupon once online AND once in-store. Just remember to write the online code down or take a picture of the coupon before you give it to the cashier (because they collect it if it is a physical coupon).
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. 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 coupon code for Ulta branded items. This usually comes with online orders. They were frequent with winter orders and came with this 07/01/16 expiration date. Spring orders did not have any coupons, so they are not always given. Since the buy two, get two free items I went to purchase today were Ulta branded, this is the coupon I used today. Future versions could be modified to offer $5 off $15, just as the $3.50 off $15 was once $3.50 off $10. I did not take a picture of the $5 off $10 Ulta branded coupon I used for this purchase, so I am using this one I found online. The owner of this coupon blocked out the pertinent codes, so only s/he can use it online and in-store if it has not already been redeemed.
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 6-10 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. The usual prestige brands that exclude themselves from the 20% off coupon, like Lancome, Clinique, and Dermalogica, are unlikely to be featured on these. I am not using this coupon in-store or online, so they are both available through 07/30/16.
Everyone gets a birthday offer. Ulta emails it on your actual birthday and must be picked up in-store within 30 days. This free gift ties to your account, so I selected a picture where the original owner blacked out her information to show you what the coupon looks like. The birthday celebrant was likely born on January 1st, which is why this coupon expires when it does. Each quarter this year, the gift changes, so this 2014 gift is different from what you will receive.
Platinum members also get a $10 coupon for their birthday that is good toward almost anything with no minimum. 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 uses different codes so it is valid once in-store AND once online. I used this for Mario Badescu in 2014, Butter London in 2015, and Stila in 2016.
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 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 5 times a year for Platinum members and 3-4 times a year for UltaMate 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 once in store and once online. Expect this coupon: late January, early April, late July, late October, and mid December. In 2015, the July code dropped to 10% for non-Platinum members. It dropped to 10% in early April 2016 for non-Platinum members, so it is possible July 2016 may see the full amount. This coupon does have some exclusions. It always excludes: Dermalogica, Dyson, Lancome, gift cards, beauty steals, Clinique, and the Benefit Brow Bar. There are times where it also excludes: fragrance and specific hot new product releases.
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’ve never gone without shopping at Ulta long enough to receive one of these, but the most common offer is $10 or $15 off a $50 purchase. The owner of this photo received $15. I have received $10 off for shopping a specific brand before. They are almost always brands I never really purchase, so I have not redeemed one of those offers yet. 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. 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. 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. 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.
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