The Truth About Ulta Beauty

I don’t even know where to start and I just wanted to bang my fists on the keyboard out of anger for the bad rep that this chain is receiving right now. It’s simply not fair.

DISCLAIMER – This is my experience from working there and how my store handled situations. I’m in no way backing up any other location, as I believe it could have happened, but I feel the need to shed some light on such an issue.

I found this article on my Facebook timeline and it was actually shared by someone I worked with at Ulta, that was equally as annoyed as I was upon reading it. I really wanted to do this in a style of a video because I felt like I could express my emotions a whole lot better, but this will do for now –

Let me start off by saying that I was very fortunate to work at the location I worked. I had wonderful managers, wonderful coworkers and wonderful stylists that worked in the salon and I never once felt like I was unwanted there. I was taken in and instantly became a family member to these people who led me to have the same welcoming attitude towards newcomers after me….and there were a lot.

The article is called “15 Rules We Didn’t Know Ulta Beauty Employees Have To Follow,” so let’s begin.

15. “The employees feel like they can’t speak up, and when they do they get penalized for it.” 

Okay, so honestly, I’ve never had a job where my voice wasn’t heard. I’ve never had to work somewhere where my opinion or how I felt wasn’t taken into consideration nor was I scared to approach someone and let them know I had something on my mind. Fortunately, Ulta was the best with how I felt and they cared about me and my feelings. Sidenote: I had a lot of traumatic things happen in my life while working at Ulta Beauty, and I never felt more loved by people I worked with/surrounded myself with than when I worked there. My store was really good about pushing the anonymous hotline if something was wrong or if you weren’t being treated fairly and I truthfully can’t recall a time where it happened because there would have been a meeting about it. I had 2 GMs in my 3 years of working there and both of them wanted to make sure each employee knew their personal phone number, where it was listed and that they were able to reach out absolutely whenever/for whatever they needed to.

14. “They’re encouraged to sell makeup that’s already been used by someone else.”

This is where the whole Ulta Beauty controversy started, why people are now suing Ulta and the one thing I was most excited to write about Again, I can’t speak for any other store other than mine, but placing returned, used, items back on the floor would have never happened. Returns went through a process at our store and if they weren’t sealed when returned, they didn’t go back out on the floor. Returned items were placed under counters behind the register and sorted into blue bins once the night was over. This is where I come in because I was responsible for processing damages for nearly my whole 3 years and even then, the only items that ever went back on the floor were the ones that clearly hadn’t been used and overlooked by cashiers. And if they aren’t to be destroyed, product gets sent back to the vendor.

It blows my mind, honestly, because part of our job was to make sure the store was in great condition as far as product and how much product is out. So appearance was huge to my store and even damaged boxes of prestige makeup, we would either destroy the product if it was damaged or make a tester of it.

13. “They don’t get a break during their super long shifts.”

Breaks were ENFORCED at my location. The employees there are on their feet for so long that the managers were quick to fill their place to allow said employee to take their rightful break.

12. “If you’ve worked there for a long time, you still may not even be able to do makeup application.”

WELL, first of all, if a guest asks you to color match them….there’s your first step at getting from drugstore/cashwrap/operations to prestige. It’s not about how long you’ve been there, it’s about how eager you are to be able to be considered a “prestige beauty advisor.” They aren’t going to just place anyone over there as there are many things to be taken into account for. Ulta has numerous training videos and training on site at certain locations that include gratis for those people who actually ask about wanting to learn!

11. “They have to wear a ton of makeup. More than the employees want to.”

“Cosmetics should be representative of Ulta Beauty’s current image and applied appropriately” which is worded just like that in the dress policy. I mean, yes, if you show up to work with no makeup on or show up to work looking like you don’t know how to apply makeup, they’re going to say something or you probably wouldn’t have been hired. Either way, Ulta is all about advertising new product so they might push you to change your lip color or try out a new mascara to help be able to sell it.

10. “There’s basically no training for new employees.”

It may seem that way, but with each new hire, there IS someone there to help them. They should have watched training videos to begin with but if you’re hired during the holiday season, the busiest season, you might be required to watch those at a later time and get some hands-on training first. I know from being on the operations team, that managers will team up a new hire with someone who’s been there and knows the ropes because they’re able to walk a new hire through the process. This applies for truck/shipment, cashwrap and planograms. At the end of the day, I would prefer that method over watching a video that I know I’m not listening to.

09. “Many employees feel there’s absolutely no room to grow within the company.”

Fair enough, because it can be a bit tricky to get someone to notice you. But at the same time, being eager about your current position and letting the mangers know that you’re ready to take on more…trust me, they make mental notes. I was asked about 3 times while working there if I wanted to take the next step in my career. I politely declined because I loved my hours and I was a full-time student at the time, but I was asked to help open a handful of stores. I witnessed a few of my coworkers that were beauty advisor advance to managers, I witnessed other beauty advisors advance and work for Lancôme and I’ve witnessed more beauty advisors grow interest in the salon or benefit brow bar, be able to become licensed and get that position within my store. There are plenty of opportunities to grow.

08. “No matter how hard you work or how much you sell, you won’t be compensated for.”

And you’re right, but that’s no how Ulta works. Unless you work in the salon or at the brow bar, you won’t receive money any other way than on your paycheck.

07. “Employees feel like being personable and friendly to customers is frowned upon.”

This one makes me laugh because there will always be returning guests, so why not make them feel like they’re welcomed and why not be ready to help them, because you know them, when they walk into the store. I can’t tell you how many times we had guests walk through those doors and asked for a specific employee/manager because they made a huge impact on the guest. Not only does having a relationship with those people you’re selling to, IT HELPS THE SELLS BECAUSE THEY TRUST YOU!

06. “Management hardly cares about how good of an employee you are, just that you get a lot of credit card sign ups.”

The credit card world is relatively new to Ulta, but the credit cards add even more of a great thing to the point system! It was never a thing at my location for our employees to push credit cards. We were encouraged to talk up the credit cards and there was typically gratis weekly for whoever signed up the most people, but loyalty was bigger than credit card sign ups and should be for any location.

As far as management hardly caring about how good of an employee you are, if you suck at your job, they won’t keep you, so…..

05. “Their everyday tasks are way less than glamorous.”

Everyone is required to pick up after themselves and help keep the store looking it’s best. It doesn’t kill anyone to tie a trash bag and toss it or refill makeup stations. As for stocking, if you’re going into the backroom for an item that isn’t on the floor, either you’re replenishing or a guests wants the item, why not grab multiple of that item to fill the shelf? In my opinion, the “less than glamorous” job is one that your mid-day shifter or prestige beauty advisor wouldn’t even have to worry about and that’s tasking.

04. “They have to be okay with working long and grueling shifts.”

Granted, if you’re at the cashwrap or work on the prestige side of the store or at a makeup counter, then yes, be prepared to work a decently long shift. For the most part, most shifts are anywhere from 4-6 hours….is that really that bad?

03. “There’s little to no communication between management and employees.”

I’m sorry but if you need to treated like a baby and told what to do after every task you’ve completed, please find another job. As for serious matters, if your manager isn’t paying attention to you, don’t forget about that hotline number!

02. “They have to work major holidays, no matter what.”

IT’S RETAIL! You know what you’re signing up for when you apply.

01. “There’s a point system and you lose points if you’re sick.”

Okay, so there is a new point system that was launched in 2017. It sucks, I won’t lie. But it’s fair. It’s fair because people like to take advantage of their shifts and think calling out is okay. Obviously if you’re on your death bed, they aren’t going to expect you to go in that day, but it’s a job and calling in otherwise is pretty frowned upon.

I’m really regretting not making this into a video now because it would have been much shorter, but with all of the negativity surrounding Ulta Beauty right now and how many people think it’s a bad place to work – it’s actually pretty great and would be an amazing first job for so many young girls out there. It’s intimidating, no doubt and the pay might not be all that great for a beauty advisor, but if you’re looking for something to do while you’re in school or a side job to make a little extra cash, it’s an amazing company to work for. I’d be going on year 4 had I not quit due to personal reasons, but I think about going back daily. I loved my job even though it was stressful at times. The good ALWAYS outweighed the bad. And not to mention, the discount is one hell of a perk 😉

I appreciate anyone who actually read this whole thing or any of my responses for that. I felt the need to shine some light on this wonderful company and I hope I did just that!

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