April 2, 2012

Musings of the Day: Where Do You Shop Your Beauty?

Where do you shop beauty? And why?

Drugstores? Counter? Sephora? Ulta? Beauty.com?

Muse it with me!

Most of my shopping is done at Sephora or Sephora.com. They have the largest selection of beauty brands around and it makes things simple and easy to get all my goodies in one go.

Counters are my next stop but not as much lately. Seems like larger department stores like Nordstrom have really cut MA hours. My MA for Dior, Chanel, and Bobbi Brown aren’t around nearly as much as I’d like lately so I find I shop these bigger names online to avoid dealing with a MA that doesn’t know the brand. Case in point, my recent purchase of Estee Lauder’s new foundation that wasn’t sold to me by normal MA but an MA from NARS!

I also head to Harmons or Bed, Bath, and Beyond for the latest and greatest in drugstore makeup.

Ulta, occasionally…the closest Ulta is about an hour away from me so I can’t shop it regularly and I’ll occasionally pick something up at Ulta.com but not all that often.

Beauty.com, I hate the site. It’s very poorly organized so I rarely, rarely order from them. If it was set up a little more user friendly I’d probably be more inclined to purchase them from them.

Most everything else I purchase directly from brand website’s like Bobbi Brown, DuWop, the Balm, etc…

How about you?

Are you true to Sephora only?

Very minimal with your high end purchasing and stick to the drugstore?

Love Ulta but not Sephora?

Do share!

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


  • Jen

    Sephora mostly and a drugstore if I see/read bout something online that I’m interested in. Though recently an Ulta opened up in NYC in Queens that’s only 10 minutes by bus away from me. So I’ve made a few visits so far, to get Ulta exclusive sets and take advantage of their frequent drugstore item sales. And that they have China Glaze, Zoya but now I’m ordering China Glaze online because I can get it a lot cheaper than paying full $7 retail at Ulta even if they are having their buy 2 get 1 free.

  • kate

    Hi Muse!!! I’m exactly the same way! I usually go to Sephora for their selection and seriously awesome return policy LOL. I love that their website has pretty customer rating reviews for reference. Ulta isn’t so forgiving with selection on high end or prices on drugstore items OR their return policy!!! I LOVE BBB for drugstore items- can you believe how better priced they are AND you can use the 20% off coupons, too?! I rarely go to the counters…I can’t handle the pressure or guilt of having someone help me for like 15 minutes then I decide not to get the item!!! Muse- I wanted to ask you if you’ve heard/used Hourglass products before? Specifically the veil primer? Not sure if it’s worth a purchase over the Tartes Illuminating Serum?

    • the Muse

      hi kate haven’t tried it yet hun but have done a few reviews on Hourglass haha ;-D they make some nice stuff. Ahh mondays, it gets us all lol!

    • Josh :D

      Definitely the Veil Primer! The Tarte Serum is almost like a glowy moisturizer — it won’t extend the makeup’s weartime anywhere near what the Hourglass does.

    • Chels

      I’ve never had a problem with Ulta returns at my two locations. They are always super helpful, but I have heard people do sometimes have trouble.

  • kate

    OMG what the hell did I just ask? I’m so sorry! Ugh, monday, no coffee yet. I meant… do you LIKE hourglass products? Of freaking course you’ve HEARD and USED them before!!!! *slaps self for saying blasph to the makeup goddess!*

  • Cj

    I get 90% of my stuff online, and mostly from Sephora.com, There’s practically no real beauty stores where I live other than a really small Ulta which I don’t really go to. When new products hasn’t reached sephora’s website I buy directly from the brand’s site. Oh and Mac’s website obviously lol. But yeah other than online I’ll go to like CVS.

    • the Muse

      i actually do much of my shopping online lately too cj but only b/c of poor CS. I’m in the mecca of tons of counters, sephoras, etc…but the problem is the CS SUCKS!

      • Tammie

        Totally agree…I was trying to do that for a while but I am so damn impatient. Only thing that annoys me is that they get a commission for doing nothing when I shop at Nordstrom but I guess that’s the price I pay (sort of, it doesn’t cost extra after all) for wanting to get things as soon as I can lol.

        • Krista

          I don’t understand why it annoys you to give someone commission! I work at a makeup counter and sometimes I’ll spend an hour with someone only to get a $30 sale or less! We REALLY appreciate those people who come in to the counter instead of buying online. We give great customer service and can answer any questions very knowledgeably. What’s wrong with giving someone commission when it doesn’t cost you any more? Unless I had a really bad experience with someone that would be the only reason I would have to not purchase from them again… Also, base pay for me sucks. I depend on that commission! Sorry for the rant, this is just my opinion 🙂

          • Tammie

            Notice I said “for doing nothing”, and also my other comment about it. Obviously if you deserve the commission it’s fine, if I have to walk around the store looking for somebody to help me, or I am at a counter for ages and I have to get my own stuff then no I do not think these people deserve their commission just for being the person I happened to ask, or if they help me after 10 minutes.

  • eight

    I’ve never been in a Sephora as there aren’t any in my province, and sephora.com sucks the life out of Canadian customers…

    I generally shop at Shopper’s Drug Mart or Walmart, though I also shop online for indie and discount sites like Hautelook for higher-end brands.

    • eight

      Oh and Winners! Which is like TJ Maxx? And vultures tear up all the displays and open stuff but I often find neat, unopened things.

  • yelena

    SEPHORA is #1 in my books! (except of course if there is a nice GWP at a department store then I will head over there and get my extra treats on HG products like skin care. ) sephora’s beauty experts are always so nice, friendly and knowledgable they make my shopping experience a positive one every single time.

    closest ULTA is an hour away so its not practical for me to shop there. also their return policy is not as flexible or awesome as sephora’s.

    I still havent’ gotten on the MAC bandwagon and a huge part of it is that most of the MA at my local store are complete snobs. they act like u are there to beg or steal make up and I was just not having that. until they improve their customer service skills, iw ill not be shopping any MAC products.

    CVS is my favorite for drugstore products. they have a good rewards program in general on top of their beauty club ($5back/$50 spent) as well as a good return policy. (no questions asked)

  • Melissa

    Hi Muse!! I mainly shop at ulta. I love browsing through their aisles:) I only shop at sephora ocasionally since it’s kind of far from me even though i suspect i will fully convert to sephora since i just found out they are opening one across the street from me (how awesome is that??) not a big fan of online shopping and i cringe at the sound of the word drugstore cosmetics.

    • the Muse

      w00t that’s NICE melissa! can run over in sweats for eye makeup remover hehe!

  • C

    I like Nordstroms a lot because of the customer service. I haven’t been to an Ulta or Sephora in ages. I love hitting up CVS and Walgreens for my nail polishes and cheap thrills like Wet n Wild. Or when an LE collection catches my eye.

    I mainly do online shopping from Imomoko, Ebay, Sasa, and Adambeauty because I prefer Asian skin care and cosmetics and I can’t get them locally. I really haven’t had any bad experiences so I hope it stays that way!

    • Tammie

      Oh! I should have mentioned Adambeauty in my post too. Love them for Asian brands :). They have the BEST prices!

  • ididmyface

    I shop them all, except for beauty.com. I’m not sure why I don’t shop there. I should check them out. I also shop Rite Aid pharmacy quite a bit. Hope you had a great weekend girlie!

    • the Muse

      it was fab thanks for asking ididmyface and yours? I find I head to rite aid a lot too but they never have new collections le sigh 🙁

  • Missy

    I usually shop the Sephora online site (I’m out in the boonies and there is *nothing* like Ulta or Sephora close by).

    I also order directly from MAC, theBalm, Too Faced (though they won’t take returns -argh!), once from Tarte and just recently discovered Nordstrom (yay for free shipping!) 😀

    I agree about beauty.com – the site really sucks.

    • the Muse

      I hate that they don’t offer returns missy! awesome with nordies lately free coming and going wish saks, neimans, etc..would do the same!

  • Christina

    All of them! I have an Ulta 5 min. away, as well as a Sephora. I like Nordstrom, as well – and love that they do free shipping! …and of course, Target is pretty great, too!

  • Tammie

    Nordstrom is probably my main place to buy makeup, but I do my research on my own and only have the SAs do the transaction/get the makeup from behind the counter (even though on a few occasions I’ve had to get my own, and at Sephora too).

    Sephora is my secondary place, but it’s pretty close I’d say. I get a lot of stuff there too, and they have plenty of brands that Nordstrom doesn’t.

    Ulta is OK, I don’t go there much…most things I want that they have I can either get at Sephora or the drugstore. I do go there from time to time though.

    I’m trying not to get much drugstore makeup right now because I find that I don’t really use it when I have fancy stuff that I like better, but when I do get something from the drugstore it’s usually CVS and sometimes Rite Aid. If I am looking for specific things I do go to Walgreens.

    I’m too lazy and hate paying for shipping too so I don’t generally buy from the brands’ specific website…even if they have free shipping after X amount unless it’s Dior or Chanel or something then I am not likely to reach it… I guess if it’s something LE online only and I really REALLY want it I would order online though…

    • Tammie

      Ps. I forgot to mention one reason Nordstrom is #1 is because of their awesome return policy. Sephora is also highly rated by me because of it, although I feel their return policy is not as amazing as Nordstrom. I tend to find out only after application that I hate something, and with pricey things like what I get from there I would only feel comfortable spending that much if I know I can return it if I hate it.

  • Courtney

    I’m a Sephora girl but I also buy drugstore makeup at Walgreens. There is the most adorable older lady who works in the beauty department there and she is so sweet and nice and remembers my name every time I come in. She also hooks me up with coupons and discounts. She actually clips them at home and brings them in for her customers. She is friggin awesome. She’d be great at a high end beauty counter.

  • Littlecreek

    I’m a Sephora girl. They pretty much have everything I need and there are a lot of locations so ones never far away (especially now that they are in JCP). Ulta’s are few and far between here (only 3 in the entire KC metro) so I don’t go there often. I have to have something I can only get there before I’ll make a trip. I order from brands directly if they are having a killer sale or are doing an early release from their site and I just can’t wait for Sephora to get it. I always feel like I’m being stalked at department stores so I try to avoid them at all costs. If a drugstore brand has a great product (ie Lip Butters) I’m not above searching every Walgreens, CVS, Target etc to get my hands on it. I also seem to buy drugstore mascara over high end. I just don’t see that much of a difference.

    • Tammie

      Totally with you on going to Ulta only when they have something unique and drugstore mascara not being much different than high end!

  • Smirking Valet

    I have a MAC store around the corner from my house! It’s dangerous! And the CS is amazing! And of course Sephora. I love the deals at Ulta, but it’s a bit too far. I’m overwhelmed by the counters at Bloomingdales – the CS is super pushy, and a bit snotty :/ But all in all, I prefer shopping in person, so I can touch, smell, and swatch.

    • the Muse

      I agree smirking it’s one reason I started shopping online, VERY VERY push sales people!

  • Ljana

    Over here in Southeast Europe we obviously have quite different shops, but the categories are pretty much the same: drugstore, dept. store, Sephora etc. I always shop in-store and mostly at Sephora, since it carries more brands than any other shop here. (We do have our own chain store that specializes in beauty, but it carries European brands only, so no US stuff; for ex. Sephora has Too Faced and Benefit, but the local one has Bourjois, Artdeco, Pupa etc in addition to European high end like Chanel and Dior).
    For my skincare, I shop only at pharmacies. Pharmacies here are French-style, and have lots of French skincare brands – Bioderma, Caudalie, LRP, Lierac etc. It’s quite convenient too – you pop in for a painkiller or something and end up with a new skincare regimen. I’ve been known to forget about the painkillers at the sight of a Caudalie stand, lol.

  • Boone

    I buy most of my cosmetics online, the vast majority from Sephora.com. I occasionally order from Nordstrom when I’m specifically looking for a product Sephora doesn’t carry (e.g. MAC, Chanel). I buy Asian skincare and BB cream from a vendor on Amazon Marketplace.

    I do enjoy taking a lap through the makeup section of CVS and Walgreens whenever I’m there to buy toilet paper, and usually end up finding one or two new products that I need to take home. Even though both stores carry the major brands (Loreal, Cover Girl, Maybeline, Revlon), they seem to have split up the smaller brands–e.g., my CVS carries NYC, while Walgreens has Wet N Wild, CVS has Milani, Walgreens has Jordana, etc. So annoying–who wants to go to two different drug stores just to get their cheapie makeup fix? Plus, my neighborhood Walgreens has the worst cosmetics section in town and take forever to get new launches in stock. Boo!

    • Boone

      Oh, I forgot to rant about Ulta! I have had the absolute WORST experiences ordering from Ulta that I refuse to shop there any more, I don’t care how great their exclusives or sales are.

      One time, I ordered a few body washes/shower gels that were on sale, along with a variety of other items including brushes and fabric headbands. My total order was probably close to $100. Well, this huge box arrived reeking of “lavender fields” with a big soggy spot in one corner, because whoever packed it literally just threw everything into the box. Nothing was wrapped, there was no packing material to fill all the empty space in the box, and they hadn’t even bothered to put a piece of scotch tape over the shower gels. The tops of two large bottles of shower gel had come loose in transit and the bottles were basically completely empty, so nearly 64 ounces of shower gel was coating everything else in the box, including the brushes and headbands, which were ruined. I spent nearly an hour trying to salvage everything else, wiping shower gel out of every little crevice of lipstick and eyeshadow containers. I was LIVID when I called customer service, and offered to send the box back, complete with empty shower gel bottles, 64 ounces of loose shower gel, and ruined items. They refunded me for the two bottles of the shower gel and the ruined items without requiring the return, but they really should have refunded the entire order for the hell I went through to salvage anything.

      Then I made the mistake of giving Ulta another chance. This time, an item I ordered was out of stock so they cancelled it, which ended up bringing my order total below the threshold for the coupon I had used as well as the threshold for free shipping (it was a $12 item that brought my total to just over $60, so I had used a $10 off $60 coupon–without the item, my order total was $49). So not only did I not get any coupon discount, but they charged me full price for shipping, too! Had the website accurately reflected that the item was out of stock and not allowed me to purchase it, I could have added some small item to my $49 order to get free shipping and used a different discount coupon (like $3.50 off $10). Instead, because of THEIR mistake with inventory, my credit card ended up being charged MORE than I had authorized! (I authorized $51 = $61 total – $10 coupon + $0 shipping. They charged $55 = $49 total + $6 shipping.) Customer service totally didn’t give a crap and refused any kind of refund or credit. I returned the entire order (costing me another $8) and have not patronized Ulta since.

      For those who have good local Ultas, count your lucky stars. For those who order online and have not yet had any problems, I’m jealous, but be forewarned….

      • the Muse

        that’s terribly boone! I feel this way about target, they NEVER packaging beauty items well and ALWAYS ALWAYS whenever I order from them I got broken makeup!

      • isabella

        the Ulta near me is fairly new, but so poorly stocked that if you didnt know anything about it, you’d think it was closing.
        Their “drugstore” products are priced at MSRP. We have a wonderful store in NJ called Harmon discount where everything is much, much cheaper.

        Not surprised by your post.

  • TLE

    Being Canadian, I’d have to go with Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart. When I’m in the States I like to check out Nordstrom. Really, I’ll head wherever they are selling a new product I’m interested in!

  • catazure

    I am a Sephora girl (on line mostly, I am in the boonies, too!) but sometimes I shop QVC when they have good deals. My skincare, Algenist, is on autodelivery because of a QVC deal.
    I have two orders on teh way from Sephora because of the 15% off and like most of my cosmetic buys, Muse-Approvals impacted those purchases:)

  • Michelle

    Grrrr…Ulta. I live 5 minutes away from one, but it’s not nearly as well-stocked as the Sephora I like to visit, which is a whopping 45 minutes away from me, and the return policy isn’t nearly as generous. The worst part of all is that the testers, cotton swabs, cotton balls, trash cans, all that stuff is completely vandalized at Ulta. Forget about finding any NYX products because they have a very limited selection and what they do have is opened and tested as soon as it’s out on the shelf. I don’t buy too many high-end products but when I do I would rather wait and buy them at a brick-and-mortar Sephora store than go to Ulta.

    Also, I have had tremendous luck finding cosmetics on eBay. I bought all of the Korres lip glosses I wanted to try at a very deep discount this way. The trick is to find makeup that’s not so popular or well-known that they’re going to be counterfeited, which admittedly is a harder and harder task these days.

    My drugstore purchases are split between CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens with the occasional foray into the dollar stores and Big Lots. I watch the circulars to see the BOGO’s and other sales. I collected all of the Revlon Lip Butters I wanted this way, one at a time, going from store to store.

    PS: Sally Beauty Supply is a great place to go for cheap makeup as well.

    • k

      ugh that’s one of the thing that makes me sad at Ulta, open a nyx lipstick to look at it>smashed to bits. and it’s constant. at least nyx is finally plastic wrapping their lipsticks now so that doesn’t happen as often, but people still pull them open and smash them back together anyway. ):

  • Xero

    I only shop drugstore, really…and very occasionally eBay.

    I actually go to Walgreens way more often than I should, and most of my makeup is from there. It doesn’t help that there are 4 (four!!) Walgreens within 30 minutes of my house, and one right in front. I like Walmart for lower prices and Sally Beauty supply for Sally Girl eyeshadows (!) but they’re more of a hassle to get to than Walgreens.

    The closes Sephora is 2 hours away, so I’m never tempted to buy there (online shipping charges are usually ridiculous too). I don’t think there are Ultas or Nordstroms where I live, and if they do, they’re probably 2 hours away and in close vicinity to the Sephora LOL.

  • Kim

    I primarily shop at Sephora and Ulta since they are close to where I live and carry most of the brands I want. I shop at qvc.com when there is something exclusive I want (I hate the shipping cost though). There is no Nordstrom close to me but I like when I get a chance to go there so I can get good CS for brands Sephora and Ulta do not have (like Chanel). I often buy from Nordstrom.com now that they have free shipping and every MAC item I get comes from Nordstrom since there is no MAC Pro store near me. I buy all my drugstore brands at CVS unless Ulta has a sale (as I am in the Beauty club for CVS). Occassionally, I also get Estee Lauder, Clinique or Lancome stuff at Macy’s or Belk when they have a gift with purchase. I do not buy from brand websites much since I prefer going with places I have a points card.

  • Rikki

    Sephora (return policy makes things worth it) and TJ Maxx, usually. Because of animal testing and SOPA, I usually try to avoid most drugstore brands.

  • Lulubelle

    I used to buy pretty much only from sephora.com and occasionally from the Sephora in JC Penney’s. However, an Ulta recently opened in my town and it’s huge with great selection. I love just going in and walking the aisles looking at everything. Since they have some decent sales on the drugstore products, I’ve started buying there for those deals or for their exclusive sets on higher end cosmetics. Today I got some NYX cream shadows at 40% off. I’ve also got a Rite Aid on my ride home that I stop in weekly. They have fantastic 75% off sales and I’ve picked up some items recently I’ve really liked.

    I haven’t bought makeup from a department store in over a decade, I bet.

  • gliteratti

    Usually sephora. I have one near buy that actually has helpful staff. For things not sold there I usually go online.

  • Elizabeth

    Sephora or Sephora.com, I also love Mac.com

    Sephora, over 2-3 years ago opened my eyes to makeup. Prior to that I grew up shopping at makeup counters with my mother–who believed in terms of makeup, you get what you pay for. Growing up a lot of the time the makeup did not match (foundation, concealer, etc.) I feel in combination in need to make sales and only being limited to certain brands, was the culprit. So thus I now hate makeup counters, they’re like car salesmen to me.

    Sephora has a large selection (depending on where you go), where employees are always there to help and give advice. I feel that at Mac or Ulta, the customer service stinks. I have been ignored so many times, however when I bring my mother (I am 21 years old), the employees are at our beck and call. I am frustrated at these stores that I am not taken seriously–also annoying is the number of people crowding in one Mac store. Sephora gives the best customer service with best products. I live closer to an Ulta than to a Sephora, but I refuse to shop within the local Ulta due to bad service. Mac online rarely has stuff sold out. I also love to go on cosmetics websites to order (urbandecay.com, smashbox.com, etc. because they have good deals and sales once in a while).

  • Caitlin

    All of the above! I mostly like drugstore makeup, because I find that I can find products I like as much as higher end stuff in most categories, especially lips. However, I am a GWP addict, and I venture into Sephora and Ulta occasionally for deals on interesting stuff I can’t find elsewhere. I love to shop online, too! No loyalties but love and money, lol!

  • Margaret

    Sephora, ULTA, drugstores and even supermarkets for low-end stuff. I don’t care to buy at department store counters; I like the goods right out there where I can play with it without someone breathing down my neck.

  • CupK8

    I buy a lot of makeup from ULTA, and occasionally I’ll go to Beauty Brands. If I’m looking for an older China Glaze polish or something, I’ll head to Sally’s, but Sally’s is mostly for my red hair maintenance and Seche Vite stock-up. 😉

    If I’m looking for a drugstore brand, I’m much more likely to go to CVS or Walgreen’s, because they almost always have deals. CVS has gotten kind of ridiculous price-wise lately, though, so I tend to prefer Wag’s.

    Sadly, I have the same issue with Sephora that you do with ULTA, Muse. The closest one is 45 minutes away. :\ I only shop on Sephora.com if it’s something I MUST HAVE.

    I also have a few indy brands I buy direct, like Shiro and Geek Chic.

  • Lili

    I have a HUUUUUUUGE ULTA that’s about five minutes away by car. Great selection, great service. Love that place. In fact, when I die, please have me buried in that place.

  • k

    ulta but to be honest i really kinda dislike them, they always get in nail collections (i.e. china glaze hunger games) like 2 weeks AFTER sally beauty does and price them like 3 bucks more. all their drugstore makeup is overpriced too, though i do like combining their coupons with bogo sales and such.

    my other complaint is their rewards program?? i guess they’re revamping it but i swear i’ve dropped a good chunk of change their and still dont get their rewards or how it works, and most of the reward prizes aren’t anything useful like, a 10 gift card, but like a specific shade of essie nail polish or some ulta brand lipstick or something. ulta seriously, what happened to points meaning discounts or gift cards or idk, USEFUL things???

    that and they seem very, very unsure of when they get releases. my friend once called to snag an OPI pot3 nail polish and they told her ‘well they might be out soon check back like sunday’. when she went sunday they were almost all gone, it was clear they’d been put out earlier than that.

    sally, however, is great service. they actually let me come in a few days early to get the HG shades i wanted last month, and they’ve been nice enough to hold a bottle of polish for my friend so she could come pick it up. ulta could seriously learn from them.

    but yeah i do like the range of brands they carry and that they’re at least closer to me than anywhere else, but those are my main complaints.

  • cdev

    Cant beat Sephora’s return policy and always great customer service.
    I love shopping there website and freebies, samples etc.
    Ulta has the worst CS. I recently sent back a full order w/ them and they claimed that a $34 palette was not in the box . I RETURNED everything.
    I am a beauty junkie and very anal about packing things up and returning
    things I have not even opened or changed my mind on.. It took them a whole week to get back to me re: this issue and when they finally did they
    sent me an email saying they were not going to give me a refund or a store credit. I was a regular Ulta.com shopper for the last
    couple of years , But not anymore.. I sent the supervisor back an email
    saying I will no longer be shopping at Ulta.com in the future.
    I also love Nordstrom . They have a great selection online and the store
    always has knowledgable staff. Macy ‘s is great too especially w/ Gift w/ purchase , Love those..
    CVS is my favorite for drugstore beauty purchases w/ xtra bucks and the beauty club.. I also have good luck w/ my local Target too.
    I love shopping online and Im a sucker for free shipping!
    Ebay is a good site for hard to find makeup also….

  • Andrea

    I work at Sephora, so I naturally shop there the most! But even before I got a job there it was already my favourite store. However, im a sucker for drugstore makeup. I love browsing walmart, shoppers, london drugs, sally’s and random supermarkets for cosmetics. You get so much more bang for your buck!

  • Quinctia

    The only Sephora I have near me is one in a JC Penneys. It doesn’t carry hardly anything that Ulta doesn’t, and it’s small and just kind of blah. Also, I hated giving them my email for my beauty insider stuff, but I wasn’t able to pick up a card until I was on vacation last month and was able to find a real Sephora!

    I actually have two Ultas within a reasonable distance from me, and I do a lot of cosmetics shopping there because I get coupons, they have a good assortment of higher end and drugstore brands that I like, and they also carry my skincare line and these incredible shea butter infused socks. The socks are important, because my feet get very cold and I wear them to bed every night, haha.

    I sometimes buy things at Target, though I’m a little upset I didn’t even get a chance to pick up the new sample bag–I always used those little coupon books. 🙁

    Aside from that, I do some online shopping–I’m a fan of places like HauteLook and BeautyTicket. I have to do some Sephora buys online or I’d never get my birthday gift. And some ebay, with a healthy bit of caution.

  • Connie

    I usually do my high-end makeup shopping at Sephora.com. The free shipping over $50 order applies to Hawaii (most retailers exclude AK and HI), and I really enjoy the exclusive sets and products. Everything else I go to my local drugstore, Longs Drugs aka CVS. Huge variety of products, some I’d never seen before I moved here, and always running great sales.

    I’ve found with a lot of department stores, once something goes out of stock, it takes forever for them to get another shipment. And more often than not, those shipments are delayed. For example, Revlon lip butters recently hit the shelves here, and I know they’ve been available for months already on the mainland.

  • Maggie

    Everywhere I conveniently can for whatever I want at the best price.

    My go-to’s online:
    -Nordstrom & Sephora for their excellent return policies.
    -Beauty.com bc they frequently have promo’s and deals. I get things I know I love here so I don’t have to worry about return’s.
    -Walgreens.com & Target.com bc they do in-store returns.

    I’m lucky to live near Walgreens, CVS, Rite Aid, Target, and Kmart so I normally wait for a sale when it comes to drugstore makeup.

    Other than that, I rely on bloggers like you to point out sites like adambeauty or cherryculture when there are sales going on. Or where to find specific products.

  • Majick

    Wow, loaded question!
    Ulta- Holmdel, NJ = FABULOUSNESS
    (EVERYone at my store deserves kudos)

    Sephora.com for anything i cant find at Ulta. (closest brick n morter is 1/2-45 away so I limit my trips to once or twice a year.)

    QVC- under duress because of shipping/handling and tax on top of the handling too. I will only order exclusive or TSV type deals.

    Macy’s for Clinique bonus time (I need to replace my blue bottle eye makeup remover every time one rolls around.

    Just went to the MAC store in Schrewsbury and that was fun. But I can honestly say I like the MAC MA at Macy’s in Monmouth a little better. A little more animated and I like that in a person! lol

  • isabella

    For dept store products, I go to Bloomies (I have their credit card gets me bonus’s)

    Anything else Harmon, or QVC TSV

  • JenJ

    Here, there and everywhere lol! Lately CVS and Ulta if I’m actually going to a store. Online Sephora, QVC and HSN.

    • JenJ

      I like Sephora but I hate going in there because I can’t browse like I want (when I’m in the mood to browse) because every 5 minutes someone is at my shoulder! I mean I appreciate it and all BUT dang let me shop and seek YOU out if I need help. So the majority of my purchases are done online. I’m not a big mall person so I rarely go to counters. Certain brands like Bobbi Brown and Bare Escentuals I’ll order directly from them. I agree with beauty.com and also drugstore.com. Their site is not the easiest to navigate. I’ve order from them like twice. I honestly prefer ordering online especially if there is something in particular that I want. I can go online and order without a whole bunch of hassle or struggling to find the item in store.

  • Susan K

    Mostly Sephora for online; Ulta for a relaxing, fun shop; CVS, Rite Aid, and some Walgreens (I’m a ds stalker for some of those le collections); and ebay of course for discontinued items that I suddenly have to have.

  • Stellar

    Truthfully, I have yet to even shop at Sephora. I would always go in, look around, contemplate whether to buy something, but walk out empty handed. Same with Winners even though the deals are amazing if you are lucky.

    In Canada we have Wal-Mart, Shoppers Drug Mart (equal to CVS in terms of higher end of prices for drug store I believe?), and Rexall (understated place, it has amazing sales from time to time).

  • Angela

    – Rite-Aid (The best! They let you return stuff if you don’t like it!)
    – CVS
    – Sephora.com

  • Lisa

    I probably use Ulta and Sephora equally. I’m a VIB member so I’ve really shopped the 15% Chic sale last week! Awesome store manager at the Galleria in Dallas! Mad obsession with makeup! Ulta seems to run out of things really quickly which is frustratring and also Sephora has more online and when I go into the store, I find they don’t carry it. I seem to buy less and less from Nordstrom where I used to buy everything. Good question Muse, and I love your reviews! Keep up the good work!

    • the Muse

      aw thanks lisa!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D and thanks for sharing your store obsessions ;D!

  • tina

    sephora but lately i haven’t been enjoying their policy lately

  • dangster

    I shop at Sephora.com and the Sephora at Stanford University (yes, the school has a mall!). I actually love Beauty.com because of the Designer Gift with Purchase sample bags that they do 5 times a year. I figure that if I’m gonna stock up on my must-haves, I may as well get a cute bag stuffed with new goodies for me to try out 🙂

    • Tammie

      Why hello there fellow Stanford Shopping Center buddy haha :D. I love that shopping center, it’s more upscale so the SAs seem to be more attentive (especially at Nordstrom…I live in San Jose so I don’t get to Palo Alto much but the lady at the Chanel counter always asks about my son!).

      Also love it for Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus hehe 🙂

  • Ninja cat

    Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada and by extension their beauty store that they set up in direct competition with Sephora, Murale. You earn points easily, especially on events like 20X the points AND can get some nice GWP. Combined the company covers everything (including Chanel, Dior, Guerlain, Cargo, Benefit, Urban Decay; lots of heavy hitters) that I think if it weren’t for the fact that Sephora has Givenchy and a few store exclusives, I wouldn’t go there much.

  • GR

    Rite Aid! I live in the middle of nowhere. Actually, even in the city I wouldn’t shop anywhere but the drugstore. Prices can be so cheap if you know how to work the sales, and Sephora kinda makes me cringe…

  • kikai

    Sephora and Sephora.com, Nordstrom and nordstrom.com, maccosmetics.com, MAC freestanding store and brick and mortar CVS & Walgreens.

    I dislike Ulta so very much – seems like the SAs at the Ultas in my city are the most unfriendly and unhelpful in the world. i shop ulta.com liek 2x a year LOL. other than that, i stay away!

  • Tiffany Martin

    I live in Vermont, and we don’t have Ulta or Sephora in the whole state. (No asian beauty stores either). The horror!

    I shop all my makeup online: Amazon, drugstore.com, sephora.com, and ulta.com.

  • cat

    When I started really using makeup in college, I mostly spent my time going to the drugstore as they were a ton of them around campus (CVS, Duane Reade, Walgreens, Kmart, Rite Aid) and to Sephora. As I’ve gotten a bit more savvy about shopping, I’ve stopped purchasing so much makeup from the drugstore. When I do buy drugstore items I usually head straight to Harmon’s as they generally have the best prices if not the best selection but really I spend most of my time online. It’s just so much easier to find discounts and on drugstore.com/beauty.com I can go through Ebates and get a percentage back. As for Sephora, I still like popping into the stores from time to time but I like to make my actual purchases online when I can. There’s a better chance the item I want will be in stock. I’m guaranteed that no one has opened it. And again, I can go through Ebates.

  • Iris

    My favourite places for beauty products are Sephora, Lush, Bath & Body Works, Aveda, and Shoppers Drug Mart. I also like Rocky Mountain Soap Company but their stores are far away from the parts of the city where I live or work. I wish we had an Ulta here.

  • Tanya

    Well, now that I have a year of Sephora Flash, Sephora.com has been my favorite :). I prefer the website to the store because of the free samples and the feeling of being able to take as much time as I want. Also, the store near me always seems to be messy and/or out of stock. As for physical stores; Target and CVS, although I have a love/hate relationship with CVS. They’re always late to stock or out of stock, but the sale prices combined with ExtraCare Bucks kind of make it worth it.

  • Ashley

    Sephora and Nordstrom’s have the best customer service hands down. Was at a ULTA a few month’s back during the day and they had way too many girls (staff)just standing around and waiting for customers. The one girl literally followed me around and I think must of thought I was a shop lifter cause she annoyed the crap outa me so much that I grabbed my stuff I was getting and got out of their fast.
    Sephora is great as is their return policy and Nordstrom has an excellent return policy as well plus, they are very gracious to their customers and will let you sample anything, without making you feel like you’re being a pain, at Nordstrom they make the customer KING!

  • dia

    I get most of my stuff from ulta.com. I like how I can get brand name and drugstore things on the same site, and they have lovely mark downs and gift with purchases.

    I will browse sephora.com once in a while, but I can’t stnad going into their store in San Francisco. It is always super packed. Seriously, you can’t walk down the aisles or try anything, because the store is jam packed. Their check out lines are so long that they sometimes have a sales clerk pass out candies or fragrance samples to people waiting.

    Beauty.com is just terrible. I’ve bought sunscreen from them and received a tube that expired in a couple of months. When I returned it, I was told the item could not be returned because I had used it. I most definitely had not use it; I didn’t even take it out of its box once I saw the expiration date.

    • Isabella Muse

      same here in New York at most sephoras :-/ I know what you mean. Ulta.com is great as I like shopping both mid and drugstore brands on one site but I fear I’m more a sephora.com groupie 😀 oh wow that’s horrible with beauty.com