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Issue Date: January 2008


Makeup Heaven

Whether you have eyes for designer brands or drug-store mainstays, Ulta has your favorite shade.
Kristen Hampshire
Beauty junkies beware. You won’t leave Ulta empty-handed.

A girl never quite outgrows a fascination for playing dress-up. All those pretty polishes, lip puckers, eye pigments — shiny, glossy, sparkly smears packaged just so in neat containers and fancy compacts. You can never have too much.

Now that I’m older, I call this keen interest in beauty retail what it is: I’m a product junkie. And Ulta is the West Side’s latest enabler.

Located in Fairview Park’s newly renovated Westgate mall, Ulta is a one-stop shop for salon products and services. At first glance, Ulta resembles close cousin, Sephora. But once inside, the distinction in store layout and product diversity shows why the two beauty outlets can peacefully coexist. If Sephora is the upscale restaurant, Ulta is the food court.

It’s set up with two tracks. Yield to the left for designer boutique picks such as Smashbox, Too Faced and Urban Decay. Veer to the right for mainstream brands such as Revlon and Neutrogena. The shelves of drugstore products are far more enticing because of the let’s-play environment.

Ulta covers all the beauty bases: hair care, nails (including Piggy Polish for $6.50), candles and sunglasses and perfumes. The back of the store houses a salon.

This place is definitely a jackpot for gift-giving. That said, I leave the store with a few presents for myself, ducking out of the way as two girls squeeze together for a photo. Yes, Ulta is an experience.

3181 Westgate Mall, Fairview Park, (440) 331-4078, www.ulta.com

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