Thursday, August 25, 2011

Recent Displays and Why I'm Mad at Ulta

I shared some displays from the Inland Northwest in my vacation entry, and today I have some I've come across here in Michigan since my last big display entry. (I still haven't seen any new Milani displays; I did order the colors I wanted online, so it's more a curiosity at this point if they're ever going to show up here.)

I'm not sure what's going on with Wet 'n' Wild; I only saw the Inked display at a couple stores early this summer, and now I've only seen Go with the Flow-er at one single CVS a few weeks ago. Based on things I've read online, this should have been out months ago. There were some empty spots in the display by the time I got there, but near as I can tell, there are eight colors in this collection: Tulip-git to Quit (bright warm pink), Right the Marigold-Round (brownish rose), Strike a Rose Vogue (mauvey rose), A Healthy Carnationship (light warm pink), Why Would I Lilac to You? (purple), Head in the Clouds (light teal), Save Water There's a Drought (teal), and Beat Around the Bush (green). I like the pinks/purples for blossoms and greens for stems theme, though I wish they'd included more variety in the greens—a bright grass green, for instance. That teal is so similar to a couple other Wild Shines that it seems like that slot should have been filled with something different.

In a blast from the more distant past, I found a Sally Hansen HD display at a Walgreens—the one that had Opulent Cloud in it. That's like two years old at this point. This wasn't there the last time I was at that store, so I'm not sure where they got it; maybe it gets stored in the back room and dragged out whenever there's a gap on the shelf. (The only polishes left were the two Disc bottles. Poor Disc; no one seems to love it.)

Crack is still going strong, as least as far as more brands putting out their versions. Nicole by OPI calls it Texture Coat. At Meijer, I've seen displays with four colors (Black Texture, Red Texture, Silver Texture, and Gold Texture), though I've seen swatches of other colors online (white and turquoise).

One of my Walgreens had a crackapalooza display, with many, many colors from 2012 by Cherimoya (I guess they're betting on the crack fad being over by 2013). I was most intrigued by the muted colors here, some mauves and brownish pinks, as I've not seen crack in those hues before. These were cheap, too: US$2.99 for one, $5 for two.

At Sally Beauty, I saw two colors of Finger Paints Crackle Effect: Blue Crackle, which has a creme finish, and Purple Crackle, which is a shimmer. (The display behind it in the photo is Gelish. I did not take a photo of that one, because I've decided that I am not going to get into that sort of thing. I may buy every other polish in the world, but I am not going to buy a UV light to cure soak off gel polish. I've got to draw the line somewhere.)

Sally also had new non-crack Finger Paints, the Fall Fashionista collection.There are nine colors in that one: Stunning Stilettos (gray), Haute Taupe (light brown), Military Green (sage), Vintage Velvet (blue green), Catwalk Queen (dirty yellow), Purple Pinstripe (warm purple), Raspberry Tafetta (reddish plum), Cordur-Orange (orange) and To-Teally Chic (turquoise blue).

My Rite Aid just put out the Maybelline fall displays. The makeup one has two polish colors in it: Natural Beauty (camel) and Sultry Siren (red). The nail polish one has six colors: Mauve Accents (mauve), Cool Couture (grey), Be Scene in Green (blue green), Notorious Navy (dark blue), Gold Accessory (gold), and Purple Trend (dark plum).

The plum and the grey both have a very intriguing shimmer; I'll be interested to see if it shows on the nail.

I haven't seen all of Essie fall yet, but Walgreens did have the 4-color retail display with Case Study, Carry On, Power Clutch, and Lady Like.

OPI's fall offering is Touring America, which I saw at Ulta. Twelve colors here: French Quarter for Your Thoughts (gray), Suzi Takes the Wheel (also gray), Uh-oh Roll Down the Window (olive), A-taupe the Space Needle (brown), Get in the Expresso Lane (dark brown), Road House Blues (dark blue), I Brake for Manicures (dark purple), Honk if You Love OPI (dark plum), Are We There Yet? (orange), I Eat Mainely Lobster (coral), My Address is “Hollywood” (warm pink), and Color to Diner For (red). I didn't notice until I was formatting the photos that there's a red that doesn't belong in one of the displays (bottom photo shows it best).

Halloween displays are starting to show up, too. NYC has Black Magic, which includes two polishes among the rest of the makeup: Blackula and Pumpkin. I saw this at Rite Aid.

Sally Hansen has pulled some of the new Hard as Nails colors into a Halloween display: Black Heart, Rock Bottom, Die-Hard Fan, Steely Gaze, Limestone, and Tough Love. This display was at Walgreens, but the colors are core now, so you can get them lots of places.

I'm not sure if the Revlon Masquerade display I saw at Walgreens is strictly for Halloween, but it sure looks the part. This display says "limited edition", but the bottles just say "new shade" so I don't know how long these will be around. Colors are: Golden Charm (gold), Royal Cloak (purple), Jaded Night (green), Alluring Amber (orange), Midnight Haze (grey), Phantom Angel (white), Devil's Candy (red), and Devil's Lure (very dark brown).

You may notice not so many displays from Ulta this time, which is a result of me not spending nearly as much time there as usual. On the same trip where I saw Touring America, I saw the new bottles for the Ulta salon polishes.Now, instead of tallish square bottles with narrow black caps, they're round bottles with wide silver caps.

It hasn't been very long since they changed to the black capped bottles, so it seemed odd that they were changing again so soon. Then I looked more closely and saw what's probably the reason: the new bottles hold less, though they look to be about the same size. The round bottles hold .33 fl. oz. (10 ml), while the black capped ones were .40 fl. oz. (11.8 ml). That's not a huge change, but it's not like the price went down to match; in fact, the price went up, from $5 to $6 a bottle. Per milliliter, that makes them slightly higher priced than OPI and Essie, which I think is a bit much. It even makes them more expensive per ml. than their Professional line, unless they raised the price on that, too—I didn't look.

But the salon polish shenanigans are not why I'm mad at Ulta. What I'm really upset about are the changes they made to the Ulta rewards program offered in this part of the country, where they issue rewards four times a year based on my spending in the previous months. When I first joined up, a level 2 reward meant I could get any polish up to $8.50 for free, which meant more OPI and Essie for me. Last quarter, they changed it so those polishes were at level 3. I wasn't happy, but I understood—the economy is still not great and everyone's got to make sacrifices. But this quarter, the only non-Ulta brand polish on the rewards list is Essie Ballet Slippers, which most serious polish heads either already have or don't want. I spent enough to get a level 11 this period, which I was planning to use for three of the fall OPIs, but now all I can get is an Essie I don't want and some of the new smaller Ulta salons. Color me not happy. I know Ulta is not obliged to cater to my narrow interests as a nail polish lover, and neither am I obliged to shop somewhere that doesn't value me as customer. I'll still go and take photos and check the clearance section, but my days of dropping big bucks on nail polish there are done for now.


  1. I love your display posts! I keep taking pictures of displays and never post them myself but I get very excited over yours lol.

    Ulta has been disappointing as of late. The rewards change started what I see as a downward spiral. My store never has new displays, never has what I hear of other Ulta's having and the clearance section which used to be amazing is pathetic now. I used to love Ulta but now I get angry when I go because they never have the things I am looking for (especially if they are in the flyer).

  2. I have to tell you that I have NEVER been a fan of Ulta. We in Richmond Virginia were lucky (yeah right) to get one in the past couple of years and while the makeup selection is good, other blogs talk about all these brands they get at their Ulta, that mine doesn't even carry! Whenever new colors come out, they either don't order enough or just don't have them. I refuse to shop there. I use them for my CND super shiney, Seche and CND stickey base coat only! It's crap that they raised the prices and lowered the amount! Essie Ballet Slippers? Isn't that from like the 1990s?

  3. Excited about Halloween displays, about Ulta, that really bad from them, less product and more expensive, not much difference, but still there.

  4. I haven't seen any new Milani's seems like forever. The last new display I saw from wet n wild was the Inky collection. I hope we get the new Revlon's they look interesting to me. Yeah, Ulta is disappointing. I picked up a few bottles that were on sale.

  5. Boo for Ulta changing their rewards. That would frustrate me as well. I don't really shop there (Walgreens is my weakness), but I wouldn't be a happy customer either.

    I absolutely HATE the new Ulta polish bottles...ridiculous.

    Of these newer shades, I'm really liking the camel by Maybelline (even though I don't really like their polishes), and oddly enough, I am drawn to that Pumpkin color by NYC. Those mini OPI sets look nice too.

    Thanks for the updates!

  6. Always enjoy these posts so I can look for the displays when they finally hit my area...really looking forward to the Maybelline Scene on the Runway polishes.

    I've passed on the gel polish at Sally's too. I think I may consider a gel mani if I ever go on a 3 week vacation or something, but will just go to a salon or something.

    That is terrible about the Ulta rewards program....all that loyalty shopping there for naught. Maybe fire off an email to their head office to see if you can get something more suitable?

  7. Wow, thanks for all the display photos!:) And that sucks about Ulta. It seemed like a cool store, but I never got into the rewards thing (only went to one last time I was in Detroit. We don't have them in Canada).

  8. I'm in love with the Finger Paints Collection for Fall! But they don't ship worldwide!
    I love to see the displays!

  9. I really enjoy these posts... My ulta is never up to date with any of the collections it SUCKS... I'm still waiting for the Metro collection.. They still have the Orly FX collection display out :-P

  10. I noticed the new bottles and was a little disappointed in the size, too. Especially since they increased the price! I haven't been a reward member for long, but I can tell you I haven't been that impressed - I didn't even get my last certificate.

  11. I hate the Ulta Rewards change. It seemed like they were pushing Ulta Brand products. It just doesn't seem as worthwhile.

  12. Ulta sucks the big one, but unfortunately, it's the only big beauty store in my area, so I'm forced to go there.... I can't stand how they spread the nail polishes all over the store- Butter London's over here, Ulta over there, OPI and Essie wayyyy in the back...not to mention their sparsely occupied shelves....

  13. I totally get your Ulta frustration. Their reward system is ridiculous! I was like "Ballet Slippers? Really?" I mean would it kill them to offer you ANY Essie? It'd sure give me a lot more incentive to shop there!

  14. I'm really anxious to find some of those new Maybelline polishes around here.
    It bothers me that Ulta changed their polish bottles, but I didn't even know they jacked up the prices. I don't like that so much.
    I did notice in my rewards thing that the only polish you can get at Level 3 is Ballet Slippers. I think that's so dumb. Why can't we pick out any Essie polish? Oh well, I guess. Luckily, I haven't even spent enough money to get to Level 3 rewards. I'll get there soon, though!

  15. I completely agree about Ulta changing their rewards. We should band together as nail polish addicts and write a letter or leave them a comment on their facebook page! 25% kidding, 75% super serious. I only spent so I could reach the level 2 reward and get the nail polish!

  16. Thank you for this! I LOLed at the Limited edition and New Shade with the Revlons. I am excited to see the NYC Halloween is out!

    Could it be your RiteAid gets stuff slow? Sounds like they just got the shipment in for the WnW stuff.

  17. Hi, Karen!

    I love reading your display posts. It is delightful and saddening at the same time. There are a few brands being sold here and in order to get hold of other brands, I need to purchase them online. Shipping cost can really burn the pocket, not to mention the taxes that may be imposed here upon claiming of package.

    P.S. I love the Maybeline display on this post. :)

  18. on saturday when i went there i did notice that the bottles changed.. and i was like WTH their more expensive and their smaller?!!? . i was NOT happy about that. i only own 2 of those bottles anyways. i hated that on the other bottle u cant get the caps straight LOL . i think you should start searching for more locan nail supply stores. they carry lots of nail polishes for cheaper..

    either way thanks for putting pictures up of displays! i LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing them.! :D

  19. I can't get display pics in Australia (we hardly have ANYTHING anyway) but I love your pics. And I know you sometimes get given grief over it so it is much appreciated. I am loving the larger pics too.

    Ulta stinks. Loyalty goes both ways, the customer gives you loyalty - you should give loyalty in return. I hope someone from Ulta reads this and realises they are really missing out... a lot of nail peeps spend serious $$ per year on this stuff. *shakes head* maybe Walgreens instead? Thanks for this post

  20. great pictures, wish we have choice like this in croatia ;-)
    you think ulta disappointed you? well, they never gave me anything for free, can you imagine my disappointment ;-D
    ... i don't know, maybe that's got something to do with the fact that i never bought anything from them...

  21. My rite aide never gets the new displays it sucks, that stinks about ulta and they're rewards program but the best things never last.

  22. Hi Karen,
    I tried the 2012 crackle polish, it cracks slower but the smell is horrendous, dont think they are 3 free. Ulta never responds to customer email or has great customer service, so i always give them low points on the survey, hmm maybe thats why I have yet to win, but its my way of sticking it to the man HA!, The Walgreens by me never has anything, the beauty consultant always asks me what is she missing! but I still love her!

  23. Wow, that sucks about the rewards program, the one they use at my Ulta is $ off as you gain levels. I reached $100 off last year and could use it on anything. Not sure why they have different programs in different parts of the country.

  24. These posts are so much fun! And I have no idea what the Ulta rewards are like here, lol - I've never paid that much attention, and I rarely shop at Ulta. That's really unfortunate, though! It's not even worth it any more when the rewards aren't even remotely interesting.

  25. Always love to see the display posts even though a lot of brands are not available for me:)


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