Baked Eyeshadow is similar to many other "baked" pressed-powder eyeshadows on the market. Although "baked" powders have been around for some time, from several lines, they aren't any more impressive than other pressed-powder eyeshadows.
Despite the fact that baked eyeshadows don't have any advantage over other powder eyeshadows, Ulta's take on the baked trend is quite good. Their dome-shaped pressed-powder eyeshadow comes in a compact with a generously sized pan. Each compact has two shades, although there isn't a divider between the solid and the marbled sides, which means you have to be careful to avoid mingling the powders.
Both the solid and the marbled shades have a high-shine satin finish with some sparkle. The smooth texture blends easily and yields highly pigmented color that doesn't flake. Baked Eyeshadow can be used wet or dry, and is available in neutral earth tones as well as pinks and purples (the brighter colors are trickier to work with).
- Smooth texture; applies well wet or dry.
- Highly pigmented.
- Complementary shades: one marbleized, one solid.
- High-shine finish may not be workable for those with wrinkled eyelids.
Since Ulta was founded in 1990, the company has continued to carve out a unique position as a specialty beauty store by offering a large selection of upscale and drugstore cosmetics in all price ranges, all under one roof. There are currently over 480 Ulta locations across the United States, and, like Sephora, Ulta sells its own product line right alongside more familiar brands such as Revlon and philosophy.
The Ulta Collection offers a variety of basic makeup products, from foundation to eye shadow to lip gloss. Nearly all items in the Ulta Collection are inexpensive, and its lower price point is a major draw.
As with most cosmetics lines, Ulta has its share of good and bad products. Thankfully, the shelves of the in-store displays are well stocked with testers for each product—much like a department store setup—making it reasonably easy to find appropriate color matches and to play with the products before committing to a purchase.
Among Ulta's better products are everyday basics like their Cheek Color, Fabulous Face Compact Foundation, Fabulous Face Pressed Powder, and Extreme Wear Lip Stain Pen. The sheer and cream lipsticks are worth trying, too, but steer clear of Ulta's shimmer-finish lipstick, as its finish tends to feel gritty. Ulta also sells some great mascaras, including waterproof formulas.
As for Ulta's large selection of eyeshadow, the quality is inconsistent, especially when it comes to texture and how they apply, even among different shades in the same category. The best way to shop this line is to pay attention to which products we've reviewed favorably and to take extra time to play with the products in-store.
For more information about Ulta Beauty, call 866-983-8582, or visit www.ulta.com.
Note: Several Ulta stores we visited had poorly maintained tester units. They were either dirty or dusty, or severely lacking adequate testers. This was disappointing because several other brands in the same store had immaculately maintained displays, while Ulta’s own brand was in various states of disarray, as if the staff simply didn’t care.