9 Editors Walk Into Ulta With $75—34 Everyday Beauty Staples They Buy Instantly

Despite the piles of press packages and "need-to-test" beauty products strewn across my apartment (it's an organized type of chaos, I swear), nothing beats a planned or not-so-planned jaunt into my closest Ulta. Sometimes, I'm on a mission to stock up on all of the day-to-day essentials that might not be sexy, per se, but that I burn through exceedingly fast. Other times, I'm just craving some retail therapy by way of beauty, and there's just something about walking through the aisles of a beauty palace like Ulta or Sephora on a whim, sans agenda, that does wonderful things to deficient dopamine levels.

Today, however, we're focusing on the former prerogative—aka the daily staples my fellow beauty editors and I have on standby and apply on repeat. Are they the most exciting offerings you'd find strolling through Ulta? Maybe, maybe not, but we'd sure hate to do life without them. Oh, and to make a little game out of it, I gave each editor a $75 budget (because anything higher in one sitting lights my financial anxiety on fire). Keep scrolling to see what nine highly discerning beauty editors would shop at Ulta with $75 or less. 

Erin Jahns, Beauty Director



First of all, I don't know what's happening with this photo, but the shade Mauve (the color I'm obsessed with and about to wax poetic about) absolutely does not look like whatever is happening in this pic. It's mauve, not beige! But okay, now that that's out of the way, this stuff is the shit. Like, truly, it's one of my favorite lip liners of all time. It's a good thing it's only $5 because I've probably run through about eight at this point. It's creamy, long-lasting, and great for lining (or over-lining) your lips with über-natural results.

I'm really not a face-mist girlie, and while there is a very small handful I've used and do love, this clean and straight-to-the-point rose water one from Cocokind is probably my favorite. (It's also the chosen one that I keep beside my laptop at all times!) I'm clearly not the only one this obsessed, because it has a nearly perfect 4.9-out-of-five-star rating on Ulta's website with roughly 500 reviews! It has clean ingredients and sustainable packaging and features just one organic ingredient—rosa Damascena flower water—which I love. If you're paying a fortune for your rose water, I highly suggest doing it my way instead. Your soon-to-be glowier skin (and your wallet!) will thank you.

I love this eye cream. I LOVE this eye cream. And like the aforementioned rose water, it's probably one of the most affordable items in my entire skincare routine. It doesn't matter that this pretty little orange tube of vitamin C brightening magic is surrounded by more "luxe" and expensive formulas in my medicine cabinet. This is the one I reach for every morning after smothering my face with SkinCeuticals Silymarin CF. I see a noticeable difference in puff, dark circles, and—dare I say—firmness when I apply. Buy it, you'll love it, and your bank account won't hate you!

I'm unashamedly obsessed with self-tanner, but as an extremely fair person, I've had to spend years, and I mean years, wading through plenty of truly heinous formulas to come up with a small collection of holy grails that never let me down. This one from Bali Body is in my top three ever because the color is beautifully natural (the best non-orangey bronze) and super even, and it dries almost instantly and fades borderline undetectably. (None of that scaly dragon situation here, thank you very much!) Plus, I love that it's an express formula. Leaving it on longer will, of course, result in a deeper tan, but I love having a high-quality option on call for when I want a tan fast but have no time or patience.

Katie Berohn, Beauty Editor



If I had $75 to burn at Ulta, I'd be buying this multipurpose stick, hands down. You can use it on cheeks, eyes, lips—it's truly a hero product! It's so blendable and extremely buildable—you can sheer it out or wear it as heavily as you want. It's a staple in my routine that has saved me many times after oversleeping my alarm.

Unseen and Glowscreen get all the love, but this is sneakily my favorite Supergoop formula. It sinks into the skin immediately, leaves no white cast, and with an SPF of 50, is super protective. I love it to wear when I go on runs—I'm training for the marathon and often clock runs well over an hour, and so many face sunscreens aren't waterproof! This one is water- and sweatproof for 40 minutes, so while you do need to reapply for super-long runs, it's easy to do so thanks to its mess-free formula.

Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor

This beautiful hydrating essence from Peach & Lily has been high on my to-try list! It has so many powerhouse ingredients like hyaluronic acid, lotus extract, and bamboo extract to help your skin stay strong, resilient, and ultra dewy-looking.

I love a good facial oil, but only when it's high-quality and leaves me glowing without feeling too heavy. This one does both for just $10!

I love Juvia's Place—it is one of my absolute favorite affordable makeup brands! This Coffee Shop palette is new to me, but best believe I'm going to prioritize buying it when I have $75 to spend! The shades are so rich, pigmented, and gorgeous for darker skin tones. The shimmers are also just *chef's kiss.*

Kaitlyn McLintock, Associate Beauty Editor

I have been obsessed with Peach & Lily products ever since I was blessed with the opportunity to get a facial from the brand's founder, Alicia Yoon. (Post-facial, my dehydrated, redness-prone skin was calm and plump and as close to perfect as it will ever be.) Since then, I've been religiously using some of the brand's products. This oil cleanser is no exception. It easily dissolves sunscreen and makeup without stripping my skin or leaving a thick residue behind. I swear by it on heavy makeup days.

I know some skin experts might cringe at this confession, but I love an at-home dermaplaner, and these budget-friendly ones in particular. There's nothing better for removing dead skin cells and stubborn peach fuzz. I reach for one of these about every two weeks, and my makeup goes on so much smoother.

If you're looking for a great, no-frills hydrating serum, this is it. It costs less than a trip to Sweetgreen, and it makes my skin feel calm, plump, and smooth.

I picked this up on a whim, and it turned out to be one of the best beauty purchases I've made in a while. The color is sheer and shiny, and the formula is hydrating. It gives a your-lips-but-better effect. I honestly end up using it way more than other tinted balms that are double, if not triple, its price.

I have a terrible habit of spending an inordinate amount of time painting my nails only to smudge them before they're dry. This quick-dry nail polish helps prevent that. Plus, I love the shade range.

Maya Thomas, Assistant Beauty Editor



I'm obsessed with the glass-skin trend that's been all over TikTok, so I'm glad I gave Peach & Lily's Glass Skin Refining Serum a try. It leaves my skin looking so dewy and fresh I can go light on all other makeup.

Anyone with big, full brows knows how frustrating it can be to keep them in place. Before applying any brow gel, I use this holy-grail product to get my brows looking how I want them to with barely any effort.

I'll always be a die-hard fan of this lip gloss because it's both inexpensive and high quality. It's definitely one of my must-haves!

Emma Hughes, Associate Social Media Editor



Sunscreen is nonnegotiable, so I make sure to stock up before I run out. I love tinted sunscreen because it brings a little bit of life to my face even when I’m going makeup-free. This cult favorite is my go-to.

I’m trying to paint my own nails in between monthly mani appointments, and you can never go wrong with OPI Funny Bunny. It’s classic, goes with everything, and feels easier—not to mention less intimidating—to paint on yourself. (As opposed to a bolder red or stark white, which shows every shaky mistake). Oh, and did I mention it's Hailey Bieber approved?

I don’t think I could live without a soft scrunchie (especially for sleeping), and these ones are so neutral and cute. I like to have one in my car, in my gym bag, and on my bedside table… basically everywhere you can think of.

For some reason, I’m always in denial that I need these, and then I ultimately curse myself for not picking them up. Pimple patches are honestly comforting—they make me feel like I’m being proactive when I have a mammoth breakout coming on. These ones help flatten and reduce redness, and they go a long way when it comes to pick prevention.

Caitie Schlisserman, Senior Beauty Director, Branded Content



I'm a sucker for a good multiuse product, and this lip-and-cheek pencil has never let me down. I love that it's in stick form. I'm a self-proclaimed lazy makeup wearer, so the fact that I don't need any other tool to use it is very appealing to me. It also helps cut my routine down and is so easy to pack and use for touch-ups on the go. I use it for everything including adding color to my lips and cheeks, and I'm even known for swiping some on my lids for a quick wash of color.

Vacation is my favorite SPF brand, hands down. Aside from having the best branding and packaging, the product line is actually really, really good. I'm equally as obsessed with the Chardonnay Oil but decided to go with a more classic option for this. The spray formula is everything you want in a sunscreen. It's lightweight, truly transparent, and made with things like coconut oil, aloe vera, and banana extract so it smells insanely good.

This is my favorite lip balm of all time. I remember when it wasn't available in the U.S., and I would have to stock up anytime I was in Paris because I couldn't bear the thought of being without it. It keeps my lips super hydrated and adds the perfect sheen. It's one of those products I always apply without thinking about it.

I swear this mascara has curling and lifting superpowers. The patent-pending Hook 'n' Roll brush is what makes it unique. It has custom-designed hooks that are strategically placed to grab each lash from root to tip. It's like your lashes are being molded upward in the same way an eyelash curler works but without the scary contraption. (Yes, I have an irrational fear of eyelash curlers—sue me!)

Aniyah Morinia, Associate Editor, Branded Content

This is the first concealer that I ever tried, and I have been loyal to it ever since. When in doubt, I wear this as opposed to a foundation or skin tint. This product conceals even my darkest spots and doesn't require many layers to do the trick. It's literally $5 at the drugstore and will always be a staple in my makeup drawer.

The last time I touched my brows with tweezers or a wax strip was 2019, so you could say I'm in favor of the natural look on me. I like to keep my brow routine as simple as possible, so I reply on this brow glue by Nyx to keep my brows locked in place all day without getting flaky or being filled with white residue at the end of a long day.

My hair absolutely loves this product. On washday, I detangle all of my curls and apply this product to each section. My scalp is prone to dryness, but it gets especially dry during the winter months, so I rely on this moisture milk to give my hair maximum hydration before protective styling.

As someone whose go-to hairstyle is a slick-back bun, I always need a detox treatment to get rid of product buildup. I use this mask about twice a month to refresh my curls and bring my hair back to life.

Seriously, what would I do without my Butter Gloss? I have a bunch of these in my makeup drawer, at the bottom of my purses, and in my coat pockets. These are inexpensive, easy to apply, and an absolute essential for me.

Emma Walsh, Associate Beauty Editor, Branded Content



Like many other people, I was turned on to this classic drugstore brand by skincare influencer Hyram. This moisturizer is one of the brand’s (many) gems and has become my go-to. It’s affordable and has an all-star list of ingredients like hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and ceramides. It quenches my sensitive, dry skin just as effectively as some of the pricier moisturizers I’ve sampled.

At just $5, this mascara is such a steal. It gives the most volume and length I’ve ever seen—be prepared for your lashes to seriously pop when you’re wearing it! My trick is to wiggle the brush as I apply it to separate my lashes and make them look thick and long without any clumps.

This underrated lip oil is like the perfect moisturizing clear lip gloss. It’s not sticky and is deeply hydrating with coconut oil and vitamin E. It also smells divine—the sweet coconut scent feels like a tropical vacay for your pout.

I can’t leave the house without a spritz of perfume—it just gives me that extra sense of confidence. Many of my ride-or-die fragrances come from Ariana Grande’s collection. I’m a longtime Cloud devotee, but right now, her God Is a Woman fragrance has me swooning. It has bright fruity and floral notes at the top, but when it settles on the skin, the musk notes balance it out. Yes, this perfume is taking up over one-third of my allotted budget, but that’s how much I love it.