Every so often I am totally blown away by a press preview and Ulta Beauty has become legendary for pulling out all the stops at the annual holiday press preview. It’s the ultimate atmosphere for checking out all the great gift sets that will be coming out for the holidays and well as individual beauty products not yet in stores. They’ve got a zillion great brands at Ulta Beauty including a highly acclaimed self-titled classic house brand and an edgier house brand called Revolution.Upon entering the event which was done up with pink glitter curtains, oversized gilded mirrors and hundreds of gorgeously wrapped gift boxes, I saw a claw foot bathtub with Mario Badescu Facial Spray Travel Sets in cute gold bags–now I would consider this the ultimate stocking stuffer for skincare maniacs especially since you get four 2 oz sprays for $20 in this Ulta exclusive!Nearby on a tray were the fantastic Christmas tree ornament shaped liquid soap–if you are a New Yorker cramped for space in your apartment so you skip out on getting a Christmas tree, at least get one of these to show guests that you are in the holiday spirit. These are priced at under $10 and are also a great host/hostess gift for holiday parties.It goes without saying that for 47 years now, Clinique fans have eagerly awaited their famous “gift with purchase” items as well as their holiday sets. This new seven piece set is a real blockbuster and includes their most famous toner and moisturizer as well as their highly acclaimed latest mascara and several other items. Hard to believe that it is priced just under $30. This will undoubtedly sell out fast!Guests at this lavish event were able to do a little “trick or treating” in a special section filled with items under $25, many of which are ultimate stocking stuffers for beauty fanatics. I fell in love with the three flummery Revolution eye shadow palettes that are going to be priced at about $15 each but being a brush maniac, my eyes popped right out when encountering the new limited edition brush set in a cool plastic tube being offered by It Cosmetics for $25! It’s called Your Starry Eyed Brush Trio and includes All-Over Shadow, Crease and Smudger Eye Brushes. I don’t have to tell you about the remarkable quality of It Brushes–they last for years!Ulta events always include beauty bars and I was thrilled to be able to create my own Orly nail color and then get a mani with one of the new Breathable Colors done by New York area nail tech Kena Plusent. Other stations included brow stations with Benefit brow products, hair styling using CHD’s hot tools, and even a professional aura reading that led to guests being gifted Ulta Beauty individual eye shadows that matched the colors in their aura. There were also a few professional makeup artists on hand to do your whole face with beauty brands carried by Ulta.On the way out I made sure to check out the giant Ulta Beauty sets created inside reusable makeup kits. The colors were remarkable and very useable for everyday looks as you can see by the photo above. Ulta has a few different holiday kits this size and they will be retailing for about $50.
Above is just a sampling of the numerous mirrored tables and open glass shelving containing the products on display at this holiday preview which appropriately enough was themed “Give, Gather, Glow”! I was told that this 4,000 plus square foot space on the ground floor of the Altman Building on West 18th Street only took two days to decorate which makes me think of team of at least three dozen stylists must have been working on it. The holiday decorations here easily rivaled those of any top New York department store’s holiday window displays! For more info on the great items Ulta has for the holidays, keep an eye on ultabeauty.com. I would go as far as to buddy up to one of your local Ulta store managers to find out exactly when products are coming to stores so you can beat the ordering crush online. You know that gorgeous holiday sets at bargain prices just can’t last! I really hope that somehow enough are made to cover everyone who wants these mesmerizing items for beauty buffs!