The Student News Site of Kent State University

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The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

a magazine

How TikTok Trends Influence Ulta Beauty

Art: Reagan Morsman

First-hand experience from working at Ulta Beauty has shown me just how powerful TikTok is when influencing people. TikTok trends are all over our “for you page.” From influencers to normal users making videos with those products, it is no secret just how influential TikTok is to us.

Every day I’m at work, I see TikTok trends making their way into the store. It’s quite fascinating really. No matter the age group, everyone is influenced in some way.

Every month, free birthday gifts are given away at Ulta Beauty, usually a sample size. For September, the free gift was the famous Drunk Elephant Polypeptide Cream moisturizer. This product went viral on TikTok causing many people to want to purchase it. Ulta Beauty sends its stores a certain number of birthday gifts each month, and employees scan them out until they are gone. This month’s free gift, the Drunk Elephant moisturizer, became popular on TikTok, causing many people to come to claim their gift – set on receiving it too. Unfortunately, when the products are gone, Ulta does not send us more. We offer replacements and solutions for the customers to leave happy.

Sometimes, this does not go as planned, and customers get upset if we are out. Many guests came in early because of the product going viral on TikTok, leaving us to run out quickly. When customers saw what their free gift was, they all rushed to the store to get it. I’ve never seen so many people come in to claim their birthday gift.

All of us at Ulta Beauty have experienced our share of rude customers. Alexandria Laughlin, a beauty advisor at Ulta, said she usually offers to do a “store-to-door” for the guests when something is sold out. Other times, she just deals with it.

@graces.faces_ Replying to @glowbysophs @alix earle you influenced me girlie these are so worth the hype! x #drunkelephantbronzedrops ♬ original sound – Graces.faces_

Other products that have gone viral are the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Anti-Pollution Sunshine Drops, known on TikTok as the “bronzi drops,” skincare lines like Bubble and The Ordinary, e.l.f. products, Loreal Lumi Glotion, the COSRX snail mucin, the Hourglass concealer and the Pixi On-the-Glow Blush.

These products go viral because of influencers on social media promoting the products, and then people see them and want to buy them. Then, the people who buy the products make videos with them, causing other people to go out and buy them, which creates a ripple effect. People may feel the need to have these “cool” or “trendy” products to see what the hype is about.

@mahaaa.c RUNNNNN DONT WALK THESE R THE BEST💗💗💗#fyp #relatable #makeup #sephora ♬ original sound – maha🫶🏼

As the merchandising manager, Kailee Gibbons said trying to keep up with the trends makes them question if the store has enough units for the product and make sure all of it is there. They also said the trends increase the amount of products that have been stolen from the store. The brand Bubble is a popular product among young girls, which is who Gibbons said is likely to steal those products. Ulta started to add security tags on popular products, like the Drunk Elephant bronzi drops. We also offer help to guests and watch the store to hopefully prevent this.

Guests ask if we have brands we don’t carry, like Rare Beauty, Summer Fridays and Sol de Janeiro – all brands viral on TikTok. Sometimes guests sigh or wish we had it, all because of how hyped up these products and brands are on social media.


call me influenced CUZZZ

♬ original sound – keke

Viral products tend to sell out quickly and repeatedly. The D-Bronzi Drops are hardly in stock at the store. Another product sold out regularly is the COSRX Snail Mucin. I can’t remember the last time I saw that product in line. Luckily, we can do a “store-to-door” for the sold-out products, which ships the product to the customers’ houses with free shipping.

A result of people being influenced by makeup trends is the number of people who come to Ulta to buy these products. Videos on TikTok say, “Run to your nearest Ulta or Sephora to get these products.” Since Ulta is a makeup store, we see people coming in daily to buy the products. Viewers watch these videos of the popular products and see how they work on the people making these videos. They see the mascara lifting their eyelashes, the serums clearing up their acne and the blush giving them a pretty pink glow, leaving them with a good impression.

Popular products tend to work for most people. From the COSRX Snail Mucin to the Drunk Elephant Polypepetide moisturizer, these products benefit people. They go viral because of the way they work and what they do.

As an Ulta employee, I see people of all ages buying these viral products. The biggest age group I see the most is early teenage years to people in their 20s. The Essence Lash Princess Mascara is a product I see people from young to old buying.

Gibbons said TikTik trends have both helped and hurt the company. A lot more people are coming into the store to shop, and even if we don’t have exactly what they’re looking for we can offer help for them not to leave empty-handed, she said. Store-to-door sales have also increased because if we don’t have the product in store we can still ship it to the customer’s house. Although the trends have helped the company mostly, there are also negatives, like shoplifting and not having enough units to sell the product.

The speed these products sell is both “a good thing and a bad thing because the product sells so quickly that then we no longer have units of it” Gibbons said. There isn’t a steady build-up to these viral products selling out, meaning “the companies themselves, like Drunk Elephant, actually sent us an email stating they were back ordered.”

Working at Ulta Beauty for a total of nine months now has opened my eyes to how influential TikTok truly is. The trends set in motion how the day is going to go. I have even fallen into some of the trends, buying products from the e.l.f. Power Grip Primer to the Pixi On-the-Glow Blush.

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Hi! I’m Annie Gleydura, A Magazine’s editor-in-chief. My staff and I are committed to bringing you the most important and entertaining news from the realms of fashion, beauty and culture. We are full-time students and hard-working journalists. While we get support from the student media fee and earned revenue such as advertising, both of those continue to decline. Your generous gift of any amount will help enhance our student experience as we grow into working professionals. Please go here to donate to A Magazine. 

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