For the past few months, the space across from Payless ShoeSource and Earthbound Trading Company has been cordoned off, blocked by signs emblazoned with, perhaps slightly vague, promises. “Ulta Beauty, coming Winter 2016.”

Until now, beauty aficionados have had to travel south to Marysville for their Ulta collection fix. For a while, it seemed like there would be no end to the mass makeup migration. Even with the anticipated Winter opening, there wasn’t an exact date. Even the occasional glimpse behind the curtain at a fluorescently lit store with rows of empty shelves being slowly filled with what seemed like every beauty product imaginable wasn’t nearly enough to satisfy.

But finally, there came a date: December 2 would mark Ulta’s grand opening. The grand opening included a few promises: the first 100 people in line would be treated to a free gift and 50 percent off a haircut or skin treatment at the store’s own salon. The opening comes just six months after Sephora, another makeup and beauty store, opened up its own doors inside JCPenney.

Stepping into the store is like stepping into a beautician’s paradise. To the right of the entrance are rows upon rows of colorful makeup. Tubes of lipstick, ranging from the aptly named Pale Pink by Nyx to the slightly concerning Bruise, Asphyxia, and Plague (burgundy, lavender, and bright purple, respectively). The grass green Kush and light purple Intergalactic eyeliners are named in a similar fashion.

Of course, brands like this can, admittedly, be a little on the expensive side. Thankfully, Ulta also carries its own brand of makeup, marked up from the more basic products but costing significantly less than the designer makeup brands. While a Naked Palette by Urban Decay can run up to $54, an Ulta brand palette containing similar colors sells for around $20.

But Ulta isn’t just about makeup. The left side of the store has an assortment of bath and hair products. Those looking for a change in hair color can find a number of dyes, from pastel to professional, permanent to semi-permanent. Those who are satisfied with their hair color but simply want to change their style can find both flat and curling irons, rang- ing from the simple to the complex. And if you’re just in the market for a simple change? Ulta has an aisle of hair clips  and bands, either from the plain to the rhinestones encrusted. It is exactly as their slogan says: “All things beauty, all in  one place.”

Admittedly, the store can be a bit overwhelming. With  the seemingly endless rows of products with a thousand  uses you’ve never considered, it can be easy to be a little  lost. What is the difference between B.B. and C.C. creams? What purposes do “essential kabuki” and “empress fan” brushes serve?

Luckily, the attendants at Ulta are both numerous  and knowledgeable, and they won’t try to up-sell you. In addition to the big names, Ulta also carries the more traditional department store brands. If the radioactive  greens and ethereal blues produced by Urban Decay are perhaps too adventures for you, the tried and true Clairol and Maybelline are there for you as well, and the attendants are more than happy to point you that way.

All-in-all, Ulta Beauty serves as a brilliantly-colored  and amusingly-named addition to the beauty community in Bellingham. Unfortunately, there’s still no word on when or if a MAC Cosmetics will come to town and complete the trifecta. Thankfully, though, Ulta Beauty should be more  than capable of addressing your self-pampering needs.

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"Stepping into the store is like stepping into a beautician’s paradise."