The photo captures a vibrant display of nail polish bottles at an Ulta store, inviting customers to explore the array of colors and patterns, alluding to the question of returning nail polish.

Can You Return Nail Polish To Ulta? A Detailed Guide

Nail polish is one of the most popular cosmetic products sold at Ulta Beauty. With hundreds of shades and finishes to choose from, it can be tempting to stock up on a bunch of different polishes. But what if you get home and realize the color just isn’t right for you?

Can you return nail polish to Ulta?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Yes, you can return gently used and unused nail polishes to Ulta as long as you have the original receipt and the product is in its original packaging.

Ulta’s Nail Polish Return Policy

Within 60 days with receipt

Ulta has a fantastic return policy that allows you to return gently used nail polish within 60 days of purchase as long as you have the original receipt. This policy shows that Ulta cares about customer satisfaction and wants to ensure you are happy with your nail polish purchases.

Gently used vs. unused

If the nail polish is unused and still in its original condition and packaging, Ulta will happily accept a return and refund your money. However, Ulta will also accept gently used nail polish within that 60 day window, as long as more than 50% of the product remains.

This allows you to try out shades and finishes risk-free!

Swatched vs. used

If you have only swatched the nail polish by applying it to your nail once to test the color, Ulta will accept this as a return. However, if you have used the nail polish multiple times or more than 50% has been used up, Ulta may not accept the return since it can no longer be resold.

But you can always ask! The worst they can say is no.

Missing original packaging

Ideally, you will want to return the nail polish in its original box and packaging. However, according to representatives I have spoken with, Ulta will often allow returns without the box as long as the bottle is in good condition. Just be sure to bring your receipt!

Without it, returns become trickier.

So there you have it! Ulta offers multiple options for trying risk-free and returning gently used nail polish thanks to their customer-friendly 60 day policy. With over 500 gorgeous nail polish choices, isn’t it time to try some new colors and finishes next manicure?

Tips for Returning Nail Polish

Keep your receipt!

The most important thing when returning nail polish to Ulta is having your receipt. Ulta’s return policy states that a receipt is required for all returns and exchanges. So before heading to the store, dig out that receipt from your last nail polish purchase.

Ulta cashiers will ask to see it before processing your return. Having that receipt handy will make the return process quick and easy.

If you’ve lost your receipt, all hope isn’t lost. Ulta keeps records of purchases made with your Ultamate Rewards account. So the cashier may be able to look up your purchase if you provide the date and your account information.

However, without a receipt you may only be eligible for store credit rather than a refund. So do your best to find that receipt!

Check expiration dates

Before returning your nail polish, check the expiration date if there is one printed on the bottle. Most nail polishes are good for 1-2 years after opening. Ulta may not accept returns on polishes that have expired.

You can tell if a polish has expired if it has become thick, lumpy, or separated. Its color may also appear faded. If the polish still looks and applies like new, you should be fine to return it.


For health and sanitation reasons, Ulta requires that merchandise be returned in its original packaging. So don’t throw away the polish bottle’s box or inner packaging until you are sure you won’t be returning it!

Make sure the polish bottle is securely closed before placing it back in the original box. You don’t want any leaks or spills! It’s also courteous to make sure the product is clean and hasn’t been used before returning it.

Be polite

When returning nail polish or any other items, being polite and patient with Ulta employees makes the process smoother for everyone. Remember, retail employees deal with a lot of stressful situations all day long. A kind “please” and “thank you” can go a long way!

If Ulta cannot accept your return for whatever reason, accept the decision gracefully. Arguing or getting upset will not change the policy. You can politely ask if there are any other options available to you, such as exchanging the item for something else.

With the receipt and original packaging, plus a positive attitude, returning your nail polish to Ulta should be quick and hassle-free. Just be sure to pay close attention to any expiration dates. And hold onto that receipt!

Reasons Your Nail Polish Return May Be Denied

No receipt

One of the most common reasons Ulta may deny a nail polish return is if you don’t have the original receipt. Ulta’s return policy states that returns without a receipt can only be exchanged for merchandise of equal value.

So if you try to return used nail polish without a receipt, Ulta will likely not offer you a refund. Keep those receipts safe – you’ll need proof of purchase for any return!

Used beyond gently testing

Ulta allows you to return gently used products, but there’s a limit. If the nail polish bottle is less than half full or shows signs of heavy use, they may deny the return. Their policy specifies merchandise must be in original condition – so don’t go painting multiple manicures before deciding you want to return it!

Swipe one coat on a single nail to test the color, but anything beyond that may be pushing it.

Expired/old merchandise

Like most beauty retailers, Ulta places time limits on returns and exchanges. For non-prestige cosmetics (drugstore brands), you have 60 days to return or exchange. For prestige items, it’s 180 days. If you try to return nail polish past these timeframes, you’ll likely be out of luck.

Nail polish does have a shelf life, so Ulta understandably doesn’t want to resell products that are years old. Check those expiration dates before stockpiling too many backups!

Missing original packaging

Ulta wants you to return items in their original packaging and condition. So if you toss the polish bottle’s box and try returning it later, they may refuse the return. The product boxes contain important info like the shade name, product number, and expiration date, so Ulta requires them for any swap or refund.

Make sure to hold onto the whole package until you’re certain you don’t want to return the item.

Showing signs of tampering

Damaged, altered, or tampered-with merchandise is ineligible for returns at Ulta. This includes nail polish bottles with broken or missing seals, bottles that look like they’ve been opened and re-glued shut, or polish that appears clumpy or contaminated.

Since opened nail polish can’t be resold for sanitary reasons, Ulta thoroughly inspects returns for any shady signs before approving a refund. Make sure to check your own polish purchases right away too – if a bottle seems like it was opened before you bought it, exchange it ASAP!

Alternatives If Your Return Is Denied

Sell it online

If Ulta denies your nail polish return for whatever reason, don’t despair! There are still great options to avoid wasting an unused product. One of the best alternatives is to sell it online through platforms like eBay, Mercari, Poshmark, or even Facebook Marketplace.

These sites make it super easy to create listings and connect with buyers who love discounted beauty products. Just take some good photos, write an accurate description, price it attractively, and wait for potential buyers to start making offers.

Selling online allows you to recoup at least some of the cost while passing the polish along to someone who will truly appreciate it.

Give it away to a friend

Another fantastic option if Ulta won’t accept your return is to simply give the unused nail polish to a friend or family member. Chances are you know someone who would be thrilled to take that pretty new shade off your hands!

Gifting is a thoughtful way to avoid waste while also brightening someone’s day. Just make sure the recipient is genuinely interested to prevent re-gifting. Offering nail polish to your fashionista little sister, glamorous aunt, or best friend who loves manicures is a surefire way to find it a good home.

Spread the joy!

Use it for nail art

If you can’t return it and don’t know anyone who wants your extra nail polish, get creative and use it for DIY nail art! Even if the color isn’t quite what you wanted for full nails, you can use it for embellishing accent nails.

Try fun techniques like ombre, marbling, or striping with metal striping tape. Glitter polishes and white/black colors are perfect for this. You can also use brushes or toothpicks for dotting tools. The possibilities are endless for jazzing up your mani with intricate designs.

Don’t throw away polish just because the color is not ideal – take advantage of its potential for nail art!


Returning nail polish to Ulta is usually a smooth process as long as you follow their guidelines. Keep your receipt, make sure the polish is gently used or unused, and get it back to the store within 60 days for a full refund.

With a flexible return policy on cosmetics, you can shop at Ulta with confidence knowing you can exchange colors that don’t work out. Just be aware of the reasons a return may be denied, like missing packaging or showing signs of heavy use.

With a few smart shopping and return tips, you can build your dream nail polish collection without getting stuck with shades you don’t love.

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