What Is Ulta Beauty's Sparked Program? Discovering Indie Beauty Brands Just Got Easier

Lately, I've been shopping online at Ulta more and more; don't get me wrong, I love an in-store spree, but online I'm able to better survey my options, and I can scroll through tons of new brands instead of just walking up to my fave displays and grabbing my go-tos. Fortunately, Ulta knows they have quite a few online shoppers looking to expand their lists of beloved brands, and they've created a new initiative to give indie brands the attention they deserve. What is Ulta Beauty's Sparked Program? Let's put it this way: It's how you're going to discover all your new beauty faves from now on.

If you've visited the Ulta website recently, you've most likely noticed the new Sparked tab, which takes users to a lineup of indie brands worth putting to the test. Said brands are chosen by a team at Ulta based on their potential, and in addition to receiving mentorship and support from Ulta to help them grow, they earn a coveted spot on the Sparked page, as well as an in-store Sparked display hitting select stores on September 22. How amazing is that?

It can be hard for indie brands to stand out in the beauty industry when there are so many big players already in the game:

Accordin to Shelley Haus, Senior Vice President Brand Marketing at Ulta Beauty, who spoke with Refinery 29, the goal behind the Sparked Program was to give smaller brands a chance to shine — not to mention help customers get the chance to try out something new. "Helping build up brands is something Ulta Beauty has been doing since the very beginning," Haus told Refinery 29. "The introduction of Sparked at Ulta Beauty is our way of taking our expertise in identifying beauty success stories to the next level," she said.

Some of the brands currently listed on the Sparked tab include Uoma Beauty, Love Wellness, Fountain of Truth, Zoeva, and more:

Cannuka has actually become a fast favorite for me, and their key ingredient combo of Manuka honey and cannabis has been a game-changer for my under eye area. My advice? Get your spark on and snag the Cannuka CBD Calming Eye Balm ($38, ulta.com), and see for yourself why this brand made the list.

Another favorite indie brand to make the Sparked page's freshman class is Coco & Eve — I swear by their Like A Virgin Hair Mask ($50, ulta.com)! The coconut and fig concoction smells incredible, trust me, and my hair feels so soft after using. They recently launched their first self-tanning product, the Sunny Honey Bali Bronzing Foam ($40, cocoandeve.com), on their own website, so fingers crossed their spot on the Sparked page means the newness will be coming to Ulta soon, too.

Clearly, there's a lot of newness to enjoy as a result of the Sparked page — while I do see a lot of my indie go-tos, even I, a seasoned beauty vet, see a few brands I've never heard of, and can't wait to learn more about. If you're just as eager, check out Ulta's Sparked tab and prepare to find a few new faves.