I actually find sephora to be more helpful and friendly.
However, ulta is more convenient. I used to pass by a sephora at least once a week so it was more convenient. I will admit that I don't love sephora enough to go out of my way when I can just go to ulta.
I'm not sure about ulta's sample policy but the thing I loved about sephora is I could walk out with loads of samples every time I went.
All of that being said, I usually know exactly what I want when I go into a store (or have it narrowed down to a few choices), I don't go and just browse. I know what questions I need answered, etc so I rarely have people pushing product and often times don't need to actually speak to anyone

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Modified CG since Dec 2011
Growing out super short cut

High porosity, fine, unknown curl type, somewhere in the 2s at the moment
Mostly low poo
Current rotation includes:
Wash: Yes To Carrots -Condition: Yes to Cucumber, Nature's Gate Jojoba, One C - Stylers: Deva volumizing foam, Deva UDG B'Leave In, Foxy Curls Hi-Def Curl spray