Livin' La Vida Lucia

How To Conquer a Makeup Convention

Put on Your War Paint… It’s Time to Shop Hardcore

By Lucia Rossi

Going to a makeup convention like the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS) is like going to Disney Land for makeup artists, students, demonstrators, sellers, buyers, amateurs and enthusiasts.


It’s a must go-to event that is getting bigger and wilder every year. It’s like Comicon but for everything makeup, beauty, drag, and special effects. Even if you’re not heavily into the business of it all and you just like to buy and use makeup, it’s one of the best places for sales, sales that you can’t get anywhere else. How can we refuse?


You must prepare your plan of action for this type of event in order to get in, get your sales, beat lines, get the best seats in front of the stages, meet famous people, and get back home. Consider this guide as your Sun Tzu’s Art of War in order to conquer this unclaimed land of the IMATS beauty convention and to better understand he battlefield that is Pier 94 filled with shopping booths and performance stages. If you succeed in following these given tips, you could cover the entire convention in one day, guaranteed.


Well, you’re going to need your ticket first. Get your ticket as soon as it goes on sale online, believe me they will sell out quickly. If you’re already a makeup artist professional, student, beauty business owner or employee, try to get the pro-card. If you write a popular blog, try to get the press pass (which is free). Whatever you can get your hands on to go.


Next plan your way of travel. Get a metro card with the necessary amount of rides or negotiation a carpooling agreement with your loved ones who are accompanying you. Make sure you have directions or someone knows their way around, you do not want to get lost in New York City.


Before you leave your home, know everything about the convention. In the wise words of Green Day, “Do you know your enemy?”. Know the floor plan, know where the booths you want to go to are, know which stage is playing what at what time, and prepare your schedule accordingly.


Be sure to add in extra time for those extremely long lines for popular brands like NYX, Sigma, Lime Crime, Sugar Pill, and Morphe Brushes.


Be on the look out for famous Youtubers, makeup artists, actors, and make-up models to take selfies with. You never know who will show up and where they will be. You could bump into someone you really admire. If they are on stage for a panel or demonstration, you could always spy and hunt them down for a picture afterwards.


If you’re going with a friend or two, change up your game plan so it accommodates everyone’s desires. If you must, split up for a while, but with caution. The convention is a large place where faces are easily lost in the crowd. Be sure to keep your phone volume on high to keep in touch.


If you get lost, confused, or have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask a stranger. Everyone is there for the same reasons you are, can relate to you, and will help you. Makeup lovers go to stick together and be there for their fellow makeup lovers. If talking to strangers is too much for you, talk to someone who is working a booth or for the convention itself. The IMATS employees were friendly and insightful. Shopping and waiting on those ghastly lines is stressful enough.


When shopping, don’t blow all your money in one place. Be smart with the money you saved for this event, and scout out the tables and compare sales. Booths will sell the same products for different prices. You may also see a booth that sells an interesting but expensive product but another booth will sell something very similar at a cheaper price. Take mental notes on what tables to ignore and which ones you want to go back to.


As soon as the doors open, haul ass to the booth you really want to buy from that you will ave a crazy line. If the line gets too long, go there during the last hour before the convention closes because most people will have already left and the line will be shorter. This goes especially for the last day of the event because there will be last-day final sales.


When it comes to panels, makeup demonstrations, and contests, you want to get the best seats in the house. Since this isn’t Comicon, most people don’t rush for the seats so this should be an easy mission. If you go to a stage 20-30 minutes before a presentation starts, you should be able to get front row seats. There may reservation cards on the seats for pro-card holders, but from my experience, no one checked tickets or bracelets. From here you can take the best pictures with the best view. These events were enlightening, exciting, and inspiring, plus it gives you a chance to sit and rest for a bit.


Speaking of resting, don’t buy food or drinks at any convention. They will be over priced! Be a good soldier and bring a refillable bottle of water and some small healthy energy filled snacks to hold you over throughout the day until you leave. Don’t waste money that could spent on precious new beauty blenders on over priced stale soda and nachos.


Although it isn’t the most fashionable, use a backpack or messenger bag instead of your usual shoulder or hand bag. As you shop, it will only get heavier and more difficult to carry. Make things easier on your body ad try to balance the weight of your things. Condense your bags of treasures wisely in your backpack and your biggest shopping bag. If you carry too many shopping bags, you could lose something and bump into people often. Then, no one will want to help you.


It also helps that when you go home or when you rest, you look over what you just bought so you don’t forget and buy things that are similar. Be conscious of what you’re spending your money on as ask yourself if you really want it or need it. Be conscious of your bank account and credit limits and check your banking apps every once in a while. Give yourself a limit to how much you will allow yourself to spend so you don’t go over board. We can’t let your beauty addiction run rampant and leave you in a desolate pit of debt.


Depending on where you live or what place you are traveling from, you should wake up early according to the ideal amount of time it takes you to look your best, amount of time it takes to travel there considering city traffic, and amount of time you want to have free for waiting in a good spot on the entrance line. I highly suggest arriving an hour before doors open. Don’t go late and be all the way in the back of the line that goes around the block.


You may ask “why should I bother looking my best for this convention?” The choice is yours of course. I however see this as a perfect opportunity to show off your great skills and earn honest compliments from your peers. You never know, even a professional artist, celebrity, or Youtuber, will compliment your hard work. Hearing it from them makes it all the more sweeter and meaningful. Even random people waiting on the long shopping lines may notice your strong effort. Show them what you got, show them what you can do, whether it’s as a professional or amateur. Have fun with your makeup look, this is a special occasion.


You should also dress to impress but comfortably. Don’t wear high heels and really short shorts or skirt. Bring a sweater instead of a coat in case it gets chilly. Show off your fashionable style with a cute but appropriate dress with matching tights. You’re going shopping not clubbing. Also, you’re going to be walking for hours, don’t risk hurting your beautiful pedicured feet. Wear flats, boots, sandals with straps, or sneakers. You’ll be happy you did when you feel sore the next day.


Also, bring spare batteries or your charger for your phone and camera. You should take plenty of pictures to remember this wonderful experience and you should be able to document your journey throughout the day. All you friends who couldn’t go want to know what they’re missing.


Cherish these memories whether you go alone or with loved ones. If you prepare yourself well enough, you can conquer this and any convention in your way. Know what you are up against, see your goal, and take it. Don’t leave it up to chance, keep a strong will and at the end of the day, you will be victorious.



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