Beautycon vs. IMATS: Who Will Win?
By: Lucia Rossi
Much like how Comic Con is to pop culture lovers, IMATS and Beautycon is to makeup lovers.
However, not all beauty conventions are created equal.
In April, these two powerhouse beauty conventions were on back to back weekends in New York City with the International Make-up Artist Trade Show being April 13-15, and Beautycon from April 21-22.
Although both events focus on beauty and makeup, they are actually very different in their own ways.
International Make-Up Artist Trade Show, or IMATS, is mainly geared towards makeup artists (as the name says).There is a strong, general focus on education and special effects, which can be useful to both consumers and artists alike.
This year, Kat Von D, a diamond sponsor for the event, had several speakers and demonstrators from Kat Von D’s team, like Kelseyanna Fitzpatrick, and a huge booth with their full collection sold with a 30% off discount.
Similarly, NYX cosmetics was also present with a 40% sale, exclusive new launches, and makeup masterclasses by professionals like Jordan Hanz.
Other popular brands sold their collections at discounted prices like MAC, Make Up For Ever, Bh Cosmetics, Lit Cosmetics, RCMA, Purlisse, Kryolan, Bdellium Tools, Sugarpill, Lime Crime, Morphe, and many more.
Brands like Morphe, however, had long lines that lasted for over two hours.
IMATS is also known for its competitions for students who specialize in special effects. This event is called Battle of the Brushes, where each artist has to do an entire body look on a model under a specific theme. The students are then judged at which point a winner is chosen and wins $5,000.
There is also a section of the convention dedicated to being a museum for prosthetics, costumes, special effects, and memorabilia used in television shows and movies, such as “Gotham” and “The Tick”.
Beautycon, on the other hand, is less focused on the craft and more focused on advertisement and commercialism for the brands.
The Javits Center is much larger than Pier 94, although only the basement portion of the center was used.
Unlike IMATS, Beautycon had meet and greets with popular beauty gurus, and panels with widely known actors and artists.
There were panels for discussion with Laverne Cox and Dascha Polanco from “Orange is the New Black”, Youtubers Jackie Aina, Kandee Johnson, Gigi Gorgeous, artists like Bobbi Brown and Mario Dedivanovic, and even actors like Lucy Hale and Zendaya.
There were more drugstore brands with some high-end products, including Almay, Maybelline, Covergirl, Revlon, Rimmel, Urban Decay, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Inglot, Winky Lux, and BECCA.
There were also health and wellness brands giving free samples like Vitafusion, Target, Honest Tea, Hippeas, Lifetime, and Panty Fresh.
Overall, Beautycon provides visitors with a lot of free merchandise compared to IMATS. It was often that big brands weren’t selling but were merely advertising and wanted people to see new items and test samples.
Most companies required visitors to follow them on social media, make a post with their tag, or sign up for frequent emails in order to be given a free product or sample.
The brands that were selling products did have sales, like Pixi, TreStiQue, Essence, Catrice, among others, but had limited varieties since their booths were quite small and were considered “pop-up shops”.
The lines for certain brands were of course long; however, they didn’t really have people or belts separating the crowd like IMATS‒this lead to disorganization.
Korean Beauty also had its own section of the convention, called K-Town, where they focused mainly on skincare.
There were novelty aspects to some of the booths: Essence gave people the opportunity to make their own lip glosses, hair tool companies did various braid styles on guests, and most booths had a decorated wall for photo-ops, like Target with its huge paper flower display and swings for people to sit on.
Beautycon also had a lot of children with their mothers around since it was a more family-friendly event, while IMATS had a more young-adult range of visitors, since most attendees were students and artists.
Ticket price wise, Beautycon is a bit cheaper with general admission for one day being $60 and $65 for IMATS.
In the end, both beauty conventions are worth going to and can provide you with a special experience with access to products for less. It’s all a matter of your preference.