This post contains affiliate links. This means I receive a small commission should you wish to make a purchase. To find out more, please see my Disclaimer page.
Last weekend I attended my very first IMATS London event and I’m still in recovery mode! If you follow me on Snapchat (humairakaay) and Instagram, you’ll have seen the behind the scenes of the convention, and it got super busy and crazy!
In this post, I’ll be sharing what happened behind the scenes at IMATS, what I got and survival tips for anyone going next time.
What is IMATS?
IMATS stands for International Makeup Artist Trade Show. It’s a convention that runs throughout the year in various cities around the world and is a chance for makeup artists to learn from each other, display their work, shop and make connections.
This year it was held on 3rd – 5th June at the Kensington Olympia in London. It’s a 3 day event, the first of which is only open to Pro Card members and the other 2 days to the general public.
Since I’m so new to this business, I haven’t got a Pro Card yet (Sob!) and therefore I attended the Saturday event to ensure I maximised my time.
Utilise social media, blogs, youtube to know what the event is all about. People LOVE sharing not only their hauls but their overall experience of the event.
I read a LOT of blogs about what to do and how to survive, and it can be condensed into the following:
1) Buy tickets early – As soon as you know you’re going to go, buy the tickets. In some locations, they will sell out fast, so buy tickets early as on the door they will be more expensive.
2) Get to the event early – I’m so glad I listened and got to the event as early as I could. Seriously, you will be queueing all day, so maximise your time to get in early as popular stands will have HUGE queues. It did mean getting up at 6 am, but people come from all over the country and Europe for this event!
3) Bring your own food – If you can bring a sandwich, water and a snack as you will be on your feet all day. There are places to eat in the centre, but they were super expensive.
4) Bring a suitcase if you’re stocking your kit – Seriously, if I was stocking my kit now, I would have brought a suitcase as there can be such good bargains, it’s hard to lug everything around all day.
5) Cash is king – Cash is the fastest way to get in and out, and I’m so glad i stuck to it. I gave myself a budget of £40 in cash to spend and i stuck to it! Most stands don’t have card readers, so bring a certain amount of cash with you to avoid disappointment!
6 – Do your research – Have a look at the exhibitor list and decide before hand what you actually want to get and focus on these exhibitors first. I focused on Eldora eyelashes and the Stargazer glitters as I can’t find these easily then went to the bigger brands like MAC, Bobbi Brown and Nyx.
As soon as you get into the convention centre, you’re given a floor map, exhibitors list and you can grab a HUGE bag. Get 2 if necessary as that bag will become your best friend!
Eldora False Eyelashes
They specialise in handmade lashes, so this was my first stop at IMATS. From others who’d already been last year, I knew the lashes would be 3 for £10, but I picked up some single lashes which were £4 bringing the total to £14.
Normally, these lashes are about £5.50 per pair, so to get 4 pairs for this price is such a bargain! I chose the more natural styles because I still have the more dramatic styles, but all my clients so far have preferred either natural lashes or singles, so I figured I’d stock up on those first.
Beauty So Clean
Right next to Eldora was Beauty So Clean, which I definetly wanted to get. As a professional makeup artist, since you’re applying makeup to so many different people it’s so important to keep your makeup clean as well.
So far, I’d been sanitising with Isopropyl alcohol but that actually degenerates the product over time. Beauty So Clean specialise in a product that can sanitise your products but keep the product formulation intact!
Normally this product is £9.95 but at IMATS, I got it for £5 which was a bargain!
Stargazer Glitter Shakers
I made a bee-line for this stall when I saw the shiny glitters and they were 2 for £4 so it took all my strength to not buy them ALL as I had such a limited budget, so I got the colours I’ve been wanting to try for a long time that are very much outside of my comfort zone.
I got a pretty bright green, black, dark purple and bright pink. These will be perfect for Prom and Bridal parties, but you can rock them a little more subtly as a liner for a pop of colour as well.
Crown Brushes had one of the BIGGEST stands in the entire exhibition and there were just brushes everywhere! They had cheaper brushes also, but I wanted a really good foundation brush for myself.
I ended up with this C452 Flat Bronzer Brush* which retails for £13.96 and sadly there was no discount on this one. It says Bronzer brush, but I asked the assistants for a kabuki brush and this is what they had that matched my description.
It is SO soft, much better quality than the weird eBay brush I was using for absolutely years which was so hard on my skin, so I will definitely be checking out more brushes from their brand.
Rodial is a premium skincare brand, and whilst I didn’t buy anything from them, when I was walking past, they gave me a sample bag which contains some great swag!
Rodial is the parent company for Nip+Fab whose budget friendly skincare range is a snip of the price compared to the exact same thing from Rodial! Check out my review of the Dragonblood range here. I’m pretty pleased to try some of these samples out and see if they make a difference, as I LOVE the Nip+ Fab range so far.
Bobbi Brown BBU Palette
I have been wanting the Bobbi Brown BBU Palette FOREVER! Like I was lusting after it as soon as I saw it at makeup school and on various makeup artist kit videos. But it’s £200 normally, so I could not afford it at all.
At IMATS, they were having a special offer for Pro Makeup Artists, so I managed to snag it at £130 instead. SCORE!
I don’t want to touch it, it’s so pretty!
The BBU Palette contains every shade of foundation, concealers and correctors you would ever need to makeup anyone and everyone. So far I’ve been mixing my liquid NARS foundations, and it takes more time to mix the shades and get it right, but I’m so looking forward to working with this so I can finally start doing bridal clients i.a..
After scoring that gorgeous palette from Bobbi Brown, I moseyed on over to MAC Cosmetics and decided to finally invest in my first MAC eyeshadow palette. I asked the staff for a warm eyeshadow palette that I could use on anyone, and they recommended the warm neutrals palette.
Normally this palette is £49.50 but along with the mixing medium I also got, I scored these 2 items for about £40.50 with the Pro discount which is a STEAL! I got the mixing medium for lighter glitter looks as sometimes the glitter glue I have drips into clients eyes, and I’d seen this on a youtube video and I figured this would be a perfect way to create a more refined glitter look.
Sadly, I don’t qualify for a Pro Discount just yet, the requirements are quite strict now, but I hope to qualify soon enough In Shaa Allah so I can buy more MAC!
Royal Lang Nickel
Royal Lang Nickel Brushes were a new one for me, but I couldn’t resist the pink brushes! I got 2 mascara wands to groom eyebrows, one for me and one for my pro kit. Since they were £1 each, it would be rude not to!
Overall, I had a great time. Including the ticket price of £52.00, I spent about £200 in total for the amount of stuff I got, which is pretty decent considering how much some of this stuff would have cost me full price!
I haven’t even mentioned the talks I attended from Industry experts, but the price of the ticket alone is worth it for the gems you learn from very senior makeup artists who’ve mastered their field. Their time alone costs thousands of pounds, so for them to share their knowledge with us was HUGE!
Would I go again next year? Unsure. I think depending on my circumstances and whether I was doing this professionally still, and Ramadan wasn’t happening at the same time, I would definitely go again. Since I know what to expect, I would plan ahead and save up about £500 – £1000 well before hand to seriously stock my kit from about January time.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Did you go to IMATS? Do you want to go next year? Share with me in the comments below!