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Preparing for IMATS

IMATS the International Makeup Artist Trade Show, a fantastic place to get discounted beauty and special fx. This year will be my 3rd year going and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. This year will be a little different for me as I won't be turning up when the doors open as some horrid powers have given me a 2 hour exam at 930. But, luckily I can still get down there and with any luck grab all the things on my list. But, for those of you going for the first time I have come up with a few tips and tricks of how to handle IMATS.

Unfortunately I didn't realize when the ticket price went up, so since the 19th April the tickets went up by £5, though I believe you can still get £4 off by tweeting about it. But, for next time check when the tickets are release and at what date the price goes up. I believe the tickets are usually release about the end of January beginning of February. But, for those of you lucky enough to work for a makeup company or production company or study in one of the recognized makeup schools (this you need to check on their website as it doesn't cover all), you can get a special members card. For students you get an extra 10% off and it goes right up to gold members who get to go to all pro events and IMATS around the world and get 50% off any purchases. You can buy tickets for both days, but, I find I can do the whole place and get what I want in just one morning that over two days. I will tell you more about how I manage this later, but the one day is a lot better on your budget as you won't be compelled to buy more the second day.

Now you got your tickets, what do you do now? Well, I wait a few months until most of the stall names are up, as looking at a few doesn't really help. But, once majority of the list is up its time to start researching. Have a look at all the stalls websites, as this will give you some great ideas of what is likely to be sold there, though bare in mind that not all products will be available. I personally look through the websites of smaller unknown brands, as I find that MAC, Makeup Forever and Bobbi Brown aren't as discounted as I would have liked at the show. But, looking through the other websites will give you an idea on prices (yes some are much cheaper than online) and will give you an idea of the things you definitely want or may want. At this stage I like to set myself a budget, not really based on the products I want, but what I could realistically save for the day. But, don't be put off by all the Youtube videos of people with tones of stuff. When I first went to IMATS I only could save £50 and still got a few good products that I wanted. The second time I saved £100 and got a few more things, but don't think that you have to spend a lot to have a good time, you really don't. But, having a budget really helps think about what you really want to get and holds you back from buying way to much. Trust me it is so easy to get carried away when you are there and you don't want to spend too much as you won't realize until you check your bank balance. But, having a list of what you want and a budget may make you think of whether you actually want that product or not, or if you can actually get it at a later date.

List and budget done, it is time to think about the big day. Firstly, prepare before you leave the house. DON'T bring a huge bag, it can be a curse rather than a help. They never let you in with suitcases, so don't try that either. What is actually better and helps you move around easily is a small bag, especially one that can go over your shoulder, as it won't get in the way of others and you don't need to hunt for your purse when you go to buy something. Plus IMATS provides their own huge bag at the entrance so don't feel like you won't be able to carry anything, and some of the stalls give out their own bags to. Wear comfortable footwear, this is so important as there is very little places to sit and as the day goes on the ques get bigger so more standing. Having comfy shoes mean that you can walk and stand around for longer and you will be able to do everything you want before you sit down. There are places to sit upstairs, but my advice is to get everything done first before you sit. Finally, bring water and nibbles. There are a few places to eat and drink at IMATS, but it is very pricey and you may find that you are stuck in a very long que. Water is an essential if you don't take any nibbles, as it gets very very hot with everyone moving around and the more people the hotter it gets.

Your off and it is super exciting. But, when is the best time to get there?? Well as early as you possibly can. Silly really but it is true. To guarantee that you will get all the products you want and not have to stand in long ques, getting there early is the best strategy. If you cannot get there when it opens, don't fret too much, there will still be products available but it will be very busy. You can come along in the afternoon, as the crowds start to die down, though you need to be aware that some of the products may have been sold out. I have found that big named brands such as MAC, do sell out of certain products so just be weary. This is generally why I don't buy any big brands from IMATS, as they don't hold all the shades or all the products. The first year I went I did buy something from NARS, but I really wanted the Radiant Creamy Concealer but they only had it in the shade Custard which is not me at all.

Your in at you don't know where to go to first or what you want, the whole thing is too emotional. Well, don't be pulled into the first stand you see which seems to always be Royal Brushes. This company seems to play on the fact that some people are new to IMATS and love makeup brushes, they stick themselves right at the entrance so you have to go to them or past them. I have seen many videos and IMATS newbies ending up spending most of their budget on these brushes. Now, unless they are on you want list don't bother, there are much cheaper and nicer brushes else where in the show so don't get sucked in. In the IMATS London show, when you enter the room is laid the same way every year (well, every year I have been). On your right hand side towards the wall is the start of the special FX, If you are after that kind of thing the go straight there, the ques are less and it is easy to move around in that area. There is about two walk ways with special FX either side and then it turns into beauty makeup. From here you will see a lot of smaller brands and as you travel towards the left side of the building you will find bigger named brands such as Urban Decay and MAC. MAC and Makeup Forever are usually in the same spot every year, both get very busy and the ques are manic, that's why I try to avoid them. At the left wall there is a large demonstration area where they demonstrate beauty makeup (majority of the time). There is a smaller stage at the back of the floor where they have question panels and demonstrations for special FX makeup (majority of the time).

When you wrote your list you would have found out what stalls sell the things you want, you check the map and plan your route. I do this every year, find the stalls I want and go to them first, then if you have any spare money you can go to others that take your fancy. For me I like to get all my shopping done at once, this way I know I have everything that I wanted to get and have the rest of the time to look around and listen to some demonstrations. This is literally the fastest and efficient way to concur IMATS, especially if you only wanted to pay for the one day. For me I can usually do all of this and go around by lunch time and then I have the afternoon free to either stay or do what ever I want to do. Once you have done your shopping I would highly recommend you go upstairs and take a look. Firstly the toilets are up there so its a great chance to stop and have a rest, but the Battle of the Brushes contestants are up there and so it a 'Makeup Museum'. The contestants are all doing different looks to be the best and win the competition, it is great fun to have a look at their process and have at look at the ones you consider being the best. The 'Makeup Museum' is a little different to both makeup and museum. It is basically a small collection of work, largely special FX, that have been used in films or are inspired by films. Last year there were face casts of Leonard Nimoy and sketches of the Indominous Rex from Jurassic World. It is really worth a look and keeps you out of the way from all the hustle and bustle of the floor below.

And that's it! With these tips you will be able to master IMATS and leave away feeling like you have done all you wanted to do and more. Again it is really just about having fun rather than buying makeup, so don't feel too bad if you don't have that much to spend as you will still get a few bits and have so much fun. 

Hope to see you all there

Stay Gorgeous

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