IMATS stands for International Makeup Artist Tradeshow and Vancouver is one of the lucky few locations that has one (the other locations are LA, Toronto, NYC, Sydney and London). It's a weekend long event hosting unique and popular makeup brands and vendors from around the world, as well as a variety of demonstrations and industry speakers. As the name states, the focus of this show is for working makeup artists, so many of the vendors are selling specialty products such as body paint, fake skin, wigs and prosthetics, but there are plenty of vendors with conventional makeup as well.
I was super fortunate to score a media pass so I got to go for free and skip the line, although I didn't even need that since when I arrived at noon on a Saturday there was no lineup to speak of. Vancouver's IMATS is much smaller than other IMATS and lesser known so I guess the crowds weren't as insane as they can be in LA or Toronto.
Still, I was prepared. Weeks before I researched each vendor online and put together a shopping list AND prioritized vendor route to maximize my time in case there were huge lineups. I was actually pleasantly surprised though as there was little lineups to be found, except if you were trying to get to MUFE or Morphe. Many brands were also offering discounted prices, which is great as otherwise I would have gone way over budget!
On the flip side though, those discounts were definitely my downfall as well since I went into a literal shopping frenzy and bought way more than I had originally planned. I'm talking purchasing 9 makeup brushes instead of my planned 5 and a giant tub of cleansing balm (it was only $5 more for double the size!) and 4 NYX Butter Glosses that I was most certainly not planning to get at all. I'm definitely a sucker for a good deal.
Still, despite racking up a sizable bill, I also think I came away with a pretty good haul. Brushes are essentials and I'm super happy with the ones I received as they all are great quality, decently priced and not easily available here. I'll definitely be signing up to go next year (sorry hubby!)!
Some tips I'd recommend if you check out IMATS are:
- Bring cash - not only will this help you keep on budget, but most of the vendors charged USD for credit card payments, so as a Canadian you would get penalized by the exchange if you didn't have cash
- Do your research - there are a lot of vendors and it can be easy to waste hours just trying to figure out what all the different products are and what has good reviews, or to look at swatches etc. Save time by looking up what you want beforehand!
- Wear comfortable shoes, wear a light bag and bring your own water - since you'll be standing a lot, this isn't the time to be looking all fancy
|Cailyn Dizzolv'it Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm|
I've always wanted to try a cleansing balm. I'm a big fan of double cleansing, but up till now have only used cleansing oils. A balm operates under the same principle as a cleansing oil, but in a solid form. The Cailyn Dizzolv'it Makeup Melt Cleansing Balm contains papaya enzymes to exfoliate and acerola, a powerful antioxidant. I've read pretty good reviews of this one and I can't wait to scoop some out to take with me on my upcoming Spain trip!
|Top to bottom: Bdellium Maestro 985, Maestro 987, Studio 947, Studio 733 and Maestro 730|
I've never heard of Bdellium before, but I've read only positive reviews. Made up of a mix of synthetic and natural fibers, Bdellium offers a variety of brush tool sets. The Maestro line is their top of the line from what I can tell as far as branding goes, but there doesn't seem much difference between the Maestro brushes and the Studio line except handle colors. The Bambu line though is all synthetic and definitely feels cheaper so I wouldn't bother with those.
I was really impressed by how full and soft these brushes were; plus they were SUPER cheap at IMATS! Each brush I purchased was less than $20 which was very discounted from their original price online, but even at original pricing, these are way more affordable than MUFE and I would hazard just as nice based on first impressions.
The ones I purchased are:
- Bdellium Maestro 985 Duet Fiber Powder brush, a duo-fibre brush for light application of powder. This brush is ideal for blush, contour and highlight
- Bdellium Maestro 987 Face Blending brush, a narrow dense brush for contouring with cream or powder
- Bdellium Studio 947 Small Foundation brush, a super soft and flexible flat foundation brush ideal for applying cream products. I plan to use this for applying color correctors and cream blushes!
- Bdellium Studio 733 Lash spoolie, a handy brush for brows
- Bdellium Maestro 730 Bent Mascara Fan, a duo-fibre brush ideal for brushing and fanning out eyelashes
|Top to bottom: Hakuhodo J 163 H, G538, G5512|
The one brand at IMATS I'd heard the most about, but have never experienced was Hakuhodo. This venerated holy grail of brush makers actually started out making handcrafted paint brushes in Japan. Hakuhodo is known for their exquisite craftsmanship, quality, use of natural bristles, and comprehensive variety. While some of their brushes can cost upwards of $50, $60 or $70, the ones I purchased were priced more similarly to MAC.
The ones I purchased are:
- Hakuhodo J163 H, made of synthetic and horse hair, this brush is ideal for creating full, precise brows
- Hakuhodo G538, made of synthetic hairs, this small concealer brush is ideal for applying concealer in small areas and for cream shadows
- Hakuhodo G5512, is a teeny tiny horse hair brush that I bought solely based on Reddit reviews stating that this brush is perfect for creating winged liner. Cat-eye liner you WILL be mine to master!
|Cailyn O! Wow brush|
Does anyone remember how a few years back MAC had a series of weird makeup brushes that looked more like fancy toothbrushes than makeup brushes? Well, they seem to be back and more popular than ever. There are tons of incarnations of these types of brushes and one of the more well rated ones is the Cailyn O! Wow brush. Made up of a super-dense, tapered brush, the Cailyn O! Wow brush is perfectly designed to flow seamlessly over the contours of your face to apply a streak-free, airbrushed finish with powder, liquid or cream.
|Left to right: BECCA Foxglove Shimmering Skin Perfector Luminous Blush, Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder|
One thing that I was dead set on getting was the famous Ben Nye Banana powder. Everyone and anyone seemed to rave about its incredible ability to set makeup all day, prevent shine and ability to make every skin tone glow. This baby is so popular that I snagged the very last sifter at the show!
I didn't even realize BECCA was going to be at the show, so finding a small pile of the new BECCA Shimmer Skin Perfector Luminous Blushes was a happy find. Based on online reviews, I had been leaning more towards Snapdragon, but when I swatched Foxglove in person, I just fell in love. Foxglove is a gorgeous blue-toned magenta, which sheers out to a flattering pink with a luminous finish. Supposedly these are meant to be used as a "pigmented highlighter" but I found them pigmented enough to use solo as blush.
|NYX Butter Glosses in Strawberry Parfait, Tiramisu, Creme Brulee|
Since NYX is already pretty affordable, I hadn't planned to buy anything at IMATS, so blame aimless wandering on this one! NYX was actually 30% off at the show, so I thought why not take a look? Well a few minutes later and I walked away with these 3 glosses, plus another deep scarlet gloss that I forgot to include in my photos here. I really love the Butter Gloss formula; it's non-sticky, smells like vanilla candy and is really pigmented. Creme Brulee is a repurchase and is such a gorgeous pink MLBB and I'm hoping Tiramisu is a darker version of it. Strawberry Parfait I haven't tried yet either, but the Butter Glosses are pretty close to tube color so I think this will be a really fun color to wear!
|Morphe 35F Fall into Frost palette|
Last, but not least, is this stunning and HUGE palette from Morphe. Out of all the vendors at IMATS, Morphe definitely had the longest lineup with people snaking around an entire side of the convention hall. While most people were pawing through the endless buckets of brushes, my eyes were set only on the palettes. After seeing the beautiful 35O and 35OS palettes on blogs I thought I was going to purchase that one, but then I did a 180 and chose the brand new 35F palette instead.
Why would I switch my mind after waiting in line so long? Well, while beautiful, the 35O palette did seem to have a lot of very similar shades whereas I love the variety offered by the 35F. With the 35F I can create natural soft pink looks, or bold crimson eyes or smoke things up with purples and greens. There's so many options with this palette that it's almost overwhelming!
I've already started using this palette and it's sooo awesome. The shades have minimal fallout, the shimmers are super shimmery, while the mattes aren't chalky at all and just so buttery. Instant love!
So that's my super long IMATS recap!
Have you been to IMATS before?
What was your experience like?
Have you been to IMATS before?
What was your experience like?