This past November I attended the International Makeup Artist Trade show, also known as IMATS, at the Toronto Congress Centre. I was surprised to see how much it had grown since my last visit. Toronto IMATS is one of the smaller venues, so I was elated to see even more vendors and attendees populating the show than the previous year. One of the highlights of the trip was of course checking out the many vendors that were attending the show such as Makeup Forever, OCC, NYX, Cinema Secrets, NARS, and of course MAC pro. I always make it a priority to save quite a bit of money before each IMATS because there are so many great discounts at the show, usually ranging between 20%-40% off the regular retail price. As I said, this was my second year at the show; this time armed with a press pass and my two friends, Cait and Colleen, to help me capture the event.
I had my sights set on the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics booth where I purchased a few of their legendary lip tars. The lip tars were being sold for $10 each (which is less than what you would pay with the pro discount) so I ended up purchasing a neon orange lip tar in Beta, a plum-toned pink in Memento, a true coral red in Harlot and an opaque black called Tarred. I also had the pleasure of speaking with Emily Ansel manager and artist relations for OCC. She graciously allowed me to film a short interview with her where she touched on the best selling products and OCC’s experience at the show.
Next up on my list was the Makeup Forever booth, conveniently set up right next door to OCC. If you enjoy Makeup Forever products as much as I do, you’ll want to visit the booth as early as possible on Saturday morning. They offer 40% off retail price on all of their products so a lot of the fan favorites tend to sell out on the first day of the show. I really liked the square booth setup because it allowed for everyone to test out products before making their wish lists. I waited close to an hour, but it was worth it to walk away with the iconic flash palette, two Rouge Artist Intense lipsticks in shades 15 and 39 and two Aqua Waterproof lip liners in 2c Rosewood and 18c Coral.
I was disappointed that MAC Pro wasn’t selling anything last year besides a few over priced kits, so I was overjoyed to see them this time around offering their full line of pro products with an added 20% discount. The booth was a lot smaller than some of the other vendors, so I made it a quick pit stop on my journey through makeup heaven and decided to stock up on some much needed empty eye shadow and blush palettes to future organize my kit.
I had my eye on the NYX booth all weekend but it was easily the most crowded booth at the show. The line endlessly wrapped around the entire booth and trailed all the way down the aisle for the majority of Saturday and Sunday. I waited until Sunday afternoon to see if the crowd would die down and found that a number of products had already been picked over. NYX always produces high quality products with such affordable prices, so it’s easy to see why everyone flocked to their booth first. It’s proven difficult to find NYX products in my city, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to pick up a few must haves before the show concluded. I ended up purchasing a black and white matte eye shadow, two jumbo eye pencils in milk and a peachy pink blush in Pinched which is a great dupe for NARS’ Orgasm.
With the copious amounts of products available, there are also a number of seminars and live demonstrations that you can partake in at the show. I attended a number of them on both Saturday and Sunday but was most excited to see key note speaker Howard Berger of KNB EFX Group, as well as the live student competition held by IMATS every year. I always enjoy watching the student competition because it never ceases to reaffirm my love of makeup and the endless possibilities of it all. The theme this year was tribal beauty for the beauty and fantasy category and mythological creatures for the character and prosthetic portion of the competition. The competition tends to leave you feeling utterly inspired and eager to create something new.
The seminar with key note speaker Howard Berger, co-founder of KNB EFX with his partner Greg Nicotero was definitely the highlight of the show for me. You may have seen their studios work on such shows as The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, The Pacific, as well as such movies as Pulp Fiction, Sin City, The Chronicles of Narnia and many other countless feature films. It was fascinating to hear Howard’s personal success story as well as his advice to artists just starting out in the industry. Howard is a personal idol of mine, as he has worked with many of the top makeup artists and directors in the industry and is a reminder of how hard work and dedication can really help to manifest your dreams into reality.
I also had a chance to meet Academy Award Winning Make Up Artist Maurice Stein, who was at the convention representing his theatrical make up line, Cinema Secrets. Maurice was kind enough to let me in on some secrets of his 50 year career in professional make up as well as hook me up with one of Cinema Secret’s fantastic products, the 5-in-1 Ultimate Foundation Palette!
I would like to take the opportunity to thank IMATS for providing me with a press pass, as well as Cait and Colleen for graciously lugging their camera equipment all the way from Cornwall, Ontario to help me capture the show. All of the shopping and impressive line up of guest speaker’s aside, one of my favorite things about IMATS was getting to meet all of you! I was overwhelmed by the kindness and the amount of people that actually recognized me at the show. Among them, I ran into the lovely Stacey Brennan and Miss Casey B which I had already met the previous year, as well as AmandaBear9 and Sam from Primped Preened and Peachy. I also got to stop and talk to Isabelle of HayzStrawberry! Check out their work and hopefully you’ll enjoy watching them as much as I do.
Want to read some tips for shopping at IMATS Toronto?
I hope to see all of you next year!