June 23, 2013

London IMATS 2013

Yesterday, I made the trip to London to attend the 2013 International Make-Up Artist Trade Show (IMATS). This is an annual event where make-up enthusiasts gather to try out products and learn tips from the pros. Today I want to share my trip and my IMATS experience.
Since I was up quite late the night before, I boarded the train to King's Cross with only 3 hours of sleep. Hence, ironically, I went to IMATS without a trace of make-up on my face.

I usually find Starbucks Caramel Macchiato to be too sweet, but I needed the caffeine and sugar to wake me up during the 25 minutes tube ride to Baron's Court.

I met up with a friend at the tube station before walking to the Olympia National Hall together. Given we both had to get up early to catch our trains into London, we got lost on the way. Despite the detours, we queued, verified our online tickets, got our wristbands, and were inside the exhibition venue by 10:45am.
The interior...

Starting from NYX, we went through the list of brands on our list before finishing with a systematic round of all the booths. Aside from one eyeliner, everything else I bought were lip products. I went for some bold colors and different finishes that I am very excited to try out!

  • NYX Round Lipstick (LSS599 Fire) - £3 [Review Here]
  • NYX Black Label Lipstick (BLL134 Rasberry) - £4 [Review Here]
  • NYX Retractable Eye Liner (MPE08 Silky Cashmere) - £3 [Review Here]
  • NARS Lip Gloss (1661 Wonder) - £7
  • NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (2472 Never Say Never) - £7 [Review Here]
  • NARS Velvet Gloss Lip Pencil (9102 New Lover) - £7 [Review Here]

Reviews coming soon!

My friend also left with a nice collection of NYX, OCC, Embryolisse, MUFE, Hakuhodo, and some brush cleaners. Through our divide-and-conquer strategy, we were able to check out our interested booths in a relatively short time.

IMATS is also a great place to sign up for pro memberships (multiple brands were offering them for free). I passed, but for those interested, it is a definite plus. There is also a large number of booths dedicated to dramatic theatre and special effects makeup.

It was disappointing that some brands only had limited products for sale. For example, NARS and Bobbi Brown both had large displays of products, but only a select few were available for purchasing (not sold out, they just weren't available at all). It's like having a menu and then being told that majority of the options are not available.

General advice for attending IMATS:
  • Buy tickets online, I paid £10 less than at-door prices.
  • Plan your trip around the speakers that you are interested in.
    • At the current London IMATS location, I could hear the speakers from the booths near the main stage. If you are short on time, multi-tasking is a possibility.
  • Set a budget and carry cash.
    • A few booths had long queues because their credit card machines were breaking down. Other booths such as Hakuhodo charge US prices when paying by card. So depending on the exchange rate and the conversion charges, paying in cash could save you money.
    • It is very easy to get carried away in the moment. Paying from a previously set-aside amount would serve as a reminder as you buy.
  • Make a preliminary shopping list and get to known the regular prices of the products that you are interested in.
  • Some brands have limited quantities of discounted products, so always arrive early and go to the most popular booths first. For example, the line for NYX was 3 times as long an hour after we visited.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and avoid white or light-colored clothing.
    • Everyone will be swatching products and things do get crowded. If someone accidentally bumps into you, their swatched hands could permanently stain your clothing.
  • Bring make-up remover wipes. Sometimes the provided tissues just aren't enough to clean swatches of waterproof, long-lasting, smudge-resistant products.
  • Bring water and light snacks.
    • It is one thing to queue for brands, I rather not queue for food as well. Cereal bars held us over until we left to find proper food.

After hours at IMATS, we went back to central London for an early dinner at Lobster & Burger in the Soho location. This is a restaurant with only 3 items on the menu (burger, lobster, or lobster roll, all with salad and fries) for £20 each. We both went with the burger, since eating the lobster would be too much work after a long day. I also had a grapefruit soda, delicious!

The portions were still too big despite how hungry we were. I highly recommend the burger! Overall it was a fantastic day in London with IMATS and catching up with a friend I haven't seen since February.

Did you check out IMATS this year? What did you buy?


  1. You managed to get into NYX?! The queue was so long that I couldn't bring myself to wait.

    Your dinner looked absolutely AMAZING!!! An icing on the cake after a fun day at IMATS!


    1. It took us about 30 minutes to get through NYX, but indeed, the queue became very intimidating by the time we left IMATS.