IMATS 2016 Review

The International Makeup Artist Trade Show is a magical event where makeup artists and non-makeup artists come together to celebrate their love of makeup alongside some of the industries top vendors. But when I learned it was $50 for a ticket, I was a bit hesitant to shell out the cash and drive a few hours for something that is more of a hobby than a career for me. Was it worth it? YES. But that’s not very convincing, is it? Here is why you should seriously consider going to the IMATS in 2017:

  • The NUMBER ONE reason to go is simple; the savings. If you are looking to upgrade your brushes, splurge on a palette, or stock up on essential makeup that you wear everyday, this is the place to do it. MAC, notorious for never having sales, was offering 20% off. Benefit offered 40% off. FORTY. PERCENT. I literally made up for the cost of my ticket in the savings.
  • The talent. Right in the middle of the IMATS there is a competition going on involving hard core special effects makeup, and it is one of the coolest things you will ever see. The art that these MUAs demonstrated turned humans into creatures that looked like they stepped out of a sci-fi movie.
  • Finding new brands that you otherwise would have never heard of. While the IMATS does host many leaders in the makeup industry, there are a number of smaller companies selling products that are difficult to find in Canada. For me, this was discovering Violet Voss, which isn’t sold in Canada (unless you order it online) and makes the only matte liquid lipstick that doesn’t dry out my lips.
  • There are a number of other things to take in at the IMATS that I can’t really speak on because I am an 80-year old trapped in a 22-year old’s body so I was tired after two hours and quit to go eat lunch and take a nap. However, if I had stayed, I would have loved to take in some of the seminars and demonstrations facilitated by industry experts that I otherwise would not have had access to in-person.


Did I convince you? If so, there are a few things you should know before going in order to get the most out of your IMATS experience. Thus, I bring you my list of IMATS survival tips:

  • Go with a friend. The more popular vendors typically have lines so it’s nice to have someone to talk to…and to talk you out of buying that extra shade of shimmery blush that you like but don’t need.
  • Look at the list of vendors ahead of time. If there is a brand or product that you have been dying to try and they only have a few store locations/are otherwise difficult to get, GO EARLY. Like opening time early. We went a few hours after day 2 started, and the line up for Morphe was 3 hours long. By the time the day was halfway through, they had to stop letting people line up. You didn’t spend $50 to wait in line all day.
  • Wear layers. It can get really warm with that many people in an enclosed area and you will most likely be sweating after 20 minutes. I did not factor this in, and the leather-jacket outfit I had planned quickly turned into a boring t-shirt and jeans.
  • Bring makeup wipes; you will be swatching multiple colours and will regret not bringing them after you’ve only been to two booths and have no room left on either arm.
  • Bring water and snacks. They do have vendors there, but there isn’t much seating (lots of people just sat on the floor) so it’s easier to leave the convention centre and go out for food, and this will help hold you over until you’re ready to leave.
  • Wear comfy shoes. There will be lots of standing around and heels will only be fun for about 10 minutes.



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