Y’all, I went to my first IMATS this year! I’ve wanted to go for forever and it finally worked out this year. I went to the one in LA this past weekend, mostly because it was close and I heard it was the most popular IMATS. I spent the whole day winging it and wondering what the hell was going on. There were people everywhere and booths with insanely long lines all selling stuff I didn’t know I wanted until I saw it.
Since this was my first IMATS, I really wanted to look my best! I went with one of my favorite outfits. Just a plain white tee, a colorful skirt, pops of jewelry, and (my latest obsession!) studded heels. Confession time: the heels didn’t last long. I changed into flats pretty quickly once I saw the lines building, lol.
My makeup was a mermaid inspired ombre look using shadows from the BH Cosmetics Wild and Free palette. The rest of my look was pretty simple. Confession Part 2: I was so flustered about trying to step up my makeup game that I forgot mascara on my bottom lashes and my highlighter. *ugh*
It was a great first experience, but there are a few things I would do differently.
One, I would print the map out ahead of time. The map along with all the brands participating is released ahead of time on the IMATS website. It would have really cut down on my confusion having some clue who was where. You can decide what brands are a must hit and start there before the lines get ridiculous.
Two, have a shopping list. What do you definitely want to walk out the door with? Make those items a priority. There are so many booths selling so many things I hadn’t seen before that I actually forgot to purchase a couple of things that I really wanted. You don’t have to only shop off of your list, but it helps curb impulses. Do you really want to grab 20 pairs of $1 eyelashes if you still haven’t picked up those Sigma brushes you wanted?
Three, take a buddy if you can! Split your shopping lists up and hit multiple booths at the same time. Some of those lines get insanely long (looking at you, Morphe Brushes) and it would speed things up if you waited in one line and your friend waited in the other. Bonus points to you if you can gather up more than one friend so you can tackle a bunch of lines at once.
Four, focus on brands you don’t typically see. That was something I really wish I had done. I tried a couple of new brands, but mostly stuck to what was familiar. That may be fine with you (and that’s okay), but I wish I had been a little braver. I might have been able to find a hidden gem to tell you guys about. If you don’t focus on new brands, focus on those pricy ones! Everything was at least 20% off (more if you can get a pro card!) with free samples with most purchases.
Five, set a budget! For your wallet’s sake, set a budget! It’s so easy to go crazy there. There are so many neat things on sale that going over board is all too easy. Have a set amount you are going to spend and maybe stash an extra $100 aside just in case you find something you can’t live without. I found it really easy to stick to my budget when I had it all in cash. It’s harder for me to hand over cash instead of swiping a card. Makes me think about my purchase and once I’m out of cash, I’m done. If you go the cash route, you’re going to want to still take a card with you. Some booths, like Kat Von D, were only accepting cards. I didn’t bring one with me, but luckily my husband had his with him.
I want you to be more prepared than I was, but remember that this is one of the biggest gatherings of beauty addicts. Have fun, take pictures, and talk to people! You might find a new beauty bff.