Inside the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show

No sloughing off for hard-working scribe at makeup show.

International Make-Up Artist Trade Show | BCBusiness
Did you know that mink eyelashes are worn by Madonna and J-Lo, and can be washed up to 25 times before disposing?

No sloughing off for hard-working scribe at makeup show.

My interest in makeup spiked in the last year and a half after my wife, Meg, broke her back learning to snowboard. What does that have to do with makeup? Kind of everything, if you know my wife. The accident had an unexpected side effect. Pre-accident she could get ready for any function in under 10 minutes, and that included showering and wardrobe selection. Zero makeup. Maybe some lipstick in the car as I slowed down over speed bumps. But lying on her back for two months changed her: post-accident, she transformed into a woman who got out of bed to greet the world in high-heeled slingbacks and makeup. Prep time currently hovers around 45 minutes. But I’m not complaining: the results are truly awesome.

That’s why I was interested in attending the International Make-Up Artist Trade Show, or IMATS, at the Convention Centre last July. It was a brilliant mash-up of gorgeous and gore: a booth celebrating the work of makeup artists from the Vancouver Film School presented half-eaten latex heads, right next door to the Velour Lashes booth that sold mink eyelashes. These lashes are worn by Madonna and J-Lo, I was told, and they can be washed up to 25 times before you have to toss them. (The lashes, not Madonna or J-Lo.)

All the reps trumpeted their products, and if there were lotions or creams to be rubbed into my free hand in a circular motion, believe me, my hand was grabbed and rubbed in a circular motion. I took Meg to the show and we visited Paul at the Beauty D booth. Paul has big brown eyes with already-long lashes, but now he sports massive eyelashes twice the length, thanks to his new product called Eye Envy. I envy you, Paul!

He grabbed Meg’s hand and applied some Exfoliate Me, an oxygen-based mousse, but couldn’t understand why there wasn’t much “sloughing” – his term for dead skin flakes rising to the top. Meg admitted that she’d just come from the Naked Cosmetics booth and her hand was pre-sloughed. When he applied it to her other hand there was indeed, mucho slough rising up out of her apparently filthy pores.

I bumped into three old friends: film and TV makeup ladies who were there scooping up the trade show deals and complaining that Vancouver was really frustrating for the likes of them who need product – and they need it now, dammit! They were forced to phone places in L.A., like Naimie’s, that carry “everything makeup” in a 20,000-square-foot store and can have it shipped to their hydrated hands the next day. Another huge warehouse in L.A. is called Frends. What are the odds of a makeup outlet having the same-sounding name as a long-running sitcom? Unless of course, someone opens up Everybody Loves Makeup.

There was also an accessory booth by a company called Zuca that makes professional makeup-kit bags that can be carried or pulled, while also being airline carry-on friendly. The bags have countless hidden compartments, trays and zippered pockets, but the biggest selling feature is the fact that they convert into a seat. A seat that could withstand up to 300 pounds! I’ve worked on movie sets and it’s mostly hanging around waiting, over-eating out of sheer boredom and then racing to set. I’m thinking that maybe a seat that would allow an on-set makeup artist to balloon up to 300 pounds and then expect them to sprint to set for touch-ups is just a class-action suit waiting to happen.

Sadly, the awesome word “makeup” took on a darker meaning for me at the closing of the show when I found myself ponying up for everything my wife had bought. She loaded up on tubes of Eye Envy, jars of Exfoliate Me and tubs of Naked hydration foam like she was stocking a gorgeous survivalist’s bunker. Since my wife spent more on beauty products than I would make writing about them, I’d have to get another writing gig to make up for the difference.