IMATS 2017 – The Greatest Makeup Extravaganza of the Year!

Hello lovely followers,

I hope you are all having a great week so far!

This post has been a very long time coming! I attended IMATS back in May this year and it has been on my draft list for ages! I first attended IMATS with a friend a few years ago, long before I became a makeup artist and beauty blogger, and even then I was hooked!

So what is IMATS?

IMATS stands for International Makeup Artist Trade Show! It is the world’s largest celebration of makeup artistry and creativity. Every year, thousands of make-up artists, exhibitors, and enthusiasts attend the how to discuss, display and collect the best the makeup industry has to offer. Professionals from the fashion and film sectors also attend to provide education and demonstrations at IMATS, and new products often debut there. IMATS also features a make-up museum and the Battle of the Brushes student makeup competitions, where international makeup students race to create winning looks! It’s basically a makeup lovers paradise!

Before IMATS, there were no trade shows specifically designed for make-up artists so to address this, Emmy Award-winning make-up artist and Make-Up Artist magazine publisher Michael Key held the first IMATS in August 1997 in Los Angeles. IMATS then expanded to Europe in 2002, with the debut of IMATS London and now you can attend it in many different places around the globe – the show is held six times annually in Los Angeles; New York; London; Vancouver, B.C.; Sydney; and Toronto.

IMATS 2017

This year’s IMATS was, as expected, amazing! I booked my ticket to go months in advance for £45 and by the time the day finally arrived I was so excited I could barely sit still! It was at this year’s event that I actually found out you can sign up for a Pro card which provides lots of additional benefits depending on which level of card you qualify for. I will definitely be applying for the card for next year’s show – you can find out more here.

This year, I attended the event alone and despite arriving pretty early I still had to queue to get in. However, the buzz in the queue was great and everyone was super excited! Once I arrived at the entrance, this is what I walked into:

   

   

The atmosphere was crazy! Everywhere you looked there were people shopping, trying makeup, displaying artistic work – it was overwhelming! The first thing I decided to do was find my bearings, as there were loads of makeup brand stands I wanted to visit. Looking back and through the many photographs I took, which are all shared in this post, I am sure there were some I missed!

The Brands

Where do I start? There were some familiar loved makeup brands and then a whole host of brands I had never heard of or tried before. I was literally in heaven! I’ll start with the brands we all know and love:

  • Nars
  • Kat Von D
  • MAC
  • Inglot
  • Urban Decay
  • Beauty Bakerie
  • Lime Crime
  • Nyx
  • Makeup Forever
  • Bobbi Brown

As you can imagine all these stands were busy all day long! A few of them I could not even get close enough to look at the displays!

   

   

    

  

You can see all the brands had good sized displays and there were some lovely products to buy! Most of the items were available in their normal stores although some of the brands did have offers purely for the show. Watch out for my next post with details of all the makeup I spoilt myself with!

The lesser known brands and those that I had never heard of or bought anything from were:

  • Kryolan
  • Velour
  • Treasure House of Makeup
  • Royal Langnickel
  • Graftobian
  • Makeup Atelier
  • Sugarpill
  • Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics
  • The Makeup Outlet
  • Guru Makeup Emporium
  • Bdellium Tools
  • Louise Young
  • Naked Cosmetics
  • Provoc
  • Thalia
  • Lash Unlimited
  • Ben Nye
  • Hakuhodo
  • Mehron
  • Screenface

    

    

Exploring these brands was the most fun for me! They sold general makeup and accessories to heavy duty theatrical face and body cosmetics! I got to test makeup by brands I had always wanted to try like Makeup Atelier and Ben Nye and play with lashes by Velour! One of my favourite discoveries was Guru Makeup Emporium which stocked Danessa Myricks photographic makeup – her makeup is exceptional! But my highlight had to be visiting the HakuHodo stand! This brand produces some of the finest makeup brushes in the world! There were so many to pick from, I was like a child in a candy shop! You could tell just from the feel of them that they were going to deliver excellent results and the available ranges covered every type of brush possible.

Was it worth attending IMATS 2017?

Without a doubt yes! If you love makeup and meeting other people that love makeup, this is the event you have to attend each year. You’ll see what treasures I picked up in my next post, but even without spending, it is such a fun and vibrant day out, filled with colour and variety and just by talking to the brand staff you can learn so much. I am already planning for 2018 IMATS – tickets will go on sale 6 months before the day, which will be in May again. For full information check out the IMATS website here. Who’s going to join me? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to follow and subscribe!

Watch out for my next makeup reveal post on my gorgeous IMATS purchases!

Dips xxx

The Body Shop Beauty & Skin Care – My Review

Hi, beauty fans!

I can’t believe it is already May 2017! This year is flying by but so far it has been a positive one! I have already been presented with some very exciting opportunities and I have met some lovely people – long may it continue!

The Body Shop

One such opportunity I was given was to review a selection of skin care products and makeup from The Body Shop! One of my old school friends is now a Body Shop Consultant and thought I would be interested to try some of the recent ranges so she kindly sent me some samples. In return, I offered to do a review of the products and now after a few weeks of testing everything I am finally able to write this post!

I have loved The Body Shop for years, mainly for their body care and the lovely Christmas ranges they always create each year! I had never really tested the skin care or the makeup so this was a real eye-opener, for me! This is what I received:

On the left are the following products:

  • Lip and Cheek Stain in Vineyard Peach
  • A Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask sachet
  • An Oils of Life Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil sachet
  • A Drops of Youth Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask sachet
  • Drops of Youth (Facial) Concentrate

On the right are samples of the following:

  • Amazonian Acai Mask
  • Instablur
  • Ethiopian Honey Mask
  • Chinese Ginseng and Rice Mask
  • All in One BB Cream
  • Drops of Light Day Cream
  • Vitamin C Liquid Peel
  • Drops of Youth Youth Cream
  • Oils of Life Revitalising Cream
  • Drops of Youth Liquid Peel
  • British Rose Mask

You can imagine how much fun I have had trying all these lovely samples! I managed to use everything a few times each to get a real feel for the products and how they affected my skin, and my review of each is below:

  • Lip and Cheek Stain

This product comes in 9 shades – I tested Vineyard Peach, which was fortunate for me as I love peach makeup! The actual stain is a creamy texture and very easy to blend into the skin. The colour is quite pigmented in the bottle but once on the skin, it provides a wash of colour rather than a super intense look. It can be built up to achieve a deeper more noticeable blush but I actually liked that it gave a more subtle natural glow. It has the same effect on the lips and doesn’t dry them out, but I preferred it as a blusher simply because I like my lip colour to be more obvious.

More Info: Lip and Cheek Stain

  • Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

I was very excited to try this mask as I have heard so many good things about it and about Charcoal in general. It’s unlike any other mask I have ever tried! It contains bamboo charcoal, tea tree oil and green tea leaves and the texture was a slightly loose, grainy but non-abrasive paste. The fragrance was pleasant and it doesn’t completely dry once applied but won’t easily move or drip either. I applied it for up to 5-10 minutes and then washed off and my skin looked and felt gorgeous! It was smooth, plump and soft and brighter than before. I got 3 uses from the sachet and the result each time was very good – I am sure if I was to use it as part of my regular skincare routine it would have long-lasting positive effects!

More Info: Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

  • Oils of Life Revitalising Facial Oil

This range is designed to provide radiance to the skin. Everything contains 3 seed oils – Black Cumin seed oil, Camellia seed oil and Rosehip seed oil, as well as essential oils and olive oil. It has a strong, slightly spiced scent and feels lovely on the skin. It absorbs easily and the skin feels soft and nourished afterwards. I am a big fan of facial oils and this one is a definite must try. As you don’t need more than a couple of drops at a time, I was able to use this oil a few times morning and night and I definitely noticed how great my skin felt and looked.

More Info: Oils of Life Revitalising Facial Oil

  • Drops of Youth Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask

When I saw this amongst the samples I was so happy, as I love trying products that work overnight! This mask is designed to fight the first signs of ageing and provide plump fresh skin. The mask is a milky colour in a gel-cream formula and it smooths over the skin beautifully. You don’t feel like you’re wearing a mask at all! It isn’t sticky or wet once applied so my face didn’t stick to my pillows or bed linen and when I woke up my skin felt gorgeous! Even after I washed my face my skin remained soft and full. This was one of my favourite products out of the samples and I highly recommend trying it!

More Info: Drops of Youth Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask

  • Drops of Youth Concentrate

Another great product from the Drops of Youth range! This Concentrate is like a facial serum, in a milky loose gel formula and you only a need a pea-sized amount to cover your whole face. It absorbs quickly and gives the skin a slightly blurred effect! This is great if you want to reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines! As the sample I was sent was a good size, I am still using this and I love it!

More Info: Drops of Youth Concentrate

  • Amazonian Acai Mask

   

I love face masks! Trying all the sample masks was skincare heaven for me! This mask almost feels like a scrub as it is slightly grainy! It smells really fruity and smooths onto the skin as a gel. I left it on for 5 minutes in each use and afterwards my skin felt fresh and soft and almost dewy! Its designed to invigorate the skin and it certainly did that!

More Info: Amazonian Acai Face Mask

  • Instablur

This product does exactly what the name implies! It is a soft clear putty which once applied blurs lines, pores and skin blemishes, leaving the skin very smooth and soft, ready for foundation. You can also wear it without makeup and it has the same effects. I normally use Benefit Porefessional to hide my pores etc. but I would consider switching to this now I have tested it!

More Info: All in One Instablur

  • Ethiopian Honey Mask

This mask smells and feels heavenly! It looks like it could be actual honey and has a definite honey scent, warm and comforting. It glides onto the skin as a thick gel, remains moist and after leaving on the skin for 5 minutes it washes off to leave radiant moisturised skin. If you suffer from dry skin it would be a great mask to replenish the moisture in the skin.

More Info: Ethiopian Honey Mask

  • Chinese Ginseng and Rice Mask

This was by far my favourite mask! It looks more like a scrub than a normal face mask but it is designed to exfoliate the skin as a mask. It has a creamy consistency with very fine rice grains and when I tried it I massaged it into the skin before letting it set, just to get some extra exfoliation from it! As with the other masks, I let it sit for 5 minutes and then washed it off and my skin felt simply amazing! So smooth and soft, more so than any of the other masks I tried and the texture of my skin looked and felt like it did when I was a child! This mask is definitely going on my wishlist!

More Info: Chinese Ginseng and Rice Mask

  • All in One BB Cream

This was probably my least favourite product. I don’t wear BB creams generally as I prefer foundations, so this product was already fighting an uphill battle! To be fair to the product, it does do what it is supposed to in that it adapted to my skin tone well and I did not need a huge amount to evenly cover my face. My skin did look more even after application as well. However I like my base to provide medium to full coverage which this did not do, not surprisingly as a BB cream, and I also did not like the smell of the cream, which was almost medicinal.

More Info: All in One BB Cream

  • Drops of Light Day Cream

The Drops of Light range is designed to brighten the skin and diminish dark spots. The effects become more apparent after a few weeks of use so I would need to keep using this product to determine if it does brighten the skin. However, after using it a few times I did find that it moisturised my skin well and left my skin dewy and smelling great! You can tell from the appearance of the cream itself that it has brightening qualities so I would expect that in time it would have the effect it states but I would have to keep testing it to be sure!

More Info: Drops of Light Day Cream

  • Vitamin C Liquid Peel

Peels are another skin care product I really love to use! After testing Cure Natural Aqua Gel, I realised how amazing a face peel can be so I was excited to try the Peels in the samples. This Vitamin C Peel was my favourite of the two I tested and my second favourite product from all the samples. It has a fresh citrus smell and turns from a gel into a liquid when applied to the skin. According to the description, you can let this product sit on the skin and then peel it off however I found it worked far better if you gently rubbed the liquid over the skin – you could see the dead skin flaking away! After rinsing the skin, it felt soft, fresh and smooth and looked brighter and less textured. This is another item I will be adding to my wishlist!

More Info: Vitamin C Liquid Peel

  • Drops of Youth Youth Cream

This cream is luxurious, thick and rich. It’s super moisturising, has a lovely comforting scent and leaves the skin feeling deeply hydrated and plump. As it is so rich, you don’t need much so I still have some of the sample left and will use it when my skin needs an extra dose of moisture.

More Info: Drops of Youth Youth Cream

  • Oils of Life Revitalising Cream

This is another thick nourishing day cream. As with the other Oils of Life sample, it has a lovely slightly spicy fragrance and whilst it feels oily on your fingers once applied to the face it absorbs well and there is no oily residue. The skin feels soft and supple after use and after continued use, you should see a reduction in the visible signs of ageing. I cannot vouch for that yet but just from my limited use, I would definitely consider buying it in the future.

More Info: Oils of Life Revitalising Cream

  • Drops of Youth Liquid Peel

This was the second peel I sampled, from the Drops of Youth range, however, I did not find this one nearly as effective as the Vitamin C Liquid Peel. To start I did not like the smell of the product which was very strong and almost astringent. I also found that whilst it did remove dead skin the result was not as noticeable as with the Vitamin C peel and I found that some of the peel was difficult to remove, especially where I had tiny facial hairs. If I had to choose which to buy the Vitamin C Peel would win hands down.

More Info: Drops of Youth Liquid Peel

  • British Rose Mask

This was the final mask I tested. As the name states, it’s all about the rose and should give you dewy plumped skin after use. It smells gorgeous and has visible rose extracts in the gel. After leaving it on my skin for 5 minutes and rinsing, my skin did feel fresh and soft but I have to say it was no more noticeable than any of the other masks. What I liked about this mask was the scent, which lingered on the skin even after removing it. If you love the rose scent then you’ll love this!

More Info: British Rose Mask

And that is the end of my Body Shop samples review! I have loved trying so many lovely products and luckily my skin has reacted well to everything given how many different things I have tried! It has also been great learning more about The Body Shop ranges and I have to say I would happily buy skincare from there now!

I know this is a particularly long post, but I wanted to make sure I covered every single product in enough detail to help all of you decide whether to spend your hard-earned money on them! Hopefully, I have done that and you’ve enjoyed reading this – if you have, I’d love for you to like and share the post and if you have any questions about the products feel free to leave them in the comments!

See you back here soon!

Dips xxx

My day of All Things Beauty

Hi, lovelies,

I hope you’re all enjoying the lovely weather this weekend! For a change, I have had a relaxing couple of days enjoying the sunshine and taking stock of various things in my life and regarding my blog.

I don’t know about you but now that I have been blogging for nearly 4 months it is hard not to become completely consumed by everything blog and social media related! There is so much to learn and do to make the most of blogging but never enough time to do everything, especially if you still have a very busy full-time job too. That’s why this weekend I was determined to take a step back, relax and remember there are many things to enjoy in life as well as blogging!

A Different Kind of Post

That led me to decide on this post. I started this blog site with the aim of focusing mainly on beauty, makeup and skin care but actually, there are so many subjects that I could cover under the title “All Things Beauty”. This post embraces that idea and is different to my usual posts because instead of just reviewing some great skincare or makeup, I wanted to share how I spent a lovely day recently enjoying “All Things Beauty” around Birmingham!

Beauty Day 1 – Sims Footwear

So, I started my day quite early and my first stop was a beautiful shoe store in the Great Western Arcade. The shop is called Sims Footwear and it stocks some of the most unusual and quirky shoes I have ever seen!

I haven’t bought any shoes in ages as my money generally goes on makeup now but this shop tempted me to splurge! There were so many designs to choose from, a variety of colours and heel heights and even matching handbags – it’s a shoe lovers heaven! If you haven’t been to this shop before I definitely recommend a visit.

Beauty Day 2 – House of Fraser

From there I paid a visit to House of Fraser. I have not been to House of Fraser in a long time as I no longer work in the city centre but I used to spend hours in there wandering the makeup sections! This time I actually paid a visit to the Swarovski concession stand first! I have been a lover of Swarovski for years and have a sizeable collection of jewellery but it has been a while since I bought anything.

There were some gorgeous pieces on display:

I have said before how much of a magpie I am – Swarovski is a magpie’s dream! There are so many designs to pick from and a range of prices depending on the budget you want to stick to. Swarovski also run a membership card where you can earn vouchers as you spend – suffice to say I have earned a lot of vouchers over the years! If you know someone who loves jewellery or you are looking for a special gift I would always recommend a visit to Swarovski! On this occasion, I was able to resist spending on the new Spring collection!

The Makeup Counters – Benefit

I then, of course, wandered to the makeup section! I never get bored with looking at makeup and beauty products as there is always something new to discover. One of my favourite brands is Benefit, the products are always great quality and they also create lovely packaging for everything. I loved the display stand they had set up for the extensive eyebrow range:

20170412_100134

I have tried a few of the products from the eyebrow range and everything is brilliant. The brow pomade Ka Brow is perfect for defining and shaping your brows – I use this for a night out so my brows look on point all night! Gimme Brow is ideal for slightly darkening and tidying up the brows whilst keeping them looking natural. The new versions of High Brow Glow are also great for highlighting under the brows and in the inner eye corners. The new range is worth exploring if you struggle with your brows as there is a product for everyone’s taste!

Bobbi Brown

Next on my journey was Bobbi Brown. This is one of the brands I first started following when I started learning about makeup and my love has never diminished. Most of my first makeup brushes were purchased from Bobbi Brown and I still have them! I love seeing what new makeup Bobbi Brown has created and on this day I discovered a new line of eyeliners!

These eyeliners are beautiful! The colours are all dark, perfect for creating a smoky eye or a rich natural look and the texture was so soft and smooth! I took swatches of each colour and when first applied you could blend them out but once they had set on my skin they did not move all day and the colours did not fade. I did not buy any of them on this occasion simply because I was watching my spending but they are definitely on my wishlist!

Another recent release by Bobbi Brown is the Art Stick Liquid Lipsticks. I have bought one of these to test and I have to say they are really good!

20170412_101550 (1)

It is basically a lipstick in a squidgy pen! They are really easy to use, the colours are lovely and no less pigmented than a normal lipstick and it is easy to control the application. The colour stays for a good few hours before you need to reapply and they aren’t drying. It’s a clever design and a great handbag item!

Beauty Day 3 – Superdrug

After House of Fraser, I decided to wander to another favourite store of mine – Superdrug! I remember when Superdrug barely stocked any makeup or beauty products but now its brilliant! I can spend hours wandering the makeup aisles in Superdrug and they stock some really great value makeup brands that I probably would never have tried if they weren’t available here. On this trip, I was very restrained but I did notice that they now stock Nip + Fab Makeup!

20170412_104103

I have heard more and more good things about this brand but I have not tried anything as yet. This stand was already out of stock for many items which is generally a good sign that the brand is worth trying! I particularly want to try the cleansing facial pads which are supposed to be excellent but they weren’t in stock so I will have to keep checking until I can try them! I have also heard high praise for the correctors and concealers so they are both on my wishlist!

Beauty Day 4 – Debenhams

If you’re a makeup lover like me, a trip to the city centre would not be complete without a trip to Debenhams. Over time Debenhams has expanded its makeup section and it now includes some of my favourite brands, like Too Faced and Makeup Forever. I specifically wanted to check if Too Faced’s Natural Love palette was in stock but it wasn’t (I have since bought this palette and will be reviewing it soon!) However whilst there I saw Urban Decay had released a new palette and some limited edition lipsticks:

20170412_133115

Up to this point, I had been very controlled with my spending but when I saw this I had to buy it! This palette is petite but still maintains the Urban Decay quality we have all come to expect from the brand. I will be reviewing the palette separately with swatches but I can say the eyeshadows are buttery and pigmented and the colour selection is very versatile for day and night. I also bought one of the lipsticks and I love that too! It’s very pigmented, quite hydrating and stayed put for the majority of the day.

On the way out of the store I passed by the Illamasqua concession stand and saw they had released a new set of lipsticks too:

20170412_132538

Illamasqua is another amazing brand that I love to keep up with and it took a lot for me not to purchase some of these lipsticks! I have tried Illamasqua lipsticks before and they are beautiful, soft and creamy with great coverage and colour payoff. I will no doubt buy a lipstick from the new range at some point and I recommend trying the brand as a whole if you haven’t!

Beauty Day 5  – Lush Cosmetics

After strolling across town for a good few hours I was ready to go home, but not before I paid a visit to Lush! I have never truly explored Lush as a brand but I had heard so many recommendations I thought I better see what all the fuss is about! Watch out for a future post on what I bought and my review of the products!

And that was my day of All Things Beauty! I love days like that, where you can just enjoy spending time window shopping and enjoying the atmosphere as the city centre gets busy! It’s also a great way to relax, clear your mind and get some exercise – I felt thoroughly refreshed and inspired by the time I got home!

I hope you liked this post, I know it’s not what you usually expect from me but I had such a lovely day looking at beautiful things that I felt I had to share it! If you enjoyed this post, do like, comment and share it and if you don’t already, please subscribe!

See you all again soon!

Dips xxx