Opinion: Are beauty conventions worth it?

Photos and Story By Lauren Barnes

Beauty conventions have recently become popular. It’s easy to dream of attending these conventions since the beauty gurus we know and love speak highly of them. I find it hard to trust their reviews because these gurus often endorse certain beauty lines or are given specialized treatment resulting in a different experience than the everyday convention-goer. Because I’m just an average person with a love for makeup, my experience with Generation Beauty by Ipsy could better inform you on whether or not a beauty convention like this is something you want to attend in the future.

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The Chic Daily’s Lauren Barnes snapped a selfie while at Generation Beauty.

For clarity, Ipsy is a monthly makeup subscription that provides subscribers with a bag of different types of makeup samples and costs $10 per month. One of YouTube’s most well-known beauty gurus Michelle Phan created Ipsy to help grow the beauty community and empower women through makeup. Ipsy has expanded so much in the last few years that it now holds a biannual two-day makeup convention: one in Los Angeles and the other in New York City. I’m an annual Ipsy subscriber and I have attended the last two Generation Beauty conventions. I was excited to attend Generation Beauty because it has become one of the better known beauty conventions that isn’t solely for licensed beauticians.

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Finally, the weekend of the convention arrives. I wake up early to get dressed and put on my best face (can’t go to a makeup convention without a beat face!). Then, I find myself in a sea of the most well-put together and beautiful people you could imagine (so much artistry and creativity put into their makeup!). After registering, I sit in line for a couple of hours, chatting with my sister and her friends to pass the time. Then 11 o’clock hits. The moment we have all been waiting for arrives: the doors open. Generation Beauty has officially started! I was so excited and ready to go to each booth and receive cool products and freebies! However, the event became reminiscent of Black Friday.

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Never underestimate a crowd’s ability to create lines.

Everyone starts their best almost-run-but-not-quite walk to the well-known makeup booths (NYX, Benefit, Tarte, Smashbox, Make Up For Ever and Too Faced). The slightly-cramped environment and overly-kind event staff starts breeding chaos and disarray. There are limits on how many people can be in a line at a time so when a line is “temporarily closed” people hover and wait to sneak a spot in the closed line, transforming us all into predators ready to jump at the next opportunity to swoop in to prey on the free products. This environment brought out the competitiveness in us, like parents on Black Friday fighting to grab the last toy that their child has been crying about for months. Lines are to be expected to an extent, but as the day progresses, some brands start running out of products. This was the disappointing and surprising part of the event—especially when it came to Too Faced. They were giving away their new Chocolate Bon Bon palette, a $49 value (which they eventually ran out of). This caused swarms of people to hover around the booth. I even found myself wanting so badly to creep into the line just to receive the palette. So potential-future attendees, beware that your ticket does not guarantee any and all free products. You have to strategize and work for them!

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The Make Up For Ever booth was just one part of this makeup-filled heaven.

However, the entire experience was not this frustrating. Each day, every person received a “swag bag” full of products. A lot of the booths even had products on sale or debuted new products that weren’t even available anywhere else! Just in attendance, I also felt a strong connection with all of the people there. Even in competition for the limited palettes we bonded over the frustration we felt rather than rushing to beat each other down. The entire day, I heard women complimenting each other on their makeup and outfits and sharing their beauty secrets.

While beauty conventions have long lines, crowds and some chaos, it’s also an environment with exclusive makeup deals and acts as a place to empower those who wear makeup! Now that I’ve given you my scoop, you have a better idea of whether or not an event like this is for you!

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