IMATS London 2016 | Survival Guide.

If you are braving IMATS London this weekend then you may or may know what to expect. I have been a few times before, and am off this evening to the pro makeup artist preview where it is a *little* less chaotic and you kind of get to shop without the ridiculous crowds/ Q’s and obviously you get to pick up the bargains first. If you haven’t been before, it’s a huge international makeup artist trade show (IMATS) that travels all over the world with different brands, stalls, demo’s and it’s a great oppurtunity to get your hands on products you cannot normally buy in the UK (hello Hakuhodo) , snap up some great offers and discounts and also go and see industry experts give demo’s, talk and advice. It’s a real giant hub of creativity and makeup lovers, and even as you walk round the arena there is hundreds of demo’s & bodypainting going on at the makeup stands.

IMATS is held at Kensington Olympia, west London and the the nearest station IS Kensington Olympia. If you aren’t from London keep reading. DON’T bother going to this stop. It’s a really crappy line and the tube service/times here is pretty crap and sparce….the easiest way is to get to Hammersmith & you can literally walk (in a straight line) to Olympia within 10 minutes from Hammersmith tube.

Friday is the *pro* event so is just open to card members and guests,and is quite a bit quieter than the weekend days. I am going to this afternoon as I am actually going on hols this weekend (sob) but I do really enjoy going both on the Friday and Saturday so you can get to see the demo’s, and shop when there is less carnage and Q’s on the Friday. Plus one year I got some SERIOUS NARS bargains on the Friday that weren’t still around on the Saturday. (I will be live snapchatting, if you want to see what deals are on today!)


1.) Get there early. Or late. To avoid the ridiculous Q’s getting into the venue and then once you are in, it’s the Q’ing to pay and get into the stands.

2.) Be prepared to Q. Especially on the Saturday & Sunday as it can be carnage at peak times.

3.) Give yourself the WHOLE day. Especially if you really want to see demo’s, meet up with people and do all the shopping. You can legit spend the entire day in that one building, and just walking around and finding brands etc can take lots of time, particularly when busy.

4.) Take CA$H. You don’t have to, but some stands I remember don’t take cards, have problems with card machines etc etc. If you take cash , I just find it easier, plus you have your limit and can stick to it more easily!

5.) Take a portable phone charger. If you are a blogger/MUA/Social media crazy person then your battery WILL die out quick, particularly if you are snap-chatting / instagramming & tweeting all day. I don’t think there has ever been mobile phone charging stations so be prepared with back up if you need your phone!

6.) Have a plan of attack. As we speak I am looking online at all the brands exhibiting/where they are and making up my shopping list.

7.) Take time out for Demo’s. It’s great to learn new things whilst you are there and there is access to seeing some of the best artists around demo and talk about their experiences which you won’t have an oppurtunity to that often. A list of some of the best people to try and see this weekend is below.

8.) Take lunch /snacks / bottled water. Once you are inside the food stands are pretty limited (& expensive) so just grab something en route that will keep you going throughout your visit. The nearest staion is Kensington Olympia which has nothing ; so pick something up before you hit Olympia.

Who to go and See :Or who I would see if I was there on the Saturday/Sunday.


11-12pm: Kevin James Bennett ‘Steps to Success’ (open forum stage) Kevin, with a wealth of experience, will give you advice on the makeup industry and how to achieve his signature red carpet looks.

12.15-1.15pm American Horror Story (open forum stage) : Key MUA’s from the cult TV programme demo some gory special effects makeup & behind-the-scene secrets.

2-3pm Prosthetics & Fashion Unite (open forum stage) Award-winning special effects artist Neill Gorton joins forces with MAC senior artist (& mega babe) Rebecca Butterworth to create a unique makeup look. MUST-SEE!

3.45-5pm Alex Box (IMATS stage) : demo & interview


11-12pm Yves Saint Laurent with Frederic Letailleur (IMATS stage) : a modern makeup demo by the brand’s key makeup artist.

2-3pm Kryolan Trends for 2016 (IMATS Stage)
4-5pm The Revenant Panel (Open forum Stage) The key MUA’s from the movie.

What’s on my shopping list:

1.) Hakuhodo

2.) Hakuhodo

3.) Hakuhodo

4.) Crownbrush

5.) Lash bundles

UPDATE: 04.06.16 ; So I went to IMATS yesterday afternoon for the ‘pro’ event. A few things to note:

 * There is no NARS 🙁 (perhaps as it is coinciding with their store launch in covent garden)

*Lancome is 20% off although a limited counter. HOWEVER you can get 20% off their full range online using the code IMATS16 until the 10th June. GO GO GO!!

* All the usual suspects are there with a norm of 20/30% off – MAC, NYX, UD, Bobbi Brown, YSL. With oppurtunities to sign up to the longterm pro discounts.

* Rodial has a generous 40% off

*Check out LOVE Makeup stand for brand such as Zoeva, Kevyn Aucoin, house of glamdolls, Makeup Atelier.

*There’s Pizza Express

*It’s still busy  

Thanks to Kat from Tales of A Pale Face for letting me use her gorgeous IMATS snaps.

Are you hitting up IMATS this year? Be sure to follow my snapchat (@LauraLouMakeup) if you want to preview what’s on / bargains to be had & the best discounts I spot this afternoon!