PHAMExpo Los Angeles 2016
For anyone not familiar, PHAMExpo is essentially a beauty convention. Many different cosmetic brands set up their booths to promote and sell offerings from their lines. If you've ever been to IMATS, it's basically the exact same thing, just on a slightly smaller scale. The event is open to the public, but everyone is required to purchase a ticket. This year, the event was held on June 4-5th in the Pasadena Convention Center (the same location that IMATS LA has been held the past 7 years).
This was my very first year attending PHAMExpo, and overall, I really enjoyed it! There were lots of indie makeup brands displaying new products that haven't even been released to the public yet. The benefit of going to a show like this is that you have the opportunity to swatch and test makeup products in person before purchasing (which isn't often the case with online-exclusive brands like Makeup Geek, for example). Also, many of the booths had show-exclusive, discounted pricing, which never hurts. The lines to visit each booth were fairly long, so going into the convention with some sort of game plan is a must if you want to come out successful. From what I gathered, I think the longest lines were for Morphe Brushes, Lime Crime, Dose of Colors, Makeup Geek, and Melt Cosmetics.
I will say that there weren't many mainstream brands at PHAMExpo like there are at IMATS. Some of the brands I'm used to seeing at IMATS, like MAC, Make Up For Ever, and Anastasia Beverly Hills, weren't there. There were some all-inclusive makeup booths, like Naimie's Beauty Center and Frends Beauty, that offered bits and pieces from some of the mainstream makeup brands that didn't have a dedicated booth. Compared to IMATS, there were definitely a lot less booths. Granted, both of the shows are held in the same venue, so they essentially take up the same amount of space, but at PHAMExpo, each booth took up more space than at IMATS (meaning that if each booth was double in size, there could have been half of the amount of booths taking up the same space). This wasn't necessarily a disappointment, because the ticket prices for this event were about half of the rate of an IMATS ticket, anyways (I don't remember exactly what I paid, as I purchased my ticket MONTHS ago, but I remember thinking it was a bargain compared to an $80 IMATS ticket).
First of all, if you haven't watched my PHAMExpo haul video, check it out here:
Now onto some of the pictures I took...here's a look at the outside of the Pasadena Convention Center:
Trust me when I say that the line to enter the show was LONG...
Here's a look at the registration area:
And now onto what you all care about- the inside of the convention!
Well, there you have it! As you can see, there is a LOT of makeup options at the show, so it can be overwhelming, particularly for first-time attenders. If you're planning on going to a beauty convention (whether it be PHAMExpo or IMATS), here are some of my tips & tricks to making it out alive:
1) Bring a map of the floor plan with you (you can print it out directly off of the event's website) and take a look at it BEFORE the day of the event. Trust me, familiarizing yourself with the layout prior to the day of will make you less overwhelmed when you walk through the doors.
2) Have a wishlist in hand. Seriously, this isn't like browsing Sephora where you have lots of room to swatch products and time to mull over your buying decisions. There is a LOT of people crowded around a tiny display of makeup, so efficiency is key! Know what you're going in for (or at least interested in giving a quick swatch) beforehand.
3) Don't buy something just because it's on a "special discount" or a show price. I can't even tell you the amount of times I've stumbled across a new product, and was completely rooked into buying it because it was on sale at the show for a few bucks off of retail. Those products often end up sitting in your collection untouched, because you bought it in the heat of the moment. Had you given yourself a few minutes to think, you most definitely would not have purchased.
4) Don't get intimidated by a long line. Some of the more popular booths will have lines that can take up to 2 hours to get through, BUT if there is something you really want, just wait for it. Plus, paying your dues before acquiring a product will make you feel like you earned it.
5) Don't hesitate to look at the less popular booths, too! Sometimes we can get caught up in the hype of a brand, and we think that if a booth has a particularly long line, it must be something extra special. That doesn't mean that some of the smaller booths with no line don't have interesting or unique products, as well. Don't exclude them out of the running ;)
Let me know if you decide to use any of the tips mentioned above when attending your next beauty convention! I would love to know if they helped. Happy shopping! :)
xoxo Eshani a.k.a. TotalMakeupJunkie101