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3 Ways to Make the Most of Your Next Beauty Convention Experience

gen beauty sfMakeup conventions can either be really fun or really exhausting.

Beauty expos and conventions like Generation Beauty, IMATS and Beautycon can be a blast, because not only can you score fab freebies, but you can find out what your favorite lines have in the hopper and discover brand new brands you haven’t heard of before.

But they can also be overwhelming…

inside gen beauty sfNo, seriously, does it go on forever?

There are just so many people, so many booths and SO MANY LINES to stand in (LOL!)… Oh, the humanity! You really gotta be in the right mindset, and I think it also helps to be prepared. Next time you go to a big beauty conference, try these three things to make the most of your beauty expo extravaganza experience.

1. Arrive early

A lot of makeup enthusiasts like to go to these beauty conventions for a chance to grab some free swag and snag snazzy products at a discount, but the thing is, if you want to do some of the funnest stuff, you have to wait in a line…and the lines at Gen Beauty last weekend, especially the lines to the big brand booths, were almost Disneyland-caliber. Easily 30-45 minutes. And they got longer as the day went on (so get there early).

mac lineThe MAC line was hella long! gen beauty sf the balmMOAR MAKEUP benefit 30 percent offBenefit had a 30% discount on quite a few things

If you’ll be driving, you’ll also want to get there before the parking situation gets too Thunderdome. At Fort Mason yesterday where Gen Beauty SF was, the lot was full and full-on dire by 11. I ended up parking half a mile away and hoofing it, like in ye olden times, to get to the convention center.

Anyway, the earlier you get there, the better your chances of you grabbing a decent parking spot.

line temporarily closedSaw this sign a few times…

Also, the freebies tend to run out later in the day, which happened at several of the booths I visited. No free lipgloss for you, young lady. ?

2. Wear comfy shoes

GIRL. I can’t stress this enough! Say you get stuck parking 10 minutes away (ahem). You wanna be able to walk and carry all your stuff to and from the event without your poor feet suffering, but if you can handle being in heels all day, then hey, more power to ya.

k with mac body painted modelPlease note the shoes — oh, and the lady covered in head-to-toe body paint.

And again, those lines can get pretty long. Gen Beauty is a mid-sized convention, and the wait time at the smaller brand booths was 10-15 minutes.

The wait at the bigger brands was at least half an hour (!), so you *will* be on your feet all day.

3. The benefits of networking

There are so many people at these things! It seems like a lot of peeps go with friends, but a lot of people also fly solo, which is what I did yesterday. I met a lot of other makeup lovers in lines, and it made the waiting more enjoyable. It’s always fun to talk makeup with other people who like it as much as I do.

If you’re shy and more introverted, I totally get it — conventions and big expo halls can be really intimidating. But think of it as a chance to practice putting yourself out there, and you probably won’t even see a lot of those people again. It’s not like you’re at work. There’s no pressure. You can totally relax and just look around. Maybe start a conversation with someone by complimenting them on their makeup or their outfit. That’s always a good way to lead into things.

I was wearing my Vans shoes with the makeup print, and quite a few people asked about them, which led to some good conversations in line.

gen beauty sf withWith the gorgeous ladies of NUDESTIX

And if you work in the beauty biz, or you’re a beauty blogger or a makeup artist or a PR person or just a hardcore makeup aficionado, conventions are good places to chat with PR people and industry insiders. You may also even meet the founders of one of your favorite brands. I got to kick it for a bit with the co-founders of NUDESTIX, Jenny Frankel and her daughters, Taylor and Ally. We chatted for a really long time, and I learned a ton about the line. They were super nice, too, in case you were wondering!

So, yeah…be sure to bring plenty of business cards, if you have them, along with a good attitude and your best handshake. ?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,


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