IMATS 2011 - Los Angeles

Well, it’s that time of year again! The International Makeup Artist Trade Show took place in Pasadena, California and for the first time in IMATS history, the entire weekend sold out! 
The Pros were looking forward to the excellent education, informative workshops and interesting panels featuring some of our favorite movies and TV shows. And, even more so this year, IMATS Los Angeles was the place to catch new product launches, stock up on necessities, and try new cosmetic and special effects lines. Best part, it was all under one roof! 
These Pros are huge fans of the show, Face Off so when we ran into last season’s winner, Connor McCullagh, we were ecstatic to see his newest creation. Head to toe, his character was covered with such intricate detail (and those nails!), even part of her “glands” lit up with multi colors! We also ran into Face Off finalist Gage Hubbard at the Iwata booth. He was in the airbrush phase of this creation and the layers of this creature were amazing!

We got to speak with the man behind the masks, President and Owner of Tech Works FX Studios Inc, Valek Sykes. As well as creating and providing robots and creatures for feature films, he also offers workshops at his school for Animatronics and FX. For more information on taking classes with Valek, visit

While walking the floor, we got a few close ups at the student competition makeups:

After visiting our friends at the Alcone booth to stock up on our favorite sponges and mascara wands, we got to speak with the creator of Cozzette Inc., Roque Cozzette, his vegan brushes are making a name for themselves in our industry and he recently launched a new brush cleaner that is packed with essential oils, lavender and lemongrass to give your brushes a cool, refreshing scent while ridding them of makeup and unwanted oil. We were so taken with the scent, we actually thought it was a body spray at first!

We had heard of lip tattoo transfers, and to be honest, we weren’t sold on the idea, so when we saw the Violent Lip booth, the Pros wanted to get the skinny on this new trend. From American Flags to leopard print, they have just about every color and design you could want. With just a quick trim to match your lips, it applies just like a temporary tattoo and lasts for hours. We can definitely see them being used on a music video or for fashion work as they take only minutes to apply and are definitely eye-catching. For more information visit

We made our rounds and the shopping spree continued as we picked up new brushes and tools at Royal Langnickel (they have excellent art and FX brushes), and said hello to our friends at Embryolisse, Eve Pearl, BeautySoClean, Purely Cosmetics and CoverFX. We also saw that Z-Palette released their new “Pro Palette” - the same convenient and space saving palette is now slightly wider and longer to hold even more and to accommodate those products that are extra large or oddly shaped!

The Pros are always beauties on a budget, but we couldn’t resist adding to our Hakuhodo collection. Cathi picked up a tapered powder brush that feels like a massage everytime you use it. Not so sure that one will make it into her kit... 

While the Inglot booth was overrun with anxious makeup artists and credit cards were flying, Cathi found her way to the gel eyeliners. She had been told the pale blue gel eyeliner (#88) was a must for waking up tired eyes and was better than the old white pencil trick. She had to get her hands on it, but she was a bit too late, it was totally sold out! She did find an excellent peach color, #81, that will be a great for Summer and fits in perfectly with the coral trend going strong right now! These gel liners are paraben free, waterproof and can also be used as body paints. This particular peach color would also be useful in an FX kit for certain burn wounds, healing scars, etc.

We are Avid fans of the show, Dancing With the Stars, and department head makeup artist Melanie Mills recently launched her magical Gleam body product that is used to bronze and “glowify” the contestants. We jumped at the chance to get our Gleam on.

Here is Cathi’s before/after arms using the Light Gold color:

Gleam comes in four shades: Light Gold, Rose Gold, Bronze Gold, and Deep Gold, and is made with Jojoba Seed Oil which makes it hydrating, yet lightweight. Gleam applies like a mousse and smells like a vacation, now if it could only magically make us dance like they do on the show! The Gleam representative gave us a very useful tip: if your body makeup needs to be waterproof, simply apply the Gleam and then spray over it with an aerosol waterproof sunscreen. 
Workshops and classes at IMATS feature some of our industries top artists demonstrating their trade and sharing tips and tricks with other fellow artists. It breeds creativity and unity among the industry and there is always something new to learn!
The Pros recently purchased the Reel Creations Basic Effects Kit, so when we saw that President of the company, Fred Blau was teaching a basic course using the kit to create quick on set bruises, cuts, and tattoos, we had to attend!

This class was especially helpful for Cathi because while she does do light special effects work, she learned so many quick tricks of the trade from Fred. He literally made a scab, with blood, in a matter of seconds. At the end of each application, he used his Blue Aqua Sealer - what he calls, “The Sealer that Seals Other Sealers.” He demonstrated the product by applying a tattoo and coloring it in, then using the sealer, he sprayed it once, and instantly ran his hand over it. While it should have still been wet and smeared, it didn’t budge! We went straight to his booth and bought two more bottles!

Being that we work in such different environments and sets everyday, we never know what the day will bring - whether it’s skin type, lack of air conditioning, or if the actor is going to be doing strenuous activity and we won’t be able to jump in for touch ups. Needless to say, a great sealer is a must for us. We have since used it on every single beauty makeup since, and have noticed the need for touch ups are few and far between. One small mist is all it takes! It is waterproof and oil resistant. This product would be perfect for brides as well. You can buy products on their site,, and be sure to check out “Fred’s Tips” for helpful hints from the veteran artist.
We were most excited about the True Blood panel. As huge fans of the series, we love the gruesomeness they create. As the seasons progress, so does their creativity, and they always seem to find the most extreme way to use ample amounts of blood and body parts.

The make-up and special effects team consists of Andre Bustanoby, Lana Grossman, Todd Masters, Brigette Myre Ellis, Dan Rebert and Mark Viniello. They have found a balance of making characters like Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Pacquin) look like the flawless Southern Belle of Bon Temps, while at the same time covering her in “gook” from an exploded vampire and still making it look realistic!

The panel was nothing short of entertaining, as the team had come prepared with slideshows, lab test videos and tons of never before seen test and continuity shots. They also gave a sneak preview of what’s to come in Season 4. We don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say, new creatures will be introduced, and they are much more crass and disgusting than anything you’ve seen thus far.

The panel did reveal some tools used, and some behind the scenes secrets. For instance, when a vampire is exposed to the sun for an extended period of time and starts to burn, they used a combination of tinted colodian, blackened coffee grounds and skin transfers. As far as those vampire tears go, they are at times an actual red tear solution and sometimes a visual effect. Because the tear has to brim in the eye base, it is extremely difficult to make it look seamless. The red also stains the skin, which prolongs the filming process for touch ups, in which case, the visual effects are put in afterward.

Overall, the weekend was a success, and fun was had by all. A huge THANK YOU to Makeup Artist Magazine for all of their hard work planning and coordinating the sold out event! Looking forward to what 2012 will bring!  For more information on upcoming IMATS in or near your area visit and purchase your tickets today!


  1. Out of all the IMATS blog posts, I liked this one the most! You covered topics that some makeup artists did not cover such as the sealant, brush cleaner and the Gleam! Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks Sweet -

    I think that after attending 4 years in a row - we know what we like and that's kinda what we cover - we leave the rest to the other blogs!

    Glad you enjoyed this post and thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment. Appreciate you!

  3. Don't know how I found your blog but I'm so happy! Just spent who knows how long reading almost all your posts!

  4. Jessica,

    Thanks so much for this comment - you made me smile!

  5. I wish I could attend IMATS at least once in my life! But that would require me traveling halfway across the world. =(
    The lip tattoo transfers look interesting!