The Makeup Show Chicago Recap

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending The Makeup Show in Chicago for the first time. The Makeup Show is a 2-day tradeshow/educational event for makeup artists put on by The Powder Group. I’ll spoil the post for you right here by saying that I absolutely loved it. I learned so much about product and technique, working in the industry plus discovered some completely new and unique brands! Read on if this sounds like makeup porn to you.

12193812_10101227209923653_5036460294403940724_nThe event was held at the Bridgeport Art Center. The moment the freight elevator with it’s vintage chandelier opened up, revealing Inglot, NARS, Sephora Pro and various other booths, I knew I had found my people. I’ve never seen so many carbon copies of myself in one place! Skinny jeans, black leather jacket, black moto boots, winged liner and bold lips. While many attend to stock their kits with the brand booths giving great show discounts, my main goal was to pack my brain with as much knowledge as possible.

Because I had wedding makeup to do Saturday, I was only able to attend Sunday. I definitely tried to make the most of it! First, I attended a focus workshop with my makeup idol James Vincent-PRAISE. I also attended a cheek seminar with Shayna Shapiro of NARS Cosmetics, a foundation presentation with Orlando Santiago and a New York Fashion Week 411 panel with James Vincent, Orlando Santiago, Madison Mallardi of Alcone and Angela Wilson of Mustaev Beauty. I furiously scribbled notes throughout every presentation, hanging on their every word. I haven’t taken this many handwritten notes since college! What most impressed me from the start was each presenter’s obvious and genuine passion.

Key Takeaways from James Vincent

  • We carry around these huge train cases and an excess of product to give us confidence, but does more product necessarily make us more creative? No. Don’t get too caught up in product. Put your artistry first and streamline your case. This spoke to me most and I’m totally guilty of toting around a huge, heavy case of all. tha. thangs. Vincent, like myself and many of us, came from working in retail so it’s sometimes tough to transition from a consumer mindset to a client one.
  • Your kit is a living thing and should be adaptable and ever-changing. James Vincent carries travel sizes of many products and you would have gasped too if you saw how small his kit is!
  • Vincent doesn’t like the beautyblender! “There is no magic in that $20 sponge!”
  • He also doesn’t use primers, occasionally the Skindinavia Primer Sprayif any. He says that they never had them before so they really aren’t necessary. Skincare is what’s really key.
  • Everyone, and I mean everyone, was stocking up on the Mario Badescu Facial Spray which James liberally sprayed around the room to “clear the energy”.

Key Takeaways from Shayna Shapiro of NARS

  • “If it doesn’t look like real skin, it isn’t the NARS complexion.”
  • “If there’s a lash, there’s a line.”
  • Francois Nars rarely contours noses. I was happy to hear this as I rarely do either.
  • Eye makeup should end where the brow ends. You should maximize this space.
  • Think of a smoky eye like a fire, that is opaque at the base and translucent at the top. Love this analogy!
  • Blush should be higher than you think. We are no longer smiling and applying to the apple of the cheek.

Key Takeaways from Orlando Santiago

  • Having trouble determining if a client has warm or cool undertones? They’re probably neutral if you’re seeing both!
  • Take the time to sculpt out the eye area with cream contour before eyeshadow.
  • In terms of highlight and contour, go 2 shades lighter for highlight, 2 shades darker for contour.
  • “If you master complexion, you can do anything else.”

What I Purchased


The following items were all in a special $50 bag from The Powder Group. These are all of James Vincent’s essentials. This was an incredible value.
Eve Pearl Dual Salmon Concealer
Armour Beauty Lip Gloss in Femme Fatale
Senna Brow Scissors
Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner
Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrate
Shadow Shields
Jao Refresher Hand Sanitizer
Pencil Me In Eye Accent Pencil in Jet Sparks
Stainless Steel Ringlet Finger Palette

Purchased from booth
London Brush Company Super Fine Angled Liner Brush


  • Make a list and set a budget for what you’ll spend because it’s far too easy to get overwhelmed and just buy it all.
  • Attend more seminars than you shop. Learning from the best in the biz at this price is unprecedented. If I had more time, I would have used it to attend more workshops and seminars. If you have a pro discount with various makeup retailers, you aren’t necessarily missing out on that many deals.
  • Have questions prepared that you want to ask the brand reps. It’s going to be packed and you may not have much time to ask your questions or make an impression.
  • Bring a notebook.
  • Put your phone away and just enjoy and soak up the experience!

My biggest tip is just to go if you ever get the chance! This is such an amazing value and if you truly love working in the industry, you’re going to love it as much as I did. <3



  1. Danielle stewart

    11/16/2015 at 10:32 PM

    Love love love this….so jealous you got a picture with the man himself!

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