Last month, I headed over to join thousands of women, men, beauty bloggers, Instagram influencers, YouTube stars, drag queens and celebrities at Beautycon LA at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The building was decked out in banners that read, "Real Friends, False Lashes," and inside you could find uncountable groups of friends fluttering lashes that lasted for days. Beauty is big business and I saw evidence of this industry's reach as I pulled up to the festival, with lines wrapped around the building. Luckily, a press pass gets you through the lines rather quickly!

The beauty business is a $400 billion dollar industry, and one where women entrepreneurs thrive and are followed like celebrities. More than 40 of the industry's most prominent beauty brands began as women-led start-ups, making it the space where women can most successfully self-start companies.

As similar festivals grow in number around the world, Beautycon, coined the "Superbowl of the Beauty Industry," is one of the largest of its kind. This year, the LA-based event was headlined by the likes of Kim Kardashian West, featured appearances by Drew Barrymore and Snoop Dogg (wha?), offered real tattoos by a celebrity tattoo artist and presented panels with insta-famous makeup artists and bloggers. Beautycon LA's 30K attendees were able to enjoy more than 150 brand experiences.

So what's the beauty behind Beautycon? Not only is it a marketers dream - a maze of experiential retail experiences for its attendees - it brings people of all races, gender identities, sizes and styles together under one roof to celebrate creative expression, individuality and of course, all things make-up.

As a longtime fan of Becca Cosmetics, I was excited to speak with Kelly about the new product they launched during the event. Known for its highlighters (obviously), Becca launched its new line of lightweight, sweatproof concealers. In sixteen shades, there's a match for everyone.

One of the highlights of the event was an appearance by Drew Barrymore, promoting her new line of cosmetics, Flower Beauty. We spoke with Chris, who told us about Flower's commitment to offering dense, highly pigmented shadows and highlighters, both featured at Beautycon LA, and its new lengthening, volumizing mascara. The line promises luxury quality at drug store prices and has a partnership with Nikkie Tutorials, a Dutch makeup artist and beauty blogger.

Haircare and skincare were both well-represented at the event. K-beauty giants like Amore Pacific, Laneige and It's Skin made up the K-Town section of booths.

Beautycon was all about the freebies for me, and the goodies found in the press tent did not disappoint. I walked away with full-size samples from Flower Beauty, Becca Cosmetics, Laneige, MAC, Lime Crime, Pinkie Swear and beautiful brushes from Jessica Simpson's new brand, Beauty Fiend.

I'm very excited to see how the convention evolves next year. If I can give one piece of advice for next year's swarm of makeup lovers - definitely wear tennis shoes!

Published on: Aug 14, 2018