BERLIN — Back for another round before moving to a new locale, The Makeup Show Europe brought the powder, precision and professionals to Berlin last weekend. New brands this year included Ellis Faas, Illamasqua, Kevyn Aucoin and Bdellium Tools, as well as London pro store Precious About Makeup.


Germany’s online public relations site BeautyPress signed on as media sponsor. While the team was hoping for turnout of between 2,500 and 3,000 visitors, actual participation numbered 1,900, a slight improvement on last year’s 1,800. The show drew an international mix, with Italy, Spain and Israel the most represented countries outside Germany.

Spob O’Brien, Illamasqua’s head of professional development, was busy color-matching booth visitors with Skin Base, happy to have the one-on-one time afforded by the show.  “What we were looking for was something a bit more like our brand, that’s a bit more boutique, but that’s still reaching out to pros and students in the educational sense.” The U.K.-based brand was not selling during their makeup show debut, and focused on their skin-care-oriented foundation rather than touting the intense colors they are known for.

Still, shopping bags filled hands, many from the large and prominent Make Up For Ever stand. Sales at the Berlin event were up 30 percent, said the brand’s business pro manager Jean-François Bernardi, with the firm’s HD line in high demand. “I’ve seen, compared to last year, more makeup artists and less students,” he said. “More pros from many countries.…It shows that this makeup show is attracting people coming from very far away.”  The brand, which is a diamond sponsor of the makeup show, also ran demonstrations and talks almost nonstop throughout the two-day event. 

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Still, Bernardi noted, the local market remains a challenge — Make Up For Ever is sold in only three pro stores in Germany, one newly added. Illamasqua just lost its counter at Berlin’s Galeries Lafayette, with Croatia remaining its only market in Europe. So making contacts could be as key as making faces. Danny Griffin, vice president of product development for Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, was on hand to do just that for the brand’s Berlin debut. Griffin said the company hopes to enter Germany in the next two years, after potential EU product labeling and ingredients issues are resolved. Equally important, said Griffin, was to spread the word about Kevyn Aucoin Beauty, and the man behind the brand. “People know the books, people know the name, but they don’t necessarily know there’s a line attached to it,” he said, explaining that many global young makeup artists stopped at the booth to say Aucoin’s books had helped launch them on their career path.

Despite the popular newcomers, some brands were absent this year, among them MAC Cosmetics and Youngblood. “I don’t see Mehron. Very bad. And Diamond FX is not here,” said Ekaterina Balycheva of Kaliningrad, Russia. Though her hands were full of bags from Temptu and Make Up For Ever, she said she missed being able to buy from her body-art favorites. But she was pleased with the many workshops she was attending, pointing out those from Jon Hennessey and James Vincent as highlights.

Makeup artist Zoe Nichols was hoping to bring home a bag of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. After being introduced to the brand’s Lip Tars at the show last year, they’re stocked at the Bournemouth, England, salon, where she now works. Instead, she settled for custom eye shadow palettes from Inglot, makeup magazines from Charles Fox and glitters from Kryolan, and ended up a finalist in the show’s makeup competition. “I love [The Makeup Show] because it’s really fashion-y, there’s a lot of pretty things going on,” she said, noting a talk from Sharon Dowsett featuring orange MAC pigments was a favorite this year.

She won’t have to go far to find next year’s edition of The Makeup Show — London’s calling. The Makeup Show vice president Shelly Taggar said Sunday she’ll be moving the show to the U.K. capital for 2013, while planning a return to Berlin for 2014. “For us, it’s not about the quantity, it’s the quality. You can have 1,000 makeup artists and they’re probably going to buy more than 5,000 consumers,” explained Taggar.  “That is something that is lacking in London — a show where the pro brands would try to grow their pro department and not just deal with the consumer.”