I love it when March rolls around because to me, that means only one thing. No, it's not that St. Paddy's Day is around the corner and all the alcohol fuelled merriment that's associated with the day, nor is it the little baby lambs or newly emerging daffodils. The highlight of my March each year is the Irish Beauty Show in the RDS, and this year the Irish Beauty Show will be taking place on the weekend of 8/9th March. I've been to the last three, and I also go to the Professional Beauty Show in the RDS each October, and I'm ALWAYS getting asked what exhibitors were there, what bargains were there to be had etc. Because I consider myself to be a bit of a seasoned pro now (check out my MASSIVE haul from the Pro Beauty Show in October), I thought I would share the knowledge AND also remind you all to book your FREE tickets asap so that you won't have to pay the €20 entry charge at the door. The following is my opinion based on my experience and if any of you have been to either the Irish Beauty Show or the Professional Beauty Show in the past few years, please feel free to weigh in with any tips or tales of your own!
In no particular order, my top 10 exhibitor stalls for the Irish Beauty Show are:
Blank Canvas Cosmetics
Needless to say, I make a beeline for this stand because it is always packed and I am a huge huge fan of BCC brushes. At the Pro Show in October, I did some serious damage to my debit card at this stand. You will find every single brush they have and more, palettes, brush cups, brush belts, eyeliners, makeup sponges- they have an absolutely huge collection. They also run some demos over the course of the two days and recent participants include Sinead from the Makeup Chair, Sarah from MakeupbySaz, Derrick Carberry, Pippa O'Connor, Lauren Cleare and many more. You absolutely have to muscle in and stock up and the prices are amazing- if I recall correctly, all the eye brushes (including the double ended ones!) were just €5 each in October- it's almost robbery.
Flair Hair and Beauty Supplies
This is also one of my favourite stands and I always spend a small fortune here. They always have Seche Vite, Essie and Orly Nail Polishes and treatments for circa €5 a bottle, they have a huge selection of eyelashes, DUO glue, hair tools, headbands, containers and carry a huge selection of Kaeso and Strictly Professional products. The staff are very friendly and you have been warned now- make sure to grab a basket when you get to this stand, even if you think you won't need it, because if you are looking to stock up on beauty essentials, you cannot afford to skip this stand!
One of my favourite nail polish brands is Jessica and French Cosmetics very kindly bring a HUGE array of Jessica nail polishes and treatments to us each time these shows roll into town for something silly like €6 each or two for €10. I accidentally purchased a colour I already owned back in October so this year I will be armed with my list to make sure there are no duplications again. The formula of these polishes is just perfection and I always, always stock up.
Hennessys Hair and Beauty - OPI
One of the most famous and busiest stands at the Irish and Pro Beauty Shows is undoubtedly the Hennessy Hair and Beauty stand which sell off bottles of OPI nail polish for about €6 and throw in free top coats and base coats etc etc. I usually pick up a few bottles of OPI polishes and Nail Envy out of habit and can't see why this March would be any different.
Another favourite of mine and I'm proud to say, another Irish brush company. Honestly you have no business going near Crownbrush when we have such affordable and quality brushes available from Irish businesses. Niamh is a long time supporter of Irish beauty bloggers and I will definitely be swinging by her stand to pick up some of those adorable soft brush cups and some backups of my favourite Nima brushes, especially the Large Duo Fibre brush which is probably one of my top 5 most used makeup brushes ever and I just adore it. I also love the Artistic collection with their cotton wool soft brush hairs and duck egg blue soft handles- they are amazing!
Now the queue will be massive but if you have never been skin mapped by Dermalogica before and you don't mind having your face examined by a person with a light bulb attached to their heads in front of all the passers by, you have to swing by and try it out. Not only will you get an indepth analysis of your skin and problem areas, you will also get a ton of product samples to try out before committing to purchase any of them.
Now I believe. and I may be wrong, but I am almost certain that this is Paese's first time hosting a stall at the Irish Beauty Show. I know they had one at the abomination also known as the Ultimate Girls Day Out (do not even get me started) but I did go on the record last August to say that the Paese Cosmetics stand was the highlight of my UGDO experience. The products are super affordable and excellent quality, I especially adore the nail polishes, lipsticks with argan oil, eyeshadows and my personal favourite, the Manifestos which are a gorgeous liquid lipstick. I'm dying to try a foundation and primer so I will be popping by to say hello to Martha and have a little swatch of a few products before buying all around me again!
I got a couple of bits and pieces here over the years- most notably, my nail lamp and IBX kit that I picked up last October which I have been using loads, and they also have a variety of hair products and tools etc. If my memory serves me correctly, I think they also have a huge variety of China Glaze polishes if you are that way inclined.
Aside from the fact that I absolutely ADORE the Waxperts Ingrown Hair Pads (ironically, not for ingrown hairs), I love going to this stand because Ellen and crew always dress up in the Waxperts theme and I love their commitment to their brand. I've never experienced a waxing yet but when I do so, off to Dun Laoghaire to Waxperts HQ I shall pop.
This stand usually occupies pretty much the entirety of the left wall and you can find many weird and wonderful things here- from a huge selection of Decleor products to lashes and applicators and nail tools and gems etc etc. I always find some gems in this stand and I always make it my business to swing by there.
Other notable exhibitors this year are Beutifi- I've met the gang before and they were all incredibly lovely so if you are looking for perfect gift inspo or to hear about a really clever service, definitely swing by their stand. Sweet Squared is another must visit if you are into nails (though I have never been able to get a look in any time they are at a show with the crowds, I will definitely be there early this year!), I'll definitely be hoping to stock up on some Vinylux or Shellac this March. Benefit Cosmetics will have a display there but it will probably be overrun by teenage girls and look like a hurricane ripped through it by the time you get there if previous years are anything to go by. ASU Nail and Beauty Supplies are one of the first stands just inside the door, Makeup Atelier have a pretty impressive stand usually and I only ever buy their products at these shows so I am bound to pick up something, Aurora Hair Rollers will be out in force again, as will Crownbrush and Fuschia if you are so inclined.
My tips for an easier shopping experience are: get there early- there will still be queues but it tends to get incredibly warm and stuffy over the course of the day. Bring plenty of cash with you and try not to rely on the ATM in the RDS- the queues will be massive and the cash runs out pretty quickly which means you have to leave the hall and make your way over the Ballsbridge to the nearest ATM. Most stands also take cards so you won't be stuck but some exhibitors still do not accept debit or credit cards. Also, some places have cash only tills so you may be able to skip some queues if you have the cash in hand, and it might also help you to keep a running tally of how much you spend. Bring your car with you to store your purchases over the day, or failing that, bring a wheelie suitcase to transport your belongings- don't worry, you will not be the only one and you will need to keep your hands free! Also consider wearing steel toe capped shoes because girls, makeup bargains, wheelie suitcases and toes is one huge recipe for disaster. Toe carnage. It gets incredibly warm in the hall so try to leave your coats at home for another day, and maybe even bring bottled water with you to give you some hydration over the course of the day. The Sundays tend to be manic with the general public and it is pretty busy all day long, whereas the Mondays are usually the days when bus fulls of beauty students and beauty therapists from down the country flock to the RDS to stock up on wares.
Also, I mentioned that it's not too late to book your FREE tickets to the show which will arrive by post to your address about a week before the show. These tickets will save you €20 so if you are interested in attending the Irish Beauty Show, I strongly strongly recommend that you book now and use that €20 to buy some lovely goodies inside. Click through this link to register for your free ticket now and thank me later! :)
Have you ever been to any of the beauty shows in the RDS? What did you think of them? Are you planning on heading in March?