Artists gather for annual Makeup Show

Fifty-four brands and schools were featured Nov. 7–8 at The Makeup Show Chicago, selling discounted makeup and showcasing artists’ work.


The 10th annual Makeup Show, held Nov. 7–8 at the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St., featured renowned makeup artist James Vincent, who has worked with Lady Gaga, Joan Jett, Reese Witherspoon and many others, as a host and keynote speaker as well as presentations from  makeup artists, both local and from across the world.

The Makeup Show offers professional makeup artists an opportunity to network and learn about technique, business promotion and what is new from a wide range of different makeup lines. This is the show’s fifth year in Chicago, and it also hosts annual events in Orlando, Los Angeles, New York City and Dallas.

“[The Makeup Show] is really catered to makeup artists from beginners to established,” said Shelly Taggar, owner and co-founder of The Makeup Show. “On the floor, you can see people who just started cosmetology school, and at the same time, you can see very high-end, established artists from TV, film and the beauty industry…. That working environment is something you can’t really find anywhere else.”

The Makeup Show’s main goal is to bring together a variety of people who share a love of makeup, in both beauty and special effects industries. The show is an inclusive and all-welcoming environment, according to Taggar.

“Makeup artists are very creative, and it’s a big community. It doesn’t matter if they know each other or not, [artists] are extremely supportive of one another and want to share their knowledge and inspire other people,” Taggar said.

The brands that participate in the event also want to promote a more inclusive world, like The Lip Bar, a first-time participant of The Makeup Show and reject of the ABC show “Shark Tank.” The Lip Bar specializes in deeply pigmented lipsticks of unorthodox colors—like gray and blue—that work with global skin colors.

“We didn’t get a deal [with ‘Shark Tank’], but it ended up being the best thing [for The Lip Bar] because we got all this exposure and this community of people rallying around us because they were complete jerks to us on the show,” said Melissa Butler, founder and CEO of The Lip Bar. “We exist to empower women and make them believe they don’t have to be this cookie-cutter image the world tells us we have to be…. We exist to provide nontraditional imagery [and] nontraditional products.”

Butler said The Makeup Show also lends itself to artists learning about new brands they may not have heard of or have never had the chance to test in person.

“With our products being primarily sold online, lipstick is something people want to try on—they want to see how it looks before buying—so we asked what’s the best way to increase our distribution [and the answer] is to allow people to touch the product,” Butler said.

Michelle Fugate, a model for Make Up First School, 100 N. LaSalle St., and a licensed makeup artist, said there is no event  like The Makeup Show.

“You can’t come to a place where you have the best products, the best artists, most knowledge and experience all in one [besides The Makeup Show],” Fugate said.