If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll definitely know that I just recently went to Beautycon and SEPHORiA! Both are beauty convention/festival sort of events with lots of beauty brands, product and influencers. Beautycon takes place in LA and NY while SEPHORiA is only in LA and pretty new — this is their 2nd year. I would say both are the equivalent of Disneyland for beauty lovers so I definitely reccommend it if that’s you! This was my first year going to both Beautycon and SEPHORiA so I feel like I have a good idea of the two and obviously, both being competing beauty conventions, a good comparison of the two and what I liked and didn’t like. When I was attending both, I tried to do lots of research and couldn’t find tons besides haul videos so, hoping this post will help you guys if you’re planning to go next time!
Beautycon is broken up into 2 days and they sell a single day GA admission, a 2 day GA admission and a VIP and a super VIP ticket. I got the basic, 1 day GA and it was $50 and didn’t come with a gift bag. The VIP one is $249 and you get a goodie bag (click to see what was in the goodie bags) and the chance to attend the festival an hour earlier.
For location, SEPHORiA was at The Shrine but it was a different venue from last year so my guess is they’ll go bigger next year. Beautycon was at the LA convention center. I heard over 25K attended!
SEPHORiA is 2 days, broken up into 4, 4 hour sessions. You pick your ticket based on the speakers and panels during your session. Tickets are $80 for the baseline one and you do get a good bag valued at $300. VIP is $350 and the goodie bag is valued at $900! I got the baseline, $80 ticket and I can attest to how amazing the goodie bag was. I got a full size Drunk Elephant Lala Retro, a Huda Beauty Obsessions palette, a Ouai hair oil and lots more but you get the gist.
Right off, the bat I’d say SEPHORiA is a better value because you get the gift bag that well exceeds the predicted value, for $30 more than the baseline Beautycon Ticket!
Brands, Activations & Shopping
Okay, if you saw my Instagram, you know..I liked SEPHORiA wayyyyy better than Beautycon. (Just look at the difference of quality between the brands booths in the first two pics!) It was a much Boujeeier version of Beautycon, there were less crowds and lines which was awful there and overall just a better, more personalized experience.
Both of the conventions are similar in that they invite brands and they create activations, hand out samples/products, create photo opportunities, etc. At Beautycon, most brands made you follow them on IG or even post something and you got a sample. For the most part, Beautycon is so over crowded most brands hand you your sample and you’re on your way….usually after waiting in a long line! Some products given out were mini or samples, some were full size. Some brands also sold stuff at their booths and most of it was at a discounted price which was really nice! Some brands held meet and greets with influencers – for instance, The Creme Shop had a meet and greet with Bretman Rock and you got to meet him if you spent over $50 at their booth.
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SEPHORiA ✨✨✨ . Where do I start?! Honestly such a great experience! SEPHORiA is all about the one on one experience and I learned a lot from talking the brands that were there. Since I went to #beautycon last month, I found myself comparing this to that the whole time and honestly, I would describe this as a boujeeier beautycon. I’ll do a whole post of the two on my blog soon so I can share it all but definitely #sephoria >>> beautycon. . The crowds at SEPHORiA were much smaller because it’s broken up into 2 sessions per day. The longest I ever waited was at the Inkeylist to make my own serum and that was probably 20 minutes. Most other brands were 5 minutes of waiting in line. SEPHORiA only offered brands sold at Sephora and the experience is much more individual- you can meet with brands, learn about their products, take photos — all the brands booths all had great places to take photos! // the coolest and my favorite part was all the new products and exclusives they had for sale at SEPHORiA that were only available there for this event but coming to Sephora at a later date. I got new products from @briogeo and a holiday gloss set from @fentybeauty that’ll release in Oct. along with all the other samples and goodies I got from brands there… (umm sooo excited for try the @lawless powders! I was obsessed w/ their booth and their new glosses!) I will note everything for purchase there was full price but you could get VIB points… I mean it is Sephora so what do you expect! They had master classes with founders along w/ beauty services like hair, facials and brows but tbh I didn’t do any of that! Overall, it was such an awesome pleasant experience— I will def go back and don’t think I’ll go back to beautycon after this!
Scroll through the pics to see what samples and goodies I got! ^^^
At SEPHORiA every brand for the most part had an Instagramable set up for you to take photos at. Brands also taught you about their hero products or sampled it on you, telling you about the brand before giving you samples and goodies. For instance, I got to meet the Founder of the Inkey List while I made my own serum at their booth which was super cool. I also got to learn about Herbivore’s Prism serum relaunch with a higher concentration of acids. Becca applied their new setting powder on my face and gave me the lowdown. Lawless Beauty had a lip reader. Since it’s a smaller crowd, you get that one on one experience with brands.
At both, I think the amount of free swag I got from booths was very comparable and similar! I didn’t get through all the booths at either one, though.
SEPHORiA also had a section where they sold products — all were from the brands present and there was no discount but you got VIB points for your purchases. They also had a place to customize your own Inkey List serum, Laneige lip mask and engrave your YSL lipstick. At Beautycon, they had a store with products, BeautyconPop and brands were able to sell their own stuff which is why there were discounts.
Beautycon had high end brands, drugstore brands and indie brands. Everything from Glossier to Maybelline, to Amika, to Dedcool. It was a huge mix and they had over 100 different booths. They really focused on makeup for the most part and IG brands. SEPHORiA had around 40 booths and all of them were Sephora brands – Too Faced, Farmacy, Milk Makeup, Drunk Elephant, Patrick Ta, Summer Fridays, etc. Overall, this comes down to prefrence and depends on what brands you gravitate too — if you like drugstore beauty and influencers, go to Beautycon. If you’re a high-end beauty junkie and you like skincare, go to SEPHORiA.
Master Classes & Services
SEPHORiA had masterclasses with speakers like Natasha Denona, Dr. Barbara Strum and other big founders. Beautycon had speakers like Priyanka Chopra, Lisa Rinna and a ton more. If you want to go for speakers and panels, Beautycon had more but SEPHORiA hosted master classes and were more like informational ways on how to do your makeup and use the brand’s products. I didn’t listen to any of the panels or masterclasses at either conventions. There’s enough to do if you don’t want to do that.
SEPHORiA also had an upstairs section with beauty services that each ticket holder could reserve. For instance, Drybar did dry styling, Benefit did brows and Amika did hair. They also had perk facials and makeup touchups along with personalized foundation matching. I didn’t do any of this but I definitely recommend taking advantage of it if you’re interested.
Brands also had their founders pop in to their booths. Some scheduled, some not. I saw Annie Lawless of Lawless beauty and Taylor Frankel from Nudestix. Patrick Ta was there, along with Too Faced’s CEO and a bunch more of founders!
Crowds & Lines
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✨BEAUTYCON✨ . This was my first year at @beautycon ! I’ve wanted to go for so long so glad & I’m so glad I went 😍! Here’s my takeaway? You stand in a TON of lines!!!!!! I got there at 9:30 and got in at 11:45 – I had 1 day GA and the line to get in at 11:30 was crazy… lucky I got there early and was towards the front! Brands have activations at their booths — some give out samples/ full sized products and some sell stuff. Some will do your hair or makeup! Some have spots to take pictures! Most common thing I noticed was most places make you follow them on Instagram to get a free product / sample or to spin a wheel and win a prize. . Basically you just stand in line for all these activations — some are much longer then others! Maybelline was super slow so I dipped after 10 minutes, I guess it would have been over an hour till I got to the front! – I wasn’t patient enough to wait for the $5 lipgloss 😆 @glossier booth was awesome — they kept the line continuously moving, handing you a pink pouch and you were on your way. It wasn’t a place for pictures or anything fancy but I seriously appreciated how efficient they were! They were also very generous – I got a pink pouch, mint balm dot com, 2 liners and a sharpener. @boscia was also really generous! I got 2 full sized products and got to try out a new moisturizer they’re releasing in a week! @amika wasn’t sampling anything but all their products were 50% off so I got some stuff to try! Many brands there that sold products did it for a discount so definitely take advantage of that! Pictured is my haul — some stuff I bought and some I got at booths. Overall I’d say I did pretty good! My #1 tip is go visit a booth giving out a bag first so you have something to put everything in. . Aside from booths, there’s also speakers! I listened to a few but there’s a lot going on so I didn’t stay for long. I’m sad I missed Lisa Rinna! I left around 4:30 ish and didn’t get to every booth. — not even close. It’s a LONG day so wear comfy shoes. I have a blister on the bottom of my toe 🙃 questions?! Lemme know — I tried to research all of this before I went and couldn’t find it so hopefully this will help someone! #beautyconla
Scroll through the pics to see what samples and goodies I got! ^^
Lines… This is a category of its own because personally, I hate standing in long lines, I avoid anything that involves standing in long lines and it frustrates me. Sure I can do it, but I try to avoid it! Beautycon is ALL lines. The event started at 11:30, I got there at 9:30 after reading about how awful the lines were and I got in at 11:45 and I was towards the front. If you got there at 11:30, you at least waited over an hour. Inside, all the brand activations to get samples and goodies had lines. Smaller, indie brands had smaller lines while the bigger brands had huge lines. Maybelline was over an hour long for a free lipstick. No thank you!
For SEPHORiA, I got there at 9:30 and it started at 10. I got in at like 10:10 and it wasn’t very crowded till about an hour in. My session was 10-2 and during peak times, it was crowded and pretty congested at some booths and sections. I think this just came down to the way things were spaced. The longest I waited in line was 20-30 minutes at the Inkey list to make my own serum. It was $10 and such a cool experience. I think it took longer because they underestimated how popular their booth would be! At every other brand, I waited 5 to 10 minutes at most! Much better lines and overall a much smaller crowd than Beautycon. Drunk Elephant had really long lines — they were giving out their retinol which I had and my skin hated so I passed on that. La Mer also had a really long line but I couldn’t be bothered lol. La Mer personally seemed like a weird brand to have their because you can barely find it in Sephora stores and it just didn’t seem like the right crowd. If anyone was using La Mer it was all the brand founders there! Same with Dr. Barbara Strum. No one was buying the $145 glow drops!
One of my favorite parts of SEPHORiA was that brands launched new products exclusively there for the weekend. Fenty is launching a new gloss set in October and I was able to buy it at SEPHORiA. Same with a new Briogeo hair mask, a new Charlotte Tilbury Palette and Ouai’s new dry shampoo.
I think some Booths at Beautycon had some exclusive products but none that I saw for sale.
I definitely recommend eating before. At Beautycon, I didn’t so when I went to get food, each food truck and concession stand had at least a 30 minute + line. Awful! We waited and the food wasn’t even very good. They also had water coolers stationed around and a bar with an equally long line. At SEPHORiA, they had a concession stand, not sure what the food was but I saw 1-3 people in line per section. They had coolers of Topo Chico and Spindrift in coolers all over the venue and they also had a fill your own candy bag section. They also had a few bars with small lines.
Wear comfy shoes!!!!!!!! SO many girls wore heels, someone almost fell. Just don’t. SEPHORiA was hot inside but there was air conditioning. Just prepare for that honestly. They’ll be lots of photo opps so plan accordingly! Don’t worry about your makeup. There is many places to touch up.
If you’re going to Beautycon, you best believe you need to get there at least 2 hours before if you want to get in at start time. At SEPHORiA, 30 minutes before the event was perfect. They also had a ice coffee truck right near the lines outside to make waiting less awful. Props for that!
I LOVED SEPHORiA. I don’t think I’ll go back to Beautycon. It was such a pleasant and luxury experience! Way less crowded, more enjoyable, I got more out of it by way of meeting brands and founders and I got access to new launches and products. More than half of Beautycon was waiting in line and I was exhausted by the end of it. I even got a migraine after! I got their at 9:15am and left at 5pm not being able to get through at least half of the booths. I got to Sephoria at 9:30am and was happy with what I had and left at 1pm.
SEPHORiA was more focused on learning about brands and individual experience while I found Beautycon to be sort of stuck up (in the way people dressed and acted) and more about Influencers, how many followers you have and IG brands. Tons of talent go to Beautycon, I want to say over 500 while SEPHORiA had some, maybe 10 and they all had brands or current collabs with brands. Again your preference and what you like will help you decide what event is right for you! SEPHORiA could have less influencers just because it’s so new and only the 2nd year of the event! I was really disappointed to hear the way some influencers were treated badly at Beautycon for not looking the part. I believe it and Beautycon basically denied the whole thing on their socials. They preach true beauty and equality but from what I read after, that wasn’t the case. It really just left a distaste in my mouth towards the whole event.
Next year, I think I’ll just stick with SEPHORiA. I’m such a Sephora shopper, the lack of significant lines and crowds was amazing and I loved the giftbags!