I have been beauty-obsessed since I was a tween.  I remember the very first “Beauty Box” I sent away for–it was from Cover Girl, and I could not have loved the tiny cardboard compact more.

Photo courtesy of Indie Beauty Expo.

Photo courtesy of Indie Beauty Expo.

So, when one of my new favorite skin care lines, Airelle, invited me to this wonderful event last week, to meet so many independent beauty brands, I was thrilled.  Since my #1 Contributing Writer, Alice, is also a freelance make-up artist, she was happy to accompany me to the Shrine Expo Hall for the fabulous, and educational, Indie Beauty Expo (aka IBE.)  It’s amazing to see just what goes into being beautiful these days!

The centerpiece floral wall. Photo by Alice Farinas.

The centerpiece floral wall. Photo by Alice Farinas.

From the very start, I was awed by how inviting and crisp the space looked.  The decor, including a central wall of flowers (which was the background for the photo booth) right next to a “conversation area” of white couches, made the event look like a classy movie.  That gave us a little more pep in our step from the get-go.  We hardly knew where to begin.  (Alice noted, “The energy and vibe at the Expo was very light and cheerful, with a sophisticated touch.  The décor was beautifully done with a center wall made of vines and flowers.”)

As we visited the booths, I was impressed by how great everyone looked!  All the faces of the brands were excellent representatives of beauty.  I would trust any of them to advise me on what to do with my skin and make-up, etc.  And they were ultra-pleasant, as well, which made the event even better.

The center "conversation area." Photo by Alice Farinas.

The center “conversation area.” Photo by Alice Farinas.

I also appreciated that these were all indie brands.  Actually, I believe that this IBE had the largest collection of them to be found in one place!

And the selections were diverse.  There was something for everyone.  Most of the companies were skin care or make-up ones, but there were also specialty brands in the categories of lifestyle and wellness.  We found so many products that we had, ashamedly, never been aware of before, as well as a couple we were already fans of. We were pleased to see so many “green” ones, and vegan options, as well.  There were also some great gift ideas, like candles and relaxing balms.

I, of course, can’t tell you about every item from the over one hundred participating brands, but here are some of the highlights of what we discovered at the IBE:

Airelle.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

Airelle. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Airelle–This skin care line, that can be procured only in dermatologists’ offices and on-line, showed me just how to use their entire line in conjunction with each other, for maximum effect.  I’ve been using their eye and lip serum every day for about a month, but now I’ll add in the serum, that they told me you can also use as a primer!  Who knew?!

FootMate. Photo by Karen Salkin.

FootMate. Photo by Karen Salkin.

The Footmate System–I was excited to find something so different and fun at the Expo. As a former barefoot girl, whose heels are paying the price now, my jaw dropped when I happened upon this foot softener brush that suctions on to the shower floor. So you can wash your feet easily, and then use their special cream to finish them right. And I just found-out that it’s made by not a cosmetic company, but one whose specialty is brushes! Every kind, including industrial. So, they totally know how to make a product that’s effective…and lasts!

Honua. Photo by Alice Farinas.

Honua. Photo by Alice Farinas.

Pristine Beauty—We went right over to this company’s table because their pink and black display was so inviting. Discovering that all their products are 100% natural was the icing on the cake. And their little gift bags, full of samples of all their products, were just what girly-girls’ mouths water for!

Honua Skincare–A beautiful girl actually saw us looking around, so she came over and offered us some products that we hope will make us look like she does!  This line is from Hawaii, and Alice said she’ll use the Aloha Youth Serum “for a beautiful, rich Hawaiian glow.”

INUF Skincare–The founder of this company (whose acronym stands for “I Never Use Foundation”) had some of the most gorgeous skin I’ve ever seen!  So I was proud to tell her that, outside of my former modeling gigs, and for film and television, I’ve never worn it, either!  Alice said, “You won’t need to, either, with this new beauty-secrets-approach, using the Geisha Whitening Cream Mask to brighten your skin.”

Vita Liberata. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Vita Liberata. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Vita Liberata Tanners–Alice went nuts over the glow these reps were rocking, and I was proud to say that I’ve used their self-tanners for years!  She got to the bottom of that they’re “made with extracts, so that you’re sure to get the most healthful, natural-looking tan.”  I can’t believe  how many new products they’ve produced since I first discovered them many years ago!  (I actually featured them in my third ever Beauty Products That Work column!)

I plan to let you know about some of the others in my upcoming Beauty columns, and even more in my Holiday Gift Guides, so please always keep an eye out for those.

In addition to all that, we received every service a glamour girl could want!  Here are our super-positive impressions of those:

Karen Salkin's new manicure, rocking LVX's polish in "Fleur." Photo by Alice Farinas.

Karen Salkin’s new manicure, rocking LVX’s polish in “Fleur.” Photo by Alice Farinas.

LVX Nail Polishes–Stephanie did the manicure honors for everyone, using this company’s vegan polishes in what Alice deemed “the most fabulous color palette!”  I loved that we could try them out on a blank plastic wheel that we polished ourselves, so we could see the true shades. We both loved our choices.

The BrowGal–Brian Hideo shaped mine, using wax, tweezers, and even trimming them a bit.  (Boy, did I need that!)  Shayan did Alice’s, and we both were so pleased with the results.  As a matter of fact, when I got home, I was rocking fabulously sparkly lips that I had just had so adorned, but Mr. X noticed only my brows!

Massage by Lillieana Bouchard—Mobile masseuse Lillieana was doing chair massages in the lounge area, for everyone who needed one, including us, of course! (Those samples get heavy!) She helped my knotted-up broken back, and Alice said that she “totally knows how to get the kinks out!”

Some of the speakers. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Some of the speakers. Photo by Karen Salkin.

On top of all those activities, there was a stage at one end, with ongoing presentations which featured demos and Q-and-As from informative speakers.   Who ever knew there was so much to learn in the world of beauty?!

To keep up everyone’s strength, (because beauty-discovering, though the most fun activity ever, is actually a lot of work,) there was a lovely clean and pretty area to the side, where we could all sit a spell, and get something to eat and drink.  There were delicious snacks for everyone, including cookies, the best trail mix ever, and lots of fruit, (which I was grateful for,) and some of us enjoyed pre-ordered lunch boxes, which came with either a turkey sandwich or a vegan one.  It was so spot-on for what we needed that when I showed Mr. X a picture of the inside of mine, (which had the big turkey sub, delish potato chips in a special bag, a giant cookie, and the biggest apple I’ve ever seen,) he said, “They appear to have gone the extra step.”

Some of the snacks.  Photo by Karen Salkin.

Some of the snacks. Photo by Karen Salkin.

Actually, the whole event was in that “extra step” category!  I was thrilled to be included.  And, the next time you see me, I hope you notice how much better I look, in general, after I use so many of my discoveries from the IBE.

The best news for my East Coast readers is that the Indie Beauty Expo will be in New York City in August! I think it’s open to buyers and consumers, too, for part of the time. So, here are those deets, and I hope you have as great a time as we did!:


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