What is sephoria?
photo: Instagram/Sephora

I'm going to start by being completely honest: I loathe beauty conventions, overcrowded conventions of any kind, actually. So when beauty powerhouse Sephora invited me to spend the weekend in Los Angeles, attending the second annual Sephoria, I'll admit I was hesitant. Though there are very few things I love more than beauty, the idea of being surrounded by thousands of people, regardless of how fantastic the brands around are, triggers peak anxiety for me. However, I'd be crazy to turn down the opportunity, so I packed my bags and headed across the country to see what it was all about. 

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I had the time of my life amid dozens of Sephora's most sought-after brands, learning from experts in all genres of beauty, and even better, doing so in an organized and easy-flowing space that didn't include hourlong lines and uncontrolled chaos. It became apparent to me that Sephoria is a different kind of beauty convention, one for the cosmetics lover who really knows their s**t, enjoys a luxury beauty experience, and appreciates expert insight. Basically, me. 

The weekend, which I'd recommend 10 times over, is everything I wasn't expecting, yet everything I needed. Check out why. 

In case you've never heard of Sephoria, you're in for a treat. The beauty convention for true makeup and skin-care lovers everywhere is nothing short of a dream. 

With the pretty self-explanatory name, the expansive beauty convention, thrown by Sephora, just celebrated its second year of success with more than 70 of the retailer's most popular makeup, skin-care, and hair-care brands gathering in Los Angeles for a sold-out weekend. Offering never-before-seen new launches, packed-out masterclasses, and an overall experience you can't find anywhere else, Sephoria is the beauty convention that all luxury beauty lovers deserve and love. 

How can I be so sure?

Because I got to find out for myself in early September. I was whisked away for a weekend any beauty adorer would dream about, spending it with Sephoria, soaking up the California sun, and staying in absolute awe of the convention's offerings. 

Any Sephora-featured brand you could think of gathered at the celebration. With Natasha Denona dropping her newest Metropolis Eyeshadow Palette, Fenty Beauty revealing new gloss bomb shades, a literal pink wonderland created by Charlotte Tilbury, and a journey through fragrance with YSL Beauty and its latest fragrance Libre, there was no shortage of beauty extravagance from wall-to-wall at the Shrine Auditorium. 

But with so many options, how does one navigate it all? Experts like Myeisha Sewell, Sephora's global beauty director, were on hand to offer tips to beauty lovers on what products will help you keep up with the ever-evolving beauty trends. And with the ’90s seeing a massive resurgence, Sewell says that #tbt trend played a big part in this year's occasion. 

"The ’90s have had a huge presence for a while, but we’re definitely seeing more refreshed versions of the look now," she says. "For example, the complexion is a bit more satin and natural-looking, while still having that contoured and perfected look of the decade. For the eyes, matte neutral eyeshadows have more nuanced undertones, like Urban Decay’s warm-toned Naked Honey Palette and Huda Beauty’s pink-hued The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette."

However, Sewell was just one of dozens of experts there to break everything down and reveal some of the most sought-after secrets to keeping your makeup, hair, and skin looking like that of a professional. Ahead, check out what I learned from some of the best in the business. 

Urban Decay Naked Honey Palette ($49, Sephora)

Complete with classic golds, warm ambers, and rich chocolate browns, create the perfect smoked-out eye The eyeshadow palette also includes a vegan and cruelty-free double-ended brush.
>> Get it here

Huda Beauty The New Nude Eyeshadow Palette ($65, Sephora)

This all-in-one eyeshadow palette consists of 18 highly-pigmented shades, ranging from flattering mattes to shimmer-drenched hues, and has everything you need to transform your lids. 
>> Get it here

Well, first, let's chat brows. 

I talked everything brows with Benefit Cosmetics Global Brow Expert Jared Bailey, who if I must mention, has some of the most iconic hair ever. "I started with Benefit over 12 years ago and I was a makeup artist because like so many people here at Sephoria, I love makeup," he tells Revelist. And with decades of experience in makeup, Bailey knows the exact trick for perfect brows. "If you want your brow to look masterful, you need to layer different formulas of products. When you layer together, you start to build a very believable brow with texture and dimension to it. So for example, starting off with our Full-Proof Brow Powder, then you can go in with a micro-liner and add some strokes of that. It's a web of layers that create a truly natural look." 

Benefit Cosmetics Foolproof Brow Powder ($24, Sephora)

Transform sparse brows into full-looking brows. This 12-hour formula, adored by Bailey, is the perfect base for brows that look natural and bountiful. 

>> Get it here

Celebrity makeup artist Patrick Ta revealed how to achieve your greatest glow ever. 

"When I started my career Sephora is the place I'd go to test out and try products, there was such an abundance," he reveals. As a makeup artist you don't want just one product, you want a bunch of amazing brands, and Sephora has that." And when we start discussing glow, the Patrick Ta Beauty Founder lights up, literally. "When I finally figured out my unique look I realized I'm obsessed with glowy skin, so it only makes sense that my products were centered around that." 

Upon asking Ta what's the secret for anyone trying to channel that same glow, he jokingly emphasized, "Use my Major Glow Highlighting Mist Girl!"

Patrick Ta Major Glow Highlighting Mist ($32, Sephora)

Ta's secret to the glow? This easy-to-use spray that almost instantly adds a radiant glow to the skin. 

>> Get it here

Sol De Janeiro Founding Partner Camila Pierotti talked to me about body positivity and "body love."

You've probably been pronouncing the brand's hero product, the Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, completely wrong, as I quickly found out from Pierotti, who emphasized that one of her many job descriptions includes making consumers aware that the product is in fact pronounced "boom boom." Following my quick lesson, she revealed that in January, the fragrance-heavy brand will be launching its first-ever scent-free body cream, a launch that comes after being inundated with requests from fans with sensitive skin. 

And with a brand whose mission from its inception has been to empower people to love their skin, Pierotti says the goal remains the same. "Yes, we sell product, but we have a message and a story behind it, and that's what we want people to know. When they think of Sol De Janeiro, it's our story, it's our message, it's our love it, flaunt it, you've got it."

Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream ($45, Sephora)

This fast-absorbing body cream, which helps tighten and smooth the look of skin, comes with a dreamy scent that you won't be able to resist.

>> Get it here

Beautyblender founder Reaann Silva talked all things skin.

One of the most beautiful things to see on the Sephoria floor were the dozens of women-owned brands in attendance. One of those was the brand that created everyone's favorite beauty sponge, Beautyblender. One of the few brands occupying three points of sales inside Sephora's stores, the line is an icon for Sephora. "I'm trying to create products around the beauty sponge that complement skin and complexion," Silva reveals about upcoming Beautyblender launches. The mogul, who got her start as a makeup artist (most notably as the key MUA for hit TV show Girlfriends) has decades of experience working with all shades. "So that's anything from concealers, blushes bronzers, anything that has to do with complexion."

Beautyblender joy ($20, Sephora)

That iconic sponge, this time in a vibrant yellow hue. 

>> Get it here

Convinced yet?

Sephora anticipates an even larger selection of brands present for next year's celebration, and you can count on me being front and center again, taking it all in. For any beauty lover looking for a space to learn, snap some Instagram-worthy content, and stay up-to-date on what the biggest brands in beauty have to offer without feeling overwhelmed, make sure that you're ready to reserve your space at Sephoria 2020 when registration opens!