Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora’s Second Annual Beauty Festival

Mia Maguire
Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora’s Second Annual Beauty Festival
Photo: Sephora.

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Sephora’s second annual SEPHORiA House of Beauty event was an infinitely Instagrammable slice of heaven for the beauty-obsessed (*raising my hand*). Last year, Sephora introduced the event in honor of their 20th anniversary, and this year’s SEPHORiA 2019 was even more epic than the first year. If you’re not familiar with SEPHORiA, it’s essentially a two-day beauty extravaganza (kind of like Coachella, but make it beauty) celebrating some of the best makeup, skincare, hair care and wellness brands on the market.

Some of the biggest names in beauty offered attendees the chance to explore a vast range of experiential booths, deluxe swag bags, and of course, plenty of photo opps to share on the ‘gram. There were also plenty of new products launches unveiled at this year’s event (some of which aren’t yet available to the public, but guests could get their hands on at the festival), along with endless opportunities to meet with industry insiders and beauty influencers IRL and to take advantage of free beauty services. As if that weren’t enough to keep you excited while making your way through the expansive venue, there were also a slew of MasterClass sessions led by some of beauty’s biggest names in the industry, including Nikkie de Jager (a.k.a Nikkie Tutorials), Patrick Ta and Natasha Denona. If you’re suffering from a severe case of #FOMO, here’s a comprehensive recap of some of my favorite experiences and finds I got to explore at the spectacular affair.

The Rooms

The event featured 16 different “rooms” occupied by some of the biggest brands in the beauty sphere today, including Huda Beauty, La Mer, Nars, Charlotte Tilbury, Too Faced, Deva Curl, YSL and Gucci Beauty. Each brand’s designated booth was chock full of unique beauty experiences, including games, prizes and interactive experiences, along with an endless supply of photo opps. Brands also showcased new and limited edition products, allowing first-ever opportunities to smell, sample and swatch your heart away before their debut to the public. My top three favorites were Nars, Charlotte Tilbury and HUDA Beauty. I have an obscene obsession with all things pink, so Tilbury’s set-up, featuring a vintage-inspired blush-hued bed accompanied by charming props like a matching rotary phone instantly called my name (and of course, went straight to my IG stories).

Then there was Nars’ disco-laden space, which gave passerby’s the chance to snap a pic or Boomerang on a ’70s-disco-inspired swing. Huda Beauty’s set was accompanied by a gilded bathtub filled to the brim with metallic confetti and a handsome model who fanned me with a golden leaf while I posed my heart away. It was practically made to Boomerang. Gucci Beauty’s floral-imbued “house” also gets an honorable mention for its gorgeous set design.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Charlotte Tilbury.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Nars.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Huda Beauty.

gucci sephoria Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephoras Second Annual Beauty Festival

Gucci Beauty.

The On-Site Beauty Services

Aside from all of the glam beauty booths and presentations, the event’s service vanity offered a slew of free beauty services for guests to take advantage of at the event. My favorite offering was courtesy of Dr. Dennis Gross, who offered attendees the opportunity to have a private skin consultation with the doctor himself, along with a professional facial treatment using his cult-favorite Alpha Beta Peel products. I also got the opportunity to sit down with the iconic dermatologist’s wife and CEO of Dr. Dennis Gross (it was actually her idea to start the skincare line) and chat with her about her beauty and stress-relieving secrets and how she manages juggling being a CEO, wife and mother of four. Stayed tuned for my interview with her coming soon!

Other standout service stations included Benefit’s Brow Station, which offered professional tweezing, styling and waving services for the coveted supermodel brows and Drybar’s Happy Hour Hair station, in which guests were treated to a 15-minute hair revamp.

dr dennis gross sephoria Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephoras Second Annual Beauty Festival

Dr. Dennis Gross.

benefit sephoria Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephoras Second Annual Beauty Festival

Benefit.

drybar sephoria Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephoras Second Annual Beauty Festival

Drybar.

The New Products Drops

There’s probably no better time to reveal a new product launch than at Sephora’s biggest event of the year, right?. While Instagram reveals and email blast announcements can be intriguing for beauty connoisseurs, interacting with a product IRL just can’t be beat. The first new launch I stumbled upon was Huda Beauty’s new doubled-ended liquid and pencil Life Liner (the brand’s first eyeliner to date). I swatched the ultra-black liquid + pencil eyeliner hybrid on my hand, and l kid you not, this formula is seriously bulletproof. After washing my hands a hand full of times and a couple showers, the liner was still on my hand the following day. Needless to say, I was instantly impressed.

Herbivore also debuted their new Prism AHA + BHA Serum, which aside from benefiting your skin, also benefits the LGBTQIA+ community, with $1 from each sale going to an organization supporting the cause. Finally, Briogeo presented their latest hair care hair mask, infused with honey and packaged in a ridiculously adorable teddy bear jar.

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Image result for Herbivore Prism AHA + BHA Serum sephora

Image result for Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair! Honey Moisture Deep Conditioning Mask

The MasterClasses

While free swag and ultra-curated photo opps are enough to get me excited about any event (…just being honest), SEPHORiA’s extensive MasterClass lineup was probably the highlight of the event — at least, in my humble opinion. Beauty experts like Nikkie de Jager, Patrick Ta, Dr. Barbara Strum, Moon Juice’s Amanda Chantal Bacon, and Sophia Amoruso were among the event’s headliners.

Nikkie Tutorials showed guests how achieve her signature glowed-up complexion, showcasing some of her favorite products by Marc Jacobs Beauty, while legendary girl boss and Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso presented her new collab with Sephora. Amanda Chantal Bacon discussed with intersection of ingestible wellness products and their integral role skin health, while renowned makeup artist Patrick Ta (Gigi Hadid and Olvia Munn are among his impressive roster of A-list clients) gave a demo of his Major Glow Shimmers and hinted at future product launches. Dr. Barbara Strum touched on the importance of shielding the skin from blue light pollution (i.e. the light that our phone and computer screens emit) and offered tips on how to prevent and reverse damage.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Nikki Tutortials.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Patrick Ta.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Dr. Barbara Strum.

The Swag + My Favorite Product Discoveries

Swag bags are kind of a part of the deal at beauty conventions, but Sephora upped the status quo at this year’s SEPHORiA. General admission gift bags had a retail value of $250, while the VIP attendees got to take home a staggering $900+ worth of free product. So just what did this year’s lucky guests get to bring home? The VIP gift bags included YSL Rouge Volupte Shine Oil-In-Stick Lipstick, Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc 50ml, Laneige Lip Glowy Balm, Jouer Cosmetics Essential Lip Enhancer Balm, Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, Lord Jones High CBD Formula Body Lotion, Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo, IT Cosmetics Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil, Gucci Bloom Hair Mist, Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum, MAISON MARGIELA ‘REPLICA’ Beach Walk Rollerball, Sephora Collection Hot Line Brush Tip Liquid Liner, Jouer Cosmetics Essential Lip Enhancer Balm, Drunk Elephant Lala Retro Whipped Moisturizer, Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Micro-Exfoliating Shampoo, Natasha Denona Mini Star Eyeshadow Palette, Pat Mcgrath Labs FetishEyes Mascara, Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Moisturizer, the Too Faced Peach Perfect Mattifying Setting Powder, and much more.

I also got to try a few samples of products that weren’t necessarily new drops to the masses, but they were new to me. The best (and ironically, most tragic) product I got to try was La Mer’s legendary Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream. I am utterly obsessed and a bit frantic about my new found holy grail, since a full bottle costs about $180 a pop. After my interview with Carrie Gross, she convinced me that I absolutely needed to try the Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum. And yes, it’s safe to say that I am now fully hooked. Finally, while it a dry shampoo may sound like a somewhat boring product to feature here, Ouai’s newly dropped Super Dry Shampoo was a standout for me. Not only did it restore my limp, (day three of no shampoo) lock’s volume, but it also smells downright amazing. It honestly doubles as a perfume, if I’m going to be honest.

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

Inside SEPHORiA 2019: A Backstage Pass to Sephora's Second Annual Beauty Festival | STYLECASTER

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