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Amber’s finally made it into the beauty industry. Working for a cosmetics company gives her the opportunity to test hundreds of new beauty products each year. But when she samples the offerings from Blake Cosmeceuticals, she’s immediately suspicious. Are these serums really the fountain of youth, or is the handsome Dr. Blake selling nothing more than snake oil?
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I love beauty conventions. I always have.
The first one I ever attended was with my aunt when I was ten. She was a buyer for a beauty store and went to scope out the newest brands. I only accompanied her because she always babysat my sister and me on weekends. My parents worked odd hours sometimes, and although my sister ended up at her friend’s house that weekend, they couldn’t find alternate arrangements for me. The only option was to take me along.
That day was the best day of my life. There were companies offering samples for free. I sat at a table and got my makeup done for the first time. Later, I got to check out this cool tanning lamp. The entire event was incredible and still brings a smile to my face when I think back.
After that, I convinced my aunt to take me to every convention she went to, and those experiences are what made me decide to work in marketing for a beauty company. I’ve been at Merhalle since I graduated college three years ago, and it’s been a blast. I’ve learned so much, and I really appreciate all the industry connections I’ve made.
“Did you see that one?” my best friend and colleague, Nicole, asks.
I look where she’s pointing, but I don’t see anything special.
“What are you talking about?” I squint.
“The eyeshadow pallet, obviously.”
Nicole gestures to the booth on our left. There’s a tray of eyeshadows in glittery colors like gold, silver, and hot pink. Nicole loves big, bold shades, so this booth was practically made for her.
I stick my tongue out at her and smile.
“Want to check it out?”
She bites her lip, eyeing the display hungrily.
“I really shouldn’t. You know I promised to keep myself in check this year.”
I roll my eyes and grab her arm.
“Come on, it doesn’t hurt to look. It’s just a little eye candy.”
We edge a bit closer to the booth, and Nicole practically drools over the eyeshadow. I like makeup, but Nicole loves it. I’ve learned a lot about cosmetics since we became friends in college. Before her, I was an eyeliner, eye shadow, and lipstick kind of girl. Now, I know how to contour and highlight with the best of them. I had a great teacher in Nicole.
While Nicole chats with the reps about their makeup, I take in the rest of the convention. There are hundreds of booths just like this one. I don’t know how we’re going to get through everything today. I wish Nicole and I could come for the full three days of the convention, but our bosses only gave us one day. Maybe next year, we’ll get to stay longer.
Hanging from the ceiling are giant signs letting everyone know what is in which section. We’re in the makeup area, which is the first one when you walk in the main entrance. Straight ahead are lotions, to the right are perfumes, and there are at least fifteen other categories.
Other industry professionals buzz around from booth to booth. It’s like a beehive in here, and I’m glad I get to be a part of it.
Although I’ve attended a few other conventions this year, the National Beauty Convention in New York City is the biggest one in the country. It’s held in a big, glass building on the Hudson River with a view of the sunlight sparkling off the waves. This is the first time I’ve been able to attend, and it’s the most magical place I’ve ever seen.
Someone taps me on the shoulder.
“Excuse me,” a young man says.
His cheeks are highlighted to perfection. My makeup looks good, but it has never looked this good. The guy could easily be a model.
“Do you know where the Consumption booth is?” he asks.
Maybe he’s a model because Consumption is a fashion magazine that covers all the latest trends in clothes and makeup. Merhalle does a lot of advertising with them. I’ve created entire campaigns specifically for Consumption, in fact.
I point at the big media sign on the ceiling.
“I haven’t been over there yet, but it’s probably in that area. They’ll be the biggest booth.”
He claps his hands together like he’s about to break out into a cheerleading routine.
“Thank you so much. I’m super late. Also, you look fab.”
With that, he darts away. I watch his tall frame weave through the crowds towards the Consumption booth. I can practically feel his eager energy even from a distance, and smile again. We are the people who adore being here, and it’s great to meet others of the same stripe.
Three other people ask me for directions before Nicole is done fawning over the eyeshadow pallet she fell in love with.
“Are you ready?” I ask archly.
Nicole doesn’t even look up from swiping on a shade of electric purple shadow.
“Just one sec,” she promises while studying herself in the mirror. “Oooh, this is amazing.”