IMATS Battle of the Brushes

Are you serious about becoming a professional make-up artist? Competing in the IMATS Battle of the Brushes can give your career a huge boost. Competitors’ work is seen not only by industry leaders attending the shows, but also by thousands of social-media users following the show.  Finalists also get a chance for international exposure by having their art featured in IMATS ad campaigns and show graphics. Additionally, the shows give competitors the chance to network in person with the pros doing the hiring. And the cash and prizes from participating exhibitors certainly don’t hurt!

The competition is open to students of recognized make-up schools and to those who have graduated 12 months prior to the competition date.

After a blind judging for each show, the Make-Up Artist magazine staff selects eight finalists in the beauty/fantasy category and eight in the character/prosthetic category, plus a runner-up for each. Finalists and their models receive free passes for both days of IMATS. The staff chooses a theme for each category every year.


Theme: Tim Burton characters – It’s fun and creative yet broad enough to spur imagination. Burton made his mark in the 1980’s with many wonderful and iconic characters with his trademark style. Contestants are to create an original character that could be in a Tim Burton movie. Foam latex prosthetics will be provided at the show by our silver sponsor, DYAD Make-Up & FX Studio. You can view their offerings at You are welcome to integrate costume pieces, gadgets and other accessories to bring your character to life. Use your imagination, and go for it!

IMATS Battle of the Brushes - Burton


Theme: 1980’s Beauty – The 80’s had it’s own style and like all decades some looks were fab that are wonder examples of the period.  Others are now considered less than great and make us giggle…or wince. Contestants are to create their own beauty look inspired by the 1980’s.

*Please note: All Beauty/Fantasy models must be female.

Battle of the Brushes - 80's Impact


Competitors in the three-hour character/prosthetic category are given prosthetics on the morning of the competition, which they must incorporate into their designs. Only prosthetics provided by IMATS are allowed.  Beauty finalists have two hours to complete their looks.

In both categories, finalists may bring a sheet of paper with photos and a two-sentence description of their artistic inspirations to present to the judges. Character competitors should also bring a “before” photo of their models. On the day of competition, finalists who do not arrive at the venue in time to rehearse for the awards presentation may be replaced by a runner-up.

To qualify, you must fill out the entry form and upload 8-10 photos of different looks you have done. Photos don’t have to represent the make-up you plan to enter in the competition. All entries, photos and artwork become the non-returnable property of IMATS.

Entries must be submitted by December 1, 2022. Finalist results will be announced the week of December 5th, 2022.

Entry Form


All eight competitors (in each category) will receive IMATS tote bags with products donated from our exhibitors and sponsors.

First, second- and third-place winners will be announced on stage and will be featured in IMATS social media channels, plus lots of networking opportunities!

The first-place winner (in each category) will also receive a check in USD.

Need Inspiration?