Beautycon NYC, a two-day, sold-out beauty convention that took place at the Javits Center in New York City last weekend, is best described as a cross between a Sephora cosmetics store, a music festival and Disney World. Painted with iridescent mermaid scales and wearing light-up crowns, children, teenagers and parents milled around a maze of cosmetics booths and attended panels led by Paris Hilton and the actresses Zendaya and Laverne Cox. The YouTube personality and makeup star Giselle Loren Lazzarato, better known as Gigi Gorgeous, hosted a conversation about female executives, and Hillary Clinton, a friend of Beautycon C.E.O. Moj Mahdara, even made a surprise appearance backstage.
Empowerment and inclusivity were themes at the fore of this year’s festival, which, for the first time, featured health, wellness and Korean beauty sections. “For a long time, beauty was a dictated culture, and it was about covering up what’s wrong with you,” Mahdara said, “Now it’s about an expression of power and creativity.” While Beautycon’s mission is also to sell, its leadership aims to diversify a historically homogenous industry. This year, the event’s panel conversations spoke to wider audiences than at previous festivals, and Beautycon worked with BET to organize beauty tutorials that catered to a range of different hair and skin types. “I’m really dark, and I was happy to see makeup that really matched my skin tone,” said festival attendee Myesha Blanchard. “It’s amazing to have a space where it’s all welcome, and there’s no judgment.” Click through to see the photographer Dina Litovsky’s scenes from the event. — KELSEY LAWRENCE