Monthly Archives: February 2015

A little Beauty D.I.Y.

Next time you’re in the supermarket, don’t waste time picking up ingredients you will never use on account of something you once heard Nigella or Jamie or Heston say. Instead write the following ingredients down on your ShopShop app (if you don’t have it, you should and you can thank me later):

  • ¾ cup raw coconut oil
  • ¾ cup epsom salts (or Himalayan rock salt)
  • ⅓ cup caster sugar
  • zest of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 10 drops vanilla essence (or vanilla essential oil for fancy pants)
Ingredients

Caster Sugar, Lemons, Limes, Oranges, Coffee Beans, Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate), Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder, Vanilla Essence…

Now where am I going with this? What are we making and who can we invite over to impress?

Anyone who has seen this episode of South Park will know how epic it is.

Anyone who has seen this episode of South Park will know how epic it is.

What do you wish you had in your life that did the following:

  • exfoliated & moisturised your dry bits
  • smelt divine and not in a gross bubblegum way
  • cost under $15
  • was good for the environment
  • made you happy every time you looked at it?

If you guessed Homemade Shower Scrub then you are very, very smart. If not, that’s ok, I struggle to understand complex films with multiple storylines. We can’t all be perfect.

This is a recipe I discovered by accident if you like, when at a BBQ, a friend handed over her concoction to another friend who errr… has some leathery skin problems (in the non-contagious, I-tan-too-much kind of way).

I spoke to Vicki (the clever friend, not the one with the tanning problem) about her homemade scrub and she told me she had been using coconut oil as a moisturiser for quite some time before deciding to look for other uses.  She was frustrated with the majority of body washes on the market that strip the skin of natural oils, bored with the traditional remedies for sensitive or very dry skin (they work yes, but are hardly a barrel of laughs!) and was passionate about using products that don’t contain palm oil or contained only certified palm oil from regulated plantations.  And Vikki’s homemade shower scrub was borne.

All you have to do is mix the ingredients together and pour into a jar. So simple. The good news is that you can customise this blend according to your skin’s needs.

Homemade Shower Scrubs

LEFT- Original blend with added coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar & lavender essential oil. MIDDLE- Original Vikki blend. RIGHT- Original blend with added orange zest, brown sugar, nutmeg and cocoa powder.

In the depths of winter and feeling a little dry?
Add more coconut oil and lightly towel dry after showering.

Need a stronger exfoliation before waxing or shaving?
Add less oil and some ground coffee beans.  Then feel smug when there are fewer ingrowns .

Want to change the smell?
Try experimenting with different essential oils like Jasmine, Lavender, Geranium and use Jojoba as the carrier oil.

Like chocolate?
Make a chocolate-orange blend with orange zest and cocoa or cacao powder (depending on your budget). Tastes… I mean smells divine.

Now I have tried Vikki’s recipe for myself and not only did it make my skin feel nourished, it was a genuine pleasure to use. I didn’t really need to moisturise after using it and my skin had a beautiful sheen to it all day.  I played around with adding some ground coffee beans, brown sugar, nutmeg and cinnamon because I am obsessed with cinnamon and believe it should be in everything.

There is something really soothing about using products you made yourself. You know exactly what went in, you can customize the blend to your liking, you feel wholesome and suddenly your coin purse got a little heavier and your carbon footprint a little smaller.

Next dinner party I attend, I will not be bringing wine. I will be bringing homemade shower scrub and passing the goodness on.

Forever Evolving Yoga

Vicki Chapman is the owner of Forever Evolving, a yoga and holistic health company based in Sydney. Find out more about where she teaches and her healthy alternatives for nutrition and beauty here.  Instagram: @vickyyoga

Let me know if you decide to give this scrub a go and what variations you come up with!

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share and like this:

Sonia Allen Make Up at One Fine Day

Fist times can be… nerve-racking, exciting, suspenseful and exhilarating. Throw in some fun and creativity and this summarises the lead up to my first time as a vendor at the One Fine Day wedding fair in Sydney’s Australian Technology Park.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD

There were months of PPO. Planning, Preparation and my middle-name, Organisation. You should have seen the folder with its colour coded filing system! The good people of Officeworks on Pitt St know me by name.

There were also many people who helped along the way. My thanks go to:

Talented stylist and assistant on the day, Orla Molloy of Elevate Styling – I can’t thank you enough for your vision, dedication and my new-found addiction to banana bread.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 16

Orla from Elevate Styling – stylist and visual merchandiser

 

 

 

 

 

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 14

And also lots of fun!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graphic and web designer Ben McArthur for all your artwork, website updates and for knowing when to say, “No Sonia, it doesn’t need a floral border”. You were right, you always are and that is why it’s been such a wonderful partnership for so many years.

 

 

 

 

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 8

 

 

 

 

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 5

 

 

 

 

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 4

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer extraordinaire Tim Engelbrecht of Hello Sweetheart for your help putting together my video and for capturing the day. The only photographer I don’t run away from. I even smile!

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 1

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 2

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 10

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 6Multitasking models: Moira from Moira Hughes Couture who also leant her boutique to film (couldn’t dream of a more beautiful space); Mel from Oak & Linden who arranged my flowers and Ash who had good chat!

Moira Hughes and myself on filming day.

Moira Hughes and myself on filming day.

Flowers arranged by Mel from Oak & Linden

Flowers arranged by Mel from Oak & Linden

Born to Party’s resident ballooner Shannon for the biggest bunch of balloons I’ve ever seen. Your enthusiasm is infectious and your creations can’t help but make people happy.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 12Thanks also to Grain and Co for making my custom sign, Ashdown & Bee and Chair Hire Co for the furniture loan and my editor Fiona who even dropped by to say hello.

And finally to my family. My mother-in-law who sewed my backdrop, my sister-in-law who gave great advice and Mr Allen who is in need of lots and lots of beer. Thanks for all the support, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Highlights from the weekend included sharing my passion with so many people…

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 17

All the excitement and happiness under one roof is a feeling I’ll never forget.

And hanging out with all my fabulous neighbours: In an Instant Photography, Bridesmaids Only, Pearlys, Grew & Co., The Cake King, Top Cat Catering, Savvy Brides, Wedded Wonderland and Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel.

I posed in photobooths, “sampled” a lot of cake (when is too much!?), showcased my moves to Snoop Dogg (DJ’s choice not mine I promise, although I loved it!)… and I may have even ordered a little something from Viktoria Novak for a very special bride this coming September in London.

In An Instant Photography- Sonia & Orla

Photobooth time with In An Instant Photography.

All in all, a top weekend! Thanks for having me One Fine Day. See you all next time.

Sonia Allen Make Up at OFD 9

 

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share and like this:

An artist to remember

“I want my music to have a relevance, a fresh, feel-good vibe that’s as timeless as it is forward-thinking. There’s always time for a new classic.”

When every day is different, every job is different and every team is different it takes someone special to be remembered years later.

And London singer/songwriter Charli Taft is just that.

London singer songwriter Charli Taft

London singer songwriter Charli Taft

London singer songwriter Charli Taft

London singer songwriter Charli Taft

London singer songwriter Charli TaftLondon singer songwriter Charli TaftLondon singer songwriter Charli TaftLondon singer songwriter Charli Taft

Photographed by Stella Fakiyesi
Hair & Make Up by Sonia Allen
You can find out more about Charli here
And listen to some of Charli’s music here

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
Share and like this:

Threading isn’t just for your gran

My time in London taught me many great life lessons. Never go anywhere without an umbrella. Nandos is an acceptable place to dine out with friends. Avoid football supporters. Pants means underwear. Have strong brow game, get threaded.

What is strong brow game? Let’s start with what it is not. Strong brow game is not having brows that look like they are tadpoles, sperm or sponsored by Nike. It is not having brows that resemble straight arrows or make you look as if you are permanently surprised. Christmas only comes once a year. If you are still unsure, Google “bad eyebrows”, grab your best friend, some popcorn and enjoy. I mean learn.

Strong brow game is when you walk into a room and instead of people commenting on your bag or shoes or new top, the focus is straight on the brows. I don’t mean to brag but this actually does happen when one has strong brow game. So what do you expect to see? Strong brow game is when brows have been shaped PROPERLY meaning they start where they are meant to, arch where they are meant to and finish where they are meant to according to YOUR features and not some one-size-fits-all stencil. They aren’t patchy, there are no strays and the length of hair is under control. There is of course no monobrow.

Unless you’re Frida Kahlo, ain’t nobody look good with a monobrow.

So how did I develop my brow game? I turned to threading and was a loyal customer for five years. I put my trust in the ladies at Blink Brow Bar in Peter Jones and they never did me wrong. With the exception of tweezing the odd stray, I now only need to see someone for threading twice a year while my brows maintain their shape in between like a Royal Guard.

What exactly is threading and how does it work?

  • Awesome hair removal technique
  • Originated in India 6000 years ago then spread to the Middle East (Egypt and Iran)
  • Became popular in Europe and now Australia

When you “get threaded”, one end of a cotton thread is held in the mouth of the brow artist and the other end looped around individual hair shafts which are then pulled out. Hair removal straight from the follicle = longer to grow back = happiness.

Threading in action. So simple, so fast.

Threading can remove short lines of hair where the humble tweezer can only remove individual hairs at a time. More hairs = faster = more happiness.

If eyebrow threading were to take on eyebrow waxing in a boxing match, threading would always come out on top with no match fixing required. Threading provides more precise control when eyebrow shaping (vital for strong brow game) and is gentler on skin. No more wax burns or skin tears or excessive redness. Over time there will also be less hair growth with threading than with waxing.

I’ve chilled the drinks and my money is on threading.

Is threading painful? I won’t lie, yes, it does at first. But the more you get it done the less it hurts over time. Six years later I don’t feel a thing. And my brow game is strong.

If you would like to try threading for the first time or are looking for somewhere to go, I strongly recommend “Get Threaded®” in the Metcentre (Shop G18, 273 George St, Sydney 2000). They hold the copyright to the world’s first certified and internationally accredited training program and all artists use antibacterial threading cotton.

Hot tip- ask for Muskan, she is fun and talented.

If you’ve tried threading, how did you find it (and would you go back to waxing)? Where else do the people of Sydney like to get threaded?  How is YOUR brow game?

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.

 

Share and like this:

A thank you from Corina

There are moments in life where you think, yes…  this is why I do what I do.  I recently received a lovely note from one of my brides Corina and had that very moment.

Photo courtesy of Livia Giacomini Photography

Who says three’s a crowd!?

“It’s hard to put into words how happy I was with my make-up on my wedding day, one of the most wonderful days of my life to date. Sonia was so calm and professional on what was a very busy day (and very organised!). She is a true professional, yet so personable and wonderful to have around. She made me and my bridesmaids feel relaxed and confident. I would absolutely recommend her for brides who want a thoughtful and talented make-up artist, who is responsive to suggestions, yet has a very clear vision and a keen eye for accentuating your best features. Sonia knows how to make a bride look beautiful and that is exactly how I felt on the day. It was so lovely to have Sonia be a part of our day. We were all so impressed by her talent. I cannot thank her enough.”

Photo courtesy of Livia Giacomini Photography

With a future wife like that, I can understand why the groom is so happy!

I wish you all the happiness as you start your married life together.

All photos courtesy of Livia Giacomini photography

If you’d like to know more about the make-up look I created or products used, fire away with your questions!

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
Share and like this:

Keep it Clean

This one is for my fellow contact lens wearers who also enjoy wearing make-up but don’t enjoy make-up on their lenses. While I can’t promise you will be free of the pesky mascara-smear-onto-lens dilemma (rage every time I see it!), I would like to think these tips might help preserve the life of your lenses and spare you irate moments throwing out yet another pair of make-up contaminated lenses.

Crying Beyonce

Beyonce gets it. Throwing out make-up stained contacts is the worst. She’s phoning a friend for advice right now.

So is it lenses first then contacts or contacts first then lenses? Chicken and egg references aside (couldn’t help myself!), most optometrists and opthamologists agree you should wash your hands, insert contacts AND THEN proceed with make-up. The argument against the reverse is that if you were to insert your contacts after applying make-up you run the risk of contaminating your lenses if trace amounts of make up are left on your hands.

Now I’m going to be controversial. Firstly I am not an opthamologist, an optometrist or a contact lens manufacturer… But I have been wearing contacts for 16 years and working as a professional make up artist for five years. So here are my two cents to stop Beyonce crying. I think it is much better to insert contacts AFTER applying make-up so long as you really wash your hands! Pay particular attention to the fingertips (like a concert pianist, it’s all in the tips) so that no traces of make-up can come into contact with the lenses.

Enforced proper hand washing techniques (and not the invisible style one often witnesses in public bathrooms! Cringe!) means there really should not be any make-up left on hands. I do this every time I wear make-up and contact lenses and I assure you I have rarely stained the lenses with make-up. However ask me to put the contacts in first and I guarantee that even as a professional, it becomes a lot harder to guarantee I won’t have the occasional mishap and subsequent rage.

Regardless which way you choose, here are a few tips you might benefit from.

  • Contacts should always be fitted after spray products such as perfume, sunscreens and hair products as contact lenses are very absorbent and will pick up any residue from the above products.
  • Minimise make-up fall out with the use of eyeshadow primers. One of my all time favourites and a firm fixture in my pro kit is the Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. It is colourless which means it will work with any eyeshadow shades and is so easily applied with fingers or a synthetic brush.
Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1zzqHwY

Nars Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base- Eyeshadows. Will. Not. Budge. It is to eyeshadow powder what mortar is to bricks.

  • If you want a colour option, opt for OCC’s Crème Colour Concentrates. These little pots of goodness are suitable for eyes, lips & cheeks (with the exception of a few shades unsuitable for eyes, listed on their website). These crèmes are less irritating to the eye as they don’t contain insect-derived ingredients which can commonly be found in many eyeshadows (especially shades of pink and purple).
Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1zdfROb

OCC Crème Colour Concentrates- love a multiuse product and love the OCC brand. I think founder David Klasfeld is a genius.

  • Most eye care practitioners will advise against lining your waterline but for those who just can’t help themselves, Make Up Forever’s Kohl Pencil was specifically developed for sensitive areas in and around the eye.
Image courtesy of http://bit.ly/1Cu3rE6

Make Up Forever Black Kohl Pencil – once you try it your contacts will love you and reward you with vision.

  • Avoid fiber mascaras (the ones that claim to lengthen your lashes) as these are prone to micro-flakes that can get into your eye and under your contact, causing irritation and redness. Aim for hypo-allergenic, oil- and fragrance-free formulas when possible.
  • If you want to rock a super heavy eye look (kudos to you!) maybe think about using a daily disposable contact lenses instead. Less hassle when it comes to removing the make-up.
  • Don’t share eye make-up with others. Perhaps one of the few times it is ok to be selfish! That and Tim Tams.
  • Replace any make-up as soon as you notice any changes to the colour, consistency or smell.

And there we have it, a happy Beyonce.

Get in touch if you’d like to know any more about the products I mentioned or where to purchase from in Australia or the UK.

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
Share and like this:

Bride in Blue

Hats off to a bride who is willing to try something different. Or in this case, wear something different. Choosing not to wear white, Katherine looked so very sophisticated on her wedding day in a French navy Prada dress.

Beautiful bride in blue

Outside the Sloane Square Hotel where I had the pleasure of doing Katherine’s make-up.

Ben & Kate signing the registry

Signing the registry at Chelsea Town Hall, Kings Road.

Ben & Kate at their reception

On to festivities at The Ledbury, Notting Hill for the reception.

I will always remember Katherine for her beautiful English manners and for daring to be different.

All images courtesy of Reid Photography (London)

 

sonia_signature

© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
Share and like this: