Monthly Archives: August 2015

Editorial Cover for Citizen Magazine

One of my career highlights to date was getting the cover for Citizen Magazine for one of my all time favourite editorials.

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I was even featured in the magazine’s contributors page.

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And our team was photographer Natasha Anne Foster, photography assistant Anne Peters, wardrobe stylist Lauren Becker and hair, make-up & nails by me.  Our beautiful model was Sydney-turned-Melbourne gal Ashlee from FiveTwenty Model Management.

The editorial was named “The Supreme”, a fitting choice for the occult theme of the issue because watching Ashlee move was indeed quite magical.  A trained dancer, she had such a command of how to use her space, it was inspiring to say the least.

I used MAC Cosmetics for make-up where pigments needed to be strong as we were shooting in black and white.  For hair I used Label.M styling products and nails were painted using O.P.I. with deco embellishments from Make Up Store.

We featured labels including Lack of Color, Betty Tran, Morrison, Babylikestopony, Au Revoir les Filles, Zhivago, Peter Lang, Serpent and the Swan, Bolor Amgalan, Bul, Ted Baker, Vanessa Moe and Monster Alphabets.

Et voila, this is what we created.

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A very happy me!

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If you enjoyed this post, you might like to look at my other editorials and music videos here:

“Peaches and Cream” for Culture Magazine

Elizabeth Rose “Division” Music Video for Red Bull Australia

“Geometric Emily” for Spook Magazine

“Love in Masquerade” for One Fine Day

If you have any questions/comments about the hair/make-up for this shoot please leave them below and I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

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© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Skincare for Hunters (aka Aussie Males)

When I think about male grooming, years of living with Mr Allen had me believe that they only worry about the three verbs beginning with the letter “S”. Sorry, I tried to put that as discretely as possible. So you can imagine my surprise when I was out the other night and found out that the grooming and skincare concerns of Australian men are actually a lot more complex (and a little bit amusing).

Let me set the scene. Out at a party. Arrived late from work.. Everyone else… merry on truth serum. I join conversation with four twenty-something men.

I hear the following things:

Male A: “…or the worst is when you have the dreaded nose hair and you hold the tweezers there for ages because you know the pain that is coming. And then when it does come out, you cry.”

Rest of males laugh in agreement. Then stop and make pained faces.

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Me: “Why don’t you use nose clippers?”

Male A: “No don’t like them. You can cut yourself and then it scabs.”

Never knew this. I was intrigued to see where else the conversation would go.

Male B to rest of males: “And back hair, don’t get me started on back hair. I once waxed but it hurt so much I want to try laser. Have you guys tried laser? Where is good laser?

This conversation went on for quite some time and more revelations ensued.  I deduced that Australian men are becoming increasingly interested in grooming but they perhaps don’t know where to turn or what services/products exist to address their needs.  This got my blogging brain going…

So I got together with Elliot Waldron, founder of Melbourne male skincare brand Hunter Lab to get his thoughts on the rising interest of grooming amongst Australian men.

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Image courtesy of Hunter Lab.

How did your involvement with Hunter Lab come about and how long have you been at it?

Hunter Lab was born in 2013 when we realised that a men’s skincare revolution in Australia was being held back not by a lack of manly motivation, but by an absence of skincare brands which men associate and engage with, and are not embarrassed to add to their daily grooming routine. Add a desire to craft products made from the best of mother nature and we had the nucleus of a business concept.

Do you think Australian men worry about their grooming and/or appearance more than they like to let on?

Men worry about a lot of things more than they let on! The way you look and feel has a direct impact on confidence levels, so when you’re not feeling at the top of your game it’s often due to feelings of insecurity around appearance and health. I’m not sure if the average bloke worries about skincare, but he’s definitely curious.

Do you think there is much of a difference between Aussie men’s attitudes towards grooming and European men?  What are the most distinct ones?

Europe is further advanced along the skincare path; their serious exposure to skincare began back in the ’90s. It’s taken 10 or so years to reach those levels in Australia, and because of that our attitudes aren’t as developed. So we’ve been slower to get over the skincare stigma and stop confusing wanting to look good and paying attention to our appearance as something feminine (no offence ladies). We are now realising there is no shame in wanting to get the absolute best out of ourselves in all facets and that includes the health of our skin.

During your time at Hunterlab have you noticed trends in male grooming?

The biggest trend has been the amount of guys who are really enjoying using skincare daily, and who have taken it to the next level by adding an anti-ageing product to their routine. And that’s because they have now become aware of the later-in-life effects of the ageing process and, because of their new found confidence to spend time on themselves, have decided to take the fate of their looks into their own hands. Guys are absolutely amazed at the noticeable difference a 10-15 second daily application can make.

How does your brand stand out from other brands marketed to men?

We’re natural and we’re Australian, we’re all about efficacy and pleasure of use, and we’re a brand men are proud to tell their mates about and display in their bathrooms.

I took it one step further and issued some of the guys involved in the earlier conversation (and a few others) with Hunter Lab products to test out for three weeks. At the end of the three weeks I asked the obliging gentlemen to let me know how they found the products and if they would consider making them a part of their daily routine.

Meet the test group:

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Each participant was given one of the following Hunter Lab products to road test:

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Image courtesy of Hunter Lab.

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Image courtesy of Hunter Lab.

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Image courtesy of Hunter Lab.

Without telling you who-said-what, here were their responses at the end of the trial period (some of these guys should consider an alternate career in comedy!):

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And there you have it, whether they’re 27, 35 or 41; a plumber, a radiographer or a public servant; someone who takes inspiration from Mohammed Ali, Heston Blumenthal or Adam Sandler; these Aussie men on the whole enjoyed using these skincare products and found improvements to their skin.

Gentlemen I hope you continue to enjoy these super natural skincare tools and for anyone else who is interested, you can find out more about the Hunter Lab range via their Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Website.  They are stocked

Many thanks to Hunter Lab for their involvement with this story and to the nine gentlemen for participating.

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If you think you can work out who gave which reply, feel free to leave your guesses in the comments below-  see if you can pick the twins and the two brothers!  And if you enjoyed this post, you can also read my other skincare reviews here.

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

I have curly hair with a mind of its own. It started from a young age.  Throughout the years I’ve learned that I can only detangle and brush my hair in the shower, otherwise I look like this:

Image via here.

Image via here.

Not a fan of overusing heat styling tools everyday on my hair, I prefer to leave my curls au natural. Great in theory, not so great when they start looking a little more this:

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Than this:

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May have spent a really long time looking for a photo with frizz in check!

But all of that changed when I discovered the Scunci Detangling Comb.

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Image courtesy of Scunci

The shape of this comb and large separation between the teeth means that I can brush through my dry hair without disturbing the curls too much. A light spray of dry shampoo (to add volume) or let’s be honest, in my case it’s usually some serum/smoothing cream to reduce the frizz and I’m good to go.

I loved this comb so much I bought another one (at $5.95AUD why not!?) and added it to my pro hairstyling kit. During session styling, I use it to comb out curls when I want a really soft finish like this.

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Photographer – Natasha Anne Foster, Model – Paris from FiveTwenty Models, Hair & Make Up by me

Yep, I’d definitely found a winner.

The Scunci Detangling Comb - for detangling hair and brushing out loose waves

The Scunci Detangling Comb – for detangling hair and gently brushing out curls when styling hair.

I got curious about this Australian brand and decided to see what other brushes they made.

I discovered they make a WHOLE range of brushes called Brushology.

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Image courtesy of Scunci

In the range, the 14 brushes and combs are categorised by colour according to their usage.

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L⇒R: Detangling Comb, Vent Brush, Dry Shampoo Brush, Wet Hair Detangling Brush

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L⇒R: Straightening Brush, Cushion Brush, Medium Volume Brush, XLarge Volume Brush

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L⇒R: Backcombing Brush, Thick & Wavy Hair Brush, Long Hair & Hair Extension Brush, Paddle Brush

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L⇒R: Mini Styling Brush, Mini Round Brush

I picked up a few and have been experimenting around.

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I like the below combination for straightening curly hair. Detangle with detangling comb, prep hair with styling products, blow-dry with the paddle brush and run straightening irons through with the straightening brush. Never used a brush like the straightening brush before. It’s like a clamp for the hair and gives you a really sleek finish when used with straightening irons.

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For straightening curly hair. L⇒R: Detangling Comb, Paddle Brush, Straightening Brush.

For a sleek voluminous blowdry I prep hair with styling product, use the XLarge Volume brush with hairdryer then smooth the style and dress the hair with the Cushion Brush. Used the backcombing brush to backcomb the crown and give the style a bit of v-v-volume.

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For creating a sleek voluminous blowdry.
L⇒R: XLarge Volume Brush, Paddle Brush, Straightening Brush

My thoughts:

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Scunci brushes are stocked in Target, Big W, Priceline and selected salons and pharmacies Australia wide. Visit here for more details on stockists.

If you enjoyed this post, you may like my other reviews here.

If you have any questions, please leave them below and I’ll be sure to get back to you.  If you have tried any of the Scunci Brushology range, please let me know your favourite brush and why!

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© 2015 Sonia Allen Make Up.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Witchery SS15 Make-Up & Hair

Last week I was invited to attend the Witchery “Spirit of Now” SS15 runway show and it was a pleasant reminder that summer is on the way! I was taken backstage to preview the new make-up collection by Witchery and also talked through the hair looks by the Aveda hair team.

Make Up was directed by one of my favourite artists, Kellie Stratton, whose covers you might just recognise!

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Image courtesy of The Artist Group

Inspired by Lauren Hutton, Kellie Stratton designed a beautiful bronze ’70s-inspired look that I think anyone could wear this spring/summer because it was so light and fresh. Hooray for I’m a bit lazy and or low maintenance simple chic SS15 make-up!

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Effortless chic make-up designed by Kellie Stratton for Witchery SS15 runway show. Image courtesy of La Tessa Photography.

Here’s a look at the make-up collection used backstage.

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L to R: Gel Nail Polish in “Taupe”, Lip Gloss Wand in “Shell”, Lipsticks in “Dusty Pink” and “Nougat”, Eyebrow Pencil in “Blonde” and “Brunette”, Fibrelash Mascara in black, Cheek Palettes in “Crimson” and “Sorbet”, Eye Shimmer Pots in “Quartz” and “Sahara”, Bronzer in “Sahara”, Eye Palette in “Hazel” and kabuki brush.

Standouts for me were:

The Bronzer

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Witchery Bronzer in “Sahara” – Non-orange, not too shimmery, great pigment and easy to blend.

The Mascara

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Witchery Fibrelash Mascara – can be layered over and over again without clogging.

The Eyeshadow Palettes

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The eyeshadow palettes: great pigment, minimal fallout, great blending power, modern shades

This is what the full range looks like and you can click here to shop the look or find out more about the make-up.

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The Witchery Make Up range

Directing hair was renowned session stylist Alan White for Aveda. Alan and his team created two different looks, both giving a nod to late 70s/early 80s.

The first look was “nonchalant poolside hair” and I love the contrasts of textures in this style .

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Undone but without flyaways, shine without the weight, loose waves but polished.
Photos courtesy of La Tessa Photography and Aveda.

The second look was “a slightly 80s architectural top knot” that worked well when styled with the new Witchery Balance activewear.

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Sleek and simple so as to keep modern and avoid looking too retro.
Photos courtesy of La Tessa Photography and Aveda.

Then I got to take my seat and watch the show come together.

It was great to see some familiar faces on the runway (and had to resist the urge to wave!).

Walking for Vivien’s was the lovely Woan Ni.

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With whom I worked on this editorial.

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“The Seidler Garage” for Cellophane Magazine.

And also walking for Vivien’s was Ben…

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Who provided us with plenty of entertainment for this editorial.

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“Heat in the City” for Absorb Magazine.

Back to the runway…

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Some of my highlights

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The finale

Stylist at Elevate Styling and fashion assistant at Woman’s Day, Orla Molloy had this to say:

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Orla’s standout pieces were the white slouchy tuxedo and espadrille style flat sandals and says that the colour palette of crisp white, nudes and a touch of indigo will blend seamlessly into our current wardrobes. Couldn’t agree more Orla, always a welcome face at Sonia Allen Make Up.

I left this show feeling really inspired for Spring/Summer 2015 and I love the direction that both Alan and Kellie took the hair and make-up styling.  And I may have already revamped some of my wardrobe at Witchery… multiple times.

Which product are you now wanting to try out?  What was your favourite runway look?  Leave me your comments below.

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