Author Archives: Sonia Allen

Limerence Editorial- Wedding makeup meets fashion

Weddings and fashion… Who says the two can’t mix?  Limerence is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person (queue butterflies).  It’s also the name of our latest styled bridal shoot.

I loved working on this shoot because I got to combine elements of fashion hair and makeup styles with this poolside chic wedding.  Skincare and makeup breakdown at the end.

Enjoy!

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Sonia Allen Makeup styled bridal editorial wedding stationery

Stationery by Terrace Press, Calligraphy by Better Together Paper, Jewellery by Kerry Rocks Jewellery.

Sonia Allen Makeup styled bridal editorial table setting and wedding ring

Sonia Allen Makeup styled bridal editorial wedding lingerie table setting and bridal flowers

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Fashion inspired wedding makeup and hair by Sonia Allen, gown by Rue de Seine at The Bridal Atelier.

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Sonia Allen Makeup styled bridal editorial loose textured waves

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Fashion inspired wedding makeup, hair and nails by Sonia Allen, gown by Rue de Seine at The Bridal Atelier.

Wedding makeup and bridal updo hair by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

A rope-twist bridal updo with floral embellisment by Sonia Allen, florals by Oh Flora, gown by Rue de Seine at The Bridal Atelier.

Sonia Allen Makeup styled bridal editorial bridal updo with flowers

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Fashion inspired wedding makeup and hair by Sonia Allen, Rennes top by Sarah Seven with Tilly skirt Theia Couture from The Bridal Atelier.

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Because who doesn’t love a topknot!

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

Wedding makeup by Sonia Allen Makeup artist Sydney

SKINCARE BREAKDOWN

For the skincare I used the Hylamide Low-Molecular HA serum to hydrate the skin. I skipped moisturiser and followed with the Deciem Pore Delete primer to even out the skin texture.  Hylamide is available from Priceline and online at Adore Beauty.

Sonia Allen Makeup uses Hylamide by Deciem for the skincare for the wedding makeup look

WEDDING MAKEUP BREAKDOWN

Base- Marc Jacobs Genius Gel Super-Charged Oil-Free Foundation (available from Sephora Australia, $69) for slight coverage with a beautiful glowing finish.

Sonia Allen Makeup uses Marc Jacobs foundation for the wedding makeup look

Highlighter- My current favourite, the Marc Jacobs Glow Stick Glistening Illuminator applied with fingers anywhere I wanted to pick up light- the cheekbones, brow bone, cupid’s bow and décolletage (available from Sephora Australia, $38) .

Sonia Allen Makeup uses Marc Jacobs highlighter for the wedding makeup look

Blush-  Always a fan of cream blush for how it melts seamlessly into the skin, I used Korean brand 3ce Cream Blusher (Sephora Australia, $25) and set it with a light dusting of the Marc Jacobs Air Blush powder (Sephora Australia, $39).

 

Sonia Allen Makeup uses 3ce and Marc Jacobs Air Blush for the wedding makeup look

Lipstick- What is already a staple in my own arsenal this festive season, I used the Lip & Cheek Stain by The Body Shop ($24.95). A brilliant formula that never dries and gives the most beautiful finish.  Comes in a variety of shades and you can layer it to achieve the desired intensity.

Sonia Allen Makeup uses Body Shop Lip & Cheek Stain for the lipstick for the wedding makeup

I hope you enjoyed our Limerence bridal editorial.  If wedding makeup inspiration is what you’re looking for, then you might also like the following posts:

Sonia Allen Makeup wedding makeup and hair for Bridal Series Sydney featuring Rhonda Hemmingway

When I created this look for our editorial with wedding gown designer Rhonda Hemmingway on The Bridal Series Sydney.

 

Sonia Allen Makeup wedding makeup and hair for Bridal Series Sydney featuring Karen Willis Holmes

Or this look for our Bridal Series Sydney editorial with designer Karen Willis Holmes.

For all wedding makeup enquiries, please click here to get in touch with the team.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Sonia Allen for The Beauty Bible

I wrote this article for The Beauty Bible and I’d love to share it on here with you too, it’s about brands innovating in the beauty industry, something I’m very passionate about as I have a low tolerance for BS and BS claims.

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Strobing, chroming, baking, faking… It seems every day there is a new beauty “trend” sweeping its way across the Internet. But are these so called “trends” really relevant to the modern woman? Or would we benefit more by staying informed of exciting advancements to skincare and technology and incorporating these into our beauty regimes instead? There are so many great brands at the moment innovating some phenomenal products and ingredients rather than selling trends. Brands like 3ina, Gilded Cage and Deciem the Abnormal Beauty Company.

Deciem The Abnormal Beauty Company

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Deciem is a concept in itself. It’s a boutique (stores in Toronto and soon to launch in Melbourne, Sydney and Seoul)…

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And an umbrella of different functional beauty brands: Hylamide, Niod & White Rx (skincare), Hand Chemistry (hand and body care), Fountain (beauty supplements), Hif (haircare), AB Crew (mens fitness and grooming) and Inhibitif (hair removal).

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The brands which fall under the Deciem umbrella

 

Their approach to beauty is to deliver the latest technology in beauty and skincare into the best formulations possible. CEO Nicola Kilner explains, “technology in beauty and skincare has moved on and it’s really important to continue to innovate. If Apple introduced an iPhone today to remain as it is for the next 10 years, they wouldn’t survive. In beauty, somehow formulations remain on the market for up to 40 years without people questioning if they’re using 40-year-old technology. Skincare technologies have advanced so far yet most skincare brands are still using very old formulations based on old technologies in shiny packages.”

Deciem get around this by doing everything in house, which allows them to deliver new technologies to market quicker than most competitors. Kilner explains, “our bio-chemists, designers and product creators are all under one roof. We have no layers and loops to jump through to move forward, meaning the speed of our delivery model is second to none.”

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I asked Kilner to explain how the Deciem brands innovate in an industry often saturated by “trends” that aren’t necessarily realistic or relatable to the 2016 woman (and man!) and it all comes down to sustainable health.

“There will be a significant shift from causing damage for instant gratification (for example- heat styling) to encouraging hair health and repair for longer term gain. The current mentality is ‘How do I look best immediately’ and the answer is to use instant benefit products. This will lead to irreversible damage of the hair. The mentality will shift to “How do I maximize my hair health so I can look better always?”

These trends are all merging into the same trend to shape the future of beauty. The focus in all of these categories will turn to health – the health of our hair, the health of our skin, the health of our everything. Consumers will start to focus more on longevity than tomorrows result and quick fixes. We call our industry ‘health and beauty’ but it really has to be health. You can’t have beauty without health, they are one.”

Standout Products

From the Hylamide range, I am a big fan of the Photography Foundation and C25 Booster. The Photography Foundation is one of those beautiful products that you can use a million different ways. While it doesn’t exactly provide coverage, you can wear it on its own (layered over or mixed with moisturiser) for days where you want a glow (and I’m not talking disco ball, no glitter in sight!), pore minimisation and a bit of colour correction. You can also mix it into your foundation or tinted moisturiser to make use of the beautiful finish and ingredients. Photography Foundation is available from Priceline at $29.99.

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Hylamide Photography Foundation by Deciem.

The C25 Booster is one of the best Vitamin C serums you’ll find on the market as it has been formulated with a truly stable Vitamin C at a great concentration to target dullness, uneven tone and textural irregularities. Layered under moisturiser once or twice a day and your skin will say thank you in radiance.  Great to use in the months leading up to big events or holidays, when you really need your skin looking its best!  C25 Booster is also available at Priceline for $49.99.

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Hylamide C25 Booster by Deciem

From The Chemistry Brand, I always carry a Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex Hand Cream in my handbag because it ticks all the boxes- instant hydration without greasiness, subtle fresh fragrance, anti-ageing ingredients and lightweight compact packaging. Available from Priceline at $13.99.

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Hand Chemistry Intense Youth Complex (hand cream) by Deciem.

And finally from the NIOD range, the Copper Amino Isolate Serum (available online from Adore Beauty, $90) is one of the most impressive cocktails of cutting edge ingredients that pretty much keeps the skin in a constant state of repair. Used as the first step after cleansing, before any other skincare either once or twice a day. Also the packaging is incredibly chic and modern for those who enjoy looking at a stylish bathroom cabinet/shelf.

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NIOD Copper Amino Isolate Serum Activator by Deciem

Gilded Cage

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Gilded Cage is a new Australian makeup brand that focuses on celebrating individual beauty, where there is no “one size fits all” format. The products are designed in Paris and made in Italy and include cream eyeshadows, lipstick and lipglosses.

Founder Rhys Williams set out to create products that highlight women’s singularities, the things that set them apart from others and explains, “Gilded Cage is a glorifier of singularities: it protects and highlights them in the most beautiful way. There are so many ways to be beautiful which is why we believe that smooth, commercial beauty is boring”.

Standout Products

The Revelation Eyeshadows (available online from Gilded Cage, $38) are beautiful cream eyeshadows that come in ten timeless shades. Worn on their own for a sheer finish or layered underneath powder eyeshadow when you want more punch, there is a lot of flexibility with how you can use them. The felt tip applicator makes applying the cream a two-second job and they are very long wearing. Nice and compact, these have become a firm staple in my pro kit.

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Revelation Eyeshadow by Gilded Cage

3ina

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You can’t help but pay attention when a brand claims, “makeup should enhance rather than alter” which is the exact message European 3ina is putting out. Pronounced “mina” and co-founded by dynamic duo Pablo Rivera and Mark Eve. Neither had a background in fashion or beauty when they set out to create 3ina and they explained to me that this worked in their favour when designing their range, “when you’re not from a fashion background, you don’t have preconceptions of what is and isn’t possible to do in the industry. We broke all the rules in the industry when meeting with producers to discuss formulas or packaging”. And break the rules they did. The range has 450 products across six different categories (eyes, lips, face, nails, skincare and tools) with vibrant and experimental shades forming the heart of the brand.

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The flagship 3ina store in Covent Garden, London.

 

It’s refreshing to discover a brand that is playful yet accessible to the majority of women. You might not want to try a yellow or pink mascara, but then there’s 448 other products to choose from. There are currently two stores in Melbourne (as well as stores in London, Greece, Italy and Malta) and they’re only just getting started.

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Love everything about 3ina’s approach beauty!

Standout Products

The Pen Eyeliner is one of the best liquid liners I have tried. They spent a long time getting the formula and packaging right and the result is a waterproof satin finish that doesn’t drag across eyelids, so no more wobbles when you’re trying to wing that liner! Available online from 3ina ($12.95) or in the Melbourne stores (Cheltenham and CBD).

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The pen eyeliner by 3ina

The Highlighter comes in two shades (pink and gold) and delivers a glow that looks like creamy skin ($16.95).

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The highlighter by 3ina

The Micellar Gel is an alternative to micellar water for anyone with sensitive, acne-prone or broken skin as it removes makeup quickly without the need to rub at the skin. Poured straight onto a cotton wool pad, it removes all traces of makeup without leaving an oily residue ($10.95).

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The Micellar Gel by 3ina

And there you have it, no crazy contour techniques, no ridiculous claims, no over-inflated prices and no animal testing.  Instead, a fresh approach to product development and beauty innovation… and quite frankly, that’s refreshing.  Be sure to check out The Beauty Bible for more product reviews and beauty advice.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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“Wakeful Wanting” an editorial for iMute Magazine

Hi fives all round for my team on this editorial for iMute Magazine’s Summer 15 issue!  Welcome to “Wakeful Wanting”…

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I’m particularly proud of shoot as I produced this editorial with the help of my all star team:

Photography: Angela Rose (who you may remember shot The Bridal Series Sydney with me!)

Creative Director, Hair & Makeup: me! using skincare by Deciem the Abnormal Beauty Company, makeup by MAC, and hair by Label M

Wardrobe Stylist: Maie Dionisio featuring  fashion by Agent Provocateur, La Perla, Maison Close, Max Black, La Fille Do, El Minara, Ginia, Witchery, Peachoo & Krejberg, La Senza, Chantelle, Stella McCartney, Rosalynn Win, Baci & Sant Elia

Model: Tessa at Chic Management
Floristry & Prop Stylist: Oak & Linden
Videography: Le Motion
Location: Studio Neon

We also filmed a beautiful fashion video to accompany this editorial which is definitely worth a watch (and guaranteed to spice up these cold winter nights!).

A celebration of femininity, sensuality and wakeful wanting.

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If you want to know what it was like being on set at this shoot, here’s the behind-the-scenes video of us doing our thing…

If you’re a fan of my work, you might like to see other editorials I’ve worked on by clicking here and here or here.

I would love to know what your favourite shot from the “Wakeful Wanting” editorial is!  Leave me comments below or questions about the products used to create the look and I’ll be sure to reply.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Why we all need to facial…

You know your list… we all have it… the “one day I will…” list? Well on my list somewhere between catch up on Game of Thrones so I can join in on conversations in society and learn how to make Jerk Chicken the authentic way, it said, “get a facial”.  Why? Because I never do. Not because I don’t believe in them, on the contrary I have seen first hand the difference they can make (I’ll get to that part later). But because I used to think I would just manage with skincare and a balanced diet.  But my clients are always asking me to recommend facialists in Sydney and so I thought I better try for myself first. And then I had a facial. The MOTHER of all facials. Like your best friend who can’t keep a secret, let me fill you in on why I gave it a million out of ten and like your other best friend who talks to everybody, enjoy my chat with skincare gurus behind the facial and the products, Natasha and Jess from Vigour Skin Therapy.

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Graphic courtesy of fashion illustrator Aaron Favaloro as commissioned for Vigour Skin Therapy.

I booked for my facial with Natasha Duarte Skin at her beautiful Gladesville treatment room. I was treated to tea and a full skin consultation before we commenced treatment. As someone who used to work in hospitals in the medical health industry, I was very impressed by the level of detail in the consultation and by Natasha’s knowledge of skin health and body wellbeing. I immediately knew I was in good hands and couldn’t wait to try her signature facial using products from her organic skincare Vigour Skin Therapy range.

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Images courtesy of Vigour Skin Therapy

My facial was SO relaxing I didn’t want it to end. Not the kind of relaxing that only lasts for 5 minutes until you get up and life slaps you back in the face. The kind of relaxing where you are floating on air for days afterwards. Really. I never expected the stress relief and relaxation component of the facial to be as powerful as it was. After my treatment not only did my skin glow (literally, I went to an event that night… sans foundation!) but I felt like I had just discarded excess tension and nervous energy I didn’t even know I was carrying around… oh and my skin glowed and it looked really amazing… did I mention that part?

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Who else used to watch this show? I do love Lucy!

A veteran of 15 years in the beauty scene, it was inspiring and refreshing to learn from Natasha.  I learned things about my own skin and how to better take care of it and so I decided to feature Jess and Natasha in this post because I think what they do is wonderful and we could all do with a dose of wonderful in our lives.

Also I ask some pretty honest questions in the interview- the stuff we all want to know but may get overwhelmed by all the misinformation out there. Makeup artists, brides-to-be, models, awesome friends who read my blog and everyone else- listen and learn!

 

Why do you think it is important to have regular facials?

In healthy skin, cells turnover roughly every 28 days. So approximately after one month, the cells that have been treated and improved by the professional applications and processes during the facial and are able to come to the surface where the nucleus dies. 

Treating the skin to monthly exposure of a professional service creates a permanent maintenance that doesn’t allow the cells to regress and slows down future damage. It also teaches the skin how to fire at all cylinders, igniting the functions within the skin to work at their optimum. Basically, home care is your diet and we are your skin’s personal trainer!

“Home care is your diet and we are your skin’s personal trainer…”  Brilliant!  Wish someone had told me this years ago.

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What is the one key skin myth you wish people didn’t believe?  How do we set them straight?

TASH: One of the biggest myths is that the more expensive or the more notoriety a product has the better it is. Not true! It’s all about the ingredient content and the percentage of those ingredients. You want a high amount of good quality content that is specific to your skin type and conditions with minimal chemicals. There is no one wonder in a jar. What’s good for one skin can actually be a hindrance to another. So get a consultation if you’re unsure!

JESS: A lot of people ask why they need a serum if they are already using a moisturiser? My easiest explanation to help people understand what the difference is: serum is like fertilising the garden implanting deep slow release nutrients and moisturiser is like watering the garden quenching the soil with hydration.

So the take home messages:

  • Know your ingredients and which ones your skin needs/doesn’t need… Big budgets don’t necessarily equal big results; and
  • Use a serum. It’s like fertiliser for your skin while moisturiser is your hydration.

Dollar Bills

 

What is your favourite product from your Vigour Skin Therapy range and why?  

This is a hard one because we love them all but the Organic Jojoba Oil Cleanser really deserves a special mention.

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It is the first step within the vigour rituals, removing the day, rebalancing the skin and allowing you to take a moment whist you massage it in and warm compress it off. Jojoba oil is the closest to our skin’s own natural oil (sebum) which means it is able to regulate a breakout prone skin, protect and strengthen a sensitive skin and/or nourish a dry skin. It will give you the deepest clean you’ve ever experienced as its emulsifying properties are second to none, being able to even remove water proof mascara.

It can also be used for purposes other than cleansing…. Including as a oil press in the evening (especially in the winter), a cuticle oil, as a nourishing weekly oil application for the scalp prior to washing and to apply before body brushing to name a few. We love it so much it is an ingredient showcased throughout our range of products.

The jojoba cleanser was used in my facial and I luuuuurved it! A nicer alternative to over-priced mineral oil cleansers and I love the fact that it’s multi-use.

 

FOR PRO MAKEUP ARTISTS, which product do you think is key for us to carry in our kits and why?

The Repair Conditioner

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This product is an all-in-one for both skin prep and setting and refreshing makeup. 

It can be used to on-the-spot to cleanse the skin by spraying onto cotton disks and wiping across the face. Repeated, this step really helps to minimise the pores, wipe away grime, excess oil and surface dead skin whilst boosting the skin’s hydration and antioxidant levels. It leaves the skin really clean and hydrated. Due to it being laced with chamomile it is extremely calming and anti-redness. Once makeup is applied, it can be lightly spritzed over the top to set powder. It’s also great for the artist to spray over their own face during long days on set and onto their brushes.

I bought this Skin Conditioner after my facial as I was looking for a great setting spray (that wasn’t just water in a can!). I used it on myself then it went straight into my pro kit (then back into my bathroom then back into my pro kit!). I now have ONE product that I can use to cleanse and hydrate skin during skin prep and to refresh and set makeup with. It smells amazing and I also love the fact that it works on even the most sensitive of skins. WINNING.

I also love the Organic Lip Slather as it is multiuse- a lip balm (non-sticky!), highlighter, skin sheen where needed.

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FOR BRIDES, which product do you think is key to invest in and why?

Renewal Mask & Exfoliation Hybrid

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Prepping for any special occasion can be a busy time let alone the “big day”. The exfoliating hybrid is a bit of a multitasking superhero and that’s just what you are after when in the midst of organising a wedding. This product instantly brightens, exfoliates, hydrates and deep cleanses all in one. It’s a perfect twice weekly pick me up to keep the skin healthy and in check as well as quickening the cell renewal cycle to create that beautiful bridal glow. This product creates an instant result after just one application but with regular use it will chip away at the conditions of the skin that are trying to be eradicated, creating the perfect canvas especially for makeup application on your day.

Brides- get on it!!!

 

FOR MODELS (who regularly have makeup applied and removed and re-applied throughout the course of one day), which product do you think is key to invest in and why?

A triple answer is required here…

1) Revive Treatment Cleanser
2) Renewal Mask & Exfoliation Hybrid

3) Radiance Elixir Marine Collagen and Seaweed Extract Complex

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They definitely should invest in a good cleansing routine. The Revive Treatment Cleanser will remove day-to-day build up quickly and can be used conveniently in the shower or in between looks if a sink is available. Exfoliating is paramount for keeping the skin smooth and ready for makeup application to provide the perfect canvas. Just prior to a shoot our radiance serum will brighten and hydrate the skin and can be used around the eyes to dissipate puffiness and dark circles as well as naturally plump up the lips with its star ingredient collagen.

And finally the question I like to ask everyone who appears on this blog…

What is your favourite part of your job?

Unlocking someone’s knowledge of their own skin so they can then continue on the path to ultimate skin health long term. It is not just the on the spot result but healing the skin from within. We are all about creating escapism and wellbeing. Each facet of the facial is a sensory journey making sure mind body and spirit (and skin!) all leave feeling rejuvenated.

Mission accomplished ladies!  Thank you so much for sharing your products and knowledge with me.  I can’t wait to see you for my next facial!

Vigour Skin Therapy products can be purchased online at the website.

To book a facial with Natasha in Gladesville, you can contact her via:

Mobile: 0410 378 070
Email: hello@ndskin.com.au

And to book a facial with Jess in Balmain, you can contact her via:

Mobile: 0411 357 162
Email: hello@vigourskintherapy.com.au

If you wish to know any more about the products, treatments or facials offered by Natasha and Jess, please leave your questions or comments below.  Also feel free to let me know your best facial experience and we can compare notes.  Now I’m off to watch that last GoT episode!

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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MBFWA 2016 Highlights

Camaraderie, creativity, entertainment, good beats, innovation, champagne and excitement! This year I was invited to cover Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) for this blog and for next month’s (June) issue of Citizen Magazine. A first for me.  Opportunities are opportunities and I’m always game for new challenges. And so I attended what turned out to be a big week of Australian talent being showcased and a week of fun at Sydney’s Carriageworks.  Here’s my recap and highlights.

All photos courtesy of my pal Enrico Becker unless otherwise stated.

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From the Maticevski opening show.

Prior to attending the shows, I gave a lot of thought about how I wanted to report on MBFWA. What do people really want to know? I asked my friends who don’t work in the industry and also those who do. What would be interesting to read about? Does anyone actually care what the latest “trend” is or do we only care because mainstream media tells us to?… Is it perhaps more interesting to dispel the myths about an industry so frequently criticised and stereotyped… What really goes on backstage?…

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The hair and makeup from Maticevski.

Not sure I wanted to take any of those angles, I kept an open mind throughout the week and chatted to as many stylists/models/designers/PR people/makeup artists/hairstylists/photographers and guests as possible, hoping somewhere along the way an idea would come to me. And it did. Because I had a really fun week. For so many reasons… And that is what I would love to share.  In 7 points…

1) CELEBRATION

It felt great to be able to celebrate with and support all the hard work of my peers. From watching a childhood friend debut her jewellery label on the Zhivago Runway…

“The best part of Fashion Week was seeing El Minara on the runway. To think that one year ago I was learning jewellery making in the grand bazaar in Istanbul and now it is in Australia’s most prestigious fashion event… It was a real moment to see how far I have come.”
-Reema from El Minara

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(Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

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(Photo by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

To seeing models I’ve worked with in the past lighting up the runway and having fun backstage…

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Backstage at Emma Mulholland, Vivien’s model Woan Ni (right) told me her fashion week highlights included the “mega makeover at Emma Mulholland, being blinged up with Swarovski at Tome and working with old and new friends”.

And watching friends star in fashion films…

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Five Twenty Management’s Kirsty (left) starring in Marie Schuller’s ‘Three Women Arrive’ fashion film which screened at Fashion Week and showcased three Australian designers.

Kirsty said her fondest memory was the vibe at Carriageworks.

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“There were so many different styles and trends happening that there was always something to see. I could have people watched for an eternity!”

2) THE BEATS

I often say if I wasn’t a makeup artist I’d be a DJ and boy was the music phenomenal this year! Something for everyone-  LL Cool J sampled with Vanilla Ice(!), Salt-N-Pepa, Stormzy, What So Not, The White Lamp, Gesaffelstein and even Marilyn Manson made an appearance.   Thanks DJ Sveta and DJ Sam Francisco for keeping my Shazam app very active during shows!

And then there was my personal favourite, so catchy it became my theme song of the week, Riton & Kah-Lo’s Rinse & Repeat. You know the one…

“Time to make the club go up, time to shut the club down

This is not how I woke up, but it’s how I look now”…

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Some of the artists on my playlist courtesy of MBFW 2016! Images courtesy of Soundcloud.

3) BACKSTAGE BUZZ

Backstage is where the magic happens before it happens some more on the runway. Hanging backstage and watching the final touches come together was fun, nothing like the adrenalin rush of backstage.

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4) LEARNING SOMETHING NEW

Attending shows with my good friend and Creative Director of Elevate Styling, Orla Molloy, I loved cross-checking our highlights from each show because obviously we both approach fashion from different perspectives. Molloy is all about the clothes, I’m all about the highlight. Jokes aside, it was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Australian designers and their collections. I now have a shopping list the size of my arm.

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Creative Director of Elevate Styling, Orla Molloy and Fashion Week buddy.

 5) PHENOMENAL PRODUCTION VALUE

The production value on some of the shows was enough to rival London’s West End.

My personal favourite was at Zhivago where they breathed life into cult classic 1992 film Death Becomes Her. Creative Director Matt Jordan (Mother Father PR) enlisted choreographer Porter James to open the show with a riveting cabaret act (performed by theatre starlet Christie Whelan-Browne), who backed by a troupe of male dancers, performed a modernised arrangement of “I See Me” from the film.

Touted as a subversive adaptation, set in the digital age, ZHIVAGO’s Death Becomes Her has been labelled as “examination of fashion and beauty through the fractured lens of social media”. – Zhivago, 2016

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6) THE INNOVATORS

The new faces of Australian Fashion. So fresh and too cool. Known as The Innovators, the six graduates from prestigious Fashion Design Studio showcased their collections and I can’t thank them enough for daring to be different and for giving me so many WOW moments.

My top four designers…

Kakopierosa collection designed to create an immaterial reaction/emotion within the subject.   

Take a moment to admire these works of art.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

And the facial adornments- designed by Demetra Kakopieros and brought to life by German jewellery designer Lisa KW.  Models had to have numbing cream applied prior to the attachments.  Now that’s dedication to your craft.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Oxblood- the “Revolt” collection was based on the concept of a “second movement”, a second punk movement (yes please!). Dreaming into the future of what this second uprising, mutiny or riot would look like, how the young “hooligans” would dress in defiance and what technologies they would use. 

This collection had me dying to go back to London, tame my mane into a mohawk and get amongst it!

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

Jessica Vanoffered quirky womenswear, with transitional evening pieces and focused on natural textiles and textures. Her collection “Experiment 1” showcased the exploration of the Australian desert and native bushland using hand painted print work.

Draping to die for!

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

IpsenPain and constriction disguised by beauty is the inspiration for this collection. The concept was explored throughout the collection within the textures and techniques of the garments.

Adore and admire.

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(Photos by Stefan Gosatti/Getty Images)

7) PARTY TIME!

And finally, Fashion Week was a great opportunity to see so many people I had worked with. When you’re a freelancer, you don’t go to an office or designated workspace every day and you don’t see the same people 9-5pm. Every day is different. So from a social aspect, this was like a week-long Christmas party. No one needs to ask me twice!

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And that’s a wrap! If you want to know more about the fashion and beauty from the runway, keep your eye out for next month’s issue of Citizen Mag where I’ll be recapping all the key looks.  As always, feel free to leave and comments or questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Sant Elia ‘Taken by the Sky’ Resort 17 Campaign Shoot

They say sharing is caring, so I’m going to share one of my favourite campaign shoots. Bringing someone’s collection to life and creating imagery that captures the essence of the designs is in my opinion, what a campaign shoot is all about. I recently had the privilege of being asked by Stephanie from SE by Sant Elia to design the makeup for their resort 17 collection, “Taken by the Sky”. A collection that is all about “1970s boho luxury with an effortless twist, European vintage glam and free spirits, reinterpreted into modern and relevant shapes” this is what we created.

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This was shot in a motel that looked like it had been The team behind this shoot comprised:

Photography: Jason Henley // Stylist: Jana Bartolo // Hair: Nathan Cherrington // Makeup: Sonia Allen // Model: Pauline from Chic Management // Creative Direction: Mother Father PR

I loved so many pieces of this collection and my wish list kept growing as the day progressed! I asked Stephanie who she had in mind when she was designing and she told me that she wanted to create a wardrobe of wearable yet show-stopping occasion pieces, that were luxurious and flattering on the female figure.

“The collection has a touch of cheekiness, it’s for a woman who likes to get noticed but doesn’t take herself too seriously”.

My favourite from the collection was the The Edge of Seventeen jumpsuit while for Steph it was the lace co-ord pant and top set from the “Bird in Flight” story which only just last week spotted being worn by Ally from Substance Style Blog to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Sydney.

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Photography by Sebastian Petrovski and image courtesy of Broadsheet Sydney.

For the makeup I created a look that I like to call “undone glamour” which took influence from the 1970s but is wearable for the modern woman. The skin was creamy and glowing, the cheekbones illuminated, the eyes were metallic golden amber with lots and lots of lashes and liquid liner. Brows were groomed and defined while lips were a mix of pink and brown lipstick blended with Egyptian Magic balm.

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For the skin I used the Hylamide SubQ Anti-age serum for that lit from within glow, the Natralus Pawpaw Lip Butter to prep and condition the lips and the Jane Iredale Pommisst Hydrating Spray to refresh the makeup throughout the day. For the complexion I used the Touch In Sol Feels Like Honeymoon Primer for the most wonderful surge of moisture, the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser and the Jane Iredale Enlighten Concealer to brighten under the eyes. For the lips it was the Avon Luxe Lipsticks in “Nude Citrino” & “Diamante Rosa”  mixed together with some Egyptian Magic balm for that perfect cream texture.

You can follow the SE by Sant Elia label on Instagram or get in touch via the website.

I loved being part of this campaign shoot and I hope you enjoyed reading how it all came together.  Please let me know if you have any questions about the products used or how I worked with them. Now I’m off to do some shopping!

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Ceramides in Skincare

If you read this blog or know I that I come from a scientific background, you’ll know I don’t buy into fads or marketing jargon when it comes to skincare. However sometimes just sometimes, companies get it right. Recently I discovered the Beauty Aid Cream by Korean brand Touch in Sol. I was intrigued by the molecule which appeared on the packaging and asked my chemistry PhD friend to tell me what it was. Turns out it’s ceramide-3 and it’s the good type of ceramide. Not sure what ceramides are or what makes this one so good (or frankly, how it’s relevant to life)?  Winter is coming, you’re going to want to know. Keep reading!

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Where the idea for this post all started! Image courtesy of Priceline.

The science of ceramides in a lovely infographic I prepared earlier:

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With winter approaching, most people suffer more with dehydrated skin and dry skin lacking moisture. A good time to invest in a moisturiser to address these needs and ceramides can help.

So how do we know if the ceramides found in our skincare are indeed mixed in the correct ratio in order to be effective in skincare?

Short answer- you can’t really.

Say What

Ceramides are good moisturisers but may not be any better than regular lotions (including the less expensive petrolatum!) unless correctly formulated and the way ceramides are listed in ingredient list still won’t tell you.

Loosely speaking, ceramides can appear in ingredient lists as:

Ceramide 1, Ceramide 2, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 4, Ceramide 5, Ceramide 6, Ceramide 7, Ceramide 8, Ceramide 9, Ceramide E

Or in much more complicated nomenclature ie- moCETYL-PG HYDROXYETHYL PALMITAMIDE (cuz we’d all know what that was!)

More helpful answer- trial and error!

Trialling is the only way you will know whether the ceramide-containing-moisturiser is making a difference to your skin or whether the product is unfortunately just a marketing con.

Here are my top three tried-and-tested picks.

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1) TOUCH IN SOL BEAUTY AID CREAM

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Image courtesy of Priceline.

Why I like it:

  • Been using this one in my kit quite a lot lately. It’s been a big hit because of its texture, divine smell and for the immediate relief it provides for those with drier or dehydrated skin types.
  • Also a fabulous base for makeup no matter which complexion product you layer over the top.
  • Suitable for those with sensitive skin.
  • Oh and I like the packaging- gym bag, travel bag, kit bag and airplane friendly yeehaa!

Key Ingredients:

Ceramide 3 (skin enhancer) / Bifida ferment lysate (antioxidant) / Portulaca oleracea extract (skin calming) / Biosaccharide gum-1(moisturiser) / 5 types of vegetable extract / Shea butter (hydrating)

Availability:

$49.99 from Priceline

2) AVÈNE EAU THERMALE RICH COMPENSATING CREAM

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Image courtesy of Avène.

Why I like it:

  • Because it’s rich in texture but not greasy and is able to be easily absorbed by the skin.
  • Beautiful subtle fragrance.
  • Great option for skiing, sitting in aircon/central heating, air travel.
  • Great for mature skin also.

Key Ingredients:

Biocymentine (ceramides+plant sterols+fatty acids = winning combo!) / Pre-tocopheryl (Vit E a powerful antioxidant) / Glycerin (hydrating)

Availability:

$62.99 from Priceline

$46.39 from Chemist Warehouse

3) FIRST AID BEAUTY ULTRA REPAIR CREAM

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Image courtesy of Sephora.

 

Why I like it:

  • I probably prefer this one more for the body rather than for the face (although it can be used for the face also)
  • Soothing and calming for itchy skin or skin that suffers eczema
  • Not tested on animals

Key Ingredients:

Ceramide 3 (in this case teamed with the fatty acid stearic acid) / Glycerin (hydrating) / Glycerin (hydrating) / Colloidal Oatmeal (calming and soothing) / Shea Butter (hydrating) / Green Tea extract (antioxidant)

Availability:

$58 from Sephora

Hope this article helped dispel some myths and you’ve now got your eye on a new winter moisturiser. If you want to know more about the use of ceramides in skincare or about the products mentioned in this post, please feel free to leave me any questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Bridal Series Sydney: ADAM DIXON

Drawing to a close, the final designer in The Bridal Series Sydney is Woollahra’s Adam Dixon.

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All photography is by Natasha Foster.

Stepping into Adam Dixon’s Woollahra boutique is like being transported into 18th Century Paris. A keen eye for interiors as well as design, Adam Dixon’s self-styled boutique is ethereal, eclectic and an ode to forgotten grandeur. An impressive array of antiques collected over the years, furniture, homewares, fabrics, textures and colours… every glance reveals another secret.

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Adam Dixon grew up painting and drawing as a child. It was no surprise when his grandmother bought him a sewing machine at the age of 14, that Adam knew it was his calling

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Adam’s portrait was taken by Julia Pavel for this blog series.

He went on to study a Diploma of Arts/Fashion in Brisbane and moved to Sydney 20 years ago where he started his first business in evening wear. Six years ago Adam transitioned into designing and creating couture wedding gowns and combined his love of interiors by also branching into homewares, gift registry, scented French candles, furniture, lighting and mirrors.

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Inspired by old classic movies and Hollywood starlets from bygone eras like Greta Garbo, Adam says working with clients and meeting interesting people at a wonderful time in their life is one of the favourite parts of his job.

His approach to designing is very organic and he finds inspiration by truly living in the moment and embracing whatever comes his way, “an idea, a fabric sample, chaos…”. Adam explains that all of his gowns are custom made with an average of 5-6 fittings, or “as many as it takes”.

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Adam Dixon’s couture gowns.

“Fun loving women who know who they are” is how Adam Dixon describes his brides. He tells me they are strong women who want to look the best version of themselves. His best advice to any woman deciding on her dress is to look at the occasion (are you getting married on a beach or in a castle?) and make sure it is to your taste.

Together with Natasha Foster behind the lens, Adam Dixon styling and our beautiful model Tanja from Ava Model Management this is what we created…

The highlights…

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For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click here.

And now for two minutes of fun with Adam Dixon…

What do you think about when you’re driving in your car?

I’m always singing!

How do you make a chicken sandwich?

Chicken, whole egg mayo, crushed walnuts, avocado.

Which two celebrities would you pick to be your parents?

Joan Rivers as a single parent.

What was the last photo you took with your phone?

Kevin my dog.

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A story about Adam’s boutique wouldn’t be complete without his  dog Kevin, who almost stole the show during our shoot!

Thank you Adam for taking part in The Bridal Series Sydney and for letting us shoot in your beautiful boutique.  You have a wonderful eye for detail and were great fun to profile.

You can follow Adam Dixon on Instagram and Facebook as well as visit his website for more information.  The boutique is located at 90 Queen Street, Woollahra NSW 2025.

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I hope you enjoyed this final post for The Bridal Series Sydney, a project very close to my heart.  If you missed any of the other designer’s profiled, you can find them in the links below:

The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

The Bridal Series Sydney: RHONDA HEMMINGWAY

The Bridal Series Sydney: MOIRA HUGHES

The Bridal Series Sydney: JENNIFER REGAN

The Bridal Series Sydney: MIRA MANDIC

And the dedicated hair and makeup posts for each designer here:

Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Rhonda Hemmingway: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Moira Hughes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Jennifer Regan: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Mira Mandic: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

As always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below.  Which was your favourite designer post and why?  Which makeup look or hairstyle featured in The Bridal Series Sydney would you be most keen to try?…

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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Adam Dixon: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

In this post I will talk through how I created the hair and makeup for Tanja, our model when I profiled Adam Dixon for The Bridal Series Sydney.

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A modern contemporary upstyle with a sleek finish was the vision I had when creating the hair for this shoot. Think Kate Middleton crossed with Emma Watson…

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Which looked a little something like this…

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And like this from the side…

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The key to achieving this style was building the volume while keeping the hair looking glossy and neat. To do this I worked the Label M Sleek Blow Out Cream into Tanja’s damp hair (works as a lightweight heat protector while sealing in moisture) and blowdried in the volume. I then tonged the hair into loose waves and applied the Soufflé to help define the curls once I brushed them out.

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In action!

Before constructing the shape of the upstyle, I backcombed the crown section for some extra height and sprinkled on the Resurrection Style Dust for maximum root lift- the ultimate styling product for building and maintaining volume and texture!

Once I finished pinning the style into place I set it with the Hairspray and finished with a light spray of Shine Mist.

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Tanja had oily combination skin and so I had to be careful not to use products that were too rich in texture for her skin. I used the Indeed Labs Hydraluron serum on the T-Zone in place of a moisturiser and then followed with the Hydraluron Moisture Jelly for the rest of the face.

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Skincare by Indeed Labs.

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I wanted to create a timeless makeup look to work alongside Adam Dixon’s gowns and I drew inspiration from the 1950s, in my opinion one of the most beautiful eras of makeup! Glowing skin, soft diffused shades of bronze and taupes on the eyes, lots of lashes and a bold lip. This look would be perfect for those who aren’t afraid of colour yet want a romantic look.

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I used the Make Up Forever Mattifying Primer along the T-Zone to prevent excess shine and then stippled the Face & Body Foundation, building in areas where Tanja needed more coverage. Imperfections were corrected using the Full Cover Concealer and then I set everything with the Super Matte Loose Powder (great for mattifying without losing the “creaminess” of the skin texture).

I highlighted cheekbones with the Star Powder (in 943 “with pink highlights”) and used the Sculpting Blush in “Orange Coral”.

For the eyes I used the Aqua Cream in “Taupe” as an eyeshadow base and set with powder eyeshadows in similar tones. I drew the winged liner with the Graphic Liner Pen and finished with generous lashings of the Aqua Smoky Lash mascara.

I took Tanja’s lips from matte berry (Lip Liner Pencil in “26 Dusty Pink” with Rouge Artist Intense “34 Matte Light Raspberry” over the top) to glossy berry (by adding the Glossy Full Couleur gloss in “7 Fresh Rose”) then to a matte red for the finale (Aqua Lip liner in “08C Red” with Rouge Artist Intense in “M8 Matte Bright Red” over the top).

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Tools of the trade with Make Up Forever.

For Tanja’s lashes, I used the Ardell Natural 117 black lashes to lengthen and thicken her natural lashes and bring balance to the overall look.

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Et voila!

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Hair and makeup by Sonia Allen using Make Up Forever, Indeed Labs and Label M.

I hope this post has left you inspired to try something new!  You might like to see which other products and techniques I used for the other the models in The Bridal Series Sydney:

Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Rhonda Hemmingway: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Moira Hughes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Jennifer Regan: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Mira Mandic: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

And that officially wraps The Bridal Series Sydney.  Thank you everyone who collaborated on this project.  I will forever be proud of what we created and hope it was enjoyed by all.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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The Bridal Series Sydney: MIRA MANDIC

This week’s designer for The Bridal Series Sydney is Double Bay’s Morgan Mandic of the Mira Mandic boutique.

 

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And was shot by the multi-talented Angela Rose Photography.

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When I first moved to Sydney, the Mira Mandic boutique was one of the first bridal labels that I really noticed. Such a prominent position on New South Head Road, something about this flagship space had me intrigued and naturally I wanted to know more.

And so I met Morgan Mandic…

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The first thing which grabbed me when I entered, was the décor of the boutique.  It has a very zen and almost meditative minimalist design with warm natural woods and plenty of space. It feels open, warm and airy and the gowns certainly take centre stage.

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For over two decades, the Mira Mandic design house has been one of Australia’s prominent bridal couturiers and I discussed this with now lead designer, Morgan Mandic.

How did you get started in design?

“My mother, Mira Mandic, was the original designer who created ‘Mira Mandic’ in 1994. She had a studio at home and I grew up constantly surrounded by her sketches and patterns, fabrics and laces, always mesmerized by the intricacies of her creations. After learning the craft from my mother, I became the head designer in 2009.”

Sharing a passion for travel, we talked about all the wonderful places we’d love to shoot editorials…

What is your favourite part of your job?

“Finding inspiration for upcoming collections and sourcing unique fabrics and laces from different parts of the world – and then seeing the gown I envisage realized on one of our beautiful brides.”

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‘Mira Mandic’ has a permanent design studio in Paris where Morgan often travels for work. I also love this city, it was where I was born and I can never get enough of it.

Morgan says a Mira Mandic bride is “a confident, strong woman who wants to look and feel modern and timeless” and predicts a return to a “classic yet modern take on minimalism” as the next trend we can expect to see in bridal couture.

How long does a Mira Mandic gown take to make and what does the design process involve?

“We offer our clients the unique experience of a custom made, Couture gown. Each gown design requires 6-8 months, involving 4 personal client fittings at our flagship boutique.”

Together with Elsa our model, Angela Rose behind the camera, Morgan’s styling and myself on hair and makeup, this is what we created.

Some highlights…

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For a description of how I styled the hair and makeup as well as an insider’s look at which Indeed Labs, Make Up Forever, Ardell and Label M products I used, click here.

And now for two minutes of fun with Mira Mandic…

Rollerblades or rollerskates?

Rollerblades

Can you flip a pancake?

Unfortunately no :/

If you could join any band which would it be?

The Strokes.

Best advice for a woman deciding on her dress?

Choose the gown that makes you feel amazing that you do not want to take off!

Thank you Morgan for taking part in this blog series and for letting us shoot your beautiful gowns.  You are an inspiration to have already accomplished so much and I wish you continued success.

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You can follow Mira Mandic on Instagram and Pinterest as well as visit the website for more information.  The boutique is located at 220 New South Head Road, Double Bay NSW 2027.

If you are looking for a wonderful wedding photographer, get following Angela Rose on Instagram and Facebook or check out her website.

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to keep an eye out for the rest of the designers profiled in this Bridal Series!  So far we have featured:

The Bridal Series Sydney: JENNIFER REGAN

The Bridal Series Sydney: MOIRA HUGHES

The Bridal Series Sydney: RHONDA HEMMINGWAY

The Bridal Series Sydney: KAREN WILLIS HOLMES

And showcased behind-the-scenes of the hair and makeup products and techniques used:

Jennifer Regan: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Moira Hughes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Rhonda Hemmingway: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Karen Willis Holmes: THE HAIR AND MAKEUP by Sonia Allen

Be sure to keep an eye out for the last designer to be profiled in The Bridal Series Sydney on Instagram, Facebook and of course, the blog.  And as always, feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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© 2016 Sonia Allen MakeUp.  Do not copy, reprint or republish content and/or photos without author’s written permission.
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