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Equally Wed | Romantic Bridal Beauty How-To From Our Photo Shoot

We are so excited to bring you our April issue, which is chock full of eco-friendly wedding planning articles, from 20 Eco-Friendly Wedding Gowns that gives you plenty of eco-couture options to our Flower Calendar which tells you when the most popular wedding stems bloom so you can make an eco-friendly floral choice. But perhaps what I’ve been most eager to show you guys is the first-ever same-sex wedding photo shoot produced for a magazine. Bonus: Every product used in it was eco-friendly, including the beauty products. As our Pro Picks: Eco-Friendly Products feature shows, the eco-friendly beauty world has grown tremendously in the last few years, bursting with high-quality brand names that have gone green.

Our amazingly talented, eco- and LGBT-friendly makeup artists and hair stylist gave me the scoop on set about how to recreate the models’ stunning looks. And, of course, we wanted to share. Today, we’re walking you through, step-by-step, on how to get Sarah Varacalli, our femme bride model’s beauty look.


We were going for a soft and romantic look for our model Sarah.

FACE: Makeup artist Rebecca Casciano prepped her skin with Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Lotion and applied 100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation in Golden Peach using an EcoTools foundation brush. She then applied Tarte Dark Circle Defense in Light-Medium to the under eye area with an EcoTools’ concealer brush (you can also use your fingertip). Powder to set and for longer wear with Tarte Smooth Operator Finishing Powder.

EYES: Fill in eyebrows with Shobha Brow Pencil in Earth, comb through with Eco Tools eyebrow brush. Apply Antique Gold Eye Shadow by Jane Iredale from lashline to crease on upper lid. Using same color, use a pencil brush to line the lower lid. Using a small, angled brush, apply Jane Iredale’s Dark Suede Eye Shadow to the outer corners of the eye, blend outwards. Curl eyelashes and finish with a few coats of 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Black Tea to upper and lower lashes.

CHEEKS: Using a foundation brush or your fingers, apply Josie Maran Argan Cream Blush in Sunset to apples of the cheek. Blend along cheekbone towards hairline. Set with Tarte Smooth Operator Finishing Powder.

LIPS: Lip Glaze in Peach by 100% Pure.

Hairstylist Astrid Dahl of Aveda created a stunning updo using these simple four-step process:

  1. Working in small sections, using Aveda Be Curly Curl Enhancer, curl hair with one inch curling iron
  2. Brush out with a paddle brush
  3. Add Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion throughout hair to give hold and texture
  4. Loosely pin up and set with Aveda Air Control hairspray

Stay tuned tomorrow for the how-to on getting the elegant and natural butch bride’s look.

Fathom Away | Shobha Gets Schooled

The savvy business woman who founded Shobha — a NYC-based mini-chain of salons focused on waxing, threading, and sugaring — was born in Michigan, but spent her first six years living with grandparents in India. Shobha says she knows she’s home when the musty, humid air of Hyderabad hits her face. Recently, the entrepreneur made a special trip with a dual purpose: to show off the newest edition of the family, and connect with an orphanage and school that she has been funding.

It had been four years since my last visit, and this time was special because I introduced my 18-month-old son, Aakash, to our family and our country. Aakash is the fifth generation on my husband’s side, and I wanted to take a picture of all the generations standing next to each other.

I was also excited about Shobha’s Home for Girls and Women. About three years ago, I got involved with an organization that runs a school and an orphanage. It was started by Vijayalakshmi Vemuri, a retired professor who works as an advocate for young ladies. Some time ago, at my request, my mother went to the orphanage to meet Ms. Vemuri. She was so impressed with the mission, we decided to contribute toward the construction of a new orphanage. They named the building after us, and I couldn’t wait to go see it.

After making the nearly 24-hour plane ride with baby (a rite of passage!), and overcoming jet lag (an Indian cup of coffee with milk and chicory — nothing compares), I made arrangements to see the facility. I agreed to give a talk to the students about the importance of school, and to their mothers about the importance of discipline and support. I have spoken in front of hundreds of people before, but for some reason this one weighed heavily on my mind.

I had a hard time falling asleep the night before the school visit. I couldn’t decide if I should speak in the language that comes easily to me (English), or the one they can really understand (Telugu).

The next morning I put on a sari — to appear older, wiser, and more in sync with the audience. My husband, Venkat, my son, my mother, and my grandfather piled into a car. It took us two hot, sweaty hours to go 30 miles on a bumpy road. We got close, but given there are no street signs in India, a bus had to come to the main road so we could follow it to the school. In India, you are given directions based on locations on the street (ie: take a right at the mall and a left at the yellow building). Somehow, miraculously, it all works.

When we reached the school we were greeted by three girls and a drum, who marched us into the school. It was so cute. Students waited patiently in their classrooms to say hello to all of us. I remembered how basic things can be. A small row of desks, chairs, and a blackboard. No overflow of books, no computers. But somehow, again, it all works.

After a tour, the students put on a show for us. It was great to see them dance and sing and have fun. When it came time to give my talk, I did it in my broken Telugu. I tried to tell them that no matter where we come from in life, no matter the caste and family we were born into, we can all strive to become educated. Despite the language we speak or the place we are born, if we have the opportunity to study hard, it can help level the playing field. I told them there would be days they wouldn’t want to study, but pushing through would build a strong work ethic and character.

I spoke about my own background, and about how lucky I was to have grandparents and parents who had stressed the importance of education. My paternal grandfather ran away from home in order to go to school so that he wouldn’t have to work on the farm. My maternal grandfather went to the United States to get his Masters and Ph.D in the 1940s. I spoke to the mothers about structuring a life for their children that’s different from their own. That means making unpopular decisions — like not taking the kids out of school for every family member’s wedding. Or, working extra themselves so the child can stay in class. It was quite emotional. I thought of the burden parents are faced with, and how they have to break the cycle to give their kids a chance they never had themselves. It made me realize how lucky I am. Of course, I broke into tears.

Finally, we went to the orphanage and met the 69 people who live at Shobha’s Home for Girls and Women. The building was immaculate. The girls all have chores to do, with the exception of one driver who does errands for the school and orphanage, and one woman who helps with the cooking. The girls cut vegetables and help in the kitchen, they clean their living quarters and their home. The big kids help the little kids with their homework. It’s a real group effort.

The girls served us delicious homemade snacks and performed a wonderful choreographed dance. Aakash loved it so much, he joined in. When it came time to leave, everyone made a commotion for pictures and videos. You can see that we all had tears in our eyes.


Shobha’s favorite Hyderabad picks:

My favorite place to pick up gifts and saris is called Kalanjali. Their saris are a little on the expensive side, but their selection is unmatched. It’s where I got my wedding reception sari.

Lepakashi is my favorite place to buy Indian handcrafts.

Barista is a coffee chain that I go to for my coffee fix. I love Indian coffee and tea.

Hyderabad Biryani is a type of fried rice famous all over India. Street vendors really serve the best, but I worry that I migh get sick so I go to restaurants like Paradise, Swagath (Pakala Plaza), and Hyderabad House for the next best versions.

My favorite place to buy costume jewelry is around the area of Charminar. There are stalls everywhere. There’s also a stall right outside of Meena Bazaar that has amazing stuff. Meena Bazaar, by the way, is a famous sari and fabric place. The jewelry stall is right in front of it. There is no address.

I am getting married/have a big event coming up, when should I get my waxing done?

We recommend coming in for waxing 3-4 days before your wedding/big event. If you have never sugared/waxed ever, please come for a treatment a few months before to ensure that you will not have any reactions to the sugar or the wax. A lot of folks getting sugared or waxed have no reactions at all, but there are a few folks that have bumps or some irritation that may take a bit to resolve. Also, of it is for the face and it is your first time, we recommend doing a patch test. There are some sensitive areas like your cheeks and sideburns that can break out to the hair removal process. We do our best to minimize any reactions that you may have, but our bodies natural reaction to hair being removed is not something we can completely avoid for a few folks.


Boot camp is not just for the gym anymore, let Shobha be part of your disciplined beauty routine to get you wedding day ready. Whatever your bridal style, picture perfect brows are a-must & body hair is one accessory you definitely want to be without on your big day!

Shobha Bridal Plan

9 months before:

Invest in a laser 6-pack so that you are hair-free by your wedding day & all set for a hairlessly happy honeymoon! Plan to come monthly for visits.

6 months before:

Keep up with your regular hair removal routine: daily, use the Shobha® Exfoliating Cloth to prevent bumps & treat ingrown hairs with Shobha® Ingrown Relief Lotion. If you normally self-shape your brows, stop — throw away your tweezers & let your hair grow.

3 months before:

See a Shobha specialist for a brow consultation (bring those magazine clippings of coveted celeb brows with you!) & at your first threading treatment, request a level 2 (senior ) specialist to see one of our top brow designers. Schedule your visits 2-3 weeks apart for the next 3 months – save with a Shobha® 3-pack.

2 weeks before:

Let the hair grow wild (on your face & body). This will help you achieve the best results!

The week of :

  • 2-4 days before your wedding date have a Shobha specialist wax/sugar your legs, bikini, arms & underarms.
  • 1-2 days before your wedding date have a Shobha specialist thread your brows, upper lip & any other desired part of your face. (If you’re getting a pre-wedding facial, try to do that at least 5 days before to give your skin time to relax between treatments).
  • Apply Shobha® Rosewater Calming Gel to calm any irritation post-treatment.
  • Remember: 48 hours of rest is best! (That means no sex, saunas, or steam rooms) & keep your Shobha® Brow Pencil handy for a photo-ready face!
  • Did you know? Shobha also makes house calls! We bring Shobha to you (& your bridal party), so you can get picture perfect with less running around. Email for more details.

3-Month Plan


Price Per Session



(1) Shobha® Bump-Free SET



(2) Shobha® Senior Brow 3-Pack



(3) Shobha® Brazilian 3-Pack






(You Save $69!)

6-Month Plan


Price Per Session



(1) Shobha® Bump-Free SET



(2) Shobha® Senior Brow 6-Pack



(3) Shobha® Brazilian 6-Pack






(You Save $143!)

How-To Fake a Dewy Glow Without Spending a Dime!

create a dewy makeup look

Repurpose your old beauty products for a perfect way to give your body that beautiful glow for any last minute occasions, a first date, or even a wedding!

The 3 beauty products you’ll need:

  • Foundation
  • Light-weight moisturizer (for face) or lotion (for body)
  • Glow/highlighter powder

Mix a few pumps of foundation, with a couple squirts of lotion & a dash of loose glow powder & apply to your face or body. (Increase the amounts if you need to add cover more surface area.)

Pro-Tip* for fairer skin tones, grab a foundation a shade darker & mix with lotion to create a hint of a glowy tan. Make sure to massage it evenly into your skin to avoid a streaky finish!

Let us know if you try out our guide to faking that glow by #myShobhaBlog & check out more tips & tricks by following us on Instagram, Facebook, & Twitter.

Say ‘I Do’ to Shobha Laser

say i do to shobha laser

The time of year when you can’t scroll through your Facebook feed without the overwhelmingly high volume of engagement announcements is upon us! Commitment is at its highest, and love is in the air more than ever before; welcome to engagement season. (Yay or nay- I’ll-just-listen-to-Adele’s-Hello-on-repeat-thank-you, you choose.)

Witnessing friends and loved ones get married is truly a beautiful thing; extra unwanted hair is not.

Winter is the time to rev up for the pending matrimonies that are filling your feed now, whether you are the bride, groom, or supportive best friend. You should feel like your best self and leave your hairy past behind. We’re firm believers that laser is the way to go.

Make your Big Day (and all those in betweens) less stressful, one hair at a time by starting Shobha Laser Treatments now.

Laser hair removal is a great way to reduce hair growth for the long haul, eliminate targeted hairs for good, take care of bumps and ingrowns, and have stubble-free smooth skin. Shobha Laser Treatments are available for face and body (including the bikini area) now at Shobha SoHo and Shobha Dupont Circle. Plus, our lasers work on darker skin complexions as well!

Best of all, now until 12/31/2015 you can save up to 30% more on what you already save when you invest in a Shobha Laser Package.

Save an extra:

  • 10% off 1 package
  • 20% off 2 packages
  • 30% off 3+ packages

View prices here.

(*valid in-store only.
applies to laser packages only. expires: 12/31/2015. coupon codes: 1LAS15;
2LAS15; 3LAS15)

4 Ways To Be The Best Bridesmaid You Can Be

Wedding season is here!!! If you’re a bridesmaid for the first time or the 10th time here are some tips we’ve gathered from our crew (collectively we’ve got tons of bridesmaid experience under our garter belts).

  1. Keep your eye on the prize: Remember that it is an honor to be a bridesmaid even if it feels like an obligation at times. Yes, it can be costly in both time & money. Yes, something things may become more dramatic than you ever though possible. Remember, your friend/sister/cousin or all of the above chose you to stand by her side not only at the alter but in life. You’re important to her. She loves you. She needs your support. Be there for her.
  2. Make yourself available to help: Even if you’re on different coasts or continents & your bride seems to have everything under control, reach out & ask her if there is anything you can do for her. Be realistic. If you live across the globe you probably can’t do much stuff in real time but you may be able to help her with her Pinterest board or just let her vent on whatever stress she’s carrying.  Or better yet share in her joy & get her even more excited.
  3. The dress is not about you: There are a lot of paths bridesmaid dresses can go – good, bad, ugly. The dress isn’t about you. It’s what your bride envisioned would look perfect on the day to celebrate her wedding. So if the dress is hideous – don’t complain, embrace it. Find what you actually like about the dress. Maybe the color makes your eyes pop or the fit actually flatters. Work with what you got. If you can’t stand the dress make sure your brows, hair & makeup are on fleek.
  4. Have fun: Celebrate your bride. Life goes by in a flash so make it count. Plus, weddings are fun! Now get out on that dance floor!

Guest Blogger: Christa Guidi Of Rodan + Fields

Hello everyone!  I am so excited to have the chance to connect with you all.  Clearly you understand looking great if you get Shobha brow threading & their other amazing services, so when I was offered the chance to share with you about my favorite anti-aging products I was thrilled.

Rodan + Fields was developed by the creators of Proactiv. They are now doing for aging what they did for acne. They first launched into high end retail stores, where it became a top-selling clinical skincare brand in stores like Nordstrom. In an effort to reach more people, Rodan + Fields decided to leave retail & go into direct sales.

I started on the Redefine Line to get wedding ready & have not looked back!  The dark circles under my eyes are gone – something plenty of sleep & hydration had not been solving.  I can’t wait to get the new acute care that will fill a wrinkle while you sleep – no needles required.  So if you are like me & also looking for a little lift, but not ready (maybe never ready) for the knife, please check out my site.  If you are interested, be sure to sign up as a preferred customer to get 10% off every order!

Ps: Christa donated an amazing Rodan+Fields redefine regimen (a $193 value!!!) to our Shobha’s Home For Girls & Women Silent Auction. Bid on it today & help tranform society (& your complexion!)

DIY Dumbbells

It’s that time of year to tone up for a season full of less clothes & less body hair. It also happens to be the time of year when wedding season springs anew – yay! In fact, our very own Alexis (aka our organizational development director) is getting hitched in less than a month (read: so exciting!!!) so she’s in full-time bridal bootcamp mode.

As a result, a small group of us gather daily (ok, maybe a couple times a week) to lift some weights to get our arms red carpet ready for all the exciting events (& tank tops) the warmer weather warrants.

Here’s the skinny: when we began, we have one set of legit weights, so when we’re not sharing those we’re lifting pretty much whatever we can get our hands on, like reams of paper or Shobha products. Naturally this presented an opportunity to get crafty – & scrappy…. Now without further adieu, we have an easy way to make your own DIY dumbbells.

To make one dumbbell you’ll need:

  • 2 cans of Shobha Sugaring Gel (or you can use any weighty canned good like beans or tomatoes) – you can add more as you need it, stud muffin
  • 1 Shobha tote (or any cloth shopping tote with long handles)


  1. Open cloth tote & place sugaring gel cans inside
  2. Close tote with handles out & fold bag down over the cans
  3. With the handles still out start rolling the bag from the middle
  4. Wrap the handles around the middle of the bag
  5. Pull the end of the handles through to secure with a quick knot
  6. Grasp the middle of your weight & pump some iron… err sugaring gel

Boot Camp Is Not Just For The Gym Anymore

Boot camp is not just for the gym anymore, let Shobha be part of your disciplined beauty routine to get you wedding day ready.

Whatever your bridal style, picture perfect brows are a-must & body hair is one accessory you definitely want to be without on your big day!

Shobha Bridal Plan

6 months before: Keep up with your regular hair removal routine & maintain between treatments. If you normally self-shape your brows, stop — throw away your tweezers & let your hair grow. For the body/bikini, prevent bumps & treat ingrown hairs daily with the Shobha® Exfoliating Cloth & Shobha® Ingrown Relief Lotion.

3 months before: Request a level 2 (senior) specialist for your brow consultation & your first threading treatment. Then schedule your visits 2-3 weeks apart for the next 3 months. opt to save by purchasing a Shobha® 3-Pack (services in discounted sets of three).

2 months before: Try out any new treatments you are planning to have done on your body/bikini before the big day, making sure to give yourself enough time to see how your body reacts to the treatment & avoid any unexpected reactions just before the big day.

2 weeks before: Let the hair grow wild, it will help you achieve the best results!

The week of the wedding:

2-4 days before

  • Wax/sugar your legs, bikini, arms & underarms, etc.
  • Remember: 48 hours of rest is best! (that means no sex, saunas, or steam rooms)

1-2 days before

  • Thread your brows, upper lip & any other desired part of your face. (If you’re getting a pre-wedding facial, try to do that at least 5 days before to give your skin time to relax between treatments).
  • Apply Shobha® Rosewater Calming Gel to calm any irritation post-treatment.

the big day

  • Keep it clean in between with Shobha® Rosewater Freshening Cloths, handy upkeep on-the-go
  • Prep your purse with your Shobha® Brow Pencil for a photo-ready face

Summer Makeup Essentials With Jessica Belknap

Living in the Pacific Northwest, summertime equals outdoor time. After all, we have been cooped up indoors, hiding from the rain all fall, winter & spring long. By the time those first few & precious warm, sunny days arrive, residents of Oregon & Washington flock outdoors to enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, camping & gardening.

Here are a few of my summer survival makeup essentials:

  • Sunscreen – everyone should have a bottle of all-natural sunscreen. When looking for an all-natural, non-toxic sunscreen, the primary ingredients to avoid are oxybenzone & retinyl palminate. Companies like Badger Balm carry quite a few options of non-toxic sun protection. I personally like the badger SPF 34 unscented sunscreen. It is lightly moisturizing without feeling greasy, & doesn’t contain any added fragrance.
  • Tinted lip balm – whether it is work or play, summer days fill up quickly. A lot of my time during summers is spent on set for outdoor photo & film shoots & doing makeup for wedding parties. The last thing I want to be thinking about is touching up my lip color. My solution: tinted lip balm. I can’t get enough of Alima Pure Organic Nourishing Lip Balm. Rhubarb is the perfect neutral pink for fair complexions, & holly berry is a beautiful pink for deeper complexions.
  • Foundation/face sun protection – Alima Pure Satin Matte Foundation (I wear beige 2, but the company makes 62 shades!): This all-natural, mineral foundation is lightweight, versatile & the minerals in the makeup provide a physical sunscreen.
  • Bronzer – bronzer is an excellent multitasker. using the same color on your cheeks & eyes gives you the most natural-looking & cohesive definition. For this purpose, I love 100% pure cocoa pigmented bronzer in honey. Deeper skin tones will love their cocoa glow color. These bronzers have just the right amount of color & shimmer & smell delicious.
  • Mascara – I don’t like to wear much eye makeup during the summer months, but I do like mascara. Ecco Bella Flowercolor Mascara is just that. This mascara isn’t intended to be volume building or ultra lengthening, but it does deliver silky, softly defined lashes that bring just the right emphasis to your eyes for a sunny summer day.

Introducing Our July “Makeup Monday” Guest Blogger Jessica Belknap!

Jessica Belknap is a makeup artist based in Portland, Oregon, specializing in all-natural, non-toxic, makeup for photography, high-definition video, fashion events, & weddings. Jessica began her green makeup artistry transformation under the guidance & training of green beauty team founder, Kristen Arnett & began making major changes in the products she used on herself, & on her clients as a makeup artist.  Jessica has now assembled a hard-working, “green” makeup kit that is safe for her & her clients, & healthier for the environment.

When Jessica is not doing makeup, she enjoys gardening with her husband, cooking for family & friends, & spending time with her pets (a dog, Mia, & a cat, Charlotte).