Flair for hair: Meet the woman with Finland’s finest braids

For the vast majority of women doing hair and makeup is a part of their daily routine. However, it’s also a great way of expressing yourself, especially if you’re Sonja Kataja a self-taught braider, make-up artist and model from Helsinki. Check out her Instagram account and you’ll find her transformed into a fascinating array of characters typically with amazing hair, everyone from the Little Mermaid and Mother Earth to the Ice Queen. To find out what inspired her to use herself as a canvas, we hooked up with this mistress of makeup.

So, Sonja, how did you get into makeup and plaiting 

I love to express my creativity in many ways. Nowadays it is mainly being part of visual storytelling in photography art. I act as a model and usually hair and makeup artist as well. Way back in 2013 I lived abroad for a short period of time. I had a roommate who had plaited her little sisters’ hairs for year and years. While we lived together, she plaited mine several times. I suddenly realized I wouldn’t be having a personal hairstylist for the rest of my life living with me, so I had to learn how to do my hair myself.





What was your first plait and which is your favourite? 

The basic three strand braid aka the English braid in a low / side ponytail. And French braid of course. After I decided to learn more about plaiting, I learned the Dutch Braid

Oh, I can’t name just one favorite, since I have so many for different occasions. When I am in a hurry and I quickly need to fix my hair, my “go to” braid is Rope Braid. It’s so quick and easy yet people think it is more complex. When I have all the time in the world, I love doing Fishtail braid. It is a very beautiful and simple braid but it takes a lot of time. Especially when you have as long hair as mine and do it with tiny pieces of hair. But the Dutch braid is the most versatile braid to epic plaited looks. Such looks as Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones or Lagertha from the Vikings.



So, how did you get into the makeup and which is your fav look?

I’ve drawn ever since I was a child. Arts was my favorite subject in school. So basically, I just changed canvas from paper to my own face. What fascinates me in makeup is that how it can change your whole appearance. It’s like some sort of roleplay. My favorite look/shoot so far has been “The Little Mermaid – 21st-century edition”, which I did with photographer Netta Malm. The look is inspired by Youtuber Mykie from Glam&Gore. I learned how to make fake blood myself for that look. This photoshoot also is our act to raise environmental awareness. Us humans really should think about how to stop harming the environment and how to reduce waste in general.




We’re sure you’ll agree Sonja not only has a flair for hair, but has the low down on makeup, too. To enjoy more of her work, be sure to check her Instagram and Facebook page.

12 replies

    • I think she’s to illustrate the harm humans do to the sea and sea life. With example overfishing, litter, pollution, fishing etc thus the fish hook through the face.

  1. It’s crazy i had no ideas this as was even a a thing but great thing about instagram and internet is there’s always people doing cool and crazy stuff. keep on doing your thang 🙂 🙂 )

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