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The Perfect Arch: Let’s Talk Eyebrows

If eyes are the windows of your soul, then eyebrows are the window dressing. In fact, the very definition of window dressing “is something that is intended to make a person or thing seem better or more attractive but that does not have any real importance or effect”(http://www.merriam-webster.com/). I cannot think of a better example than eyebrows that match this definition.  They are one of the most distinctive qualities on our face. Eyebrows give our faces expression. Using a few facial muscles,  we show surprise, confusion, anger, and even flirt with those two little furry caterpillars above our eyes.

Since the age of 16 (and in all truth, being Egyptian and Greek descent and from a very hairy lineage, I probably should have started around age 12), I would grab a pair of tweezers and begin randomly plucking at my brows. Shakespeare and The Taming of the Shrew had nothing on me with my pair of little silver tweezers. Occasionally I would miss the strand, and I would poke, scrape and lose a couple of levels of epidermis from my eyelid. After my plucking session, my eyelids would come out bruised with little bloody spots. My furry pets would be tamed, but often times they would come out uneven (I was never very good at getting them to line up properly). I did this session several times per month throughout high school and college.

After college, I followed friends to the Asian shops to get my eyebrows waxed. For a few years, I loved it. The curve was smooth, generally even; it was rather inexpensive (about $10). Then, one day, while pregnant with my first child, I decided to get my eyebrows waxed during my lunch hour.  But this time, not only did my excess hair strands come out, but also a whole line of skin! The same thing happened to my upper lip. I looked ridiculous – red, raw skin on my eyelids and above my lips. What’s worse, I had to go to business meetings like this! I was mortified. And it hurt. No amount of  triple antibiotic ointment made it any better. Everyone knew during my lunch hour I had skipped out to get a wax. The trail of bloody, raw skin was evidence. On my upper lip!

After a couple of weeks my skin eventually healed. I was hesitant to return to the shop, so I pulled out my trusty, rusty tweezers and began self-grooming 101. When we moved to Cyprus a couple of years later, I noticed that the local Cypriot women had these mad-beautiful brows. Thick, perfectly arched, not a strand out of place – like Angelina Jolie’s personal stylist had come and coiffed each of these women’s arches. After friending some of these women, they explained that NO ONE waxes their eyebrows. They wax legs, arms and bikini line (or more, ahem). They thread. Before heading to the nearest salon, I did my research. Threading has been around for centuries, and is a tried-and-true form of hair removal for the face. A quick breakdown of why threading is better than waxing or plucking:

Why Threading is better than Waxing or Plucking

  1. You get a more beautiful, precise arch when threading.  We’ve all had it done to us: you go in with a hairy brow, and then they apply hot wax on the underside of your eyebrow and RIP.  It becomes a big arch (think McDonald’s, but wider). We all get the same, uniformed arch, which  makes zero sense. Our eyebrows are unique. Mine, for example, has a higher arch at the end (think roller coaster). I could never expose my natural brow arch with wax. With threading, however, the eyebrow artist works with your natural brow line and removes the strands above and below. This creates a more natural, cleaner looking brow that is unique to you. No more generic, wide-eyed, open arch that may or may not reflect your natural brow line.
  2. With threading, you catch ONLY the hair strands! This means no pulling of the sensitive eyelid skin. This may not be a big deal for any 20-year-olds reading this blog out there. However, think about it: as you age, you lose collagen.
  3. No potential for burns and wounded skin! This has happened to me several times. Either the wax was too hot OR (and this was new for me), during various times during your life and menstrual cycle, your body’s hormones gets influx. Your skin becomes too sensitive. Hot wax that shouldn’t necessarily scald or burn you becomes too sensitive. Skin is pulled, ripped, burned. You are left with welt spots above your eyes that doesn’t go away for weeks. This NEVER happens while threading.
  4. It’s not just for eyebrows! Added bonus: eyebrow artists are also adept at removing unwanted hair from all over your face, including upper lips, chin, sideburns and cheeks. It’s a one stop shop for all your grooming needs.
  5. It’s better for the environment. Okay, I admit: this one is a bit of a stretch. My main reasons for threading over waxing is a better arch and it’s better for my skin in the long-run, plus no chance of accidentally burning your sensitive skin. However, environmental health is an added bonus, too. The eyebrow artist only uses a strand of natural, cotton thread to cultivate gorgeous brows. They twist the thread and loop it around to make a series of twists in the middle, which is then used to latch on and grab those pesky hairs. It’s really quite a skill and beautiful to watch.

Over the years, skin stretches and droops. To slow down the process of your eyelids from becoming hooded lids, pull out the strands, not the skin! Threading gives you the precision for unique brows while protecting your sensitive eyelid skin.

Okay, have I sold you into at least trying threading? I hope I have. I won’t lie: if you are not used to it, the pain IMG_25781hurts slightly more than waxing, but not any more than plucking. It takes longer, too: waxing takes about 5 minutes. In and out with one failed swoop of the wax and paper, which is why you only get the one-fits-all, generic arch. However, with threading, the eyebrow artist must trim, thread and (for those tiny hairs) pluck you into gorgeous oblivion. From my experience, this takes about 15 minutes. But isn’t saving your skin worth an extra10 minutes?

To find your nearest threading eyebrow artist, take a look at your neighborhood Middle Eastern, Indian, Bangladeshi, Kurdish and other South Asian communities. Generally, these societies have practiced the art of threading for centuries. Now that I am in my small hometown in Virginia, I still managed to find an eyebrow artist who threads. I visit routinely.

So have you tried threading yet? Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts!

Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .

Article originally posted to Claudia Hanna Veysel’s (CLAS ’97) blog “Live Like a Goddess

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