High Brow

Ancient eyebrow grooming is new again

So Rhode Island Magazine ·

I remember the first time I heard about threading. I was at my hair salon, red and swollen after getting my brows waxed. As I was checking out, the receptionist lowered her voice and said, “You know, there’s a better way to get your eyebrows done.” She told me about a place a few minutes away from Providence that offered threading, an ancient Middle Eastern practice that uses cotton thread to lift hairs at the follicle line. I’d always been open to different beauty techniques, so I tried it a few weeks later. It’s been eight years since and I’ve never returned to waxing. Yes, threading is that much better.

I won’t lie to you. It stings, especially the first time. The discomfort actually depends on how experienced and gentle the threader is. I’ve had both extremes – I’ve held back tears a few times, and felt a tickle other times. But like any other treatment we endure to look and feel better, it’s less about the pain and all about the gain. It lasts a little over two weeks, and I can usually make it three weeks by plucking a few stray hairs between appointments. Unlike waxing or plucking, hair is removed cleanly line by line, producing a very defined shape. Plus if you’re like me and have sensitive skin, this all natural, no chemical technique will not leave your skin red or bumpy. I’m telling you, it’s a beautiful win-win.

While the Providence area has several salons dedicated to the unique hair removal procedure, the concept is fairly new in Southern Rhode Island. “I’m surprised how many women haven’t heard about it,” says Stephen Devereaux, owner of the recently opened Bella Brow in South Kingstown. “I’d estimate that one in four customers are coming in to get threaded for the first time.” I can totally see why and how this is happening. I personally shared my beauty secret with at least five women who are now maintaining their brows exclusively with treading. Devereaux is also pleasantly surprised by the clientele seeking out the service. “College students come in, and so do their moms.”

Priyanka Tara, who opened Smiley Eyebrow Threading in East Greenwich a year ago, agrees that awareness is building in the area. “Customers prefer the shape because it’s more precise,” she says. Tara, who was born in India, describes how the technique is passed down from generation to generation in her native land. She also received formal training in India that taught her about varying facial shapes and skin types. “Eyebrows can make or break your face. A nicely shaped eyebrow can truly enhance your appearance,” says Tara.

Both salons offer threading on the upper lip, cheeks and neck. I’ve certainly had a few other areas done myself, but let’s keep that on the down low. A lady can’t spill all of her beauty secrets, now can she?

Bella Brow is located at South County Commons, South Kingstown; 284-2404. Smiley Eyebrow Threading is located on 774 Main Street, East Greenwich; 347-5098. Both accept walk-ins.

Bella Brow, Smiley Eyebrow Threading, Eyebrow Threading, Whole Body, SO Rhode Island