Some women pluck and pluck and pluck some more. Some wax on a regular basis for years on end, while others just let their brows grow into national forests. So which is the best brow-beauty option? According to Ravy Mehroke, none of the above. She’s the president of the newly opened Bombay Brow Bar (1056 Mainland Street), and she’s on a mission to, as she puts it, “turn this city of threading virgins into threading addicts.” And she’s doing it one monobrow at a time.
At her hip pink-and-purple Bollywood-style boutique, brow experts use thin cotton threads to weave really precise nooses around several hairs at a time. By pulling out whole rows of hair at the follicle level at once, this traditional technique results in straighter lines and more consistent brow shapes than western methods do.
“In India, we don’t wax—we just thread,” says Mehroke, who recently sat down with the Straight just outside her Yaletown shop. “The reason why is because it’s an ancient technique. It’s been used for hundreds and hundreds of years and it’s such an effective technique, they’ve never had the need to look for an alternative treatment. Personally, I’ve only waxed my eyebrows once. I didn’t like it. I felt that it hurt a lot.”
Not only does waxing hurt like hell, but it can lead to ingrown hairs or worse: premature chow-dog face.
“This area is a very delicate area,” Mehroke says, pointing to her lower brow bone. “So you shouldn’t be waxing anything there because you’re pulling cell layers off your skin. If you think about it, after years and years and years of doing that, obviously skin will eventually start to wrinkle and hang a little bit and fall loose. With threading, it’s over the skin, so that’s what we do: we just pull the hair out. There’s no skin being pulled. It’s just the hair.”
For women (and men) who aren’t quite convinced this traditional technique is for them, Ravy offers waxing and tweezing services as well. For her, it’s all about creating beautiful brows using whichever method the client is comfortable with. And she says there’s no brow her carefully selected technicians can’t beautify—even thin, patchy, overplucked disasters. It may take a few visits to allow for some regrowth. But her experts can help start the reshaping process as well as cover up any unsightly gaps with brow makeup.
“It’s just a matter of being patient with it,” says Mehroke, who runs the business with her sister, Amy Minhas. “And you have to leave the tweezers alone. Honestly, put them in a box, forever. Women sometimes don’t know how to tweeze properly, so they might be breaking the hair and then all of a sudden they get little ingrowns everywhere. Or they pluck the wrong ones.…It could just be a matter of a few hairs and it could totally change your look. So it’s better to actually leave it to the professionals. You can clean and maintain a little by yourself on the outer edges. But really, when it comes to the brow shape, you shouldn’t be touching them yourself.”
As part of the Bombay Bombshell Brow service, every client starts off her session with a steaming cup of chai and ends it with a soothing forehead massage. Here, the beauticians use imported rosewater eye gel to erase the redness or mild stinging clients may experience post–hair removal. This basic face-framing treatment should last two-to-four weeks and costs $23.
Mehroke may take pride in threading’s rich history, but that doesn’t mean she takes the business of brow beauty too seriously. For example, at Bombay, hair-removal beauticians are called “brow sculptresses”, and clients are called “brow temptresses”. Ravy is known as “Miss High Brow” and her sister is the “Arch Angel”.
“We’re just having a lot of fun with it—we have a great culture,” says Mehroke enthusiastically. “And the good thing about our concept is we get to share our cool Indian values with our clients, and we have a blast doing that.”
- Sarah Rowland, Straight.com, March 25 2010