The Reluctant Groomer: Eyebrow Threading

We send our fearless writers to the outer limits of the grooming-verse to gather intel about new, exciting, and extreme products and practices. In this installment of The Reluctant Groomer, Andrew Tolve, Birchbox Man’s new eyebrow care correspondent, gets his brows threaded for the first time.

My eyebrows are getting flossed. This is the first thought that fires through my head as my personal threader, a squat Indian woman named Sushma, snaps a piece of thread between her teeth, loops it around her fingers, and starts to extract hairs from my brow in a swift, twisting motion. To my right, a Russian couple argues over the width of the girl’s eyebrows. To my left hangs a shelf stocked with 15 bottles of aloe vera and baby powder.

My next thought: This is ridiculous. I’m 29-years-old and happily married. I’m at peace with who I am. Well, almost. My devastating unibrow is the one exception. Anthony Davis may have cashed in on his fearsome brow, but mine is perk-free. It’s thick and loathsome, with an insatiable appetite for the bridge of my nose. I can pluck it on Monday and sure enough, I’m confronted by a new thicket of stubble by Thursday. Every trip to the bathroom doubles as a check-up on the margins of my brows. I don’t want to be obsessed but I don’t want a unibrow either.

This is the quandary that landed me in the chair of “Perfect Brows NYC.” My wife suggested that after two decades going it alone I seek some professional assistance. She’s a recent convert to threading and assures that it’s painless, takes less time than waxing, looks less manicured, and will last at least three weeks. Sushma confirms all of these facts. Then she asks me about “the look that I’m going for.” I hesitate.

“Gone in the middle…trimmed but you know, still masculine-y…”

“Yes, yes, of course. Do this.” She spreads my eyelid from my forehead as though stretching calfskin over a drum. I can hear string whisking from her teeth and fastening its grasp around the first hairs. I grit my teeth as they fly out. The process is at once puzzling, painful, and fast—my wife was right about that. In a flash Sushma has flossed all the way around my right brow. In another, she’s circumnavigated my left. She produces a pair of tweezers from the shelf, plucks a few hairs that eluded the string, wipes some aloe vera at the top of my nose, and asks me to admire my face. The whole process has taken five minutes.

And the results are compelling. The center strip is hair-free, and each brow is a clean, uniform crescent shape. A trace of red bumps covers my forehead, but the swelling is minor. I hand over my ten bucks happily. By five o’clock that night the red bumps have subsided entirely.

The next day I wake and stare into the mirror. Totally unibrow free. Three weeks of this! I think. I’m sold.

Six days later, the bliss is gone.

—Andrew Tolve

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