Story Time: A Half a Brow Short Monday 25 June, 2012
It was my first time. Don’t worry. I’m not going to share some tawdry, post-prom experience in a Motel 6. Instead, my tale of woe is far more scandalous, stemming back to the ripe—and entirely naive—age of 14. Between puberty’s cruel wrath, the unparalleled insensitivity of middle school boys, and my super sexy braces, this […]
It was my first time.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to share some tawdry, post-prom experience in a Motel 6. Instead, my tale of woe is far more scandalous, stemming back to the ripe—and entirely naive—age of 14. Between puberty’s cruel wrath, the unparalleled insensitivity of middle school boys, and my super sexy braces, this was anything but a magical time for me. In fact, it’s amazing I made it out alive. So it’s no surprise that the first time I summoned up the courage to wax my eyebrows, horror ensued.
I don’t remember how I selected the salon to do the deed. There’s a very strong possibility I consulted the yellow pages. (If only Yelp existed back then!). Next thing I knew, my older sister (a brow-waxing veteran) and I were on our way to our appointment, hoping to realize our dreams of perfectly groomed brows and absolute facial symmetry. When we arrived at our destination—a dingy, hole-in-the-wall establishment that no doubt took us three or four passes to find amongst the decrepit strip mall (clearly a red flag)—I forced my sister to bravely endure the service first so I could see how it was done.
Our designated waxer effortlessly applied the warm, honey-like substance to my sister’s brows, then the strips, and with a quick flick of her wrist, snapped the strips away to reveal neat, face-framing arches. My sister, who has never been good with pain, hardly even flinched. Clearly, this was no big deal. What was I so afraid of? As I climbed onto the waxing table, I even felt a twinge of confidence. Surprisingly, the warm wax felt good—as if it were infused with possibility. Goodbye, unruly brows! Hello, Gorgeous!
And that’s when it happened: “Whoops,” I heard the waxer mumble under her breath. Obviously, I don’t have to explain that “whoops” is never a word you want to hear in a salon. What could have possibly gone wrong? “Don’t worry! I have just the thing,” she consoled me as she rushed over to one of the other stations. As my heart rate elevated, I thought, “What the hell was happening? What had she done?”
She had done plenty, it turned out. My waxer returned holding something in her hand. It looked like a pencil—a brow pencil! Terror rushed over me as I reached for the mirror. This was going to be bad…very, very bad. Sure enough, as I gazed back at my reflection, the looking glass showed my deepest fear: My brows weren’t simply shaped; half of my right brow was completely missing. As I held back my tears, the waxer showed me how to apply the brow pencil—which, I might add, was roughly three shades shy of my natural color—to fill in the other half of my arch. My face, though not entirely symmetric before, was now lopsided. Silently, I paid my bill, tipped my waxer (yes, I tipped her!!!) and left, shame-struck and out of arch luck.
While my brow did, in fact, eventually grow back, I was reluctant to trust waxing for years and, sadly, fell victim to “brow-rexia” (seriously patchy arches with a painful thinness) from my own attempts at grooming. To this day, my brows are a constant point of annoyance. Some of you out there have bad hair days; I have bad brow days.
The irony is that, today, thick brows are in! I can’t tell you how much I’m loving the woolier, Brook Shields-esque brows that celebs and runway models rock with aplomb. If only this had been the trend in my teens, I might have been spared a half a brow. Still, I look back on this experience as a good lesson. When it comes to choosing a stylist, a salon, a waxer, etc., do your research! Ask friends for recommendations; do a little Yelp reconnaissance. (Gotta love that Yelp!) And though I understand that today’s onslaught of Groupons are tempting, I suggest you invest in quality over a good deal. If for whatever reason you wind up unhappy with the service, speak up! Don’t leave a tip and slink away sheepishly; you’ll only wind up a dollar (and a brow) short. —Jillian Gordon
(Images via Beauty Launchpad)