Brows are a big deal. A very big deal. In fact they rank above make-up and skincare for me. There are days when I will go without some slap or skip some stages in keeping my skin primed (don’t look at me with such contempt – I never said I use wipes) but if my brows are overgrown, I will keel over and cry.
Brow maintenance IS high (brow) maintenance and you wonderful people can’t get enough of it. There are brow salons and brow stops all over this great nation of ours catering for everyone’s needs from a quickie in a barber’s chair in the middle of a shopping centre to the epitome of luxury with head massages and scented candles wafting in the atmosphere. This is why brows are a big deal.
Now I flirt between a few places for brow maintenance but it saddens me that I don’t have ‘the one’ to go to as I do for my hair cuts and colours and my bikini waxes.
*knock knock* Enter Browhaus, the “one-stop brow and lash grooming salon, built for the image-
Browhaus (I was surprised to learn) is an international chain of salons with eight dotted around the globe. In the UK, its home is in Covent Garden and last week I was invited to the salon to undergo a brow transformation.
Before I enlighten you of my experience, I must tell you what gives Browhaus that edge over its competitors – their advertising and marketing campaign is utter brilliance and terrifying. I would like to give their marketing guru a pat on the back, and ask if he/she got a generous pay rise as well. Would you just look at this? Genius! Scary!
My brows were screaming for a reconstruction and shockingly, my previous treatment had been a fortnight ago – hair grows faster in the heat!
I was greeted at the desk by a couple of friendly faces, one of whom was Priya, my therapist, or Brow Architect. Priya led me down a flight of stairs to the basement and into a modestly sized treatment room which had a bed.
I then was asked to hop on it and lie down. This is not what you commonly expect for a brow-shaping treatment but Priya explains it’s a way to relax the client. Having your brows done horizontally works to both parties’ advantage. It gives the therapist room to manoeuvre and have the best possible angle to examine and ensure the client’s brows will be evenly shaped and not lop-sided (which has happened to me in the past from sitting up for brow-shaping.)
Before Priya could work her magic, she presented me with a mirror and we chatted about how I like my brows to look, what she planned to do and also some helpful suggestions on growth from the pro.
According to Priya, these caterpillars are in good shape – they just need a tidy-up. I beg to differ and feel very conscious when they are overgrown. I won’t bother with eye make-up during this stage as that will only draw more attention and I make good use of my fringe to cover up.
As my brows are naturally dark, tinting wasn’t an option but there are parts where growth is sparse so I have to resort to filling in those gaps. Priya threaded my brows with a little bit of tweezing for the really small hairs hard to pick up with the cotton thread. Threading is my preferred choice – ancient, yes but nothing else can compete with it. I’ve never quite understood why waxing is done as that only stretches the skin.
Half way through my treatment, Priya paused to let me see the progress and to ask if I was happy. I didn’t feel rushed and the entire treatment was complete in under 30 minutes so you can easily fit this in your lunch hour.
I might or might not have let out a tiny squeal at the revelation of my perfectly shaped brows. I don’t think they’ve ever looked this good. Thank you, Priya.
Prices for brow services start from £12 for men and women and stretch to other areas of the face for threading. Browhaus also offers lash perming (at £48, lasting 6-8 weeks), which is something I’ve been dying to have done for as long as I can remember but every brow salon I asked did not offer this treatment.
It looks like I’m a Browhaus girl and count myself as one of the millions who’s been rescued from bad brows (check out the brow counter on their website!). I will certainly be booking a follow-up appointment with Browhaus. The location is central and accessible, there is the utmost privacy, the service is friendly and professional and the Brow Architects fully live up to their qualified titles.
Just Nice Things special offer with Browhaus
The lovely folks at Browhaus are offering readers of Just Nice Things a generous 25% off any treatment if you book before 1st August 2014. First-time customers usually get 10% off! If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and getting your brows professionally shaped or are looking for a change, this is your chance. Just remember to quote ‘JNT25%’ at the time of booking.
Browhaus is situated on 19a Floral Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DS. The nearest tube station is Leicester Square.
On a personal note, revisiting IMATS after a three year break came with a renewed hope and excitement. I followed the changes that came including moving its residency from north London’s Alexandra Palace to west London’s Kensington Olympia (an arse ache of a trek for a north Londoner) and a shift away from the show’s true identity to catering for hoards of teenage girls bursting into tears at meeting their ‘idols. Quite. I picked up on last year’s chaotic circus from reading blog posts and was relieved I didn’t have to deal with that.
I fondly remember my first IMATS in 2006 at the Business Design Centre in Islington when I was learning to be a make-up artist and being astounded that make-up artistry goes beyond lipstick, eyeshadow and blushers. That’s the beautiful thing about IMATS – it brings all aspects of the art of make-up under one roof from mainstream to specialist and celebrates it. Wandering around the hall, watching artists create masterpieces before your very eyes is brilliant and a privilege.
It is also a fantastic opportunity to get your hands on niche and professional products at discount rates and even meet the names behind some of the biggest cosmetic names.
Feeling like somewhat of an IMATS veteran, I had a plan in mind and arrived bright and early at Kensington Olympia on day two of the show. I had a list of stalls I wanted to visit, a shopping list and a budget in mind as well. Staying focused helped me to navigate around the hall, which became busier as the hours ticked by and in about two hours I had managed to bag everything I had wanted with time to take a pew on the first floor and look down on the crowds below.
The highlight was meeting the pocket-sized and uber-cute Amy Doan, the founder of Sugarpill cosmetics. I also lost my Sugarpill cherry with a few purchases from the stall including the Addicted To Pretty quad for £20 (normally £25). I can’t wait to use this – the colours are incredibly vibrant and gorgeous.
Other products I was keen to get and succeeded in was Make-Up Forever’s HD Foundation, Lime Crime’s Velvetine Lip Colour in Wicked, Daniel Sandler’s Watercolour Blushers in Acid and Trip plus some brushes and OCC Lip Tars. And I was out of the there before midday. BOOM!
The organisers took on board the shenanigans of IMATS London 2013 and turned things around, bringing it back to what it is really about for which I am thrilled. Even Crown Brushes, which is notoriously difficult to visit in the past had more organised space, with the chance to look at products closely and buy them without being elbowed in the ribs.
IMATS London draws to an end on Sunday 29th June so if you’re planning to go, get there early and most importantly, have fun!
For more on IMATS and its international shows, visit www.imats.net.