Bollywood actresses are known for a certain look: dark, flowing hair, crimson lips -- and soaring, perfectly arched eyebrows. How do they create those face-framing curves? Most rely on threading, a popular Indian and Middle Eastern depilatory technique that's becoming increasingly available at salons around town.
Threading removes hair by catching it up in a tightly wound, double-coiled string that the aesthetician zips over your face. It's known for its exactness: Hair is removed in a swift, straight line, creating "a more precise shape" than waxing or tweezing, says Preeti Singh, co-owner of the District's Threads salon. It's also gentler on your skin than waxing, so the method is often recommended for sensitive skin, including that of people using Accutane or Retin-A.
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Eyebrows are the most common focus, but many places also target upper lips and other areas. There is a discomfort factor (no one said beauty is painless), but no more than with the alternatives. Effects last two to three weeks.
In the Washington area, threaders can be found everywhere from posh salons to word-of-mouth home-beauty parlors. Some of our favorites:
Georgetown Aveda. 1325 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-965-1325. www.avedageorgetown.com. Abla Shatara, a 20-year veteran, is serious about thread -- she stockpiles her own carefully chosen, 100 percent cotton stash. $25.
Maria's (Beauty) Place. 720 Grant St., Suite F, Herndon. 703-787-9013. www.mariasplace.net. Threading and henna are hits at this salon, which serves mostly Indian American customers. $6.
Nail Studio & Day Spa. 1484 North Point Village Center, Reston. 703-481-6245. www.nailstudioanddayspa.com. Owner Lutfiye Yilmaz has trained all the members of this eight-person staff to thread. $15.
Threads. 1424 L St. NW. 202-737-7710. Don't let the clandestine entranceway scare you; this two-seat salon is sunny and cheerful upstairs. Co-owners Singh and Sonia Kaur do much of the work themselves. $10.
Usha Beauty Salon. 7712-B Hartford Rd., Baltimore. 410-661-8204. When the desperate-to-defuzz post pleas on Indian American Web sites, they're often directed to this salon, which has been threading for over 30 years. $10.