A FUNNY thing happened last week. Ok, not so much as funny as slightly traumatising. After curiosity got the best of me I decided to head to Anesis spa and salon in Clapham and see what all the HD brow fuss was about. I should first point out that I have always found the ‘HD’ trend disturbing – why are beauty companies taking trends from television technology? But I digress… I should also mention that I had absolutely no idea what HD brows were, but after reading my brows, which are going blonder and blonder by the moment, would be shaped by tinting, waxing, threading and plucking, well, how could I resist? And what the heck, while we are at it give me longer, more voluminous lashes. Sounds amazing (on paper), right?
Not so much. And I say this with a disclaimer: I have seen some people who look very cool with big, dark brows (see designer Hannah Marshall), but I have also seen some very scary, drawn on, too-dark-and-you-know-it, caterpillar-looking brows trolling around this city. Not quite sure what I mean? Think Eddie Munster. Right.
So, back to my appointment. Upon entering the spa I am asked to fill out a client questionnaire where I list allergies, tick that I am not pregnant, tick that I do wear contacts and in the comments section ask that no wax is used on my very sensitive eye area. Minutes later I’m lead to a cosy and impressively decorated treatment room where my brow specialist explains the HD brow process and what result will be – I immediately reconsider (see Eddie Munster photo).
My eyelids felt, for lack of a better word, weird. Like there was glue on them. Oh my god, there was glue – and lots of it – all over my eyelids. The entire tube ride was spent peeling large sheets of what looked like dried skin off of my eyes.
I tell her that I’d settle for a slight arch and a little clean up. “We aren’t trained to do arches,” she says. Um, ok… I’ll settle for a tidying up. Assuming that because I took five minutes to fill out the client form and clearly she would read said form I laid back, closed my eyes and tried to relax. Five seconds later she was smearing warm wax on my eye area. Lesson one: Never assume anything.
Eddie Munster's eyebrows, bad
It was quick and relatively painless, but I could feel the skin burning and I knew it was only a matter of time before I had a rash or some sort of scab. This is why I ask therapists not to use wax, but what was done was done.
Getting LVL lashes is a somewhat more involved process. Having learned my lesson, I explained to her that I wear contacts, which took her completely by surprise (Where did that client form get filed? The rubbish bin?). She kindly offered me little cups and contact solution so I could remove my contacts. Taking out the contacts, and getting my eyelashes and eye area all taped into place and ready for application took about 15 minutes. It was quite uncomfortable, but she kept assuring me the result was going to be amazing. I half-heartedly grunted in agreeance. An hour after we started, and one chemical-induced mishap that involved a great deal of pain in my left eye later, I was finished.
The result? My lashes looked like they had been permed. They were curled so far back that they touched my eyelid, which was an interesting sensation, to say the least. I told myself they would settle down over the next day or so and not to worry. I was, however, quite pleased with the eyelash tinting – my somewhat invisible lashes now had a life of their own. Still a bit shaken by the chemical that seeped into my eye, I bid the girls at the front desk farewell and made my way back out onto Clapham Common. Aware that all my makeup had been removed in the LVL process, I was feeling a bit strange about the fact that I was looking terribly bleary eyed. And then there was that small dog that I almost stepped on because my eyes started to water uncontrollably. Something was not right.
About halfway to the tube I figured out what it was. My eyelids felt, for lack of a better word, weird. Like there was glue on them. Oh my god, there was glue – and lots of it – all over my eyelids. Didn’t she say she was cleaning that off? Well, she missed. The entire tube ride was spent peeling large sheets of what looked like dried skin off of my eyes. I can only imagine what the other riders were thinking as I did this. ‘Freak show’, I’m sure.
So what is the final say on these treatments? No to HD brows, and while I half like my lashes I definitely wouldn’t do it again. After a week the lashes have settled a little, but I still can’t put liquid eyeliner on my top lashes… they just curl too far back and smear it all over my face. But hey, at least I wasn’t blinded in the process.
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