I grew up with really thick brows. I never felt ashamed or concerned about them until I was thirteen years old. It was then that I discovered eyebrow tweezers. I had this tri-fold, light up makeup mirror with a magnifying option and I used to sit in front of it for hours trying to perfect my bushy brows. I idolized Kate Moss thinness (which also translated to emulating her eyebrows), and I plucked away until my eyebrows looked they were caricature eyebrows, or perhaps like a was conjuring up notions of a certain silent film star.
This was me at fourteen years old. What’s that? I look older than that you say? The quickest way to look older than you are is to pluck your eyebrows almost into oblivion, and that I did. This is really not a pretty look, yet somehow I thought that it looked great. It took me a few years to get out of that phase and try to grow out my brows, but then I had no beauty art director of my eyebrows.
It wasn’t until I was in my early twenties that I sought out the help of an eyebrow sculptor. I went to various places that waxed, tweezed, and threaded my brows. I soon found that wax made me break out in hives after a few hours, so I leaned toward threading and tweezing as a means of taming my brows.
When I first heard of The Brow House in Toronto, I was excited because it seemed we had our very own Anastasia (of Oprah eyebrow fame) right here in Toronto. I wanted to see a specialist, because after all of my eyebrow insecurities, I knew that I still wasn’t getting it quite right. It was after my first visit to the Leslieville location when I came across a beautiful Ojibwe painting in the waiting area, when I realized that this salon was owned by a Native business owner.
I quickly learned that it was Kira Thompson, was the owner and operator and a proud
Ojibwe Assiniboine (Sioux)/Jewish woman. I was immediately inspired by her success. Last fall she opened up her second location in Yorkville.
“My interest in eyebrow shaping began while I was living in New York City in 2004 working an event. The Anastasia brand, a specialist in eyebrow shaping and products, showcased eyebrow skills in another area of the event. Women were turned away because the Anastasia brand didn’t have enough artists to do the work. Those women came to us and asked our makeup artists to shape their brows and so we did. I decided to come back to Toronto in 2005 and open an eyebrow salon here. The Brow House became the first eyebrow salon in Toronto.” Kira Thompson tells the Aboriginal Professional Association of Canada for their ‘Recognizing Excellence’ profile on her
I visited the Yorkville location for my first time last week and it’s spacious and stunning. I had an eyebrow shaping appointment with Olga, a cute young brunette with vagabond tendencies. She is a makeup artist who’s from Calgary, but has already lived in Montreal and New York City. I liked her immediately and admired her wanderlust.
I was a bit embarrassed coming to my appointment because I spent a few months away from having my eyebrows touched. I have really been trying to grow out my brows so that they have a more natural look, which means that I let my regular grooming tendencies go … My left eyebrow was *way* bigger than my right brow, and was looking pretty shaggy. So much so that I was carefully editing my Instagram selfies to not include my brows.
Olga quickly assessed that we needed to match the right brow (pictured on the left above) as it was the brow with the nicest shape (ok a shape). She tweezed my brows completely, but the Brow House offers waxing paired with tweezing. They do not offer threading as Olga explained to me because there is little room for precision in threading as it removes the hair line by line, rather than a controlled area.
I was really pleased to discover that all of the Brow House Eyebrow Designers are makeup artists. This is a big step up from going to get your eyebrows shaped from anyone else because makeup artists are trained to create symmetry in the face. I have gone to places in the past where they sculpted each eyebrow individually, which meant that they looked great if you just looked at one, but together you could see the differences in shape and arch. Awkard.
I am pleased with the final result. The appear a bit lopsided in the photo because my head is slightly tilted to my right. I generally fill in my brows with a dark eyeshadow and a precision brush to create the brow stroke look. This helps give me a bit of a heavier brow look, which I love. Olga gave me the great idea to use pomade on my brows to get them in place. Brilliant.
Now that I’ve found my eyebrow happy place, I can move on from the thick and thin of it and simply go in for my monthly maintenance. Now that’s one less thing to worry about. Thanks Brow House!