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Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Question of Eyebrows

To pluck or not to pluck, that is the question.....

I have always liked my thick eyebrows. When I was a teenager and we used a small brush with a block of mascara that we spat on before rubbing the brush along it to get enough black on the brush to colour our eyebrows and eyelashes, I used to put the mascara through my eyebrows to make them appear even darker and thicker. 

I was worried that having them plucked might result in something I didn't like very much. So, for 57  years I managed to avoid the experience.

Then, when I was working as a Tour Leader and living in a hotel the hairdresser made me an excellent offer of a day of real self-indulgence; haircut/colour, pedicure, manicure and eyebrow plucking using tweezers and something they do here with a twisted string to pull out  unwanted body hair. I was happy about everything EXCEPT the eyebrow bit. However, she was very persuasive and promised me I'd like the result so I let her go ahead. 

I cannot claim to have enjoyed the process. I found it EXTREMELY painful and any pain near my eyes and nose makes me sneeze so the whole event was not without its problems. However, she was right about the result.

I LOVED these eyebrows. She did a really good job. She managed to keep the same basic shape and length while clearing my eyelid making my eyes look bigger and doing wonders for my face. I made up my mind that I would let her do my eyebrows regularly. That was about 4 1/2 years ago.

However, soon after that I left the hotel because I left the travel company. I started work in a local dive centre and no longer had money for the luxury of eyebrow plucking. I promised to keep them in line myself but was so busy and physically tired after work each day that it never happened and after a while my eyebrows were almost back to their original glorious selves.

This positive experience had nonetheless changed my attitude towards the idea of having my brows plucked.

Then, about 4 years ago I became friends with a German lady who visits Egypt regularly at least twice a year. For a long time I did not know what her job was at home but then found out she is a hairdresser. When she visited Egypt last July and stayed with me in my flat she brought her hairdressing things with her and resolved to cut my hair for me. Working as a diver is very bad for the hair. It gets soaked in salt then dried in the scorching midday summer sun before being soaked once more in salt and dried out again. No matter how much it is washed and conditioned at the end of the day it still becomes brittle with lots of split ends. So, I let my friend cut my hair and I have to say it was excellent. I was very proud of my new style. She promised to come again and said that next time she would not only cut my hair but would do my eyebrows.


She came back about 3 weeks ago and once again stayed a few days with me in my flat. During this time she cut my hair again. She cut it shorter than last time but still managed to make it look fantastic.

Then came the eyebrows. She used a special tool to remove the excess hair (it seems the twisted cotton may be a particularly Egyptian thing) and I have to say it REALLY REALLY hurt. You cannot imagine the pain and it seemed like she would never stop. Even when I thought she had finished she found some more hair that needed to be plucked and started again. 

Sadly we did this in my living room where I did not have access to a mirror, otherwise I might have stopped here very early on. As it was I let her continue until she said she was finished.

Then, with a spring in my step and great expectations I hurried to the bathroom to have a look.

I was devastated!!!!!

My eyebrows are naturally long but she had shortened them my at least 1/4. There should be a smooth curve around my eye instead of which there were 2 straight lines at an angle as though the lashes went uphill from my nose to mid brow then downhill to a stubby end. She left all the thickness near the nose and almost no brow around the outer edge of my eye. She did not clear any hair from the underside of my eyebrow so the plucking had no effect on my eyelid therefore did nothing to make my eyes seem bigger or to open up my face. 


She could see I was upset and tried to use mascara (the modern kind like a felt tip pen) to replace the missing hair but that looked so false I thought it better to go without.

She wanted to take a photo of my new hairstyle but I refused because I couldn't bear to appear with such dreadful eyebrows. In the end I changed the hairstyle preferring to pull the ends forwards over my face (rather than back) in an attempt to hide the terrible spectre of my mangled eyebrows.

She tried to reassure me that they would grow back but it's been 3 weeks now and, although there has been some improvement, they are still not as they should be. I hope I don't have to wait too long for a return to normal.

I did discuss the technique and outcome with her, showing her photos of what it looked like last time and describing how it had been done. Her reply was that the way she had done my brows was the way she was taught in Germany. So, I guess the way they are done may be a cultural thing.

The moral of this story would, therefore, appear to be to only get my eyebrows done here in Egypt by an Egyptian hairdresser.

I have the photos below - judge for yourselves.

My untended eyebrows - a bit bushy I accept but I like them.
My plucked eyebrows first time around. I LOVED these
eyebrows and hoped to have the same thing again.
This by the Egyptian hairdresser.
Three weeks after the recent plucking. Too fat near the nose,
too thin at the ends and not left long enough. I feel like I have
a couple of slugs living at the top of my nose. I HATE these
eyebrows and hope they grow back soon. It's been 3 weeks
already and they're still not right.

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