I went to high school in South San Diego, where eyebrows are kind of a big deal—mainly because they were the one thing that clearly signified whether you were, or most definitely were not, a chola. Once, my sister plucked my eyebrows so thin and pointy that I spent weeks being complimented by the chola girls at school.
"Ey, girl. Your eyebrows are sick."
I'd mumble a thank you, then pull the hood of my jacket over my head and go to class.
Even as an adult, I pluck and wax and shape with extreme caution. I've seen some glorious chola brows in my day, curved high up into the hairline and thin as a piece of floss. But it's not for me; I prefer a thicker brow with a nice arch.
One of the places I go to achieve a great-looking brow is The Undercarriage, which has two locations: Bankers Hill (1837 Fifth Ave.) and North Park (3385 30th St.). Both are decorated as sexy, old-timey saloons with ornate, red-velvet couches and funny Western tchotchkes. The Undercarriage's North Park brow expert, Malinda, has a great hand for shaping brows. It's relatively quick and painless. Plus, the wax she uses isn't burning hot; I want clean brows, not a trip to the burn unit. And for $15, it's a great deal. But if you're on an especially tight budget, they hold Classy Wednesday every week, when you can get 20 percent off of any waxing service between 2 and 7 p.m. Rip away!
Since I haven't been to many other brow-waxing places, I asked a few friends to give me their recommendations for killer brows that would make Joan Crawford jelly. My girlfriend Kim is a diehard fan of Le Wax Boutique (3820 Ray St.), a little, vintage-inspired waxer in North Park that's long been her hair-removal place of choice. She says the process is always quick and that the owner, Sarah, uses a powder before applying the wax that makes the experience a lot less painful.
The thing that most worries me about facial waxing is getting skin irritation or nasty red bumps, but Kim tells me that even with her super-sensitive skin, she's rarely had problems. A brow shaping there is $18. Again, not too bad.
My friend Vanoosheh has a pair of gloriously shaped eyebrows. She being Persian, I wanted to get her input—my girl Vanoosheh and I know what it's like to deal with hair. That stuff grows on women of color like crazy, and it requires constant maintenance. Vanoosheh is a huge cheerleader for Dick & Jane's Waxing Salon (1028 Rosecrans St. in Point Loma). D&J's has a bunch of services, including a brow cleanup ($15), brow shaping ($20), brow tinting ($15) and a brow tint-and-wax combo ($25). The tinting is great for fair-haired maidens who fear looking completely hairless. Vanoosheh says she likes the atmosphere of the place—it's clean, bright and welcoming. Not a lot of frills in design, but that's not something she needs. The service, friendly and efficient, is what keeps her coming back.
I spoke to Jeanine Edmond, who waxes at Viva Brazil (1356 Garnet Ave. in Pacific Beach), to get some tips on maintaining brows post-wax. She recommends tweezing the few strays but steering clear of the brow line and arch.
"There's not much you can do because you want to keep shape," she says. "If you have an emergency, just use a brown powder or pencil to fill in the brow to make it darker. Just wait for your next wax."
Edmond also says a two-week growth will ensure a better, cleaner waxing experience.
Make your appointments and get brows even Sad Girl would approve.