Monday, November 8, 2010

eyebrow threading

in an earlier blog post, i talked about men using two coins to remove facial hair. i have not seen women using coins but i have seen them using a length of thread to pull out hair.

i once accompanied my younger daughter to buffalo road in little india to have her eyebrows trimmed. there are a few shops - mostly located upstairs - along this stretch of road that offer this eyebrow threading service. a mere 5-minute job, it costs about $5 and a full face hair removal job costs twice as much. no expensive tools or equipment is involved; only a length of cotton thread and the skill of the threader. although i was the only man in the shop, they did not chase me away. i had wondered: do men go for threading? i guess some kind of men do.

threading is different from tweezing or plucking. in tweezing or plucking, a single strand is pulled out each time; threading can remove an entire row of hair, resulting in a straight line. threading can be used to remove other facial and body hair.

the threader anchors one end of the thread to her teeth or around her neck. the piece of thread is twisted into a double strand. this double strand thread is used to pick up a line of hair and then remove it.

is it painful? for the price of vanity, any pain can be endured. "no, it feels like an ant's bite." "slightly painful." in the hands of a skilful threader, it should be quite a pleasant experience.

as a result of its popularity, you do not have to go to little india to have it done. you can find threaders in the heartlands like yishun, marsiling and clementi or even in upmarket places like orchard road and tanglin mall.

is threading exclusive to the indians in singapore? as far as i know, all the professional threaders are indians but i have seen chinese women doing it. in her younger days, my mother used to have her facial hair removed, once a year, just before the chinese new year, by a neighbour using a reel of cotton thread.

it was not a 5-minute session. it was more like an hour session or longer. i cannot really remember. my mother would sit on a stool and the threader neighbour would stand opposite her with a length of thread, with one end held to her teeth. she would work on the whole face, not just the eyebrows. in the course of it, she would use up a few lengths of string. i also remember that she would spread generous amount of the face powder to ensure that the experience was a smooth and painless one.

on checking with my daughter, i was told that the indian lady who did the threading also apply the same face powder (the one shown in the photo above) to the area which she wanted to work on.


Betty said...

This same type of powder can be used for tarnished costume jewelry. Just rub some of it on a piece of soft cloth and then rub your tarnished costume jewelry with the cloth. Presto! They will look like new again.
Our mothers/grandmothers used this powder on their faces to make them look fair

yg said...

no wonder the teochew ah nia presented this powder to all the ladies.

Uncle Phil said...

My mother also used them as altar offering when she prayed to the Moon Goddess (Mid Autumn Festival)and the Stars (the weaving maid and the cowherd on the 7th night of the 7th month of the lunar calendar).

yg said...

phil, i have also seen some families offering that when they pray to chang'e, the moon goddess of immortality.
i thought the moon festival was on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month.

Uncle Phil said...

The Moon festival and the cowherd and the weaving maid festival are two seperate Chinese festivals. The later has a special significant for the single midens since the weaving maid is reputed to be sympathetic to the lovelorn. Therefore the singles take this occassion to pray for good spouse and happy marriages.

yg said...

phil, ok. thanks for the clarification.

doris said...

My mother who is about 80 is able to thread her own face unaided using a slightly thicker version of the white thread ( more painful and effective) and she does so regularly just before Chinese New Year. Sadly she did not teach us,her children or rather we did not learn from her.

yg said...

doris, i think i know the type of thread you are referring to. my mother used that to cut the 'sticky cake' into small pieces.

Jade Graham said...

what about the pain factor? For me, it was quite bearable as I was used to plucking my eyebrows. thin eyebrows