Thursday, July 4, 2013

Getting Pampered at Indian Brow and Henna Boutique

Recently, new Vancouver-based BookingNest got in touch with me about their services. Essentially, BookingNest helps make scheduling beauty and wellness appointments quicker and easier for both potential clients and businesses. With just a few clicks, I can find a new hairstylist to try, see their contact info and location on a map, check out pricing and reviews, and even book my appointment online. To get the word out about BookingNest, they hooked me up with one of their members for some TLC.

After hurrying out of my office post-meeting in downtown Vancouver, anxiously trying to figure out if I was waiting at the right bus stop (the bus stop sign turned out to have a different name for the bus), and riding a crowded bus at rush hour, I arrived at the doorstep of Indian Brow and Henna Boutique (1104 West Broadway, Vancouver) sweaty, haggard, and in desperate need of some relaxation.
I felt better as soon as I stepped inside and took in the clean, modern decor and cozy waiting area. I was greeted warmly and offered a chai tea.
I met the super-sweet Hema, who co-owns the boutique with her sister Rupal. We discussed what I was interested in getting done that day--brow threading, brow tinting, lash tinting, all of which were new to me.  Throughout each service, Hema took care to explain what she was doing and checked frequently to make sure I was feeling comfortable, especially during the lash tinting and brow threading.

The lash tinting service darkens lashes to create more emphasis on your eyes. The tint did sting my eyes slightly, which I was warned of beforehand. Because my natural hair colour is a dark brown rather than black, I thought the blue-black tint would lessen my dependence on mascara for dark, fluttery lashes. Unfortunately, after the tinting was complete we both agreed it did not make a noticeable difference because my lashes are so fine. The issue is more about the naturally fine texture of my hair than a problem with the service itself. I would recommend lash tinting to blondes, redheads, or light brunettes where you will really see a difference.

Next was the colour brow tinting. I was really looking forward to service; my brow hairs are also very fine, so filling in my brows is a daily must to define them. This service tints the hairs rather than the skin, so it looks very natural. I was very pleased with the results: my brows were definitely darker and more defined, but still natural-looking thanks to the medium brown tint that Hema recommended. Although I still sometimes fill in my brows due to sparse areas, I can now get away with just few quick strokes from a clear wax pencil to define them when I'm in a rush. This is definitely a service I recommend and would do again.
Brow threading was last. Not too long ago, I posted that I regularly wax my brows at home, but I was very curious to try the popular alternative that removes hair using just a looped thread. I discussed this with Hema, who advised that waxing can irritate the skin because the wax pulls at and can remove a layer of skin, whereas threading targets only the hair. Although I don't experience this with the brand I use, this is something to keep in mind for the sensitive-skinned folks.

After talking about the results I wanted (natural, because I'm trying to grow my brows out), Hema drew white outlines around my brows to show me that she would be removing hair outside of those areas. Although I did feel some pinching similar to tweezing, it was far from unbearable (I wax, remember?) and my brows looked amazing afterwards. There's something about having clean, polished brows that just changes your whole face. And of course, a pro's work totally outshines my at-home job. It has been more than two weeks since my brows were threaded, and only today have I noticed new stray hairs growing in. The results of threading tend to last longer than plucking because the hairs are removed at the follicle, and they seem to have lasted longer than waxing at home too.

Hema followed up with a rosewater gel massage on my brows and applied brow makeup (both complimentary for every threading service) using Indian Brow and Henna Boutique's products. By this time, all the stress from earlier in my day had melted away and I was feeling totally pampered. I seriously feel more relaxed just thinking about my visit while writing this post!
As its name suggests, Indian Brow and Henna Boutique also specializes in temporary henna tattoos that last 7-10 days. Hema explained that this is a popular service for weddings or people that want a trial run for a permanent ink tattoo; they were even booked to create henna tattoos for a runway show at John Casablancas. The photo above shows the henna tattoo on Hema's forearm.

At the end of my appointment, Hema noted the details of my visit on a notepad including the tint colours used on my lashes and brows. The notepad included a face chart, where she outlined the areas she recommended I grow out (inner brow area and outside arch on the right brow). It was almost like going over a prescription with a doctor! The notes would be entered into IBHB's computer database for my next visit.

Overall, I loved my visit to Indian Brow and Henna Boutique and would recommend their services to anyone. Hema is really lovely, warm, and a total professional that listened to what I wanted and made sure I was happy with her services. Although I will continue to do some general maintenance at home, I will be sure to visit again for shaping after my brows grow out a little more and for brow tinting. I don't have any before and after pictures to share unfortunately, but I'll post an update when I go back.

To be fair, IBHB is a little pricier ($21) than other places I know of offering threading for $5-6. Since this is my first time, I can't comment on any other experiences compared to this one; I don't even know if post-threading massages or makeup applications are the norm. However, they are roughly on par with another "boutique" or more upscale place I've heard of, Bombay Brow Bar. I do know that I was very happy with my experience and that I will return.

After I left the boutique, I met up with a friend to catch the Skytrain home. "Did you leave work late today?" she asked. When I explained that I just finished a brow tinting and threading appointment, she replied, "oh! I was just thinking that your brows were looking really good today."

Do you regularly see a professional for your brow needs? Vancouverites, what do you think of BookingNest's concept?

This post features complimentary services received for consideration.

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