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The brow and the beautiful

Believe it or not, getting your hair ripped out with hot wax can actually be relaxing and enjoyable, thanks in part to brow specialists like Diana Roth and Stefanie Dodge, owners of The Browtique. This specialty salon in Orland Park, Illinois, is a perfect example of how eyebrows and hair removal are changing.

Light grey walls, vintage refurbished furniture and pale blue accents scattered throughout the shop create a zen escape, complete with fresh-smelling essential oils and relaxing music.

For many of us, going to get your eyebrows done once meant laying on a bed similar to a doctor’s examination table in a tiny room in the back of a hair salon, hoping the stranger standing above you doesn’t give you tadpole brows. With salons like The Browtique, those days can soon be in the past.

Whether you’re into Lily Collins’ perfectly unkempt brows or Gina Rodríguez’s clean, tactfully shaped brows, you can now put your trust in an eyebrow specialist to achieve your dream brows.

The term “eyebrow specialist” is steadily gaining popularity, and it may seem like it gets thrown around a lot now, but those who hold the title certainly don’t take it lightly. Just like makeup, great eyebrows are an art with Roth and Dodge having mastered it.

Diana Roth and Stefanie Dodge, owners of The Browtique in Orland Park, Illinois.

The duo opened The Browtique together in 2009, having no idea what it would become. With a one —or sometimes two-month wait time for appointments, they are a perfect example of just how prevalent their specialty has become.

Not just anyone can perfect the art of eyebrow shaping. Roth says you have to have natural talent, but even that will only take you so far. “Skill, a trained eye and an artistic ability will take you all the way,” Roth says.

We’ve all probably noticed how obsessed many Americans have become with hair removal as a whole, whether it be facial hair (including brows), underarms, bikini lines or legs. But you might be shocked at the actual numbers behind this obsession. Rebecca M. Herzig is a professor of Women and Gender Studies at Bates College. In her 2015 book, “Plucked: a History of Hair Removal,” she states, “Recent studies indicate that more than 99 percent of American women voluntarily remove hair, and more than 85 percent do so regularly, even daily.”

As for the eyebrow obsession in particular, Dodge credits celebrities such as Kim Kardashian. “Even though there really are better brows out there, everyone kind of noticed that style,” she says, laughing, while Roth notes that people started noticing what a big impact professionally shaped brows can have on your face.

Roth says there has also been a noticeable shift in client demographics. While they once expected most clients to be in their 30s–40s, they now see everyone from teenagers to women in their 80s.

Roth and Dodge love getting new clients because it’s like meeting a new friend, and they love being a part of the transformation that happens when someone gets their brows done for the first time.

Dodge says when she gets a first-time client, aside from assessing the person’s brows, she always makes sure to see what they’re hoping to get out of their appointment.

“Generally, people have an idea of what they want and sometimes it’s not quite right for their face,” she says. “Then I come up with a happy medium between what I think and what they want.”

Roth takes a similar approach to new clients and likes to get an idea of the individual’s brow history. “I like to ask a lot of questions of what they’ve been doing to maintain their brows and how long has it been since they touched them, just to give me an idea of their regrowth potential,” she says.

Though Roth and Dodge have only been working together since 2009, they’ve both been doing brows for 15 years. They both feel extremely fortunate for what The Browtique has become.

“It feels like I’m home when I’m at work,” Dodge says. “I never dread going to work, and I feel so lucky to say I love what I do and I love our little family [at The Browtique].”

“A lot of people don’t see the back end of our industry and how much goes into it,” Roth says. “A lot of these salons are independently owned, and there is so much education and work that goes into doing it well, and I’m so grateful for what I have.”

If recent years for eyebrow specialists like Roth and Dodge are any indication, there is still plenty of success to come.

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