Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

Getting a little bit high brow – Elysian Brows, Dawson St

When I was in New York last year visiting the sister (who, incidentally, I don’t visit half enough), we went to City Sun to get spray tans – because we’re classy like that. I was, as an aside, genuinely shocked by the …

Fri, Mar 19, 2010, 12:17


When I was in New York last year visiting the sister (who, incidentally, I don’t visit half enough), we went to City Sun to get spray tans – because we’re classy like that. I was, as an aside, genuinely shocked by the number of people coming in to use their sun beds. This place is huge, and there was one – count it, one – spray tanning booth, for which the three of us (myself, B and JP) queued, one after another. The huge floorspace was otherwise occupied by stand-up, sit-down, lie-down (turn around?) sunbeds, all of which seemed to be in use. The mind boggles.

BUT anyway. As we were en route to City Sun, we got sidetracked by an eyebrow threading store right next door, where a veritable bevy of Indian women were standing around, threads in hand ( – really?!), ready to “perfect” the next willing victim to walk through the door. Did we go in? Yes we did. And I have to say, it was the least painful beautifying experience I’ve ever had – and yes, I’m including spray tans, because that shiz is cold!


Image courtesy of Elysian Brows

The most painful part was when, having made my eyebrows really beautiful, my therapist proceeded to ask: “You want your lip done?” It hadn’t occurred to me once in my short life, until that moment, that I had too much hair on my lip. So I said yes. Point to note: that was a mistake. It hurt, I didn’t need it, and it has done nothing but to start a paranoia that I will never rid myself of.

The crux of the matter is, when an invite was extended to me to try out Elysian Brows on Dawson St, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. My eyebrows don’t concern me greatly (I think that’s probably more to do with my general carelessness about these kinds of things, rather than the fact that they are perfect – I’m sure they’re not, but, really, who doesn’t have more to worry about?) but I had neglected them for a while and I thought that any kind of action would be a positive one.

It did occur to me, at one point, that Irish women as a very general rule (and yes, general rules are lazy journalism – but this is blogging, and long may it live) love very thin eyebrows and I, well, despite my being an Irish woman, I don’t. So it did worry me, but in the efforts to be a roving reporter of the investigative type, I decided not to air my views to Libby, the eyebrow therapist at Elysian – I was, I thought, going to leave her to her own devices.

First impressions? The salon is lovely. Upstairs is the product offering, lovely stools with nice Indian-style cushions, a lot of  mirrors and bright light, and a selection of Face 2 make-up products that I was so tempted to throw in my proverbial basket. Downstairs lies the brow therapy area, a dimly lit room with dark walls and ceiling, muted music. I did have a fleeting concern about the nightclubby feel to it, but my fears were soon alleviated when I sat down (in a very comfortable chair), the light was switched on (literally) and Libby got to explaining how Elysian threads brows.

First things first: you can’t go into Elysian and request “the Jennifer”. “It just doesn’t work like that,” Libby told me. “Your eyebrows are very specific to your face, so what we do is to go with your natural shape.” There was a decent 10-minute examination of my face (lucky me), where Libby pointed out the shape of my brow, where my hairs were growing well, where they weren’t, and where I’d gone a bit mad with the tweezers. Then she took to threading.

Now, perhaps laser hair removal (more on which in the future, I swear) has made me immune to these kinds of biting pain, but I found the entire experience painless. Upon speaking to friends afterwards, I realised that this isn’t the norm – so it might be more painful for you than it was for me. But isn’t that always the way? So no, I didn’t find it painful. I found it uncomfortable – least of all because little tiny hairs kept flying into my eyes (I would advise closing them) and onto my face, where they stayed for the day, thwarting my every attempt to get rid of them.

The result? My brows are slightly thinner than I’d usually go for, but remarkably even – almost symmetrical, even, which is no mean feat. They look very clean; really professional, very tidy, which pleases my OCD side mucho. I’m definitely going to be going back at the three-week mark to have them tidied up; I’ve always kind of wondered (while also considering politics and third-world sociology) what my brows could be if I just gave them the chance, and now I’ll know!

An eyebrow consultation and shape costs €25 at Elysian Brows; thereafter, a brow tidy / maintenance will set you back €15. See the website or tel: 01-6788 260.