Creating eye-catching looks is exactly what ‘brow-whisperer’ Michelle de Lima does with her expert use of tweezers and nifty ability to suss out bone structure
Ever gone for an eyebrow wax and emerged looking slightly more – surprised – than you planned? Or had half your eyelids’ skin removed? Or had threading so painful you actually thought waxing was better? Michelle de Lima, owner of Just Browzing in Parkmore, has heard it all. Michelle has been nicknamed the ‘brow-whisperer’ – a name acquired due to her ability to coax your natural brows back into the world of the living, all in the comfort of her candy-coloured studio.
Years of overshaping mean nothing once you’re in Michelle’s hands. ‘It may take time – in some cases, a lot of time – but we will get those brows back to their former glory,’ Michelle says confidently. And if you’re waiting for her to whip out the wax, you’ll hang about for a very long time. ‘Tweezing is the only way to go. It’s the gentlest on the skin and the most painless.’ At this point, you may well be shaking your head in disbelief, thinking of the tears you’ve shed when plucking out even a single wayward brow hair. Yet once Michelle gets to work, it’s true. ‘You just have to learn how to hold the brow in place while you tweeze. It’s the lack of hold that results in pain.’
Michelle’s tweezing magic speaks for itself. There’s no stencil here – no one-size-fits-all approach. Michelle has spent decades learning how to speak the language of brows – the techniques needed to minimise pain and maximise results, the timing between each appointment every client needs, all the nips and tucks and most importantly, how to select the right shape based on the client’s face. ‘Your brow bone dictates which eyebrow shape suits you best. The problem comes in when you’ve seen a shape you like on someone else, ask the beautician to do it, then walk out disappointed because it was a shape that never belonged with your bone structure to begin with!’ Michelle explains.
She’s known in beauty circles as a brow ‘specialist’ but is one of very, very few. ‘Loads of beauticians specialise in lashes and become lash ‘gurus’ or they find their niche in a specific manicure product and so on. It’s really strange that, despite brows being such a huge part of beauty and make-up, it’s the one aspect beauticians tend to neglect most. A quick course in waxing or threading just doesn’t cut it. It’ll do the job but in a ‘discount’ way, if that makes sense. It’s not bespoke, not tailored to your face to maximise natural beauty.’
This might be why you can sit on Michelle’s waiting list for months to nab that first appointment, and why most of her clients book their sessions six months ahead. But there’s hope in sight. Just Browzing has opened a training academy – Just Training Browz. ‘I don’t have space for many new clients but I love teaching. This course is to train anyone, even someone with zero background in make-up or beauty, how to do exactly what I do. Basically, the course creates a mini-me.’
For those too nervous to go it alone and launch a business from scratch, Michelle is open to the idea of someone joining her at Just Browzing. ‘There’s been some franchise interest but it’s not about copying and pasting my salon – clients need to know that when they see the name, Just Browzing, they’re getting the same level of service and client care I’ve spent years creating.’
The next course starts in March and takes place on Mondays. Twenty weeks later, you’ll emerge with the skills to be your own boss. ‘A graduate of the course needs decent lighting and a set of tweezers and they’ve got a business they can run in a rented studio, in a spare bedroom at home, a student res, a retirement village … you name it,’ Michelle says. Best of all, Michelle refuses to take more than four students a course. ‘Each student needs personalised attention to ensure they develop their skills fully. The course is to train brow experts and that takes time. Rushing things is what leads to problems – which is why I say I don’t do R80 brows. I fix R80 brows.’
If you’re keen to become a brow-whisperer and learn from the best of the best, find Michelle on Instagram at @justbrowzingbrowbar for her studio and @justtrainingbrowz for the course details.
Beauty, one tweak at a time…
Got a hot date this Valentine’s Day?
‘As tempting as it is to slather on the make-up, opting for contours, smoky eyes, bold brows and statement lip colour and so on, remember that make-up is meant to enhance your natural beauty – not hide it. My favourite date look is sun-kissed and natural. Tinted lip balm, some bronzer, a little golden shimmer on the eyes, lashings of mascara and, obviously, finished off with beautifully shaped brows filled in so they look fuller, not drawn in with a crayon. You should still look like yourself, even wearing make-up. Remember, your date wants to see you, not your ability to master kohl eyeliner.’
For the month of love, get a free foot massage with every lash lift (R350, tint included) with Kerry at The Just Bar. Head to justbrowzing.co.za/the-just-bar/ to make an appointment!
Text: Tayla Blaire. Photo: PETER WHITFIELD.