|Not my picture|
My faith in InStyle was strong enough to book an appointment cold (meaning without doing the extensive online research I typically would for my eyebrows), but I did have a quick glance at Yelp before going in. While all the reviews were generally positive, most people praised the waxing services and not the eyebrow threading, which was enough to worry me a little.
Still, last week I made my way to the midtown Madison location (they also have one in Soho and Hibba herself shuttles between the two), which was a bit of a pain to find, since it's not actually on Madison. (It's between Madison and Park, literally a 40 second walk from Grand Central).
As someone who generally goes to the Perfect Brows chain, I was expecting something a little snotty from Hibba (the place, not the woman!). I'm not entirely sure why, but it probably had something to do with the fact that they were mentioned in InStyle alongside hundred dollar spas. I was picturing a clientele full of the immaculately blond and thin ladies who lunch types--you know, the ones who cast judgmental eyes around the waiting room? (Admittedly, I was feeling a bit insecure having woken up late and dashing out the door with no makeup, messy hair and a Bambi-emblazoned sweater--hey, I was trying out the graphic trend!)
|The colorful interior...not my picture|
But to my pleasant surprise, Hibba and company could not have been nicer, and the other clients there seemed perfectly friendly--maybe mutual need for hair removal negates any potential judgement? Since she has the company and both locations named after her, I figured Hibba would be a bit of an uppity woman (again with my assumptions!), but she was humble as could be and I was surprised to see her answering the phone and logging clients behind the desk before sitting down with me.
The first threading with Hibba is actually $10 more than a regular visit, and it wasn't until she had finished on my caterpillars that I understood why. It's not just the time she devotes, it's that she's completely redoing your arches (or at least mine, since apparently they've been the wrong shape for years). This is great, obviously, if you're pleased with the result, but what could be troublesome was that she didn't talk me through what she was doing, or even say that she was completely redoing my brows. This added for more drama and shock factor when she finished and I looked in the mirror, but if you don't like how she does your eyebrows, you could potentially be upset by it.
That being said, I honestly didn't even notice she didn't mention anything at the time. And even if I had, I was too pleased with the final result to even care. My former brows were quite rounded and thick (and they've been that way for years) but Hibba took one look, said, "Some eyebrows are simply too thick for the face," and went away with the thread!
Roughly ten minutes later....
|Check out those arches!|
It was a bit of a shock at first, since this is the thinnest my brows have ever been, and it really feels like a new version of my face. Let me explain: I have a round face, and round and full brows tend to accentuate that even more. I inherited my Persian father's thick eyebrows which would look fabulous with large, dark Persian eyes, but that's where my mother's genes kicked in and I got small, droopy Asian peepers instead. It can be an overpowering combination, as the mismatched set can make my thick eyebrows look even thicker and my small eyes even smaller, which I only just realized now that my brows are thinned out.
*My All About Eyebrow Threading post has pictures of my previous brows.
But even though this is probably as thin as I would go, I don't feel like they're too skinny. With some clever shaping, they actually look longer and more arched and I swear it looks like I've dropped ten pounds from my face, or that I grew a chin. This is what happens when your rounded brows get arches--my eyebrows went from ballet flats to pumps and now it's my face (and not my calves) that looks lean and fabulous! She even somehow managed to make them more level, as I swear, my eyebrows have been crooked (one higher than the other) all my life. This was a real breakthrough, people.
At this point I was thrilled that Hibba hadn't said what she was going to do because it made my new brows even more exciting, and it's also simply part of her efficient no fuss or frills attitude. If she had told me how much thinner my eyebrows were going to be, I'm sure I would have balked and probably refused, but look what I would have missed out on!
Personally, that's the kind of service I like: efficient and no-nonsense while remaining polite and friendly, and Hibba and her staff are just that. Sure, the hairdresser that chats with you about your love life is great, but I much prefer the cut-and-dry aestheticians who simply go about their business.
|With makeup...I was in the mood for bright liner|
But don't think sensible fuss-free women do minimal services! Hibba's threading was unquestionably the most thorough I have ever had (it took around 15 minutes total), and afterwards she took care to put soothing cloths on my irritated brow and a layer of Neosporin, all while giving me tips on maintaining my brows. The best part may even be that I don't have to see her for another five weeks. She said her threadings last longer, and while the jury is out on that, I appreciate her honesty since she easily could have told me to come again in three weeks.
It was such an interesting experience for me--to really feel thoroughly taken care of in terms of the beauty service, without feeling daunted by any grandness or pretension.
I've also done a bit of research on Hibba since then, and apparently her speciality is shaping brows that are most flattering on an individual's face--meaning, it might not be a question of what you want, as it's more about what would look best for you. I love this ethos, and it (as well as her years of experience) is probably why her rates are higher than that of her associates.
Which brings us to the money.
At my old place, Perfect Brows (and most hole-in-the-wall eyebrow threading facilities), a threading was $7. At Hibba, your first visit (which I believe is always with Hibba herself) is $30. From there, each threading with Hibba is $20, and with another aesthetician it's $15. You can, however, purchase 10-pack packages at a reduced rate, as well as gift cards (hint, hint for any family members reading this post!)
|Not my image.|
Yes, that's almost three times as much as I used to pay, but the difference is not only in the shape of my eyebrows, but in the knowledge and professionalism these women have. Perfect Brows and the like were more get in and get out type services, but at Hibba these ladies really know what they're talking about and pass on that knowledge to the client. Have a look at their website, and you'll see that they're all about clean, holistic services but feel very grounded in medicine. They've basically turned eyebrow threading into a mixture of a craft and almost a science--they actually gathered some of my medical history!
I love this approach as it feels clean and organic, much as you would want anything on your body to feel, but then there's a feeling of security, knowing that the thoughts behind the services are also based in something as concrete as science.
Bottom line: In case you couldn't tell, I think Hibba and her ladies are marvelous. Their dedication to professionalism and perfecting the services they provide is really something to be admired, and I've never met such knowledgeable brow people. Prices here are actually reasonable, especially if Hibba is right and her threading requires fewer maintenance visits. Definitely someone to check out if you're dissatisfied with your eyebrows!
If you want to give Hibba a try, just mention the InStyle magazine (even if you didn't see it...shhhh!) when you book your appointment and your first visit will be reduced to $24.
I will very definitely be going back to Hibba, and with so much faith that I even threw out my Perfect Brows stamp card!
Give her a try, folks, and you won't be sorry!
Thanks for the tip, InStyle!