Well, I can now officially say that I’ve been “threaded.” It’s a borderline barbaric technique requiring immense skill and a delicate touch. Oh, and it hurts.Location:
Close to work# of Nicks:
I had had my eye on this little place for a while. Of all the shops on my walk to work, it was the one that screamed out, “I know you want to stop in, so why don’t you just do it?” It was right, I did want to stop in…badly. How could you go wrong with an old man in a one-seater shop? I’ve always said that it’s experience before beauty in the shaving world and this guy was probably shavin’ people since before I was born. So, yesterday night, the stars aligned and I was able to test out what this guy had to offer.
Things started out well enough. There was no arguing over a price, no arm clutching, or other such pleasantries exchanged. Perhaps I could’ve paid less, but 5 LE was the standard shave price, so I had no problem offering it. The man just shook his head eagerly, “Mashi (okay).”
Lathers seem to be hit-and-miss in this country. Some use not enough crème, while others, this guy included, lay it on thick—he had just opened up a fresh tube, so he was more than generous with the proportions. But instead of adhering the inch-long piece of crème to my face, he put it right on the horsehair brush. Speaking of which, his brush was gargantuan…a relative behemoth.
While the overall foaming action was sorely lacking, this was the best lather in Egypt thus far. I felt the familiar cool tinge of the eucalyptus oils, along with the soothing action inherent in most skin crèmes. There was cause for concern, though, in the lather coverage. From what I could see, he just didn’t get low enough down my neck.
What I’ve noticed here is that blade artists tend to be gentle on the right-side of your face (the side they start with) and hastily violent on the left. There is also this penchant to go over and over a spot until the roots are torn out. This guy was certainly no exception. You could used to the pain after a while, but the first, and oh-so-violent, strokes often catch you by surprise.
On the second run-through, he chose to go against the grain. I really have to appreciate this because you end up with a close shave rivaled by none…one that lasts a day (for me, anyways). When he was finally done wielding a sharp blade scarily close to my neck, he brought out this aromatic spray that I’m not sure I’ll ever get used to. He then proceeded to pump-action spray it all over my face. Every orifice was reached and I had to keep my eyes sealed shut to avoid crying.
Then he takes out this can, opens it, and withdraws from it a soft, round brush with what I could only guess to be baby powder. A few quick strokes around the delicate areas later and I thought that was that. Oh no, there was still more. He pulls out this thread and makes an offering gesture. “Hmm…I was offered this before and declined. This is something that I need to experience at least once, especially if I’m to maintain my journalistic integrity.”
It’s hard to describe what happened next. The guy basically formed some sort of cat’s cradle formation with the thread, with all four strands meeting in the centre. He then looped the thread through is mouth. Now, the purpose of this technique is to remove hairs individually via forced extraction. So, the guy used his thread contraption to pluck stray hairs around my eyebrows and hair line. Then he went for the ears. I must say, I’ve never even heard of anyone getting their ears plucked before, and I certainly would never voluntarily request it. That didn’t stop this guy, though, he went right at it. I can tell you that this is a pleasure-less experience. In fact, it really did hurt. That, combined with the spray from earlier, caused a few tears to well in my eye. I couldn’t believe it.
On one hand, I left the shop with an extremely close shave. On the other, the guy was lacking in overall face coverage. Nothing that a MACH-3 can’t fix, luckily.