Holding a string of thread about 15 inches long, Archana Brahmbhatt places one end between her teeth while she wraps the other end around her index and middle fingers, forming a triangle.
Her fluid, confident movements, which remove unwanted hair from the roots in straight rows, show the decade's worth of experience that Mrs. Brahmabhatt has practicing this technique.
Threading is an ancient hair removal method some say originated in India, while others say in the Middle East.
Although it is becoming a lot more popular in Western countries and larger cities -- especially in New York, Chicago and Atlanta -- in places such as Chattanooga it is still a bit of a novelty.
"It was strange to me at the beginning," said Peggy Walton, who recently visited Mrs. Brahmabhatt to get her eyebrows threaded.
"I'm a Southern girl from Virginia. My husband was in the military so I traveled and lived all over the country, and I had never heard of threading. I couldn't see how it could be possible," she added.
WHAT IS THREADING?
*A Middle Eastern and Asian technique for the removal of unwanted facial hair, specifically for the shaping of the eyebrows.
*A 100 percent cotton thread, about 15 inches long, is used to remove hair from the root in straight lines.
*It is usually held between the teeth or around the neck of the beautician while the other end is twisted around the index and middle fingers forming a triangle in the center of the string.
*The twisted cotton is then rolled over the hair until it is completely removed.
The stinging sensation as the thread is rolled along the surface of the skin, if done properly, is less painful than the ripping of the skin in waxing, threading clients say. Prices for threading can vary from $5 to $10.
People who do threading say they prefer it as opposed to waxing and plucking because the hair doesn't grow as fast, and it creates a more perfect shape.
"I had had a hard time finding a person who could work with my eyebrows. A lot of times they would leave them very thin, not the right shape," said Rania Abdelnour, 20, whose parents are from Palestine, another country where threading is commonly used.
Firfirbouf Islam, who moved to Chattanooga four years ago from Atlanta, last year opened Beauty Xpress, a small salon in Hamilton Place mall that specializes in threading.
"At first I started with only one (cosmetology) chair, now I have three," said the Pakistan native who got her license 16 years ago, although she started threading as a teenager in Pakistan.
She said she also offers waxing, but most of her clients prefer threading.
"Once they get them threaded, they keep coming back," said the 43-year-old.
Since Mrs. Brahmabhatt came to Chattanooga in 2003 from India, the nationalities of her clientele have expanded from only Indian women, to Palestinian, Pakistani, Hispanics and Americans, she said.
Perla Trevizo joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 2007 and covers immigration/diversity issues and higher education. She holds a master’s degree in newswire journalism from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Texas. In 2011 she participated in the Bringing Home the World international reporting fellowship program sponsored by the International Center for Journalists, producing a series on Guatemalan immigrants for which she ...