From Bombay to Beijing, cosmetic companies are unearthing
a treasure trove of beauty secrets.
Read on for your
passport to pretty.
By Regine Zamor
India: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
It’s no mystery that Indian women boast some
of the longest, strongest, and shiniest strands in
Their secret? Using natural resources such as fenugreek
seed, pepper, coconut milk, cashews, and neem oil to
healthy hair growth. For a quick and easy take on traditional
Indian hair care, comb coconut milk through your tresses
an hour before you shampoo to hydrate, boost shine,
and prevent split ends. Indian hair experts also recommend
treating your scalp to an invigorating oil massage
As for the hair you don’t want, there’s a classic
Indian remedy for that too: threading. According to Lawrence
and Reshma Monteiro of New York City’s popular Park
Avenue salon the Perfect Shape, threading is a great alternative
to painful plucking and waxing. “Threading is the
only method that can remove the finest hairs from the roots
without breaking the hair,” says Lawrence. In addition
to reducing the risk of breakage and ingrowns, “it’s
safer than waxing because there’s no chance that
the skin will get burned." Plus, “it’s
more precise—we have total control and can remove
even a single hair at a time,” he explains. Results
last up to four weeks, and it’s inexpensive (threading
at the Perfect Shape starts at $5). So why are you
By P.J. Gach
Groucho Marx. Marlene Dietrich. Albert Einstein. Bette
Davis. Frieda Kahlo. Madonna. What do all these celebrities
have in common? Distinctive eyebrows. Stop thinking that
eyebrows just catch sweat; they also frame your eyes,
and define your entire look. That’s why it’s
so important to have well-defined, nicely shaped eyebrows.
Threading is an ancient Indian art. A cotton thread is
swiftly applied to unwanted skin, and the hair is twisted
and sheared off by the thread. Your eyes may tear a little,
but the redness disappears in as little as 15 minutes.
The results will last anywhere from three weeks to a
month. Best of all, it’s a very fast procedure.
The Perfect Shape is a top notch threading salon in Gramercy
Park owned by Reshma Monteiro. She grew up steeped in
Indian Beauty traditions and learned so much about skin
care from her Grandmother and other female relatives.
A year ago, she opened up Perfect Shape in Gramercy Park
and it’s been an instant success. There’s
a steady stream of customers every day of the week. Women
of all ages want to sit in one of her soft white leather
chairs, look at the lavender walls and become chic and
Reshma says that you can easily learn threading, “but
the real technique is learning how to shape the brow.
That takes a while. It’s like an art. You can study
for years and never get it.”
Keep in mind that anything can be threaded; it just depends
on your pain threshold. One of the pluses about threading
is that it doesn’t promote wrinkles. According
to Reshma, “with threading, all we touch is the
hair. We don’t pull the skin like with waxing.
Whenever you pull skin, there’s always a chance
that you’re breaking it down and wrinkles can start.”
Perfect Shape also offers facials. You can choose from
aromatherapy, fresh fruit (papaya, lemon, oranges) or
precious metal facials. The precious metal facials help
rejuvenate the skin. You have a choice of gold, pearl
or platinum. They use extracts of each metal or jewel
in the massage cream. Gold is for oily to dry skin. For
very dehydrated skin a platinum facial is the prescription.
The Perfect Shape also offers traditional waxing as well
as Henna Tattoos.
Reshma also owns Shapes Threading Salon on 39th Street
by 6th Avenue. It offers the same services and is open
the same hours as the Gramercy Park salon. Their number
is 917-592-5306. A third salon is planned in the near
The Perfect Shape Threading Salon
295 Park Avenue South (between 22nd and 23rd Street)
Mon – Fri 9:30AM – 7:30PM
Saturday 10AM – 7 PM
Sunday 11AM – 6 PM
Bela Motwani is going for the gold – a gold facial
that is, an age-old beauty technique that's winning "glittering" reviews
at one local salon.
“The regular facial usually takes care of a lot
of exfoliation, which is necessary,” she says, “whereas
a gold facial did all the rejuvenation part of it and
got the skin to glow – that wasn't there in a regular
Forget jewelry, gold is now one of the latest accessorizes
for your face.
The Perfect Shape is one of salons that offer gold as
well as pearl and platinum facials. Owner Reshma Monteiro
says this hot new service was inspired by the beauty
traditions of India.
“My grandmother and others used to tell me that
they put their ornaments like gold pearl and platinum,
in the water,” says Monteiro. “They used
to boil it for a couple of minutes, and they used to
drink that water just to have a better glow on their
skin and to keep the skin looking younger.”
“This is the same procedure,” she says, “but
you can say in a modern way. We use actual pieces of
24 karat gold, pearl and platinum in the facial to get
the same effect that we used to get in ancient times.”
The precious metals and pearl treatments follow a procedure
similar to traditional facials to cleanse and rejuvenate
“We clean skin first,” says Monteiro. “Then
we put cream on and massage it. Then we steam to open
the pores, and we take out blackheads, the dirt, from
the skin. We give a scrub to remove dry skin, and the
last thing is the mask.”
Monteiro says the gold facial is great for all skin
The treatment also helps to fight the aging process.
For de-pigmented and dehydrated skin, she recommends
the platinum facial, and for extremely dry skin, you
can try the pearl facial.
“We do pearl facials for dehydrated skin, especially
for that very, very dry skin,” she says. “It
actually gives lots of moisturizers to the skin.”
So what's the facial's weight in gold? The cost is about
$$60 for either the pearl, platinum or gold facial, though
the prices may vary depending on where you go.
- Shazia Khan