Glam checked in with Director of Browhaus and Strip: Ministry of WaxingRamon Padilla, whose salons have quickly become beauty industry favorites. Here, Padilla gives us the run down of his day, including subway market research, celeb spotting, and playing with brow pigments:
6:30 AM: Good morning. iPhone alarm goes off, on full volume, to the tune of Abba’s Dancing Queen. If that doesn’t get me (and the neighbors) up, there’s nothing that can. Check the stats on my Sleep Cycle—averaging 6 hours and 43 minutes this past month, not bad!
6:35 AM: Caffeine. Run across the street to AREA Bagels for a large black coffee and a banana. Woman behind counter has tattooed brows, and they have turned a subtle shade of green—the horrors of bad permanent pigments!
6:49 AM: Centering. My health coach says that I need to center myself, stretch, and breathe to start my day, but that’s difficult to do while flipping through TV channels and checking in on beauty blogs. And I’m trying to get off Facebook crack.
7:30 AM: Getting ready. Day 7 of trying out a new lash and brow growth serum called Extend—the good news it that it’s working, the bad news is that I’m starting to look like Bambi. And one of my estheticians permed my lashes yesterday—so I may not yet be completely awake, but I certainly look like it!
8:59 AM: On the subway. A commute combined with market research—examining the brows of my fellow passengers, behind sunglasses of course so they don’t think I’m a creep. Boy, there are some high arches today. Sometimes I want to tap women on the shoulder and say, Hand over your tweezers, they are not your friend! And then I see the most beautiful sight: a perfect soft angled brow, the arch perfectly placed, even in color, not a single stray, and tapering to an elegant tail. Stunning.
9:45 AM: Breakfast. Meeting with our global trainer who has flown in from our Singapore Training Academy. We review the progress of new estheticians. We have weeks of training to go before they will be ready to see clients. First time and experienced technicians alike must be drilled in our signature techniques, 8 hours a day of training, six days a week. It’s like the military -- it’s a war in the name of beauty!
12:30 PM: Celebrity Drop-In: Olivia Wilde comes in for one of our signature services, the Brow Thread and Tweeze. She is stunning! Perfection is difficult to improve on, but we try. My front desk staff are young and savvy, and can recognize celebrities who are off-duty, but no photos or fuss allowed!
2:00 PM: FedEx Gift: New pigments arrive for our Brow Resurrection treatment—we re-create natural-looking brows that last for up to two years. My staff and I are like children on their birthday, trying out the pigments and seeing how many of shades of dark ash brown we can create. One technician has an existential moment, and says, "This shade is dark ash brown but it’s also not." Silence, and understanding.
3:39 PM: Snacking. Forgot to eat. Thank goodness that Duane Reade now carries apples, they go great with spicy Doritos. I do wish I had time to head around the corner for a meatball sandwich at Parm, or the French dip at Grey Dog, or the Cheeseburger mac n’ cheese at MacBar. What’s a calorie if you burn it quickly enough?
4:00 PM: Oh my brows. They need a grooming touch-up! But it’s Friday afternoon and my staff can’t squeeze me in, can you believe it? I do take my own advice and step away from the mirror and tweezers. Beware the parallax—brows in the mirror are reversed, to take things in one’s own hand is to flirt with disaster.
5:15 PM: Brisk walk. A stroll around our NoLiTa neighborhood is refreshing. I check out one of favorite stores, Le Labo. They mix scents to order, so everything is super-fresh and longer-lasting. I want to try everything, but can’t tear myself away from using their Santal 33. A signature scent helps my staff know that I’m around…
8:30 PM: Cocktails with cronies. The salon closes at 9 p.m., but I sneak out earlier to meet up with friends from L’Oreal for a drink at Tartinery around the corner. I left the corporate world two years ago and haven’t looked back. Building a business from scratch in New York City is brutally difficult, but also wonderfully exhilarating. Clients are amongst the most demanding in the world and always expect what’s new, better, different. It’s an adventure day in and day out, but hey, someone has to keep America beautiful!