Martyna Kwiatkowska recently visited Tajikistan. She sent New Eastern Europe this photo-report of a special cosmetic technique practiced by Tajik women.
In this season, what the Tajik women like the most is “a house” with a lifted middle part of the eyebrow. The whole process takes 15 minutes and costs 6 somoni (1.20 US dollars). First the upper part of the eyebrow is cleaned and then the hair on the bottom edge is pulled out. This is when the brow gets its shape. The space above the eye lid is also cleaned with a thread and the eye brow is drawn over with a special substance.
“When I was young, I could do my eyebrows myself. From time to time I would go to one woman to clean my brows with a thread. One day she told me that I could do this myself and make some money on it, just enough to buy a loaf of Tajik bread. She told me to buy twisters. I’ve been working with these twisters since the very beginning, it’s been so many years…..so many that I even don’t remember how many”.
Zebijon Abdulloeva worked in a shop. During the lunch break, local women would come to her and have their eyebrows shaped. She left the shop she had been working at when it became clear that she could no longer manage doing the brows and working at the same time.
“Now I can’t shape my eyebrows any more. I wear glasses and I have to ask others for help.”
Not every thread is right for shaping brows. Zebijon uses thicker and stronger ones than average sewing threads, such as those used for sewing trousers.
A Pamir stone is used to underline the shape and enhancing the brows. A set: a coloring stone and a drawing stone, all imported from Pamir, can be purchased at the salon for 10 somoni.
“A woman should be satisfied. She comes to me and asks me to nicely shape her eyebrows. This is very difficult work,” says Zebijon showing me her fingers which had been cut with the shaping thread, “I am happy when my clients smile at me, and when they smile when looking into the mirror.”
“When a Tajik woman has her eyebrows nicely shaped, she does not need to use any other facial cosmetics”. Plain and simple.
Photos and text by: Martyna Kwiatkowska
To see more photos of this traditional technique please visit our flickr photostream