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Hair stylist Josephine Crown uses a technique called threading to shape Yoko Ohta’s eyebrows Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

Hair stylist Josephine Crown uses a technique called threading to shape Yoko Ohta’s eyebrows Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

Hair stylist Josephine Crown uses a technique called threading to shape Yoko Ohta’s eyebrows Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan.

Hair stylist Josephine Crown uses a technique called threading to shape Yoko Ohta’s eyebrows Thursday at Sasebo Naval Base, Japan. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

The technique of threading uses a simple sewing thread to trim and shape the eyebrow.

The technique of threading uses a simple sewing thread to trim and shape the eyebrow. (Greg Tyler / S&S)

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Customers at Navy Exchange Beauty Salon here typically expect the use of waxing and plucking to have their eyebrows trimmed and shaped.

Now all it takes is a single strand of thread and a technique practiced by a new stylist to create just the right arch of eyebrows or to remove unwanted hair.

Josephine Crown, wife of Fleet Industrial Supply Center contractor Eric Crown, does it all with a practice called “threading” that she learned in Bahrain.

Working at Sasebo for the past two months, she keeps a spool of black thread in her apron. She deftly tightens a length of thread between her hands in a flexible cross pattern, then zeros in on unwanted hairs and snaps them out.

A stylist in Bahrain for 10 years, then in the States and Germany, Crown said threading “is fairly common among women from there, but nowhere else I’ve worked.”

Threading is actually an ancient practice with origins in Turkey, according to information at www.hairfacts.com. Threading is so basic to women in the Middle East and India that it can be compared to girls learning to braid each other’s hair as children.

“Traditionally, threading is used on the entire face, including upper lip, chin, eyebrows, sideburns and cheeks. Most American cosmetologists are not trained in the procedure,” the site states.

Crown said her customers in Sasebo “just seem amazed and they like that wax isn’t used. It also lasts a lot longer because the hair is removed along with the roots.”

“I’ve never seen it done until I had it done here,” said Lt. Megan Miller, a nurse at Sasebo’s Navy Branch Health Clinic. “It’s pretty cool, works as good as waxing and a lot more interesting.”

Miller said threading is a little painful, however.

“But that’s just part of the process if you want your eyebrows done. With waxing, the pain is just all at once.”

As word spreads, Crown said more and more women are requesting a $15 eyebrow shaping procedure; for $8 more, a shadowlike mustache also can disappear. Other extraneous facial hair is just as easily plucked, including stray hair growing from birthmarks or moles, she added.

“I feel good to know how to do something a little new and different to people here,” she said. “All the other stylists here are Japanese, and they want me teach them.”


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