Eyebrow specialist Elke Von Freudenberg is genuinely fascinated by faces. She manages the brows of celebrities and regular men and women with gifted, critical eyes. I never realized how transforming Elke’s work really is, until I experienced her magic “up-close-and-personal.” Her sparkling personality and calm demeanor puts even the most brow-phobic at ease. You can’t help but feel confident that when Elke’s finished shaping your eyebrows, no matter what shape they’re currently in, you’ll be looking much better.
If you ask Elke what sets her apart from other brow experts, she’ll reply that she always asks her clients what they want, instead of just doing what she thinks they should have. Many brow experts skip this because the assume they know best, but if you’ve ever had the horrifying experience of walking out of a salon with “Joan Crawford” instead of “Brooke Shields,” when all you really wanted was a cleanup of the stray hairs you were to lazy to pluck, you’ll appreciate this difference.
The second thing that sets Elke apart is her uncanny vision that helps flatter faces. She sees each set of eyebrows with all the passion and vision of an artist. “I’ve always been fascinated by faces,” admits Elke. “When I was a child, we’d go on vacation and my parents would be looking at the scenery while I’d be staring at all the faces. But I didn’t realize my passion until I started doing my friend’s makeup for high school dances and proms. I began to realize that I had much more fun doing their makeup than my own. I went to modeling school, and then started doing makeup for weekend photo shoots. I could see that brows had to look just right on film. A photographer suggested I could do really well at it, and that’s how I started,” she explains.
Elke creates new brow shapes, or fixes broken ones. Her tweezers are like a magic wand that can make all the difference in how someone looks right now, and in the future. She’d like to be known as the celebrity brow specialist in both coasts. With her combination of skills, personality and enthusiasm, and her own set of product called The Model Brow Collection, she’s well on her way. She works efficiently, but takes as long as necessary to listen to a client’s wishes, analyze each face, and get it right. Elke uses her eyes, not cookie cutter forms, to determine a perfect shape or ascertain what’s needed to fix a messed-up brow. Before she picks up her tweezers, she explains exactly what she is planning to do. This star treatment is for everyone, whether they’re celebrities, or models at a photo shoot, or just someone who wants to look his or her best.
While Elke does make some “house calls” for special clients, mostly she works out of two salons in New York. The first is Slope Suds in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The most recent addition is Janet Rufin’s Parlour Salon in Manhattan (25 W. 19th Street) *Elke’s schedule is at the bottom of this post.
Janet Rufin’s Parlour has been rated as one of the top salons in New York City but has a low-key, friendly feel. Services include color, styling, treaments, cuts and facial services from Anna Augustsson who “Mortal Man” treatments including those just for men. Elke’s brow station at the back of the salon features a “sleeper chair” so comfortable I didn’t want to move out of it. Her services include tweezing or shaping brows, brow tint, lash tint, flase lash and applications.
But you can also buy Elke’s exclusive Brow Collection products at the salons, or online. These high-performance products are affordable, and feature colors Elke painstakingly hand-picked to flatter a wide range of brow and skin colors. Three of the newest items she showed me were a Clear Brow Tamer Pomade Wax $16.00 in a pot, to keep coarser brow hairs in place; a lighter, Clear Eyebrow Ware Mascara brow fix in a wand; and a really nice, dual-ended Mini Eye Brush with one side for shadows, the other, a flat brush that can be used for powder liners. There’s a full sized Multi-Task Brush $18.00 too. Both brushes are made of cruelty-free 100% Synthetic Faux Squirrel Hair.
Janet Rufin’s Parlour
25 W. 19th Street NY
Wed 11-7 Thur 11-7 Fri 11-8
Slope Suds Salon
433 7th Avenue, Brooklyn
718 788 SUDS
Tues 12-9 Sat 10-7 Sun 10-6