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    By Minda Honey

    Stepping into the House of Wax is like walking into a living room decorated by a feminine supreme version of yourself — the you who does yoga at dawn, sips green smoothies and never lets your manicure get chippy. The salon, located in Douglass Loop across from Heine Brothers’, is all white walls, with a teal velour sofa and a fancy copper light fixture. Large windows allow in abundant sunshine.

    As I wait for Najla Keserovic, the 24-year-old owner, I hear her in another room consoling a bereft older woman. “I just thought I was doing something good for myself,” the woman says. She was regretting paying a hefty sum, with little research into the procedure or practitioner, for microblading, a technique that uses semi-permanent pigment to fill in the brows. The treatment has grown in popularity over the last two years, and horror stories abound of women who wanted natural-looking brows instead getting something closer to prison tatts above their eyeballs. Correcting it, Keserovic tells the woman, could require anywhere from two to 10 sessions, including non-laser saline tattoo removal. But Keserovic assures her she can help.

    Keserovic came to Louisville when she was three years old through Catholic Charities, which helped her family flee war-torn Bosnia. She found her passion for brows when she dropped out of college and enrolled in beauty school. House of Wax launched in 2017, with a move to its current location the next year. Keserovic has been working for seven years now and offers microblading training. “There are too many poorly trained artists,” Keserovic says. “You’re lucky if it’s just bad eyebrows. We’re talking about infections and worse.”


    Najla Keserovic at her salon, House of Wax.

    During my visit, Keserovic performs microblading on Shanda Pullen, an esthetician and wax specialist who rents a room in the salon. While many microbladers rely on a grid or a template, Keserovic free-hands because nobody’s face is perfectly symmetrical, and it allows her to account for differences in each client’s eyebrows. Microblading sessions cost $485, which includes a three-to-six-week touch-up. (Clients typically need annual touch-ups as pigment breaks down over time.)

    As Keserovic works, we indulge in some girl talk. What Pullen and Keserovic love most about their work is that they get to exist fully in the world of women. Keserovic says women who work in offices or male-dominated fields can “feel that beatdown every day.” That’s why atmosphere is so important to Keserovic, who decorated House of Wax herself.

    The salon offers an anti-aging treatment called fibroblast, vagacial (yup, it’s what you think it is), semi-permanent freckles and, of course, waxing. Speaking of which, a lot of people wonder what Keserovic thinks about when she’s doing a Brazilian wax. Clients lying on the table have apologized for the size or appearance of their labia and even their weight. But Keserovic says she wishes they knew “they’re more like everyone else than they even know.” When she’s down there, the only thing on her mind is the hair. “It’s no more exciting to me than seeing an elbow,” she says.

    This originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Louisville Magazine under the headline “Don’t Fear the Brow.” To subscribe to Louisville Magazineclick here. To find us on newsstands, click here.

    Photo by Danny Alexander, dannyalexanderphoto.com

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