Minnesota's "black threadist" brings her services to Broadway

Tiffani Washington hopes to one day open her own training school for young threadists in North Minneapolis.  Photo by Cirien Saadeh

Tiffani Washington hopes to one day open her own training school for young threadists in North Minneapolis. Photo by Cirien Saadeh

Cirien Saadeh | Staff Reporter

Hair removal is something that many have to deal with but rarely is it pleasant. Waxing can be painful and shaving is often cumbersome. Facial threading, however, provides a safe and sometimes-nearly-almost-painless opportunity for hair removal. It is an art that has been around for centuries and while it’s less popular in the US, it is still commonly practiced in Asia and the Middle East.

Enter Tiffani Washington, or as she is known, “The Black Threadist.” According to Washington, she is the only Black facial threadist in the State of Minnesota. A long time esthetician, Washington has been designing eyebrows – using specialized razors – since her pre-teen years. She learned how to do facial threading two years ago and is now offering threading services through her business based out of Wilson’s Image Barber and Stylists on West Broadway. She is also the author of a book The Art of Eyebrow Threading, published in April 2017.

“When I went to school, I actually just went for makeup, because I just wanted to enhance the skills that I did have. There was a lady who went to school with me from India who owned a shop and one of her employees, Priya, trained me in the technique and art of threading. I taught her the art of the arch though,” said Washington. Washington grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. She still offers aesthetician services at a salon in Blaine, MN and while Washington is not a Northsider, she says she loves it here.

“It’s different from Blaine versus being over North. When I go over North, I see people that look like me, who go through things that I go through. Not to say that one place is worse than the other, but it feels like my community,” said Washington, a mother and grandmother who received her aesthetician license after her children grew up.

Washington also trains young up-and-coming threadists. She had originally planned on charging $500 for the training, but given some of the realities of North Minneapolis – Washington mentions both poverty and teenage pregnancy – she also offers the training for free for women ages 16-24.

“That’s the thing about North Minneapolis. It’s about making things easy, making them legal, with integrity, making things accessible, so that these kids don’t have to make the hard choice,” said Washington.

Washington also recommends eyebrow threading for those who prefer a natural beauty routine. “Waxing contains a lot of chemicals, as most things are, a lot of ingredients that are not good for your skin. If you have problems with acne or bad skin, waxing is taking off a layer of skin every time you do it. Waxing thins the skin as you age,” said Washington. “Threading is only cotton, it’s the most natural thing. It takes each hair from the follicle to remove it. We’re not using any chemicals that burn you or anything. It lasts longer, as well. Threading is the best for your skin.”

Washington hopes to have her own storefront and a threading training center here in North Minneapolis in the near future. Currently, she offers threading services on Monday through Friday at Wilson’s Image Barbers and Stylists from 9am-1pm and all-day on Saturday and Sunday. She can be reached at 952-687-9888. Washington charges $7 for eyebrow threading and $5 for lip, chin, and cheek threading

Cirien Saadeh