Veronica Masih, beauty therapist at Pamela Stevens clinic in north London, is standing over me with one end of a cotton thread in her mouth and the other end twisted, like a miniature cat's cradle, in her hands. With a twinkle in her eye, she comes at me with the thread and gets to work on my left eyebrow.
I've been wanting to have my eyebrows threaded for some time. I used to have them professionally plucked and waxed, until I was accidentally burnt by one beautician. I invested in a pair of Tweezerman tweezers and vowed never to let anyone near my brows again. But my DIY plan had its drawbacks: my brows were getting thinner in the wrong places, and a failed attempt to grow them back had left me looking like a permanently shocked, black Noel Gallagher. Something had to be done.
I'd heard of celebrity threader Vaishaly Patel (who counts Nigella Lawson and Liz Hurley among her clients) but £30 seems rather a lot to pay for a 15-minute treatment. After asking around, I tracked down Veronica, whose £9 charge is much more in my league. So this is how I ended up on the couch, eyes watering.
Veronica cleans my eyebrows with surgical spirit then dusts them with talc. With me pulling taut the area she is working on, Veronica makes a scissor action with the thread, whisks the hairs out by the root, expertly shaping the brow as she goes along. Threading is an ancient Indian technique, Veronica tells me, adding that while she was living in Pakistan, "my friends and I would sit around and thread each other, in the same way you might do each other's hair". The results last for four weeks - nearly twice that of waxing or plucking.
Because several hairs are removed at once, the pain seems more intense than plucking, but that also means it's over more quickly. In fact, the most painful part of the experience is when, without prompting, Veronica cheerfully asks if I'd like my top lip "done".
· Veronica Masih, at Pamela Stevens, 020-7328 1291.