She Winks Is More Than Just A Lash Studio, It’s Sacred Ground For Women’s Self-Care
To be painfully honest, I don’t even wear makeup. Not on a regular. I hate the idea of having to wake up an hour before my 5:55 a.m. alarm just to “put on my face”, as some of the women I know have said—no shade (or pun). I think makeup can be fun and any woman who so chooses to express herself with winged eyeliner is well within her right. I mostly dabble in mascara and bronzer, sometimes I trace a most perfect crimson pout for the gawds (insert a collective yaaas here).
But I’ve come to learn that makeup and the politics surrounding beauty care, as it pertains to women—especially of color, can often be sources of self-care (read: self-love). I experienced this firsthand on my first (and then second) visit to She Winks, a lash studio intimately tucked away on 115 West Forty-fifth Street, an oft-busy area of New York City.
Upon entering there’s a posh, dimly-lit waiting area, fully equipped with plush stools and Victorian style chairs surrounding a hodgepodge of pop culture magazines. The owners, Ramona Azcona and Julissa Mella, are just as slickly fashioned. The dynamic pair are of Dominican descent, born and raised in Queens, New York. The two were extremely purposeful in dreaming up the ideal studio, keeping in mind fellow women hustlers in need of decompression every now and then. Azcona and Mella–longtime best friends–carved a space for women to gather, find refuge, and pamper themselves.
“It’s a place for women to feel at home, drink a glass of wine or champagne, and chill in the comforts of a place they can call home,” says Azcona, who is also a hairstylist at Stephen Knoll. “[It’s] where they can enhance their inner and outer beauty, feel proud and empowered to be a woman; a place where you can count on us to help in bringing out the best in you in every way. Julie and I love to help women grow and become the powerhouses we know they can be.”
And while the studio emphasizes eyelash work (surprisingly effective at keeping your face looking fresh and bright, virtually without any makeup), their newest service addition is equally poppin’. Enter the latest beauty trend: microblading. It’s the new wave in perfect eyebrows maintenance. Fair warning: the process is what I call “annoyingly painful”, as you have to remain still under a spell of tiny scratches being etched inside and along your natural brows. The end product? Fuller-looking, nearly perfectly-shaped eyebrows. (Does not mean you get to go on forever without waxing or threading, but your new brow shape is semi-permanent).
Staff members are warm and friendly, and every technician treats her client with the utmost respect and tender care—a source of pride for Azcona, who lives to pay it forward by building women up. The open space where work is done is pristinely clean, and often soundtracked by ’90s hip-hop and R&B. How cool is that?
With Azcona’s 20 years of beauty experience and Mella’s corporate background, She Winks is fated for greatness. It only needs the likes of you and I to help keep an already well-oiled machine running smoothly for women in search of safe spaces for #selfcare.
“Watching women enhance their own beauty and walk out feeling empowered and good about themselves, that’s being a part of something bigger than ourselves,” adds Azcona. “Growing something from nothing, where everyone leaves feeling happier or more livelier than when they first walked in, that’s an amazing feeling. And getting those great reviews, feed back, beautiful pictures of our clients and comments from total strangers, that’s a bonus.”