With a cult following of beauty editors and celebrities already established in New York, the luxe waxing and threading salon Shobha will test the Washington waters when it opens its doors at 1730 M Street, Northwest, the first week of June. The DC location—Shobha’s very first outside of New York city lines—will offer the salon’s signature brow, body, and bikini treatments, including threading, sugaring (the formula is the owner’s family recipe), and waxing, as well as an assortment of at-home hair removal and skin-soothing products.
“We have a surprising amount of clients in Manhattan from Washington that have been asking us to open here for years, so it really felt like a natural progression for us to come here,” says Shobha Tummala, the salon’s founder, who herself relocated to DC in recent months.
Read on to get the first scoop on the upcoming Dupont store, Shobha’s signature services, and Tummala’s plans for world domination.
Why did you decide to open a Shobha salon in DC?
I started this company 12 years ago in New York when I saw a need in the market—a need I had myself—and we quickly grew to four salons throughout Manhattan. When I came to Washington a few years ago, I saw the same need, right as DC really started coming into its own on the retail/fashion/beauty front. I thought then that the time was right to start making plans. We’ve been so well embraced by the fashion community in Manhattan, and I feel like DC is, in many ways, a kindred spirit on the beauty front. This is a city full of gorgeous women who take impeccable care of themselves, and yet this is a need that is barely being addressed.
How is your salon different from other waxing salons?
From the remarkable quality of our treatments and products to the immaculate cleanliness of our salons, we believe in perfection—and in the continual improvement of everything Shobha. We strongly believe in educating ourselves and using what we have learned to evolve and grow so we can provide our clients with simple and practical ways to maintain their hair removal routine, because life can get hairy enough on its own.
As part of our company culture we have been committed to furthering the lives of South Asian women and children. We have sponsored the college education of ten women through Sarada Kalayan Bhandar and have contributed to School-on-Wheels, which converts old buses into mobile classrooms in Mumbai and Pune for street children, offering them an alternative to begging and teaching them that education is their way out of poverty. Most recently, we made a $100,000 contribution to Shobha’s Home for Girls & Women, which is dedicated to my grandparents. The home supports 60 girls and young women who range from preschool to college age. The home is run by two retired professors who value education and are making sure the orphans are cared for and able to attend school. It is our hope that these early philanthropic steps will lay the groundwork for a full-fledged nonprofit organization in the years to come.
What are some of Shobha’s signature procedures?
We offer hair removal options for the face and body: threading, sugaring, waxing, and trimming. Our focus is on providing the most effective treatments with the safest and often most natural ingredients available.
Threading is like a mini lasso, where thread is twisted and pulled along hairs, lifting them out of the skin from the root. The Shobha Method provides the precision needed for brow designing. It also allows our specialists to target even the tiniest hairs on the face (i.e., peach fuzz). We will also thread any stray hairs during body treatments—there are absolutely no tweezers at Shobha!
Sugaring is a form of hair removal that resembles waxing but is gentler on the skin and all-natural, using only sugar, lemon juice, water, and glycerin. Shobha Sugaring Treatments use our exclusive line of products and our signature Shobha Method.
Waxing is the tried-and-true method for getting rid of unwanted body hair. Shobha Waxing Treatments use our own exclusive wax, consisting of a proprietary formula, and implement the Shobha Method. Our formula, which uses no artificial fragrances or parabens, contains azulene oil, which is a natural anti-inflammatory derived from the skin-soothing chamomile plant.
Trimming grooms body hair without removing it from the root. The Shobha Method for trimming uses a buzzer to reduce the length of excess body hair. The results are a neat and tidy appearance, without being completely hairless. This is a pain-free alternative that offers great results.
A lot of the Shobha waxing procedures can be done in under 15 minutes, which attracts customers who want to stop by on their lunch break. How do you manage that?
The path that led me to create Shobha is a unique one—I have a degree in electrical engineering. Because of that, I’m always striving to create processes that are the most efficient and effective. For our clients, that translated to figuring out how to create services they could not only fit into their lunch break, but that also allow the time afterward to have lunch on their break, as well. Each of our specialists is rigorously trained in our specific methods, so regardless of which specialist you see, you’ll have a consistent—and consistently great—experience. We also have quick online scheduling so you can log in, book your appointment in real time, head to our salon, and be seen right away.
Can you tell us about Shobha products?
When we first started, I used to cook the sugaring gel for our treatments myself, right in my tiny New York kitchen—the formula is my family’s own sugaring recipe. When the business expanded, my mom started making it and shipping it to us, and then finally, after a long search, we found a manufacturer that could make it for us. So we really had a grassroots start.
Our product line began growing organically based on our needs as well as what our clients were requesting. For example, our Shobha Ingrown Relief Lotion was a product we created with a lot of client research—what we created as a result is a formula that is effective without being harsh or drying on the skin.
Do you have plans for more Shobha salons in DC or in other cities?
Shobha DC is our first of many stops outside of Manhattan, so yes, more expansion plans are in the works. After all, our mission statement is: We aspire to be the global destination in hair removal, continually raising the bar on the experience.
Threading, waxing, and sugaring prices start at $11 for upper lip, $22 for brow, and $48 for bikini areas. For more detailed pricing, check out Shobha's full list of services.