Eyebrow Threading; what you might not read

Threading eyebrows image

(image thanks to anbellagio.com)

What is eyebrow threading?

Eyebrow threading is a subject that is very much talked about at the moment. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a specialised hair removal method that is used on the face, made popular for it’s efficiency for shaping eyebrows. Here is a home made YouTube video showing how threading is done if you are wondering how it works! The therapist basically holds cotton thread that is twisted in the middle, then rolls the thread over the hair, removing it.

It has become popular recently for a few reasons. Firstly, it is a form of epilation. What that means, is that threading removes the entire hair, from the root. This means that hair growth will be slowed over time, as every time the hair is completely removed it is weakened, just like with waxing. Also, an experienced threading therapist can use the thread to create very precise lines in the brow, because the thread is moved in straight lines, catching hair in a straight line. Also, threading is said to remove very fine hairs quite efficiently. Theading is thought to have originated in the Middle East, and is an ancient art. The technique is traditionally passed down through generations.

What you might not read – my subjection

All of the information I present to you in my articles is factual. Being human, I can’t help that some information may be sometimes presented in a way that creates a bias towards my preference. I do feel however, that my opinion is very relevant, as I have over 7 years experience in the industry. I have also owned two beauty salons for two years, and am just about to open my third (as my own brand). Of course though, with that being said, I would never claim to know everything there is to know – I am always open to learning, and to be challenged on my ideas.

I have done countless hours of research into all facets of my passion; which is beauty. In particular, researching the technology behind how treatments and skin care actually works. I research every article I present to you very thoroughly, some of them take days or weeks of research.

I have presented you with the facts about threading, but for the next half of the article, I would like to talk about my subjective opinion on threading.

There is much conflicting information on the internet about threading. I have heard so many different things; like threading is used a lot in third-world countries because it is cost-economic for people that can’t afford wax.

The most common (and apparently most efficient) way to thread, is for the therapist to grasp one end of the cotton in their teeth. This is said to create more precision. I know a lot of beauty salons now have very stringent guidelines and hygiene practices, but to me, it’s just not something I would go for.

Waxing has started to get a bad wrap with all the hype about threading. There is some information on the internet that will tell you waxing creates wrinkles under the eyebrows, which is why threading is preferable. I don’t agree. In fact, some of my clients that have been waxing other areas over a period of years can have quite noticeably smooth skin with great texture. Wax does remove the top layer of the epidermis (the same layer that exfoliants work on). This is actually ideal for the skin, especially on the body where we often neglect to exfoliate. The reason that perhaps some clients that find their skin deteriorates from waxing the eyebrow area particularly, could be for another reason. When this same outer layer of skin is removed when waxing the delicate eye area (revealing very fresh skin), it leaves the skin hypersensitive to sundamage (the same goes with any freshly exfoliated skin – especially with skin peels). The skin of the eye area is particularly thin and delicate, so it damages much easier. It also sees much more sun and reflection than the rest of the body, yet many people neglect to apply sunscreen above their eyes, or remember to apply eye cream all the way up to the brow bone. Sundamaged skin will very quickly age skin and cause wrinkles. I believe that this reason is a much more likely culprit, because wax doesn’t pull enough at the skin to create weakness in the elastin any more than other technique.

I have seen some articles that claim threading is less painful than waxing. I don’t believe this is true. It also depends if you are comparing threading to hot wax or strip wax (strip wax is generally not as suited as hot wax is, for eyebrow waxing, (strip wax tends to be more painful and can rip delicate skin much easier). Hot wax on the other hand, because it is heated, helps to open the pores, so hair removes easier (and less painfully). Threading removes hairs one at a time, like tweezing. On cold skin, tweezing can really hurt.  With tweezing, the therapist has one hand free to support the skin properly. The therapist needs both hands to perform threading, which means they are unable to hold the skin (although the thread itself would create some skin support).

I have also read that threading creates a much better line, because the thread is moved over the skin in straight lines. This is true. But, in some very particular and tricky eyebrows, especially if you are trying to keep them as thick as possible, or if you are working with very sparse eyebrows, sometimes it is not ideal to take a straight line from underneath. The reason being, is some hairs that are growing from slightly out of the ideal brow line actually grow up, and help to add bulk to the shape. Removing those hairs can create gappy, sparse looking eyebrows.

The biggest complaint I have with clients that come to me after having their eyebrows threaded is that their eyebrows are too thin. This is most certainly an operator error and not an error in the technique. Some cultures still trend towards having thin, elegant eyebrows (especially cultures traditional to threading). I think some people spend too much time hunting out threading (because until recently it has been quite difficult to find threading therapists), rather than scoping out the results of threaded eyebrows, or finding a reputable therapist.

It may seem that I have a bias, but really, at the end of the day, the only thing that you can base your own judgement on is results. If a therapist is recommended for outstanding results, it doesn’t matter if they use wax or thread. All that matters is the service you receive and the eyebrows you wear home. An outstanding quality salon will recognise talented therapists, and learn from them, in turn ensuring every therapist is trained to the same standard. So, if you do receive eyebrows worth raving about, the first person you should be raving to is the salon manager or owner – and don’t just tell them how much you love your eyebrows, also tell them exactly why your therapist exceeded your expectations.

Our eyebrows are important, no matter how vain that might sound. Knowing as much as you can will arm you to make the right decision to suit you. I hope I’ve alerted you to at least one thing you hadn’t considered in regards to threading – I also welcome any feedback if you do (or don’t) agree with any of my points.

A woman's eyebrow that has been modified via w...

A woman’s eyebrow that has been modified via waxing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


2 thoughts on “Eyebrow Threading; what you might not read

  1. An interesting and balanced article.
    It’s easy to find a lot of misinformation on threading, I especially agree with the points about how threading isn’t necessarily less painful than any other treatment, or that the results last longer. While this may happen over a course of years it won’t happen after a couple of treatments.
    I’ve never heard any comments about threading being a third-world treatment, but that could just be the company I keep.
    Threading has become it’s own worst enemy, with many therapists jumping on the bandwagon without enough experience. I think this is why so many women have ended up with overly thin brows and a less-than-perfect finish.
    My only point of difference was the comment on holding the thread between one’s teeth. In my experience, the mouth/hand method is much more accurate, and the thread in the beautician’s mouth never touches the client. I suppose the only worry is if the therapist dribbles a lot hehe.
    A great post though, thanks for sharing.

    • Thank you for the comments! Like I say, the only thing you can really judge on is results. There are amazing threading therapists just like there are amazing waxing therapists …the deciding factor for anyone should be what they will wear home, rather than how it’s done

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