With eyebrow threading, perfect brows are just a twist and a pull away. This intriguing hair removal method takes mere minutes to create stunning brows, with nothing but a little length of cotton thread.
Anyone can learn how to thread eyebrows, but doing it well takes skill and dexterity that can only come with a lot of practice and a keen eye for eyebrow threading shapes. In this article, brow threading experts weigh in on the practice and give all the insider secrets.
Eyebrow Threading Guide: Contents
What Is Eyebrow Threading?
Threading is a hair removal technique that relies on a twisted piece of cotton thread to pull out errant hairs. As the twist of thread moves over the skin, hairs get caught in it and are then swiftly pulled out. Threading is especially popular for facial hair removal, with eyebrow threading being the most popular of all.
It is not clear exactly when or how eyebrow threading originated, but it has been historically used for hair removal in Iran, India, and China, and other countries in between or nearby. According to Vanita Parti, the founder of BBB London, threading may have traveled to the Middle East and India from the Far East, with many sources citing China as the birthland of threading.
Many of the aestheticians and brow shapers practicing eyebrow threading in Europe and North America come from cultures that practiced threading historically, and they learned to perform the artful procedure from relatives or friends. In that sense, threading goes beyond being a simple cosmetic procedure since it also has cultural significance.
However, as brow threading becomes more popular, more and more aestheticians of all backgrounds are learning how to perform it.
Eyebrow Threading vs. Waxing vs. Plucking
There are so many options for facial hair removal out there, so to know if threading is right for you, it’s important to understand the differences between eyebrow threading, waxing, and tweezing.
Tweezing (or colloquially, plucking) is the method of using tweezers to pull out one hair at a time. “[With threading] you can remove full lines of hair at a time instead of only individual hairs,” explains aesthetician Loren Armstrong of Elina Organics Spa in Chicago. “This makes threading much faster than plucking or tweezing when you want to do hair removal on areas such as lips or cheeks while keeping the accuracy when shaping brows.”
However, tweezing is very easy to do, since it requires less skill, practice, and dexterity than threading, so it is much more popular with people who maintain their eyebrows at home.
Then there is waxing (and its close companion practice, sugaring), which is a method in which hot wax or sugar paste is smoothed over the skin, and then pulled off once it has cooled, removing with it a whole lot of hair and sometimes a bit of skin. This makes waxing a faster process that is better suited for removing a lot of hair at once, for example, from the legs and arms, but it also makes it potentially more damaging to the skin.
Eyebrow threading is the most natural, precise and safest method of shaping your brows since you don’t use any waxes or chemicals while also have a great control of the hairs you want to remove. It is said not to cause ingrown hairs, unlike waxing or tweezing.
While threading your eyebrows, the thread moves in numerous different directions, thus reaching even the tiniest hairs. Also, it’s less irritating, being a perfect choice for those with sensitive skin, too.
According to Armstrong, the benefit of threading here is primarily when it comes to facial hair removal. “You don’t have to wait for hairs to grow in as much between appointments as with waxing or sugaring. Threading can also remove really fine hairs that are difficult to get with wax and sugar.”
The Benefits of Eyebrow Threading
Eyebrow threading has some unique benefits that can make it the best hair removal method for many! Read about them to figure out if it’s the best choice for you.
• Less Trauma to the Skin
While brow threading is not totally pain-free, it is much kinder to the skin than waxing, since it doesn’t pull as much on the skin. Because of this, those who need frequent hair removals or have sensitive skin will especially benefit from this gentle brow shaping process.
• Beautiful Shape
One of the most incredible things about threading is just how precise of a shape it can give to the brows. Eyebrow threading shapes are some of the most beautiful that we’ve seen. This is because the thread moves across the skin in a very straight line, the lines of the brow can end up looking very crisp. It’s especially fantastic for people who have dense eyebrows since the result can be pristine.
• Doesn’t Cause Much Waste
Tweezing is by far the most waste-free hair removal method, but threading comes as a close second! Waxing relies on a lot of wax, strips, sticks and often other hygiene-related equipment, and after it’s used, it all goes in the garbage. With threading, the only thing that ends up in the trash is the tiny, skinny thread that was used.
• Appropriate for Those Who Use Retinoids
“Like plucking and tweezing, threading can be performed even while on skin thinning or acne medication,” Armstrong says. When the skin is thinner because of prescriptions like Isotretinoin, waxing can pull off a lot of skin, leaving the face irritated, but this is never an issue with eyebrow threading.
The Disadvantages of Brow Threading
As much as we love it, eyebrow threading also comes with a few small drawbacks. Here are all of the potential disadvantages, along with some advice on how to avoid them.
• Still Painful
We get into more details further along, but as Parti explains, “Some do not like the sensation of having every hair removed at speed and may find the first time a little painful, especially if it is the first time you are removing hair by the roots.” In other words, though levels of pain depend on a few factors, brow threading still hurts a bit.
• Can Cause Damage or Infection If Done in an Unsanitary Environment
When done at a professional, well-reviewed salon, you can usually feel safe knowing that the environment is hygienic. However, when done at home or at an independent salon, there are slightly higher chances of cross-contamination.
If you are threading at home, make sure to keep everything clean, while when choosing a salon, have a good look around to make sure the space looks clean (including the container where the thread is kept), and ensure that the aesthetician washes their hands or wears disposable gloves.
• You Might Not Like the Eyebrow Threading Shape
Whether you have it done in a professional salon or do it by yourself, you always run the risk of not liking the final eyebrow threading shape. You also might not be immune to losing control and over-threading. This is why it is very important to follow our shaping guide when threading at home.
When it comes to a professional service, Parti has the following advice: “Ensure that your provider is an expert in eyebrows and has been fully versed in the right brow for your face.” How to make sure of that? It’s simple, they should offer you a full consultation before they even touch your eyebrows, in which you can make sure you are on the same page.
• Not Appropriate During Breakouts
“Threading can aggravate acne,” Armstrong cautions. “If you have active acne, threading can rupture the breakouts and further spread the infection,” so make sure the skin around your brows is fully clear before sitting in the brow threading chair. We suggest a gentle spot treatment like The Body Shop’s Tea Tree Oil to speed things along without thinning the skin.
How to Thread Eyebrows?
As with many other beauty procedures, eyebrow threading is best done by an expert, since it takes skill to do it quickly, painless, and cleanly, not to mention that shaping eyebrows beautifully is its own type of art. With that said, since eyebrow threading requires such few tools, you can try and learn how to do it at home for yourself.
Step 1: Test
We recommend that before you start threading your eyebrows, practice threading other parts of your body, like your upper lip or even upper thigh, where the hair is quite fine. This will allow you to learn how to manipulate the thread and pull out the hair. Starting with the eyebrows before you learn to control the thread can lead to disaster.
Step 2: Prepare
To start, make sure to clean the skin that you plan to thread. If you are wearing makeup, you can use a cotton pad saturated with a bit of makeup remover or micellar water to get the area free of makeup. Then, swab the skin with alcohol in order to further remove any contaminants. You also want to wash your hands thoroughly to get rid of any germs or bacteria.
Then prepare your thread. It’s important to use a durable cotton thread that is well-woven and doesn’t have any bits of fluff sticking out. You will need about a foot and a half of thread (45 centimeters or so), which you should then tie off into a big loop by tying the two ends together in a simple knot.
While an aesthetician might hold to one end of the thread in between her teeth, this doesn’t work when you are trying to thread your own face. Instead, after tying the thread into a loop, place the loop in between both hands, kind of like at the start of a Cat’s Cradle game.
Then rotate one of your wrists three or four times in order to form a twist in the center of the loop. The loop will now have the shape of a figure-eight.
Step 3: Practice
Next, inch the thread forward a bit, so it sits on top of your fingers…