It might seem simple on the surface, but brow maintenance can quickly become complicated when you consider the endless options that are in front of you. There's the standard tweezing and waxing. There's eyebrow mapping. There's tinting and lamination. Oh, we can't forget about microblading! See what we mean? You look up one thing, which leads to another, which leads to another… And then you're left falling down an endless rabbit hole of information.
If this sounds like you, then it might be time to try (or return to) a time-tested technique. We’re talking about eyebrow threading, which is a hair-removal and brow-shaping technique that’s been practiced by eastern cultures for centuries. To get the low-down on all things threading, we reached out to Umbreen Sheikh, brow expert and founder of Wink Brow Bar in NYC. Keep scrolling to learn everything you’ve ever wanted to know about this ancient practice.
According to Sheikh, threading is a natural, organic, and precise facial hair removal method. "We take a twisted cotton thread and use it to gently pull the hair from the follicle," she says. Just how, exactly? "The technician twists the thread into a loop and then lassos it by repeatedly twisting the loop. The technician will thread the hair in the opposite direction from where your hair is growing by placing the thread under the hair and catching it in the lasso. They will then pull slightly to gently remove the hair from the follicle."
Threading and waxing are both fairly quick, and they both remove unwanted facial hair. That's where the similarities end. "Brow Threading is considered much more precise than waxing and can get hairs that are much smaller than with wax, sometimes even from just under the skin as it gently pushes on the skin to help catch the hair," Sheikh explains. "This means you can go longer between appointments with cleaner brows!"
Threading is a practice that's particularly suitable for people with sensitive skin, since it captures the hair without pulling at the skin (unlike waxing). "People with sensitive skin prefer threading hair removal over waxing, as the heat and wax can sometimes aggravate the sensitive skin around the eye area, causing rashes and redness and removing an excess of skin cells. This can cause early aging around the eye area."
Even though threading involves minor contact with the skin, Sheikh says it can still prove uncomfortable for some people. Just like with any other hair removal technique, there is a level of discomfort that takes some getting used to. "Most people who love threading feel that the discomfort is worth it given the natural, organic process."
Sheikh says that results may differ based on each person's hair growth cycle. That being said, it's a safe bet to expect results to last anywhere from two to four weeks. "As you thread regularly the hair starts to grow on the same cycle and it lasts longer," she says. "Also, hair will start to grow back sparser and finer after repeated threading because hair is pulled out at the root, which gets weakened through this process, so it gets less and less painful and quicker as you keep going."
Sheikh says that threading is suitable for pretty much everyone, although it's particularly suitable for people who have sensitive skin since the threads make minor contact with the skin. Sheikh says those of us who have recently had skin peels or are on any sort of medication that dries out the skin (hi, Accutane!), will find threading a better alternative to waxing.