Unlike other beauty trends, eyebrow threading wasn’t tailor-made for social media (though eyebrow threading videos do have an ASMR-like quality). It’s a salon treatment to remove extra hairs above and below your natural eyebrow shape. The results are red-carpet precise without the pain of microblading or waxing.
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If you’re looking for a new way to groom and reshape your eyebrows, eyebrow threading should be on the table. And although DIY threading is gaining traction (read this before attempting!), there’s nothing that will compare to a professional treatment. Here’s what you need to know before booking your first appointment that Instagram scrolling alone won’t tell you.
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Eyebrow threading has been around much longer than the treatment’s recent rise would have you think. The technique has been used in parts of Asia for centuries to remove unwanted eyebrow hairs.
“Threading is an ancient hair removal technique that’s been around for centuries that is ideal for hair removal on small areas like the brows, upper lip and sides of the face,” explains Umbreen Sheikh, founder of Wink Brow Bar in New York City. “A twisted cotton thread is used to gently pull the hair from the follicle,” Sheikh explains. More specifically, “The technician twists the thread into a loop and then lassos it by repeatedly twisting the loop and threading the hair in the opposite direction from where your hair is growing. The thread is then pulled slightly to gently remove the hair from the follicle.” It may sound tedious, but with an experienced eyebrow threader you can expect to be in and out of the salon within a half hour (or less).
Is Threading Painful?
Ripping hair out of its follicle sounds more painful than it is. Eyebrow threading is widely considered the most gentle form of eyebrow grooming because it’s only pulling on eyebrow hairs. Read: The skin surrounding your eyebrows won’t be pulled or pricked like it would be in waxing or microblading. “There is a level of discomfort that you have to get used to and most people think that the top part of the brow is less sensitive than the underneath part,” explains Sheikh, adding that one benefit of threading is that it’s completely product-free. “Most people that love threading feel that the discomfort is worth it given the natural, organic process.”
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If you’re looking for sharp, defined brows, you’re in the right place. By moving hair-by-hair, eyebrow threading delivers precise results no matter the length of the hair. “This means you can go longer between appointments with cleaner brows,” says Sheikh. The exact length of time the shaping will last varies from person to person, but “At Wink Brow Bar we like to quote anywhere from 2-4 weeks,” says Sheikh. Plus, she adds, the longer you thread, the longer you may be able to go between adding to your calendar. “As you thread regularly the hair starts to grow on the same cycle and it lasts longer. Also, hair will start to grow back sparse 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,” explains Sheikh.
Benefits aside, there are some side effects you may way to keep an eye on. All that pulling on hair follicles can result in redness around your eyebrows following the treatment; sensitive faces may have subtle irritation as well. If that’s the case, ask your stylist for a cooling gel, like aloe vera, to calm your skin.
Eyebrow threading appointments are comparable to waxing. Depending on the salon you’re visiting and the rates in your area, you can expect to pay between $10 and $40 for the service—a small price to pay for ultra-precise eyebrows.
This article first appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US