We all want professional-looking brows, but knowing how to get them can be tricky. Some of us prefer eyebrows we can shape and maintain at home, while others are ready to enlist the help of brow technicians.
If you’re ready to get a beautiful arch with a natural form of epilation, look to a brow technician specializing in eyebrow threading. Your threading expert will use a cotton thread — often with one part in their mouth or around their neck — to remove eyebrow hairs from the root.
This guide digs into all the details about this ancient brow-shaping practice — we even enlisted a threading expert to answer all those burning questions you might have about this unique hair removal method.
What is eyebrow threading?
Eyebrow threading is a traditional hair removal method that originated in India and South Asia. We spoke to Jyoti Gursahani, an eyebrow technician at the Salon Professional Academy in Howell, New Jersey, to learn the ins and outs of threading.
For starters, threading has a lengthy history. “It’s an age-old tradition in the East Asia countries that goes back over 6,000 years,” she said.
And when compared to other brow-shaping methods, Gursahani explains that, “It’s an artistic way of hair removal…gentler than waxing and less time-consuming than tweezing. The eyebrow technician can grab onto the least amount of hair and keep the process precise and well-defined at the same time.”
What to expect during an eyebrow-threading session
The first time you get your eyebrows threaded, the technician will likely have you fill out an intake form, so they can learn more about your skin type, any medications you’re on, and your overall skincare routine. They’ll talk to you about the type of eyebrow shape you’re looking for — whether that’s a fully arched brow or something more natural. Keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin or take medications like Retin-A, this type of hair removal is a safe, natural choice.
Many licensed estheticians or cosmetologists practice the hand-and-mouth technique. There’s also a hand-and-neck threading technique if you’re wary of the thread being in the technician’s mouth — even though that part doesn’t touch your face. This technique became a more popular choice during COVID-19.
The brow technician starts with a new 10- to 12-inch cotton thread. According to Gursahani, this length allows them to have a solid grip. The technician will loop the thread and tie it in several knots. Then, they’ll place the loop on the area where the hair needs to be removed by using their thumbs and index fingers. The other end of the thread is in the brow technician’s mouth (or around their neck).
The technician begins pulling out those hairs with the loops. The method relies on force or friction to remove the hair. “If you’re watching, it almost looks like a scissor motion with the fingers,” Gursahani said.
Once all the hairs are removed, the technician may use tweezers to clean up the look. You might notice a bit of redness for a few hours after your session. You can treat the irritation with aloe vera, ice, a cold compress, or a product like Circadia’s post-peel balm.
For the next few hours after your session, try to avoid:
- Direct exposure to the sun (wear a hat if you’re going out)
- Touching your face
- Applying makeup
For the next 24 hours, avoid:
- Tanning beds
- Hot steam baths
While initial sessions may take slightly longer, future appointments should only take about 10 to 15 minutes.
Does eyebrow threading hurt?
Getting your eyebrows threaded isn’t a day at the spa. But then again, we wouldn’t say beauty treatments like sugaring or waxing or micro needling are relaxing, painless experiences either.
According to Gursahani, when you have a good technician who has honed their craft over the years, you’ll notice the movements are light and it’s relatively painless. She believes that waxing is a more painful experience than threading.
How long do eyebrow threading results last?
The eyebrow threading results should last about four to six weeks. You may even be able to eventually go longer between appointments. Because the hair is pulled from the root, it grows back finer and gets weakened throughout the process. This means your brow hairs won’t grow as quickly.
“If you want to step up your brow game, threading is the way to get ‘wow’ factor results,” Gursahani said. “Threading will result in beautifully shaped arches in less time than other hair removal processes, and it’s less invasive.”
Ready to start threading?
If threading sounds like something you want to try, look for a recommended, accredited eyebrow threading specialist in your area. Consider checking out possible salons or threaders on social media, as many post their results so you can see if the process and the provider is right for you.