Friday, 6 April 2012

All you ever wanted to know about eyebrow threading

I still remember the first time I ever got my eyebrows threaded.  I was strong armed into it by my mum and her best friend.  It was the last day of Year 8 at school and we'd been let out early.  We drove to the eyebrow place and the daughter of the aforementioned best friend had her brows done whilst I was leafing through some of copy of Asian Woman.

Then I was told that it was my time.

I sat in the chair, out came the thread and out came the tears and swears.  I didn't cry..the act of pulling hair out from just above my eye is what made my eyes water.

Every two weeks since that fateful day back in 1997, I've been going to get my brows threaded.  I've moved from my original theading place as she started charging more money than I wanted to pay her.  I now pay £2.50 and have been with this lady since about 2004.  I've also just realised that I've been having my brows threaded for the best part of 14 years..which makes me feel really old.

I talk a lot about the annoyance that is brow threading and thus, I get asked a lot of questions about it from people who read my blog or my tweets..or those who punish themselves by reading both.

So..these are the questions I've been asked followed by my answers...

What is threading? 
It's basically getting a bit of twisty thread like this..
..and moving your fingers so that the twisty bits move from side to side, removing any hair that is caught under it.  See how the fingers are open?  They close in a pinchy motion, that moves the twisty thread down, the fingers on the other hand then do the same and the process is repeated until the hair is removed.

You usually sit in a barber's chair and tilt your head back.  The threader will usually thread the stray hairs away and then ask you to stretch eye area.  All you need to do is put one hand on your eyelid and one above the brow and er..stretch.  If your fingers are too close to the brow, the threader tell you how to move them so she/he can get to the hair.

When any stray hairs are left, the thread is put down and the tweezers come out.  If the threader spends longer using a tweezer than thread, then I'd bring that up.

Can you thread any part of your body?
A lot of people get their upper lips threaded.  This hurts worse than a motherfudger.  I wouldn't suggest going to get your legs threaded as not only will you age about 40 years whilst waiting for it to be done, there are also quicker methods to remove leg hair.  In conclusion, eyebrows and upper lip (at a push) are fine, use something else for the rest of your body.

Does the hair grow back?
Yes.  It's not like laser where something gets shocked into never coming's similar to waxing in that respect.  You remove the root but the hair grows back.  "Something gets shocked"..sheesh, you'd never think I'd actually had something lasered.

Does it hurt?
You're getting hair pulled out by the root, of course it will cause you some discomfort.  Having said that, whenever I get my brows threaded in India, it is less painful and I feel that is totally down to the training that people get for it over there.  The lady who threaded me in 1997 "learnt" here and she used to REALLY hurt me.

The lady who has threaded my brows since 2004 is very good at threading and she learnt in India.

If you constantly feel the hair being yanked out by the root, the chances are that they're not properly trained.  When I get my brows threaded, all I feel is a slight sting, never the hair yank.  If you feel the thread on your skin, it will hurt a lot less.  The closer the thread is to your skin, the better.

If you can take the pain of tattoos, you can take this.  I've got tattoos on fleshy and non fleshy parts of my body and they didn't hurt me at all.  They caused a tiny bit of discomfort and that's all that threading should cause you.  If you epilate your legs then you can definitely take the pain of this as epilating literally kills me.

Can I wear eye makeup?
You can but I wouldn't suggest that you do.  Your hand will be on your eyes and then your makeup will smudge.  Plus, your eyes might water and then your mascaras done one too.
This lady has obviously had her brows done before she posed for this photograph.  If she was being threaded as it shows, she'd have hair on her cheeks and on the sides of her nose.  And I've never had that part of my brow threaded without having to hold me the area taut.  And nobody would do the makeup first and then the threading.

What's the difference between waxing, plucking and threading?
To me, waxing just removes the hair and plucking takes too long.  Threading gives your brows a shape.  My brows were atrocious before I had them threaded.  I used to walk around like a dusky Milhouse van Houten.
Sorry Milhouse...

Waxing and plucking pull at the skin a lot more than threading does.  You know we get told to not pull on the eye area as it causes wrinkles? Think what waxing does to the brow bone area...and the upper lip.

The lady who threaded my brows used a scissor, is this normal?
Yes, don't panic.  Using a scissor doesn't mean your brows will be hacked off.  I have read in countless beauty books that you should never trim your brows with scissors..and maybe you shouldn't.  It's different when someone who is trained is doing it.  My brows have been trimmed with scissors since 1997 and they've always looked pretty good.
Scissors: not the enemy.

How much should threading cost?
There was a place in Tooting that used to charge 99p but my sources say that the price has risen.  The lady who does my brows charges between £2.50 and £3.00.  £2.50 if you're just getting a tidy or £3.00 if you've let them grow like a forest and need a total reshape.  As I'm a repeat customer and know her daughter from school, I get mine done for £2.50 regardless of the state they're in...

A lot of "salons" have popped up recently..salons that charge £15.00 for running some thread over your skin.  Just because somewhere charges you £15.00, it doesn't meant they're better than the place that charges £2.50.  Threading is threading regardless of where you get it done.  All you need to thread brows is a thread.  Most of the places that charge the higher amount are those based in department stores and in more central town locations.  You're being charged more because they have a higher rent to pay, their stores/concessions look flashier than the places that are out in the suburbs.

Don't get fooled into thinking that a £15.00 brow job is somehow superior to a £2.50 brow job.  I had to get an emergency thread (my brows were in that difficult stage of "can pass as shaped in photos but not in real life") and I went to a really expensive place as that is all they have near where I work.  My brows were atrocious.  I had to get a fringe cut just to hide them.  That is no word of a lie!

I have a party coming up, how long before the party should I thread my brows?
A few days.  It is very unlikely that your skin will still be red a few days after having your brows threaded.  The redness usually fades within 24 hours.  I would not suggest getting them done on the same day as the party as even though they aren't red when you've just been threaded, redness can flare up a few hours later.  This used to happen to me back in 1998.

What sort of aftercare is needed? 

I tend to slather on some aloe vera gel.  The one I have is a massive bottle I got from Woollies ages before it closed down and I'm only half way through it now.  The good thing about this one is that once I've slathered it on, it dries and vanishes itself...which is a good thing because I forget that I have it on.

I was recently (last year!) sent this aloe vera spray.  You can just spray this on and it will cool and calm the area down.  However, you need to cover your eyes as it will cover your face.  I find it easier to spray it onto my finger and then smooth my brows down with the finger.

The good thing about the spray is that it will take you an absolute age to finish it, although it is a bit fiddly compared to the gel.

You can shower normal afterwards without suffering from any side effects.

Why do you need aftercare?
Sometimes the area can go red.  I only get redness when I haven't had them threaded for a while as the thread takes out more hair, thus there's more room for irritation.  I know that people with a lighter skintone can get this and that's why you need something to calm the area down.

Also, you don't want to be scratching and itching away at something when it's sensitive as you risk drawing blood and that's not sexy.

I used to get tiny spots after being threaded and I found that the aloe vera gel not only soothes the area but it also prevents me getting any spots the day after.

If you're always getting whiteheads after being threaded then it could be that the thread being used doesn't agree with you.  I had whiteheads for a few months and then they vanished.  When I asked the lady who threads mine, she told me that she'd tried a new thread and was back to the old one..

How long does the hair take to grow back? 
Everyone is different so if your hair grows faster, you could find yourself back there every two or three weeks.  If your hair grows slowly, you could leave it a month or five weeks.  I go every two weeks because I like to have my brows looking presentable at all times.  The longest I have ever left them is about five weeks and that's because I was growing them out.

Can I pluck between threading sessions?
You most definitely can but I always get lazy.  I wish I was able to pluck my brows between threading sessions but I never keep it up.  I pluck one day and then before I know it, it's time to get them done again.

Phew! I think that's all I had to say, if you've got any other questions, leave a comment and I'll update this post.


  1. I love threading, I personally think eyebrows always look better threaded they look more naturally shaped to me than waxing or plucking. I just grew mine back and had to thread some of my excess hairs away cos I've never found a good salon to get mine done in Luton.

  2. i wouldn't know where to go to try threading. but always wanted to try it. good post btw, helpful tips :)

  3. Omg loved this article, i am always fighting with my eyebrows :S

    Loved your blog, following ;)
    Kisses ****

  4. Great tips, you literally covered all basis. I wish I read this when I was 15..thats how long I took to get my brows professionally seen to.

  5. Thank you, this is very useful article. I have voucher to Benito bar so I might give it a try :)


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