Whether you’re a newbie or dedicated to the thread, here’s the expert brow know-how on threading, from achieving the brows of your dreams to post-threading aftercare
The ancient Indian hair removal method/ art of threading is the secret behind many an elegantly arched eyebrow- when performed correctly, it can produce natural looking yet groomed brows that stay that way for longer than the likes of tweezing or waxing, as the experts at blink brow bar explain:
“Threading allows control when shaping brows to ensure perfectly sculpted eyebrows. A cotton thread is used to glide across the skin, removing excess hair while it does so. Not only that but the thread grabs and teases out every single hair by its root leaving a cleaner finish with longer lasting results. The results are wonderfully neat and perfectly symmetrical eyebrows which can take years off your face.”
“Threading allows you a whole lot more control than other facial hair removal methods. I can see exactly which hairs are being pulled out, and the definition and precision that you are left with is phenomenal. Threading twists the hair out of the root and exfoliates it all in one, making the effect much longer lasting with slower regrowth (two to three weeks minimum, five to six if you’re lucky).”
So far, so brow nirvana. What could possibly go wrong? As long as you stick to the following five threading commandments, hopefully nada...
1. Don’t try this at home
If you’re a regular threader, you’ll likely be onto this already, and while the pros do their own, threading your own eyebrows/ chin/ upper lip is not to be recommended, not to mention that it would be a logistical nightmare unless you're extremely dextrous. Visit a reputable salon or brow bar and ensure that your brow technician is both fully qualified and experienced- check where they trained, how long they’ve been in the business and be alert to how attentive your therapist is. If they’re not asking you about your medical history, previous beauty and cosmetic treatments or enquiring as to whether you’ve had threading before, consider bolting and get thee to a good-un. We rate blink brow bar , Suman Brows , Shavata and Vaishaly for threading in particular. Comb through online reviews, ask to see certificates and ensure that you feel fully comfortable before letting threading commence. A botched brow, skin infection or both just isn’t worth the time, pain or money. Speaking of which...
2. Do keep it clean
This doesn’t just go for your therapist's equipment, as Suman underlines:
“You should never go into a threading session with unwashed hands. Dirt and pollution from commuting during the day sticks to your hands, and when you are asked to pull back your skin during a threading treatment, grime and bacteria will transfer to your skin which can lead to breakouts at best, and infections at worse.”
The hygiene drive doesn’t stop at your hands- Suman is a stickler for non-germy detail:
“I make sure that I cleanse the thread I use on my clients. I spritz sanitising spray all day long, but particularly before I put the thread in contact with each and every inch of skin.
"Before your treatment begins, make sure that the thread being used is sterilised and that the area being threaded has been thoroughly cleansed. Personally I wear a face mask during treatments for hygiene reasons, and I also learned to thread with my hands while in India, rather than the traditional practice of putting the string in your mouth. I don’t want to risk getting my saliva on the thread, abd therefore my client's skin.”
If it’s not sterile, it shouldn’t go anywhere near your face. That’s probably a rule for life.
3. Don’t book appointments during your time of the month
One word: ouch. Anyone who’s had threading will tell you that it’s a peculiar ‘rippy’ sensation. Not painful per se, but if you masochistically book in for a threading session during a savage episode of PMS or similar, it could be far more tender than at other times of the month, owing to the fact that pain perception is higher during the menstrual and premenstrual phases of your cycle. In short: let hairy brows hold out.
If you are a first-timer and curious as to the threading feels, and understandably nervous about applying said thread to your face first, ask your therapist to thread a small section of your forearm so you can get used to the feeling. To give you an idea, I’d say I find it a bit ‘wincey’. My eyes water and I sneeze a bit, but it’s nowhere near Brazilian bikini wax levels of pain. You’ll also get used to the motion of thread whipping quickly over your skin, with quick being the operative word: the very best therapists are speedy and efficient, with a practiced eye for enhancing brows without hacking away too much volume. For an idea of how long you’ll be enduring this ancient practice, facialist and threading expert Vaishaly outlines that small areas of the face such as chin and eyebrows should take around 15 minutes, with a full face clocking up between 30-45 minutes, depending on thickness of facial and brow hair. You can of course take a break at any time to dry your eyes, and some brow bars and salons offer a complimentary head and shoulder massage after your treatment to melt away any threading related tension. You don’t get that kind of perk post-wax.
The lack of pulling and yoinking can also make threading an appealing option for those with reactive skin, as many dedicated threaders report less irritation and fewer incidences of ingrown hairs vs. waxing and plucking. Basically: threading is ideal for sensitive skins and souls, just not at your most sensitive “period’ of your cycle. You’ve been warned.
4. Do lay your brow goals bare from the get-go
You’ve found yourself a pro-threader and they’re mighty sanitary and experienced, but don’t assume that your technician is a mindreader. You still need to convey your individual brow tastes and future aims at the beginning of the consultation, and check progress with a hand mirror after an initial whip round with thread. There’s nothing worse than your dedicated brow rehab going to pot due to a bit of innocent yet overzealous hair removal. Explain the shape and density you’re after, and whether you want a full-on makeover or just a quick tidy. If you’re not happy with the initial shape, speak up and get it tweaked until you’re satisfied. Eyebrows often aren’t noticeable until they go oddly awry, as anyone who’s gone a bit gung-ho with the tweezers at home will identify. Achieving Elizabeth Taylor eyebrows may be your ultimate end-goal, but work out a plan to get there. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
5. Do take prep and aftercare seriously
It can be all too easy to breeze in and out of a brow bar and continue with your usual beauty routine, but you need to tailor your approach to your treatment, as Vaishaly emphasises:
“If you’re having areas of the face threaded except the eyebrows, avoid any stimulating treatments to the skin that add more blood and heat to the surface, as this will make the skin more sensitive is will increase the likelihood of bad reactions and breakouts.”
If you were looking to get a laser facial and threading in on the same day, that’s a no-go. If you are getting brows threaded and want to maximise your chances of a flawless result, founder of blink brow bar Vanita Parti recommends putting in the groundwork first:
“A great way to prep for threading is to exfoliate the skin around the brow hairs. This will help to slough away dead skin and ingrown hairs for beautifully smooth brows. Our therapists really felt passionate about creating something that helped prep the skin, and as a result our Brow Exfoliator , £17, was born. The blend of sugar crystals and sweet almond shells help to gently scrub the skin while natural nut oils and vitamin E keep skin nourished and smooth pre-threading.”
A gently gently approach is most crucial post-threading. You may have to reschedule that spa day according to Vanita:
“Post threading it is really important to avoid touching the threaded area. Your pores will be wide open to irritation, so for the next 24 hours I would suggest avoiding swimming pools, saunas, steam rooms, hot temperatures and direct sunlight in general. Spray tans and wearing makeup around your eyebrows are also vetoed. If this sounds restrictive, remember that after a day or so any inflammation should have subsided, so you’ll be free to fully relish your beautiful new brows.”
Vaishaly highlights that lukewarm discipline goes for bath time too:
“Avoid hot showers where possible, and splash the threaded area with cold water to cool the heat you’ll feel after the treatment and to tighten the pores. A cold compress can work wonders.”
Obviously you’ll still need to wash your face, but now is not the time for multi-masking. Avoid potential irritants, fragrance, scrubs and harsh acids around the threaded area for at least a few days. If you feel that a little soothing moisture is required, opt for purpose-formulated blink Pure Rose Water Gel , £26, or Suman favours Avène Repair Cream , £6.38, for a layer of lightweight hydration that also brings down any threading induced redness.
A final pointer from Browhaus trainer Chermaine Kyriacou is to exercise some restraint where brow grooming is concerned after your treatment. It can be all too easy to go overboard where brow grooming is concerned…
“Avoid tweezing the area or using any other hair removal methods, as this can ruin the hard work of your therapist and your desired outcome, not to mention trigger ingrown hairs and irritation.”
If in doubt, heed Vaishaly’s after-threading mantra and you’ll be raising artfully groomed eyebrows in no time:
“It’s important to leave skin alone. The less you do the better on the day of threading.”
As is often the case in life and beauty, less is more.