Everything You Wanted to Know About Eyebrow Threading But Were Afraid to Ask

Many beautifully browed women swear by it, but is it really better than waxing?

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There are so many things about waxing that make us cringe. And we're not even talking about down there — we're just talkin' 'bout brows.

It's far too easy to head into the salon with flawless brows on your mind, only to leave with an embarrassing made-for-sitcoms mishap. And don't even get us started on the pain. Those ladies walking around rocking big, beautiful eyebrows have a not-so-secret secret — they're probably getting threaded instead.

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If you've ever seen stylists shaping eyebrows with nothing more than some thread, you've probably wondered what in the world they're doing — and how exactly they're doing it. The Middle Eastern technique has been around for centuries, and now most beauty fiends are obsessed with it.

We asked Shobha Tummala, founder of New York City's famed brow-shaping salon, Shobha, as well as Nawina, a well-known Shobha specialist, about the popular technique — and why it's worth trying.

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1. How does threading actually work?

Threading might look complicated, but it's really not.

"The simple process involves a piece of thread that's twisted and pulled along areas of unwanted hair acting like a mini-lasso, lifting the hair follicle directly from the root without the use of any chemicals or unnecessary tugging on delicate skin," Tummala says. "We believe so strongly in this method that it's the only hair removal option we offer for the delicate area around the eyes."

2. Is threading better than waxing for sensitive skin?

"Threading is definitely a great option for those with sensitive skin. In fact, we get many referrals from dermatologists as a result," Tummala says. "You're still able to get threaded even if you're on skin-thinning medications like Accutane or Retin-A since the thread has minimal contact with the skin."

3. Does threading give eyebrows a better shape than waxing?

"Threading definitely provides a better shape than brow waxing," Nawina says. "The process is very precise, so you don't have to worry about your eyebrows getting too thin or taking off too much at the beginning or ending points, which can happen more easily with wax. It's harder to control which hairs the wax is going to remove, but with threading you can choose to remove a single hair at a time. Also, you can use the thread as a guideline to help determine which hairs you should keep and which to remove for the best shape."

4. How long does threading last compared to waxing?

"Threading, similar to waxing, removes the hair from the root, so the treatments last the same amount of time. This specific period of time varies per person," Tummala says. "For folks who like super clean brows, threading is the way to go as it requires less regrowth between treatments. With wax, the hair needs to be long enough to lay flat on the skin, whereas with threading we're able to target shorter and even those tiny peach-fuzz hairs."

5. How often do you recommend women come in to get threaded?

"I recommend clients come every 2 to 3 weeks for their brows," Nawina says. "Often when clients come to me for the first time and need to grow back some of the hair, I suggest they come every 3 to 4 weeks so we have more hair to work with when creating the best shape. Then I always tell them not to tweeze in between, that way we can get their brows to a good shape in about 2 to 3 months. Patience is very important."

6. Is it less painful to get the upper lip and other sensitive areas threaded than waxed?

Because getting your "mustache" threaded is more common than you think.

"Threading is a wonderful option for all facial hair, including even the tiny fuzz that you can't remove as effectively with wax," Tummala says. "While some areas, like the upper lip, tend to be more sensitive than others, we feel it's worth it. You'll get a cleaner result from threading than waxing on these areas. We recommend keeping up your maintenance schedule for these areas to minimize the pain."

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