Whether you should thread or wax your eyebrows has been a debate for years. But is one really better for your brows?
The reality is both methods are great for cleaning up your brows and giving you a structured shape that lasts for weeks. There really is no one-size-fits-all method.
The choice between threading and waxing your brows completely depends on your own preference. To help you decide which process would work best for you, we’ve answered some of the most common questions about threading versus waxing your brows.
What are the main pros and cons of threading vs. waxing?
Threading and waxing each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some like threading because they feel that it gives a more natural look. Others like waxing because it is so quick and efficient.
Eyebrow waxing is the process of removing unwanted hair using hot wax. The wax is applied to a small area of skin where unwanted hair is growing. Once the wax is applied, a cloth strip is placed over the wax and pressed down.
As the wax dries, it melts to the top layer of skin and grips the unwanted hair. After two to three seconds, the strip is pulled off in the opposite direction of hair growth, leaving the skin free of any unwanted hairs. Brow waxing can cost between $10 and $30.
- Quick results
- Often leaves you with smoother results than threading
- Creates a sharp shape
- Irritates skin due to tugging, often leaving the skin red for a few hours
- Possibility of burning due to hot wax
- Possibility of irritation due to resins, preservatives, and artificial fragrances in the wax
People who benefit the most from waxing are those who want quick results and do not have sensitive skin. Individuals who want a sharply shaped brow with minimal strays also often turn to waxing, as waxing can completely wipe the skin clean in larger areas.
Eyebrow threading begins with a technician cleaning the eyebrow area to prevent any infection. From there, the esthetician will grab a thin cotton thread, doubling and twisting it. As they twist this thread around your brow hairs, it will grab onto the unwanted hairs and cleanly pull them out by the root. Brow threading costs between $10 and $40.
- Less irritating as it has little contact with the skin
- No chance of burning
- More precise, natural-looking shape
- Takes longer than waxing
- If done incorrectly, can cause irritation and ingrown hairs
People who have sensitive skin often benefit from threading rather than waxing. It’s a more natural hair removal method than waxing since it doesn’t involve any chemicals. Others also turn to threading when they are wanting a more precise shape or natural brow, as it is much easier to pick out individual hairs you would like removed with threading.
What lasts longer: waxing or threading?
In reality, results from waxing and eyebrow threading both last the same amount of time due to the hairs being pulled from the root in both processes. Results from both processes last about a month, give or take, depending on how fast your hair grows.
Is threading or waxing safer for your skin?
Though both of these processes can irritate your skin in different ways, they are both completely safe as long as your Pro takes the right precautions and has a good technique. Precautions are different depending on the method.
For threading, your esthetician should make sure they have a clean surface to work with, which means wiping your brows with an alcohol pad before the process starts.The esthetician should also have good technique to avoid getting the thread too close to the skin so it will not pinch.
For waxing, you should look into any topical or oral medications you take, like acne medications, as they often have warnings against waxing as the skin is already extra sensitive.
Other precautions include general techniques of the esthetician, such as making sure the wax isn’t too hot for your skin, applying the wax to the correct area, and avoiding unnecessary tugging in the wrong direction.
In either case, it is recommended that you speak to your doctor about the methods if you’re unsure about safety. Allergy tests for waxing can also be performed prior to the procedure if you contact your esthetician.
Is threading or waxing safer for your brows?
Threading and waxing are both safe for your brows as long as the esthetician uses the correct technique.
In both methods, the Pro pulls hair directly from the root, compared to shaving which cuts the hair at the skin’s surface. This means the main risk for your brows with both waxing and threading is the risk of ingrown hairs. This is a possibility with either method if done incorrectly. To avoid this, the Pro should pull hair out in the opposite direction of the hair growth.
Does waxing or threading hurt more?
Ultimately, pain level varies by person when it comes to both methods.
Waxing happens all at once, so it is quicker but your brows may be more tender for a couple of hours after the procedure. With threading, the procedure takes longer, so you may be more uncomfortable during the procedure, but have little to no pain after you leave the salon.
If you are concerned about pain when it comes to waxing or threading, talk to your esthetician before the procedure about numbing creams and pain killers they recommend for alleviating pain. Many estheticians also offer aloe vera gel for the brows after the procedure, which helps calm the pain.
Which method is best for shaping my brows?
If you want a precise, unique eyebrow shape, threading tends to be the better option. With threading, you can choose which individual hairs would be best to go for the shape you want to achieve, whereas waxing removes all the hair in a certain area which makes it impossible to be as precise.
Does prep differ for waxing vs. threading?
Prep for a waxing or threading procedure is generally the same. These methods both involve your skin, and how your skin is prepared that day is a big part of the process. Prepping for a wax or threading procedure can make or break your results.
Tips for preparing for your waxing or threading appointment:
- Come in with a clean, makeup-free face
- Don’t self-tan your face beforehand
- Be sure that your brows are grown out enough to effectively wax or thread (one-eighth to one-fourth of an inch)
What about other alternatives?
There are many other hair removal alternatives to these two methods. They all have their pros and cons as well, but it ultimately depends on your personal preference.
Laser hair removal
Laser hair removal is a more costly, yet permanent choice for hair removal. It involves light pulses that destroy the hair follicle and root so hair can no longer grow in the area. It requires multiple sessions over several months. By the time the hair removal is complete, you should see permanent results or a significant reduction in hair growth.
Tweezing is the process of removing single hairs from the root one at a time. Pros to this method include the fact that it is low-cost and can be done from home. The process can, however, be long and painful. If you’re not a professional, you run the risk of overplucking and not achieving the eyebrow shape you intended.
Electrolysis is a method of permanently removing hair by destroying the growth center of the hair by using chemical or heat energy. A small probe is typically stuck into the follicle as the individual hair is tweezed out.
Just like laser hair removal, this process takes several treatments over a period of time. The main benefit of this method is that it becomes permanent after several treatments. Cons include having to attend multiple sessions and high costs.
While there are many differences between waxing and threading your eyebrows, they are both great ways to shape your brows. If you are still unsure of which method would be best for you or want to book an appointment, it is best to connect with a Pro. Overall, the best method for taming your brows is up to you, as they are both safe and effective.