Brow Threading 101: Experts Explain the Popular Shaping Technique

Brow Threading 101: Experts Explain the Popular Shaping Technique featured image
Sergio Mendoza Hochmann / Getty Images

Brows are personal, as is the brow treatment you choose. Waxing is quick but can be painful (and harder to do on thin brows). Plucking takes a bit more time but gives a more bespoke look. Then there’s threading, the precise, centuries-old technique that’s just as common—if not more so—in salons today.

“Eyebrow threading is a method of hair removal that originated in Asia and the Middle East and has become popular worldwide,” explains Constance Mack Latham, brow expert and owner of Maven Esthetics in Chicago.

If you’ve ever seen threading in action, you know that it almost works like magic; threaders are incredibly skilled at what they do, pulling out each brow hair individually using—you guessed it—a thread. It can be a great option for those looking for a product-free, personalized experience for eyebrows or other unwanted facial hair (though beware: It can hurt).

Ahead, we’re breaking down everything there is to know about threading, according to Mack Latham and Sadia Brangan, the general manager at Thread Salon in New York.

  • Constance Mack Latham is a brow expert and the owner of Maven Esthetics in Chicago
  • Sadia Brangan is the general manager at Thread Salon in New York

What is eyebrow threading?

In a bit more detail: “A thin cotton or polyester thread is doubled, twisted and then rolled over unwanted hair, plucking the hair from the follicle,” explains Latham. It may sound intricate—and it is—but seasoned threaders are shockingly fast at this process, removing hairs in just seconds.

Although threading is most often associated with brow grooming, it can also be done on other facial hair, such as a mustache.

How long does threading last?

Both experts say that the effects of threading can last from two to four weeks. That being said, “The duration of the results from eyebrow threading can vary from person to person,” says Latham.

What are the benefits of threading?

Many clients like threading as the process is “natural” and product-free. According to Latham, “Threading is relatively gentle on the skin and suitable for people with sensitive skin or those using skin-care products that may not be compatible with waxing.”

Threading is also more precise than waxing and won’t risk removing the outer layer of your skin. “It pulls from the root—same as waxing—however, you can get more hairs with threading than waxing with no harm to the skin,” says Brangan. It’s also different from tweezing, which the expert calls “hit or miss,” as the process can lead to ingrown hairs.

Another benefit is the short amount of time threading takes. “Brows tend to take 10-15 minutes,” shares Brangan, “Full-face threading is about 30-40 minutes in general.”

What are the disadvantages of threading?

It may hurt less than waxing but don’t expect threading to be pain-free. “Threading can be uncomfortable for some individuals, especially if they have a low tolerance for pain or are sensitive around the eyebrow area,” says Latham. “However, many people find the discomfort manageable and worth the results.”

As with any brow treatment, it’s also important to go to a trusted, licensed expert. “The technique is very intricate, so choosing an artist that understands the technique along with knowing just how much to thread avoids compromising the fullness of the brow,” says Latham.

How much does threading cost?

Brangan notes that threading “tends to be cheaper because you do not need extra supplies to do the service.” Still, the final tally will depend on your brow artist, city and location. “At my studio, Maven Esthetics, the cost of threading is kept the same as waxing, which varies from $30-$50 depending on the area,” says Latham.

What after care is involved in threading?

Latham does recommend a few steps “to help maintain the results and minimize potential irritation or discomfort,” including avoiding touching and rubbing the area immediately after. FYI: That includes applying makeup for a few hours!

You’ll also want to skip exfoliation in your skin-care routine, at least for the first couple of days after threading, to further prevent irritation. Finally—and as always—remember to use SPF. “Direct sun exposure can irritate freshly threaded skin, so it’s advisable to avoid prolonged sun exposure or use sunscreen if going outside,” says Latham.

At Thread, Brangan and her team also offer aloe and a temple massage to clients. She adds that those with sensitive skin may want to skip the aloe altogether, adding that “just allowing your skin to breathe, no makeup, no creams or lotions is the best.”

Finally, a brow product or two will help maintain your look. Otherwise, you’re good to go until your next appointment. 

Related Posts

Find a Doctor

Find a NewBeauty "Top Beauty Doctor" Near you

Give the Gift of Luxury

NewBeauty uses cookies for various reasons, including to analyze and improve its content and advertising. Please review our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use for more about how we use this data. By continuing to use this site, you agree to these policies.