Your eyebrows are undoubtedly one of the most prominent features on your face. If you choose to remove brow hairs to accentuate their shape, removing them by their roots (called epilation) is a great way to achieve smooth, longer-lasting results.
Both eyebrow threading and waxing are types of epilation. Waxing is undoubtedly a mainstay in salons, while threading is a trendier version that’s relatively new in Western countries but has been used for centuries in Asia and the Middle East.
So which is better—eyebrow waxing or threading? While each can provide similar results, your ultimate preference may depend on key differences such as time, effectiveness, and the risk for side effects. Here’s what you need to know.
Eyebrow waxing works by applying warm (not hot) wax to areas of unwanted hair. Once the wax is applied to the direction of hair growth, a cloth strip is placed firmly on top. After a few seconds, the cloth is quickly pulled off in the opposite direction that your hair grows.
Eyebrow waxing pros
- waxing takes far less time to do compared to plucking out each hair at a time with tweezers
- smoother results because dead skin cells may be taken off during the process
Eyebrow waxing cons
- eyebrow hairs may grow back within a few weeks
- over-waxing may damage hair follicles
- depending on individual tolerance to pain, may be uncomfortable compared to tweezing and threading
- possible temporary redness, swelling, and irritation
You shouldn’t use this method if you’re currently using retinoids on your face, as waxing could exacerbate side effects.
Threading has become trendy in the eyebrow hair removal world, though this technique isn’t new at all. The process works by quickly rolling each hair between two long, twisted threads. Each hair is ripped out in a similar way to plucking, but much faster (and without the use of tweezers).
Eyebrow threading pros
- less painful than waxing
- no risk of burns and swelling
- results can last slightly longer at an average of 4 to 5 weeks
- may also be a good option if you have sensitive skin or are prone to acne (because it causes less irritation compared to other hair removal methods)
Eyebrow threading cons
- if done incorrectly, can result in irritation and ingrown hairs
- takes slightly longer to complete than waxing
- there have been
reportsof molluscum contagiosum in some who’ve undergone eyebrow threading (highly contagious viral infection that spreads between people and may cause small, painless bumps on your skin)
Finding a salon or esthetician specializing in threading is key to preventing side effects.
Waxing and threading are just two types of eyebrow treatments available. You do have other options to consider. Talk to a dermatologist or esthetician about the following methods.
While waxing is a time-saver in the short term, plucking your eyebrows with tweezers can yield much longer-lasting results. An esthetician can tweeze them for you, but if you prefer to do them on your own at home, be sure to pluck one hair at a time in the direction that it grows. You may also consider penciling in your desired brow shape to help you avoid over-plucking.
Tweezing is similar in principle to threading, as both treatments involve plucking out your hairs. The key difference is the use of tweezers, which can only pull out one hair at a time. Also, tweezing your brows at home is the most affordable option available.
Laser hair removal
If you’re looking for a more “permanent” brow hair removal solution, you may consider talking to a dermatologist about laser hair removal. This method uses heat to destroy hair follicles.
Still, there are some serious risks posed by laser hair removal—especially on your face. Talk to your provider about possible side effects including blistering, scarring, and skin discoloration. Some providers may not treat the eyebrow area due to the close proximity to the eye area and the risk associated with possibly damaging the eye with the laser.
It can take at least six sessions to see full results. Furthermore, due to hormone fluctuations, women may not see as good of results on their faces compared to other areas of the body.
Electrolysis is a permanent hair removal method done by a professional. It works via a device that destroys hair follicles with radio-frequency heat waves. Then, each hair is removed with tweezers.
While electrolysis is considered a permanent hair removal method, you will need to undergo several sessions until the follicles no longer produce new growth. Like laser hair removal, this method may also carry the risk of irritation, infections, and scarring.
While you have different eyebrow hair removal options, there are some methods you should simply avoid around the eye area. These include:
These come in the form of creams or gels that you apply to body hair. Depilatories are made with chemicals that make your hair dissolve before you rinse the product with water. However, these are also quite strong and are known for causing side effects, such as redness and irritation. These are not recommended for use around the eyes.
While perhaps the easiest method of hair removal, shaving isn’t the best option for your eyebrows. For one, the thin, delicate skin around your eyes is more prone to nicks and cuts from sharp blades. It’s also difficult to use standard-sized razors in such a small area.
Waxing on your own
If you decide to wax your brows, it’s best to get them done only by a professional. This can reduce the risk of burns and skin irritation. Letting an esthetician wax your eyebrows can also help you avoid mistakes like uneven brows or taking out too much hair.
Eyebrow waxing and threading are two types of hair removal options that provide long-lasting results because your hair is removed at the root.
While blogs and videos have popularized these methods for home use, it’s best to leave each treatment in the hands of a professional. This way you’re less likely to suffer side effects while also achieving the results you want. Discuss all your options with an esthetician or dermatologist.