Facial hair on women is very common and is completely natural. The color and thickness of that hair depends on genetics and can be triggered by certain medications or hormonal changes.
Choosing to remove some or all of your facial hair is totally up to you, but not necessary. If you’ve decided that you’re not a fan of peach fuzz or you feel the need to tame your unruly brows, threading and waxing are both good options. How do you know which one is right for you?
While each can provide similar results, there are key differences in the process, effectiveness, and the risk of side effects.
Here’s what you need to know so you can decide: is threading better than waxing?
What is Threading and How Does it Work?
Threading origins can be traced back to ancient Eastern culture. It has only recently gained notoriety in the West. Its popularity has grown as it provides precise control for shaping perfect eyebrows and is gentle on the skin.
It’s similar to plucking, or tweezing, but much faster as it takes out several hairs at a time rather than each hair individually.
What is Waxing and How Does it Work?
Eyebrow waxing works by applying (usually) warm 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. Gentle pressure is applied to ensure the wax sticks to the paper.
The paper is then swiftly pulled away, pulling the hairs out directly from the root.
Threading Pros and Cons
Threading has little to no contact with the skin, so there’s less of a chance of irritation or getting burned.
As threading uses a string to remove the hair, you also won’t suffer from any chemical or allergic reactions.
Some people also find the plucking of facial hair less irritating and painful than waxing. In some ways, it’s similar to epilation.
Threading takes longer to do than waxing. And while there are those that prefer the sensation of hairs being plucked rather than ripped off, there are also those who would much prefer just get it over with in one go and not sit through an uncomfortable threading session.
If done incorrectly, threading can result in irritation and ingrown hairs. That’s because there is a chance that the hair won’t actually be removed at all—just broken off at the skin’s surface.
If the hair breaks it could cause it to grow in different directions, including back into your skin resulting in ingrown hairs.
The skin has to be pulled taut while threading, which is hard to do for extended periods – and if you’re moving around, there’s a good chance of getting unwanted hairs pulled and even getting cut.
There have been reports of molluscum contagiosum in some people who have had eyebrow threading. Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious, but somewhat benign viral infection that spreads between people and contaminated objects that cause small, painless bumps on your skin.
It’s important to ensure that your salon/esthetician is not reusing threads. This should not happen in a hygienic environment.
Over threading may damage hair follicles.
Waxing Pros and Cons
Waxing takes less time than threading. It’s like doing a cannonball into the pool rather than dipping your feet in.
Both waxing and threading come with their own discomfort, but there are many who prefer to have the pain in an instant wave, rather than drag it out.
Waxing may be better suited to those who find threading too painful to endure.
Waxing provides smoother results because it also removes dead skin cells in the process. And if done correctly, waxing is more gentle on the hair follicles than threading.
Waxing is, however, less accurate than threading. This is critically important in places like the brow and face in general.
Waxing can also cause temporary redness, swelling, and irritation. This is especially true if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.
Waxing is not suitable for anyone using a retinol product or undergoing a chemical peel.
Over waxing may damage hair follicles.
Is Threading Better than Waxing?
Both threading and waxing remove hair from the root but each uses a different method.
New hairs will grow back at your normal hair growth rate in a similar manner after removing with either method. Both will last the same amount of time before you have to do it again.
Over time, threading and waxing can impact the regrowth of your hair, though waxing is said to be gentler on your hair follicles.
If you repeatedly remove the hair bulb from the follicle, the follicle will start to produce finer hair and may eventually stop producing hair.
This can be seen as a benefit for those wanting to get rid of facial hair, but for your brows, it might be a different story.
If you are trying to manicure your eyebrows to keep up with the latest trends, there’s no telling what will be in style in the next few years. If you’ve waxed or threaded half your eyebrows into oblivion, there’s no getting them back.
Both threading and waxing have their lists of pros and cons – Threading offers more precision and is safer for those with sensitive skin because it’s only pulling the hair, not the skin. On the other hand, many say waxing hurts less than threading and it is considered to be more gentle on the hair follicles. Waxing will also completely remove the hair from the follicle.
The biggest benefit to waxing is that, if you’re brave enough, you can do it at home relatively easily. Though there are threading machines sold online, it is a much harder technique to master. You need to be able to manage the machine with one hand while looking in a mirror.
Threading is not that expensive to have done at the salon, so if you opt for threading, it’s probably worth leaving it to the professionals.
If you want to try waxing at home, these are our picks for the best at-home wax removal strips.
So is threading better than waxing?
There isn’t a clear-cut reason to choose threading over waxing or vice versa. Both have positive and negative traits. Ultimately it depends on how you manage pain, how you want to deal with salon visits, and what your goals are.
We hope our guide on threading vs waxing has given you some direction. If you’re still unsure, talk to your beauty therapist for advice and he or she will be able to recommend what’s best for you.