Advantages and Disadvantages of Threading

By Shefali Choudhury

Threading, a form of facial hair removal that's an alternative to tweezing or waxing, involves twisting cotton thread together to pluck out hairs from the root. Threading is suitable for most people, but check that it is suitable for your skin before taking the plunge.

woman on facial hair removal threading procedure
credit: dnberty/iStock/Getty Images
Threading offers a quick way to clean and shape brows.

It Might Be Easier on the Skin

For allergy sufferers, threading has advantages over other forms of hair removal. It does not require the skin to come into contact with any chemical or cosmetic products, and thread should be 100 percent cotton, so there are very little allergens. Threading can cause temporary redness on the skin, so those who are extremely sensitive and prone to high color may be uncomfortable with this, or find it subsides slowly.

It Can Aggravate Acne

Threading can be easier on the skin than waxing, especially if you need to remove hair frequently. Dark or fine hair may need a couple wax applications to get a clean finish and, on a long-term basis, this can drag and stretch skin. However, the action of plucking the hairs from the follicles can rupture acne, damaging the skin and spreading infection, so it is an unsuitable treatment for acne sufferers.

It's Precise, and Results in Slow Regrowth

Threading is a fast and very tidy method of hair removal, so it is perfect for those with lots of hair or the very fine kind that slips through wax. When it is hard to grab all the hairs first time, it is tempting to wax areas a couple of times, but this can end up damaging the skin. Threading catches every hair, no matter how fine, and so offers speedy removal for anyone who struggles to get satisfactory results. Plucking hair out from the roots is less likely to break it and means regrowth is slow.

Choose Carefully to Avoid Side Effects

Finding a good threader is key to having a good treatment. There are many different styles of eyebrow shaping, from a high arch to very natural, and you should be given a chance to discuss this before getting the treatment done with a new practitioner. Mainstream salons offering threading and chain brow bar brands are easy to find in big cities, but it might be harder to find a good threader out of town. Never get your threading done anywhere that does not uphold the strictest hygiene standards. Health risks from mixing poor hygiene with threading include folliculitis, an infection of the follicles, and bacterial skin infections.

A Pinch, Tingle or Pain: Depends on the Individual

All hair removal pinches, whether it's tingling from bleach, the shock of waxing, or the sting of threading. Most people get used to threading and find the discomfort is only slight, while some claim to have no pain at all. A few people claim the initial discomfort associated with threading, which can be a prickly feeling, is enough to discourage them from the treatment. In which case, another hair removal method is better. Threading brows can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes and, unlike waxing, where hair is ripped out in short bursts, the tingle from threading lasts throughout the treatment.