Woman looking and touching her eyebrows in front of bathroom mirror

When it comes to hair removal, both threading and waxing are popular options. 

Need some help deciding which one to pick, as well as some tips on making the process go smoothly? 

Here is everything you need to know…

Choosing Between Threading and Waxing

While both methods may be extremely effective at removing unwanted hair, threading and waxing are completely different. 

Waxing, to put it simply, consists of applying wax to the skin, so that it adheres to the hairs. When the wax is removed, the hairs attached to it are removed too. 

On the other hand, threading makes use of two strings, which are usually made from either cloth or silk. By twisting these strings in a certain way and applying pressure to unwanted hairs, the hairs are pulled out at their root. 

So, which one should you choose? 

Well, both of these methods are semi-permanent. This means that the results will last longer than if you were to shave, but the hair will still grow back soon. 

How long until the hair grows back? 

It depends on how fast your hair grows, as this is different for everyone. For some, the results last for just a week or so, while others can go a month between sessions. 

However, the actual sessions can vary in time between both methods. 

Since waxing pulls out a larger area of hair, while threading targets each row of hairs individually, threading can take quite a bit longer than waxing. 

While this may be the case, threading tends to be more accurate since it pulls out fewer hairs at a time.

This makes threading more suitable for smaller and more detailed areas, such as the eyebrows. However, if you wanted to remove the hairs from a larger area of your body, such as your legs, threading would take absolutely ages, making waxing the way to go. 

How about the pain involved for each method? 

Unfortunately, both methods come with a certain amount of pain…

However, since threading takes longer, and pulls out less hairs at a time, many would say that threading hurts more than waxing. While waxing does still hurt a bit, more hair is removed with each round, making the overall process seem less painful.

Of course, the pain you experience depends on the area of your body where the hair removal is being carried out…

Thinner skin will tend to be more painful than thicker skin, meaning that the more delicate parts of your body, such as your eyebrows, will hurt more than your legs. 

There is one other benefit to threading that you should know about…

While waxing involves the actual skin, as well as the hairs, threading targets just the hairs, leaving the skin alone. This means that threading does not usually cause any skin irritations, making it a suitable hair removal option for even those with sensitive skin. 

The Different Types of Waxing

While the threading process is relatively simple, there are a few different waxing methods that you should know about if you are considering waxing over threading.

Here are two of the most common: 

  • Hot Wax – this is the most common waxing method, because it makes it easier to target larger areas of the body in a short amount of time. This method is great for pulling out shorter hairs, but it does tend to be messier than cold waxing 
  • Cold Wax – with this method, the wax is given time to cool down on the skin before the strip is removed. This helps to reduce some of the pain experienced with the process, as the skin is given time to grow accustomed to the wax before the hairs are pulled out. However, this extra waiting period means that this method can take slightly longer, but it does make quite a difference when it comes to waxing smaller and thinner areas of skin. However, cold waxing can sometimes be less effective, especially for shorter hairs, meaning that you may need to go over the same area more than once

The quality of the wax used is also something that you should be aware of…

The main ingredient when it comes to hair removal waxes is the resin. This can come from both natural and synthetic sources. 

Applying hot wax on legs

Many automatically assume that natural sources of resin, such as those from pine trees, are more beneficial, but this is not necessarily the case…

Natural resins can actually lead to a higher amount of allergic reactions and sensitivities, while synthetic resins tend to be more consistent. 

Whichever you choose, make sure that the color of the resin is as clear as possible, as this is a sign that it is of a high quality. 

If you go for a low-quality wax, they tend to give off an aroma of burnt plastic, requiring additional fragrances to be added to them in order to hide this. However, these fragrances can again lead to skin irritations.

Hair Length for Waxing and Threading

As mentioned above, both waxing and threading mean that your hair will grow back in a few weeks time, after which you will need another hair removal session. 

While the rate at which your hair grows back will be individual to you, your hairs do need to be a certain length before you can get them threaded or waxed once again. 

How long do they need to be? 

For threading, your hairs need to be between an eighth and a quarter of an inch long before they can be successfully threaded. This may seem quite short, but threading is effective when it comes to removing very short hairs, since they can be directly targeted. 

On the other hand, your hairs need to be about a quarter of an inch to three-quarters of an inch long before you can get them waxed. 

Of course, not only do your hairs need to be long enough, but they also should not be too long. 

Woman undergoing armpit hair waxing

What should you do if you have let them grow out for too long? 

A hair trimmer will enable you to cut them back down to size, after which you can then get them waxed or threaded. 

Preparing Your Skin for Threading or Waxing

Whichever hair removal method you have decided to go for, it is so important that you take some time to prepare your skin before your hair removal session. 

How? 

Begin by making sure that your skin has been cleansed and exfoliated. This will make sure that there are no dead skin cells, or anything else, blocking up your pores, which prevents bacteria from being pressed into your skin during the hair removal process. It will also help to clear any ingrown hairs, which will leave your skin so much smoother once you are done. 

Woman with closed eyes undergoing eyebrow threading

When it comes to threading, make sure that your hands are clean as well before you head in for your session. 

Why? 

Because you may be required to pull your skin taut while the threading is being carried out, and you do not want any dirt from your hands to be transferred onto your skin during this time. 

While preparing your skin is important for both threading and waxing, there is one thing to keep in mind if you are opting for waxing…

Try to avoid using a greasy moisturizer the night before your session. If your skin is too soft and slick while the waxing is being carried out, this can prevent the wax from gripping tightly onto your skin, which can then lead to redness and bruising. 

Is your skin still too moist to be properly waxed? 

One trick to overcome this is to apply baby powder onto the area of the skin that you are about to have waxed. This will help to soak up any excess moisture, enabling the wax to adhere to your skin so much more effectively. 

Threading and Waxing Aftercare

Both threading and waxing cause your pores to open up, and they remain this way for up to 24 hours after your hair removal session. 

As you can imagine, open pores mean that your skin becomes quite vulnerable to irritants…

For this reason, you need to avoid using any perfumed products for at least 24 hours after you have had your skin waxed or threaded. The same applies to skin care products that contain active ingredients, such as retinol or glycolic acid, as your skin will not be able to handle these just yet. 

This doesn’t mean that you should leave your skin completely bare either…

Your vulnerable skin will need some protection, and soothing ingredients that can help to calm it down and encourage the healing process can make a huge difference. However, make sure that you only opt for gentle and mild ingredients, such as: 

  • Aloe vera gel 
  • Tea tree oil 
  • Argan oil
  • Rose water

Whichever moisturizer you choose, make sure that it is one that you have used before, so that you can be certain that your skin is not going to negatively react to it in any way. 

Take extra care to keep your skin clean during the 24 hours following your hair removal session too. Avoid touching your skin as much as possible, as you do not want to transfer any dirt from your fingers into your pores. 

Do you regularly work out? 

If so, you may need to skip your workout the day after your hair removal session. 

Why? 

Because your sweat will irritate your skin, leading to breakouts as well as ingrown hairs. 

Don’t forget…

The way in which threading and waxing can leave your skin vulnerable can also pose a problem when it comes to sun exposure. You will find that your skin is so much more susceptible to sun damage after a hair removal session, so make sure that you stay out of direct sunlight for at least 24 hours after. 

While a sunscreen is usually advised when it comes to sun protection, you do not really want to be adding any chemicals or unknown ingredients onto your skin just yet, so you would be best off staying in the shade until your skin has healed a bit. 

If you want to encourage your pores to tighten up a bit faster…

Keep splashing the area with cold water regularly after your hair removal session. The cold will help to tighten up your pores and reduce any inflammation in your skin, enabling it to heal faster. 

As you have probably guessed, heat has the opposite effect. Try to avoid any hot showers or baths for 24 hours after hair removal, opting for lukewarm temperatures instead. 

Hair Removal During a Menstrual Cycle

Do you tend to find hair removal more painful than other people seem to? 

It all comes down to your pain tolerance level. While some people can tolerate quite a high amount of pain without this bothering them, others are the opposite. 

Of course, when it comes to threading and waxing, these are both regular treatments that need carried out, so you want to try to make sure that you experience as little pain as possible. 

One way to do this is by making sure that you properly plan out the timing of each hair removal session…

For women, the menstrual and premenstrual phases of their cycle can actually increase their pain perception. 

What does this mean? 

It means that if you end up booking yourself in for a hair removal session during these stages, you will likely find the experience to be more painful than if you had waited for a week or two. 

Waxing and threading are both extremely effective semi-permanent forms of hair removal, making it no surprise that both of these methods are so popular. Whether you are trying threading or waxing for the first time, or are a seasoned expert, these tips will help to give you the cleanest and smoothest results, while keeping skin irritations down to the very minimum.