These days women (and yes, some men too) are going to great lengths to look and feel their best, from their hair remover to their faux lashes. Everything from Botox to butt implants are becoming a regular part of people’s lives as they strive to look beautiful head-to-toe. And while we’re not totally sold on some beauty trends, we do know that achieving perfectly sculpted eyebrows can go a LONG way to make you look and feel your best. After all, your brows frame your face and are one of the first things people notice when they look at you. As ABC reports, according to Damone Roberts, aka “the Eyebrow King,” who has salons in NYC and LA, regardless of how you tame your brows, you should always be mindful of the shape of your face before you get started.

So let’s assume you know your face shape and your goals for your brows. Now what? How do you remove those pesky, unwanted stray hairs and achieve the perfect brow for you? There are lots of choices, but two of the most popular hair removal procedures are waxing and threading. Perhaps you’ve tried one or both, or maybe you think tweezing is painful enough and you’re too scared to even walk near a brow salon. We’re here to educate you on the differences between these two methods, and to expose the hairy truth about brow maintenance.

Read Related: What the Pluck: A Hair Removal Products & Treatments Update


When it comes to a hair remover, let’s start with waxing, which is slightly more familiar for many people. Waxing, not surprisingly, involves using wax to remove unwanted hair. The warm, melted wax is applied to your skin and hair, so that the hairs get stuck in the wax, and the wax (with the hair) is then quickly removed, leaving nothing but smooth, hair-free skin in it’s place. If it sounds a little painful, well, it is. Ripping hot wax and removing hairs from their root in a swift swipe is not going to feel good. But the good news is it is quick and the results last. Plus, when the hot wax is applied, it actually feels kinda comforting…that is, until it is torn off. Then it is NOT at all comfortable. But hey, pain is beauty, right? According to eyebrow guru Anastasia Soare, founder of Anastasia Beverly Hills Salon, “we only wax and tweeze because we believe it is the most precise method. You can get a perfect line with waxing that you just can’t achieve with any other method.”


Things to be careful of when it comes to waxing: first of all, make sure you visit a seasoned practitioner who knows what he or she is doing. After all, this person is applying hot wax to your face. Think about it. Katherine Block, a licensed Esthetician (Skin Care Specialist), makeup artist and threading specialist in Houston, TX, advises clients to “watch carefully to ensure your practitioner never double-dips [and] that he or she also tests the temperature of the wax on their own wrist before applying it to your skin.” When hot wax is used anywhere on or near your delicate facial skin, you need to be extra careful. In addition, try to be very still during the waxing process. If you move unexpectedly as the wax is being applied, you could end up with unwanted hairs removed and the symmetry of your brows compromised.  


Now onto threading, which is a bit newer to the hair removal scene, but it’s gaining popularity fast—just take a walk around most major cities and you’ll see tons of threading salons popping up. So what exactly is threading? Hint: it has nothing to do with making a sweater or sewing a button. In a nutshell, “threading is a method of hair removal which uses thread to twist around each hair to be removed, and pull it completely from the follicle.” A skilled practitioner holds a thread in her hands, twists that thread around one hair at a time and then gently pulls the hair out from the root by tugging the thread. Similar to waxing, threading removes the entire hair follicle, so the results last. In addition, with threading you don’t have the risk of being burned or irritated from the hot wax, and some argue it is more precise and less harsh than waxing.

So which method of hair removal is right for you? There’s no easy answer, since everyone has different needs, different goals and different skin conditions they need to consider. Generally speaking, if you have sensitive skin then waxing might be too harsh for your complexion (which you’ll learn quickly when you’re left with red, irritated, raw skin after you’re done.) If your skin is normal, then waxing is certainly quick, easy, lasting and the best option for shaping. Threading also allows for precise results and detailed brow definition, but it can take a little longer, require more frequent maintenance and can also cause minor skin irritation from the rubbing of the thread on your face. Regardless of which technique you choose, make sure you do your research and find an experienced professional who will listen to you, your concerns, and pay attention to your unique facial features so that you’re sure to look and feel your best when you are done.