Threading, waxing or plucking: How should you shape your eyebrows?

Find your best brow-shaping technique for face-framing arches

Threading, waxing or plucking: How should you shape your eyebrows?

Source: Web exclusive: October 2011

Forget surgery or expensive eye creams. ‘Groomed, well-shaped eyebrows are the quickest, cheapest eye lift you can buy,’ says Natalie Gee, brow expert and co-owner of Gee Beauty in Toronto and Bal Harbour, Florida. ‘They are the one feature that can make a dramatic difference in your appearance because they frame your entire face.’ Unlike the skinny arches of the ’90s, the modern brow is bigger and bolder. ‘Keep it as full as you can, but always work with what’s best for your face shape,’ says Gee.

To put your best brows forward, consult with a pro. Bring pictures of brows that you like’Gee admires Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Sarah Jessica Parker and Eva Mendes’and listen for keywords like ‘full’ and ‘natural.’ Not sure whether to thread, wax or pluck? Here’s the lowdown on each technique to get (and maintain) your perfect shape.

Threading eyebrows

How it works: Threading is an ancient Persian technique that removes individual hairs or rows of hairs by twisting a loop of thread around them.
Best for: Sensitive types. Unlike waxing, threading doesn’t pull or stretch the skin, and because it doesn’t remove the uppermost layer of skin, it’s also safe for users of skin-thinning oral or topical products such as Retin-A. ‘It can also pull out the shortest of hairs, so if you have dark, coarse hair, you can maintain your brows more often with threading,’ says Gee. (Waxing requires hair to be at least 1/4 of an inch.)
Need to know: Don’t try to thread your own brows, and choose your esthetician carefully. ‘It’s a very difficult technique, so don’t just go anywhere’ask for references,’ advises Gee. Threading can be done as often as every 10 days.

Waxing eyebrows

How it works: Waxing involves spreading a thin layer of hot or cold wax over the area of unwanted hair and then placing a cloth strip on top. When the strip is pulled off in a rapid motion, it removes both the wax and the hair.
Best for: Defined arches. Most estheticians use small wooden spatulas to apply the wax; they help to sculpt a curved, polished look around the brow bones. Conveniently available at most salons, it’s the most popular method of brow shaping.
Need to know: The stretching and pulling that happens with wax can be tough on the thin skin around the eyes, says Gee. You’ll also want to avoid this method if you’re using oral or topical retinoids, as it can cause tearing and possible scarring. Waxing can be done every four weeks.

Plucking eyebrows

How it works: A pair of tweezers’an angled tip is best’will remove individual hairs from the root.
Best for: Shaping or maintaining your brows at home. ‘Always do a little daily tweezing for the strays that fall well below the eyebrow,’ says Gee. ‘This keeps the brows looking clean all the time.’
Need to know: Invest in a quality pair of tweezers and don’t try to remove more than one or two hairs at a time’otherwise, you could break the hair in half and leave the root in the follicle. And don’t overdo it. For best results, tweeze in an area where there’s lots of natural light and work slowly, removing only a few hairs at a time. ‘Then, take a look from a distance and go back for more,’ says Gee. ‘A little goes a long way.’