May 12, 2011 12:59 AM   Subscribe

Lady-hair filter: will threading cause the same reaction as waxing did?

I currently bleach the fuzz above my lip. I'd like it to be gone forever, though, or at least for a couple of weeks.

My experiments in the past with home waxing led to what looked (and felt) like every single follicle becoming infected and turning into a tiny spot. This was painful and aesthetically unappealling. I believe this may have been a reaction to either the wax or the post-wax soothing oil, though I've also had a similar (less vigorous) reaction when I've not used the post-wax oil. It seems like dirt is immediately getting into follicles which were previously sealed.

I want to try threading, but I'm worried I'll have the same problem as with waxing. As this isn't really the sort of thing one can patch-test, I'd like to ask Metafilter ladies:

1) have you had this reaction with wax? what was I doing wrong?
2) have you subsequently moved to threading? was it better or worse?

and a little bonus question: 3) is there any benefit to going to an expensive fancy salon for first-time threading, or am I going to be ok with one of the random street-salons? There are plenty of both where I live.
posted by citands to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to give waxing another try since you said you did it yourself at home the time you had a poor reaction. If you go to a spa and see an aesthetician, she will trained to use the proper technique and have special wax for the sensitive skin on the upper lip. You might be a bit red after waxing, but in my experience that always goes away fairly quickly, especially if I use a cold compress on the area.
posted by gumtree at 1:13 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Although the effect of waxing and threading is the same (pulling the hair out at the follicle level, rather than cutting it off at the skin level), threading can be gentler on the skin. For example, people who take Accutane for acne are not supposed to have any waxing done, but threading is okay.

One way to reduce/prevent red bumps after hair removal is to use a gentle chemical exfoliant, such as alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
posted by neushoorn at 1:16 AM on May 12, 2011

I had a similar skin reaction when I used the pre-waxed strips or went to a salon. I then found a pot of microwavable "sensitive" wax for DIY waxing. It's super - it hardens on the skin and you pull it off. I put the bits back in the pot and reuse them over and over. My skin is much better after this than any other way. I'm interested in threading too though.
posted by hannahlambda at 3:58 AM on May 12, 2011

I have very sensitive skin, and can't do facial waxing, but have no problem with threading. YMMV.

You can do a patch test -- ask to get a little section of your arm done and see how it goes.

Threading is a skill. I would check out reviews online and go to someone who specializes in threading rather than just knows how.
posted by freshwater at 5:54 AM on May 12, 2011

I love threading. It doesn't create those little pimples that waxing (even in a salon) sometimes can.

Watch the technicians work before you commit to anything. You'll see who is good and who isn't.
posted by jerseygirl at 7:03 AM on May 12, 2011

I too react badly to hot wax. Find a salon that does HARD wax. It doesn't rip the skin off like hot wax, it's less painful, and I find that it overall does a better job.
Also, OMG, threading is the most painful thing I have ever done, and I went to a threading speacialist place in Manhattan where movie stars go. I couldn't make it through an eyebrow without nearly crying. Never again.
posted by greta simone at 7:39 AM on May 12, 2011

I went back to using Nair (for face) for that hair, it leaves the least redness and spots long term for me and is cheap and easy. It does smell horrible and you don't want to get it up your nose though.
posted by meepmeow at 7:53 AM on May 12, 2011

I've recently done laser hair removal on a couple of places and been really pleased. The place I go to is highly reputable and currently has upper lips on special for $49 (I think they were a bit cheaper last month). They say that it takes about 6-12 sessions to completely remove hair. Compared to a lifetime cost of threading, laser removal would pay for itself after a couple of years. Feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions.
posted by Addlepated at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2011

I break out from waxing my lip and between my eyebrows. I also break out from threading my lip, plus it hurts like a motherfucker. I would try going to a salon for waxing and using hard wax may help as well. Waxing seems like a really tough thing to get right at home. The fact that you have to be an active participant in the pain of threading (you have to hold your skin taut) makes it even worse in my opinion.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 9:41 AM on May 12, 2011

About 10 years ago, I went on a date with concealer caked under my eyebrows after a waxing session gone awry ... obviously, my last. I've been a threading convert since then and have my mother and all three of my sisters doing the same.

I'm at my threader every two weeks now with no problems or irritation, and I use a lot of chemical acids on my face (i.e. AHAs, mandelic acid).

I also think threading with someone who has real skill is far more precise and longer-lasting than waxing. And seconding freshwater ... You want to go to a threading salon if at all possible ... not a regular salon.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:00 AM on May 12, 2011

I started getting my brows threaded a few years ago and I will never go back to waxing. The lines are much more precise with threading and my brows look 1000x better. I never had huge problems with waxing. Maybe some small bumps, but I've never had any with threading. However, as greta simone said, it is PAINFUL. OMG painful. I've gotten it done so many times now you'd think I'd have gotten used to it, like I did with waxing (which I don't think hurts anymore), but I haven't. Worth it though.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:31 PM on May 12, 2011

i get my eyebrows and upper lip threaded twice a month—just had them done this afternoon, as a matter of fact. my first time was painful but subsequent trips grew less and less so, and now it rarely bothers me. the trick is to do it again before the hairs grow too long, because longer hairs = pain.

i wouldn't go to a regular salon to get threaded because you're better off with someone who specializes in it. depending on where you are, that could be a threading salon, or a lady at a threading kiosk in a mall. i've gone to both and have been pretty happy!
posted by lia at 10:53 PM on May 12, 2011

Thanks so much everyone! I am so grateful to everyone who shared their experiences :)

I honestly hadn't expected it to hurt - thanks for the warning! Despite the pain I'm going to give the threading a go - I definitely think I had an adverse reaction to the wax rather than my technique (though if the threading doesn't work out I'm interested in the hard wax option).

And thanks for the recommendations to go to a proper threader - I think I may have implied I was going to go to a hairdresser? Rest assured I will go to a professional - I was just dithering between a 'reputable' chain-style aesthetician and a more local, run-by-an-Indian-lady threading shop.

If none of this works out satisfactorily I'm going to grow it out, dye it black and pretend to be an 1820s naval captain.
posted by citands at 10:41 AM on May 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

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