Threading (also called khite in Arabic and fatlah in Egyptian) is an ancient method of hair removal very common in the Middle East and Asia, where girls learn to use threading to remove superfluous hair from their faces and bodies at a young age.
The process consists of pulling unwanted hairs from the skin by entwining them in twists of cotton thread and lifting the hair out from the follicles. Threading is often used for facial hair removal as it is suitable for delicate skin.
Threading is quite a precise process which takes quite a bit of practice to acquire but a skilled therapist can remove even very fine hairs. It is more effective and less painful than tweezing and is therefore often used in place of plucking for eyebrows. It doesn't strip off the top layer of dead skin as waxing does so it is often less irritating and it leaves a more natural look to the brows. Hair tends to become finer and more sparse with regular treatments.
Traditionally the practitioner holds one end of the thread in their mouth and uses her hands to make the thread taut. A loop of thread is then used to trap each hair and pull it from the skin. Some products have been invented which facilitate holding the thread during the procedure.
Advantages of Threading
- inexpensive (generally around $5 - $15 for eyebrow shaping and removing hair from upper lip)
- removes even fine hair easily
- less painful than plucking
- results last 2 to 4 weeks
Disadvantages of Threading
- although becoming common in large cities it may be difficult to find a local practitioner. Most therapists are found in areas with a large Asian or Muslim community but it has become quite a trend recently for upmarket spas and beauty salons to offer threading of eyebrows ("Bollywood brows").
- some pain and discomfort involved
- redness of skin after treatment
- slight risk of infection in hair follicles (folliculitis) and skin pigmentation