What is amazing to me is not that threading has recently become so popular, but that it has taken so long to catch the attention of men and women in the U.S. Threading has been around for centuries, mostly in the near and far east Asia. An acquired skill, it was passed on from one generation to the next in countries such as India, Turkey, Egypt, and China. The process itself is simple, yet like all skilled techniques, one has to pay attention to the details to become more proficient. The best part of threading from the side of the practitioner is that it requires no investment in equipment. The thread and the skill to perform are all that is needed.
My Experience with Threading
Repetition is the mother of perfection, and that is how I acquired the skill.
As a former spa owner, I had many clients come to us looking for an alternative method of facial hair removal (other than waxing or tweezing) due to chemical peels or other skin conditions. What is unique to threading is that it is a technique that requires an aesthetic ability on the side of the practitioner.
In my view, it is as much of an art as it is a skill. Not every face or hairline follows the same line or shape, and the ability of the practitioner to accentuate the beauty in each individual is what makes threading such a valuable skill. Furthermore, it is not limited to certain skin type or complexion. It is also effective on any type or length of hair. The finest or coarsest hair is effectively extracted, and as a result the customer can visit at their discretion and not have to wait for hair to grow back.
Threading versus Other Methods
As a method of hair removal, threading is the least traumatic process that I have encountered (both as practitioner and as a recipient). Unlike waxing, threading does not remove or peel any layer of skin. The upper lip and face are quite sensitive, and waxing one's face may be too harsh for many people. Threading also has an advantage over tweezing in that it twists the hair in addition to pulling it out by the root, creating a cleaner result with less irritation. As threading allows the practitioner to thread one hair at a time, it makes it very beneficial when removing stray hairs. By only removing those unwanted specific hairs, the practitioner is not stimulating the other "peach fuzz" hairs to grow stronger. Because threading does not stimulate follicle regrowth, hairs tend to grow back finer and with less frequency than with other methods of hair removal. Due to the fact that threading is an intricate and time consuming process compared to waxing or shaving, it is not ideal as a full body method. Threading is best utilized on delicate areas of the face such as eyebrows, upper lip, side burns, and forehead.
The Process of Threading
While the process is simple, it does take time, effort, and concentration to master. The requirements are a simple spool of thread and your own hands. The deceptively simple process of threading works as well if not better than most modern day hair removal techniques, requires little capital, and is relatively gentle on the client's skin. Clients who try threading are fascinated with the process and tend to spread the word about its effectiveness. Because they feel that they have made the discovery, they are likely to do a lot of advertising for you via word of mouth.
In traditional methods, the practitioner would put one end of the string in her mouth, twist it with one hand and hold the spool with the other hand. While manipulating her hand and finger back and forth, she would also bob her head back and forth to capture and remove hairs in the thread. A more aesthetically pleasing method is to merely use the hands. By knotting the thread and creating a trap, hairs are caught and forced out by the root in (a pulling and twisting motion). Each method is effective, yet the "hands only method" has the appearance of being more sanitary.
Threading must be done on skin held taut, often the client is asked to assist by holding a specific area of skin tightly so that the aesthetician may work more efficiently. Perhaps this is part of the appeal to the client in that they are an active participant in the process. The limitation of threading is that it does not work well on softer, looser areas of skin such as the underarm or bikini line.
Because the practitioner can select the hairs and the shape, the process of threading allows for the greatest degree of interpretation. While you may not claim to be a Picasso or Degas, you can certainly consider yourself an artist in your craft. With threading, you may select the shape of the hairline that you wish to convey. Consider each face as a canvas and the thread is your brush when performing your threading technique.
The Ideal Threading Client
Threading is acceptable on most skin types, with the exception of people who have severe acne or other serious skin problems. Even those who have minor skin conditions should not have problems with threading. In fact, when minor skin conditions preclude waxing, threading is an acceptable alternative. Women with dark skin, thin skin, and sensitive skin are wonderful candidates for threading, as are women who have recently had a chemical peel, sunburn, or are using Accutane, Retin-A, AHAs or glycolic acids. While women in their 20s through 40s generally get their upper lip and eyebrows threaded, it is older women who frequently grow facial hair as they enter menopause that have all-over facial threading to remove the "peach-fuzz." They love the smooth feeling of the skin afterwards and the application of makeup and face powder looks much better. Frequency of a full-face threading is roughly once a month, whereas an eyebrow or upper lip procedure is generally every two to three weeks.
Recently, men have warmed to the idea that it is acceptable to have aesthetic services done to maintain and improve their personal appearance, and eyebrow grooming has an immediate positive impact. With threading as opposed to waxing or other methods, the line can be more subtle or natural looking.
Where can it be found?
While threading practitioners can be found most often within the ethnic communities of major metropolitan areas such as Indian, Persian, Pakistani, and Israeli descent, mainstream salons and spas are getting in on the action as they have recently become aware of the growing popularity of threading. In most states, you do not need a license to offer threading as a service. In California, you must be licensed in order to offer threading as a service. Many of the establishments that currently offer threading are not facial salons or spas, but are hair and nail salons. But this trend is changing, since salons and spas are the skin care experts, it is only logical that they would be the establishment of choice. There is a huge benefit from getting this service done by a professional aesthetician who understands the structure of the skin and makes sure that the right steps are taken to insure the best results. In addition, salons or spas can offer products or services that compliment the threading service, or the service may be expanded into a threading facial.
Where can one learn?
Traditionally, threading has been passed down from one generation to the next in ethnic communities without any formal standardization or certification process. In fact, it is not yet taught as a required curriculum in aesthetic schools, although it has been given as a demonstration. But where there is demand, opportunity generally follows.
The actual technique can be learned in a few hours, but perfection time to master. Students may practice on themselves or friends to gain confidence, proficiency, and speed. The most difficult aspect of learning to thread is getting comfortable with the hands. It takes a steady hand to manipulate the thread in a back and forth motion, but constant repetition usually overcomes any initial shortcomings. From my training experience, I've come to learn that as long as one has the ability to be detailed oriented in their aesthetic work, they have no problem acquiring and mastering the skill. Currently there are individuals who train aestheticians as well as training videos available on the skill of threading. A simple Google search on the Internet will provide one with a list of providers.
Marketing Your Threading Services
While marketing is never an easy task, the novelty of threading does make it easier than trying to market a service that is widely available to the consumer. Threading is still new and exotic to most women and men, and therefore it is reasonably simple to draw in new clients. In fact, because it combines the allure of old-world exoticism and fantastic results, many customers will do your marketing for you by telling their family and friends about the new service that they discovered.
Many spas and salons are looking for a service that sets them apart from the crowd, and threading may be just the service that will not only set you apart but will enable you to expand on you clientele and bring in new customers. If your spa or salon currently offers threading or is considering adding to your service menu, try adding another skin care treatment, such as a Green Tea peel off mask to calm the skin and plump it after the procedure is performed. Voila, a threading facial is born.