Why my new brow-grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

Full brows

I’ve decided that eyebrow threading and waxing are like highlights.

Amazing—life-changing, even—when you first get them done. But usually, as the months pass, you gradually end up with something that doesn’t even resemble what you started with.

And this is why I’m giving them up.

Shall I explain?

I have eyebrow OCD.

Eyebrow threading Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

And therefore I know of what I speak.

I have to be a bit obsessive-compulsive about them because I’ve got the kind of eyebrows that aren’t necessarily unruly… just ones that don’t look quite right unless I keep them maintained with monthly professional shapings. And, well, I’m high-maintenance. But you already knew that.

Fun fact: Did you know that eyebrow hair grows in three cycles? And that it’s always around the three- to six-week mark when it starts to go wonky—even if you don’t have a big over-growth of hair?

So life without an eyebrow lady is not a life I want to live. I mean, I’ve been doing these monthly sessions (initially with wax, then in later years, thread) since the time when Lindsay Lohan was a promising young ingenue instead of a cautionary tale.

In other words: a very, very long time.

The more regular your visits, the more hair tends to get removed.

So this is a broad generalization, and yet, it’s the overall trend I’ve noticed time and time again.

You go to a new brow person and they give you the eyebrow shaping of your life. You look and feel amazing, and so you dutifully return every month, right on schedule, for, like a year. And then one day you look in the mirror and realize your brows are borderline like this:

Megan Fox skinny eyebrows Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

And we all know by now (I hope?) that a skinny brow is a scary brow.

Okay, the Megan Fox example maybe isn’t that extreme, but the thinner your brows get, the closer you are to looking like this type of girl:

Scary skinny eyebrows Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

Yeah no. The Pamela Anderson school of beauty is not one I’m looking to attend.

So you do need to pay attention to what your esthetician is doing up there instead of just closing your eyes and assuming all is well.

It’s not that the person is bad at eyebrow shaping, because even highly recommended estheticians have done this to me. It’s just that if you’re diligent about coming in every month (as I am), then the eyebrow lady needs to be able to make a call as to whether you even NEED that wax or thread on there. With both methods, they remove entire rows of hair at once—because you’re paying and they have to do something—but I strongly feel that it’s not always necessary.

Basically, my point is: are they using wax and thread to do a job that simple old tweezers could do better?

I think so.

Waxing and threading also make your brows TOO perfect.

Have you ever looked at runway models’ eyebrows? I do it all the time. Daphne Groeneveld’s pair is one of the best in the biz:

Daphne Groeneveld eyebrows Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

And it’s not just because they are full instead of thin. (Although you definitely want to lean towards the full side no matter what. Fuller equals younger—it’s automatically anti-aging.)

What also makes Daphne’s brows so great is that they’re not obviously “shaped.” They look groomed, yes, but they’re not perfect. They look natural. They look REAL.

Here’s another example:

Lanvin Spring 2009 brows Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

And one more:

Joan Smalls full eyebrows Why my new brow grooming regimen no longer includes thread (or wax)

THIS is what we all should aspire to. And this is why I found a new esthetician who just uses tweezers.

Tweezing helps you achieve a great shape—without overdoing it.

I’ll never forget the moment when I was at a beauty event in NYC a few years ago, and they were giving us complimentary brow shapings from one of the city’s best brow artists. (Yes, she truly was an artist.) At the time, I’d just discovered threading and was all morally superior about that—but she told me that no method could ever match tweezers for their absolute precision.

I agreed, but then I returned home to Toronto and my regular methods—mainly because I just didn’t know any brow ladies who would do just tweezing. Everyone was threading or waxing.

But this year I finally reached my breaking point with the overzealous threading, and so I test-drove a couple of new people, specifying TWEEZERS ONLY. The first one was a no, but the second I’ve been sticking with for probably four or five sessions now. (It’s too early to give you her name, but I’ll fess up when I’m convinced we have a winner.)

And so far, so good… my brows are fuller and more natural-looking than ever. What’s more, I’m finding that I don’t hit that terrible eyebrow “wall” at the three-week point like I used to. I can get away with four or five weeks, even, with this new shaping method. Crazy, right?

You should try it.

Just make sure you emphasize your eyebrow OCD from the get-go. With every single session now, I reiterate my fear of skinny, over-groomed eyebrows so that my esthetician is reminded of my preferences. I recommend you do the same.

Do you have eyebrow OCD too?
Have you noticed the same thing with the gradual overzealous threading and/or waxing?
Have you ever had a professional tweezing sesh?


Monday, August 20/2012 at 3:33 pm

Michelle, approximately how much do you pay for tweezing-only? I recently went on retin-a (thanks to you, of course!!) and just tried threading for the first time. I liked it! It was slightly cheaper than waxing too. Obvs a professional tweezer would do a better job than I ever could at home, but I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay as much as a wax…. Plus I’m a baby when it comes to pain… Waxing was so nice because it’s one rip and youre done!!


Monday, August 20/2012 at 6:12 pm

Jeez! This is excellent advice! I would still need a bit of trimming on top, but I think tweezing would be slower and more precise.

I’m shopping around for a new brow lady in Toronto, so I can’t wait to hear who you’re going to.


Monday, August 20/2012 at 7:15 pm

I totally agree with you. I’m a brow fanatic, used to go to Gee. She did a beautiful job; I’d get compliments on my eyebrows! But they became too thin and as a mature woman, that looks dreadful.
I bit the bullet and grew them out for months with waxing in between. Disaster!
Please divulge the name of your brow person ASAP. I need to look groomed again.


Monday, August 20/2012 at 11:23 pm

I am brow ocd too! And grew my eyebrows out a lot last year, only to have a lady over thread them this past april and make one shorter than the other. I finally decided to shape them at home with tweezers. I bought those mini razors for eyebrows and shave the top a little because I find it hard to tweeze the fuzzy hairs above my brows. Then clean them up every month myself and fill them in slightly and I am way happier with the natural, full shape I get doing them myself. I also have noticed at salons they like to over trim brows too- which made my eyebrows look really sparse as they started to grow out. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one obsessed with having perfect brows.
One of the methods I use: use an eyebrow pencil but use a flat angled brush to apply the color not the pencil directly as it’s too harsh, the waxy formula lasts longer than powder.


Tuesday, August 21/2012 at 11:08 am

Brow House on Queen Street East in Leslieville (Toronto) does tweezing only brown grooming. I used to see Ellie there and she is AMAZING. As someone who has barely any eyebrows, she was able to give some structure and shape to my eyebrows without making them look Pam-Anderson-y. I haven’t seen the other estheticians but this would be a good place to start looking if you live in the East end (be warned you need to book an appointment, they usually can’t take walk-ins)


Tuesday, August 21/2012 at 12:57 pm

Actually, I’ve been going to the Brow House for the past two years and have had Ellie do my brows as well. I’m sad to say, they recently underwent a major staff purge and all my favourite girls (including Ellie and Mary) are now gone. I wouldn’t really recommend going at this point. It’s still leaps and bounds away from what you’d get at one of those nail salon/waxing places, but I haven’t been satisfied with any of the new recruits.


Comment Avatar Gimped
Wednesday, August 22/2012 at 2:34 pm

I just had my brows done last night, and noticed the same thing!! They are definitely thinner than when I started seeing her, so I’ll have to remind her the next time I go to lay off for a bit. Overzealous doesn’t mean better!!!


Thursday, August 23/2012 at 10:48 am

Love love threading!! But your right about not wanting the too thin look! I am very careful to let them know i want thicker brows and I only go 4-5 times a year.


Friday, March 15/2013 at 4:56 pm

Yea I just get mine colored since they are blonde and you can’t normally see them unless I paint them or color them. My ‘OCD’ has been about getting the color right and not freaking out when they make me look like a lady who now has blonde hair and dark brows as if I bleached my hair!! The tweezing, I could not care less. It can be done at home in 10 minutes. Not going to bother going through the pain of having someone else do it for me.


sandy wong
Sunday, March 2/2014 at 8:36 am

Hi Michelle,
Please tell me you’re willing to share your brow secret person by now!! I am au naturel…. never threaded or waxed and I think it’s about time… don’t you. Plus I have a big wedding next weekend. Please share?


Monday, May 5/2014 at 10:37 am

super mom


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