Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Threading, sweating, wrinkles

Hello lovelies.

Does anyone else out there get threading done? I discovered it a few years ago when I lived in the San Francisco area and it's become a favorite way to get my brows and lip done for a few reasons:
  • I have really sensitive skin and the application of almost ANY ointment or soothing cream or wax or sugar leaves me with tons of tiny pimples.
  • It's usually cheaper than waxing or sugaring.

    On the downside:
  • Threading usually only lasts me 2-3 weeks before there is regrowth, whereas with waxing or sugaring I tend to get about 4-5 weeks before the return of the hairs.
  • Though I've heard otherwise, for me at least, threading hurts worse than waxing or sugaring. It's about on par with tweezing, but magnified since lots of hairs get ripped out at once. It always leaves me sweaty and with tears streaming down my face!

    I hadn't been able to find a place to do it here in Seattle until recently, but yesterday I tried out a place at the local mall and was super pleased with the results!

    (not that you can really see them in this picture!)

    Also, I just wanted to add that I don't believe hair removal is necessary for a woman to be "womanly". I don't find facial hair on women to be freakish or unsightly, and I believe in body autonomy - i.e., everyone gets to decide what they do with their own bodies! For me, brow shaping and lip hair removal is a way that I pamper myself and provide self care, but it definitely isn't this mandatory thing that all women need to "take care of" in order to be beautiful.

    I'm all wrinkly because it was HOT and because threading - pain sweat.
    (outfit details: shirt and cardigan: old navy, skinnies: torrid "source of wisdom", platform sandals: target)

    Another thing I've discovered, to get real for a mo', is that I'm getting hairier as I move into my 30s. The past 2 years have seen a marked increased in the amount and dark color of hair on my face and body - it's actually kind of fascinating (in a discovery-channel-documentary kind of way) to see how my body is changing, and how rapid some of those changes can be!

    My friend Stephanie called me up a few years ago to talk about this concept of aging, and introduced me to the Japanese term wabi sabi. Basically, without appropriating the rich meaning behind this philosophy, wabi sabi is about accepting imperfection and transience. Steph and I talked about it in the context of not getting plastic surgery (not that there's anything wrong with that - remember, body autonomy and respect for folks to make their own choices!), but I wonder sometimes if hair removal is somehow violating this idea of accepting imperfection and celebrating the changes our bodies move through as we age.

    What do y'all think? Do you have any favorite hair removal rituals? Or do you feel like women shouldn't have to remove their body hair? Do you feel slightly conflicted, like I do?

    Mme. Penelope said...

    I personally do lazer hair removal (though far less frequently than recommended) for the ease. I recently graduated from an all girls high-school, and I found that despite wearing a relatively short skirt year round, I rarely shaved my legs or underarms during the winter - I just didn't have time/was lazy/didn't care. So... Long story short, I'm confused too. I think women should be able to do what they want with their body hair; I embrace the idea whole heartedly, but sometimes I feel more comfortable clean shaven... and sometimes I just don't care. I think in the end, it all comes down to what one is comfortable with. Two years ago I started a medication that increases hair growth in patches on my chin - that made me uncomfortable, wherease I can go all winter with long hairs on my legs *shrug* haha, now that I've rambled and made my shortened long story longer than intended - I do feel conflicted. But I think more and more women are, too... but that's just a personal observation. :)

    P.S. I love your cardigan! The ruffles are super adorable!

    Mme. Penelope said...


    Awmber said...

    I am pretty easy-going when it comes to hair removal. I would say that this is 90% the case because I'm a red-head, and you can barely see any of my body hair anyway. I find that I shave in the summer mostly, but in the winter I can't be bothered, and don't mind the extra insulation. Face hair is a totally different story though. I usually tweeze, but when I want to splurge I go for threading. I haven't gotten waxed or anything else, but threading hurts like a bitch! So I guess it's why I don't do it often.
    Ps - I love your outfit! You're adorable.

    Sarah said...

    I hate hair removal but I'm vain so I do it!!! I'm planning on doing the laser hair removal so hopefully that will be the end of it. I would like to try the threading but if it hurts that bad then forget!!! I wish that I didn't feel the need to remove my hair but I do, it makes me pretty self-conscious and I hate that but it does so I do it.

    Anonymous said...

    I'm fortunate enough to have fair fine hair which means I don't have to worry about the hair on my face (although I am very hair due to PCOS). I do wax and dye my eyebrows every time I have my hair cut.

    When it comes to my legs, I can go weeks - months even before I shave. Mainly due to laziness. Again fine fair hair means I can get away with it.

    My underarms I shave more because I feel cleaner once I do, but come the winter months I get very lazy and come most springs I do resemble a yetti!

    Its each to their own on shaving & I would never comment on a women's choice.

    I must try threading because I too suffer from wax rash.

    Loving the outfit - the jeans are very foxy.

    geetabix said...

    I don't feel like people should have to remove their body hair at ALL and I really wish I could see more ads/photos seeing people au naturel - it would definitely make me feel less self-conscious. I guess this is a bit of a conflict as I do feel a bit better when certain spots are less hairy; on the other hand I think hair removal can be expensive, painful, unsafe in some cases, and it's weird to expect people to do this to look "normal."

    I have dark hair and extremely fast regrowth. Legs are my biggest issue: I really like how they look and feel hair-free but it is a HUGE, huge hassle to remove the hair. If I shave it regrows within 12 hours. Nair maybe 24-48 hours and I think whatever's in that is scary. Laser is not really a good option for people with dark skin.

    Waxing lasts 7-9 days. It is a bit painful and costs at least $60 for full leg (it just doesn't work right when I do it myself at home). I do pay for this every few months so a few days of non-hairy legs are my special treat (yup, that sounds really weird, doesn't it!)

    Otherwise, I expose my hairy legs, or wear pants/tights :)

    Rebecca said...

    So many great comments - thanks so much for sharing!

    Penelope - I know what you mean, I really don't mind leg hair on myself but freak out when I get those long chin hairs (which happens pretty often nowadays!)

    Awnber - thanks for commenting! I HATE tweezing, I just lack the patience for it I think. I'll do the odd long hair here or there but that's about it!

    Sarah - I haven't really looked into laser hair removal. I did electrolysis for a little while and had mediocre results. Threading really seems to be the best way for me! I think I get amnesia about how bad it hurts because I keep going back.

    Monkey - I know what you mean, in the winter when it is leggings/boot season I never shave my legs. I do like having clean shaven underarms - once in college I stopped shaving for a semester and my underarm hair was super thick - much thicker than I expected! I was amazed... but had trouble with sweaty armpits and smelling so I decided to shave. Oh, and thanks for the compliment on the jeans!

    Geetabix - I with there were more models with hairy pits and mustaches and hairy legs too! Just like I wish there were more fat models. Normalization, baby! I relate to what you said about hair removal rituals being a kind of special treat - I feel that way too. It's akin to how I feel about doing laundry -I love the order that it creates - and so with hair removal, I think I enjoy the clean slate/new beginning feeling, as well as feeling like I'm partaking in a beauty ritual that other women also do. It makes me feel feminine to take part in it. I think this feeling of shared femininity through making our bodies conform can be really damaging in a lot of ways, but I can't deny that is one of the reasons why I get hair removal!

    thomessa said...

    I've heard of threading but never really understood how it works. I think it depends on the person if they want to alter they're appearance. For some it makes them feel accomplished and for others just hygienic I guess. I use tweezers on my eyebrows, it doesn't hurt anymore, ha. But I'd be willing to try other hair removal processes in the future. The main issue with tweezing is how fast the hair comes back -_-

    geetabix said...

    That's really interesting Rebecca - I've never thought of hair removal as a shared ritual since it's not something I do in a group - although I do get that feeling of connectedness and engaging in ritual with gardening and cooking even when I'm doing them solo. I guess I never picture or consider others removing their hair at all (except maybe when I am frustrated and think "grr, all those blonde women have no idea what this is like.")

    But I'm with you. Normalization of all shapes, sizes, textures, baby!

    The Merry Traveller said...

    I just went threading a month ago and probably should go again. It seems like threading doesn't encourage fine hair regrowth because I went for eyebrow shaping and upper lip threading too and now the upper lip seems to be covered by more hair than i remember (or maybe was it just my paranoia speaking?).

    I don't mind fine hair but i get irked when i get rough ones. I always remove armpit hair for hygiene purposes and recently I've also discovered the joy of brazilian wax!

    Rebecca said...

    Thomessa - threading is kind of like tweezing on a large scale. The hair does come back pretty quick!

    Geetabix - That's a good point!

    Merry - the JOY of brazilian wax? Ouch! You are a tougher woman than I am! :)

    Rachele said...

    I am sort of indifferent to my hair. Sometimes I shave, sometimes I don't. I am pretty fair have light hair but have noticed the hair on my legs getting darker and other areas getting lighter. It is sort of strange sometimes!

    WispySilver said...

    Were you like, stretching the area around your brows when they were using the thread? That and using a little talcum powder on the to-be-threaded skin does ease the pain. Plus, if you keep a pair of tweezers handy, then you can just keep plucking stray hair as they come, so you don't have to go thread too often.

    thirtiesgirl said...

    I'm kind of a hairy gal, always have been, even when I was a kid. I grew up with that Frieda Kahlo uni-brow thing and a light moustache. When I was 16, my mom paid for me to have electrolysis treatments to get the hair between my brows removed. Electrolysis is painful, kind of like tattoo pain, but not as sharp, so I went once a month for about a year. After that year, the hair between my eyebrows was gone, no more uni-brow. The electrolysis technician also tried to do my upper lip, but that area was too sensitive, so I didn't let her continue.

    Electrolysis essentially destroys the hair follicle, so hair doesn't grow back. I've never had a problem with uni-brow again. I can't say all the hair has stayed away, because I have a few sparse hairs between my brows that I tweeze, but it's never come back as thick or visible as it was when I was a kid.

    I also have pretty thick eyebrows which I used to get waxed once a month. Waxing was painful, but not nearly as bad as electrolysis (plus waxing is much quicker, and the pain is over in a second or two, whereas electrolysis takes time, so you're experiencing pain for a longer period of time). My problem with waxing is that my skin is very sensitive, too. The hot wax on my skin would leave me with redness all around my brows, above and below, even after the waxer put aloe on it. I couldn't go anywhere for a few hours after getting waxed, until the redness went away.

    I finally stopped waxing and just stick to tweezing my own brows now. I've considered trying threading, but I've heard it's very painful so I haven't tried it yet. I periodically use one of those slim, battery operated face shavers to, uh, shave my 'stache, and also a few hairs under my chin (yeah, I said I was a hairy gal). I shave my legs and pits about once a week. I have dark hair and it gets noticeable if I don't shave. Plus, I like smooth pits and legs. ...So I guess I'd say hair removal is a weekly thing for me, for the most part. It's just part of my routine, like getting dressed in the morning and doing my hair.

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