Waxing vs Threading

What are the differences between waxing vs threading and which is better?

In this article:

What is waxing?

Waxing is the removal of hair using a resin or a wax to grab the hairs and pull them out entirely, from the root.

There are 2 kinds of wax – soft wax and hard wax. They both have different consistencies. Soft wax is more gooey, so you apply it and then remove it using wax strips. Hard wax, also called stripless wax is less gooey. With hard wax, you apply the wax, let it cool slightly and then remove it by gripping the edge of the wax and pulling away from the skin to remove the hair from the root.

Waxing is the most popular form of semi permanent hair removal in the world. Sugaring, epilating, and threading are all less popular but growing in demand and equally effective methods for removing hair semi permanently, from the root but without killing the follicle like laser hair removal.

Want to learn about waxing at home? Get started with our guide to at home waxing that covers the features of wax kits, how to pick a wax, and the top waxing kits available for anyone who wants to save money by waxing at home.

What is threading?

Threading uses a doubled up cotton or polyester thread to quickly tweeze and remove hair from the root. A tweezer removes a hair at a time, but threading can remove sections of hair with each pass of the thread. The doubled up thread is rolled over your skin, catches the hair, and pulls the hair out entirely.

The practice of threading originated in India and today is used all over the world primarily to remove facial hair or to shape eyebrows. People with sensitive skin prefer threading hair removal over waxing. Threading also allows for more precision with eyebrow shaping, especially you are looking for a more natural looking final result.

You can get your hair threaded by a professional at a salon. There are hair removal salons that are specialize in threading, and many brow shaping businesses offer at least one professional trained in threading.

You can also learn how to thread at home. There are two ways to threading – the traditional method of using a doubled up thread or via a threading machine that helps hold the the thread in the proper position. The machine is easier to use as a beginner, but the traditional method can also be learned easily.

Compare – Which lasts longer: waxing or threading?

Both waxing and threading are known as “semi permanent” hair removal. So what does that mean? Basically, it means it last longer than shaving but is not permanent like laser hair removal. Because each method removes hair from the root but does not kill the root, the hair will grow back.

So how long does waxing or threading last? On average, either method will last 2 weeks but it really depends on how fast your hair grows in general. Some people don’t see results for longer than 1 week, while others can go up to 3 weeks.

Another thing to remember that is that both waxing and threading need hairs to be a certain length before you can do a second hair removal session. So perhaps, you would know how long before you have to wax or thread again. Again it depends on how fast your hair

grows back in. But we can also look at the required lengths needed to wax or thread again:

To get good results with waxing, new hair should be about 1/ 4 of an inch. With threading, you need hairs to be between 1/ 8” and 1/ 4” before you can thread them successfully.

So theoretically, you could thread new hairs faster than you could wax them. But in reality, it’s hard to determine when your hair is only 1/ 8 instead of 1/ 4. However, if you were pressed for time and maybe needed to get your eyebrows cleaned up before an event or photographs, threading could be a better way to remove very short hairs.

Winner: No clear winner

Both threading and waxing remove hair from the root but use different methods. New hairs will grow back at your normal hair growth rate in a similar manner after removing with either method. Both will last the same amount of time before you have to do it again – about 2 weeks.

Compare – Cost

So is threading cheaper than waxing?

First, let’s take a look at the costs if you were getting a wax or threading at a professional salon.

For example, in California, it costs an average of $30 for an eyebrow wax. This can be a little more depending on your tip which is normally expected, but for this comparison we will just use this average.

To thread the same eyebrows, it would cost an average of $25 with an expected tip. So threading is a little cheaper than waxing when it comes to paying someone else to do for you.

Now let’s compare how much it would cost if you were going to do it yourself at home.

If you were using an 8oz container of Gigi wax which costs about $8 and can be used for up to 6-10 full body waxes, you might be spending pennies instead of dollars per eyebrow wax. Let’s average the number of full body waxes per container of Gigi wax to 8 total. So that is $1 per total body wax, and about $0.10 per eyebrow wax.

There is certainly no doubt waxing at home is cheaper than waxing at a salon. What about threading?

If you choose to thread at home using a spool of cotton thread which costs $5, you’ll be using maybe 2 feet of thread total. A spool of thread has 400 yards which equals 1200 feet. So doing the math, that means you could get 600 threadings sessions out of a spool and each threading at home would cost you $0.0083. Wow!

Alright, so maybe you have trouble holding the string properly for threading and need to use a threading machine. A threading machine will have a 1 time cost of about $20-30 and that is it! When you run out of thread, you can get a new spool like you would if you just used thread in our example above. So that is a 1 time cost of about $20, followed by $5 spool of thread that will last 600 uses! The per use cost would still end up being less than a penny!

Winner: Threading

Threading is definitely even cheaper than waxing, both if you got it done by a professional and if you did it at home. Threading at home will cost less than a penny per threading session!

Compare – Pain

When you remove hair with wax, you can apply wax in an area several inches wide and remove it in all at once with a wax removing strip or by using the hard wax method of gripping the edge of the wax to remove the wax and the hair.

This means, you experience whatever pain there is of removing many hairs, up to 30-40 hairs all at one time. You apply wax, and remove. It hurts but it hurts only once.

With threading, you are still removing more hairs than tweezing. Compared to waxing that removes hairs in patches, threading removes hairs in rows. Because threading removes hairs by trapping them in the twists of a thread and removing them, and because the direction of the thread determines which hairs are removed, the process lends itself to removing hairs in rows or lines. The lines are back and forth direction of how the thread is moved on the skin.

Threading still is a fairly quick process, but because the process involves removing hairs in rows instead of large patches, you’ll feel more hairs being pulling.

Winner: Waxing

Waxing removes more hair with each pass of wax than threading removes with each pass of the thread. You feel more hairs being pulled with threading, so waxing can feel less painful than threading.

Compare – How long each takes

So does threading take longer than waxing? Yes, it can.

Because threading removes hair in rows or lines instead of large rectangular patches like waxing, threading a larger area can take longer than waxing. For example, a full face threading will take 15-20 minutes longer than a full face wax.

On the other hand, you can look at how long each method takes in a smaller area. For example, we can compare how long it might take to thread your eyebrows with how long it will take to wax your eyebrows. In a smaller area where you have to be careful about only removing certain hairs to create an eyebrow shape, threading and waxing can take very close to the same amount of time.

Now if we were thread vs wax a larger like your legs, waxing would clearly be faster than threading. A full leg is simply too large of an area to thread quickly to remove hair. You are definitely better off waxing your leg than attempting to thread the hair off.

Side note: We disregarded any prep that you might need for threading or waxing, like cleaning your skin of lotions and makeup or warming up your wax.

Winner: Waxing

In a smaller area, waxing and threading will take the same amount of time, but as you get into larger areas, waxing is a much faster hair removal option than threading.

Compare – Skill needed

Is threading harder to learn? Is there a big learning curve to waxing? These are common questions.

Both waxing and threading remove hair in very different ways but with a similar end result – both get rid of the hair from the root.

There is certainly some practice needed to learn how to wax properly and actually pull the hair out instead of pulling halfway and breaking it. When you first learn how to wax, your first try or two might be awkward and you may end up breaking some hairs instead of pulling them out.

Want to learn more about waxing yourself at home? Read our guide to waxing, waxing kits, and tips for painless waxing.

Threading also requires some practice to do well but there are less risks for mistakes because you are targeting less hairs with each pass of the thread than with wax. Wax is also somewhat difficult to get off if you apply it on the wrong place. Especially if you are threading in the traditional method with just a thread (instead of a threading machine), it takes some practice to learn how to hold the thread.

A threading machine can take some of the guesswork out of the learning process because it stretches out the thread so that you only have to pass it over your skin to the catch the hairs. You don’t have to worry about getting the angle and twists on the threads right.

Winner: No clear winner

Both threading and waxing take some practice to get right, and each have their pros and cons.

Compare – Convenience

Waxing involves a bit more prep and cleanup work than threading.

Because wax won’t grab your hair if your skin has makeup or lotions, you may need to clean your skin before you wax. You can do the same for threading but you do not have to. It is a good idea, though, to clean your skin before you thread because some people note that they break out if they do not remove makeup or skincare before they thread off hair.

You also will need to use a post wax treatment, from professionally formulated wax residue removers to a simple oil like jojoba to remove wax residue. With threading, you do not have this issue and once you have removed hair, you can carry on with your life.

Winner: Threading

Threading has less prep and post hair removal work than waxing and so may be a more convenient way to remove hair.

Summary – Waxing or threading?

There is no clear winner between waxing or threading, as they each can work better for you depending on your lifestyle or skincare needs and wants.

Threading is certainly a simpler process but requires some detail, skill, and practice to do well.

Waxing can remove more hair at a time and so is a faster process for larger areas. You may also find waxing easier to learn than threading.

Both are great options to pick from or you can use different methods for different parts of your body.

Want to learn more about waxing at home, wax kits, and learn how to wax? Read our guide to waxing at home.

Waxing vs Sugaring

Differences between waxing vs sugaring and which is better

In this article:

What is waxing?

Waxing is hair removal method that uses waxes made from resins and tree by-products to remove body hair. Waxing removes the hair from its root, and so lasts longer than shaving or depilatory creams. You can get a wax to remove hair from a professional salon or wax at home.

There are two consistencies available in wax – hard wax and soft wax. Hard wax is applied and then removed by gripping the edge of the applied wax. Soft wax is applied, then a wax removal strip is pressed and smoothed over the applied wax. The wax removal strip is then removed quickly to remove the hair.

Waxing can last up to 2 weeks before new hair grows back in. To wax again, you need to wait until the new hairs grow 1/ 4 inch otherwise the wax will not be able to grab the hairs to remove hair.

Want to learn more about waxing at home? Read our guide to home wax kits, best waxing practices and more.

What is sugaring?

Sugaring is a natural hair removal method that originated in Persia, and is used like traditional waxing to remove hair completely, from the root. Sugaring paste is a simple mix of lemon, water, and sugar melted at low to medium heat until it resembles a candy mix. Once cooled, it can be used just like waxing where you apply the sugar on your skin and hair and then pull to remove the hair.

Sugaring can last up to 2 weeks before new hair growth.

You can make or buy sugaring paste that is meant to be used as a “hard wax” or “soft wax”. Like hard wax, sugaring paste can be applied and then removed by gripping the edges of the applied sugar and pulling away to remove the hair. You can also undercook the sugaring paste to make a soft wax like sugaring paste. This is applied to the your skin and hair and then removed with strips of cotton muslin or another disposable wax strip.

Making sugaring paste yourself is not difficult.

However, if you’re looking to save time or you want to try a sugaring paste before you attempt to learn how to make it yourself, read our guide to sugaring at home to learn which sugaring product can get you started and work best.

There are a few differences between sugaring and waxing.

First, a simple sugaring paste has no additives, essential oils, chemicals, or preservatives commonly found in waxes. So if you have had an allergic reaction to waxing or waxes before, sugaring is a great option for you.

Second, any residue left behind after you sugar can be washed off with water. Waxes need to be removed with post wax treatments or with oils.

Third, the sugaring paste that you use to remove hair is only warm when you apply it to your skin and hair. In comparison, wax is applied hot and removed when it slightly cools. Sugaring paste is an easier and more comfortable way to remove hair because it can be used at a lower heat so you’ll never burn yourself.

And finally fourth, sugaring paste is applied AGAINST the growth of the hair and removed with the growth of the hair. This is opposite of waxing, where you apply the wax in the same direction as the hair growth and remove the wax by pulling against the hair growth.

Want to learn more about sugaring to remove hair at home? Read our in depth guide to sugaring hair removal here.

Compare – Which lasts longer – sugaring or waxing

It depends on how fast your hair grows back in, but for many people, waxing can last around 2 weeks before new hairs grow. Sugaring removes hairs in the same way as waxing (from the root), so it lasts the same amount of time as waxing.

Winner: No clear winner

Both sugaring and waxing last the same amount of time, up to 2 weeks.

Compare – Cost

Sugaring and waxing cost about the same amount of money if you skip the accessories and just compare oranges to oranges. Here’s a breakdown.

An 8oz container of Gigi’s wax costs about $8-9, and an 8 oz container of pre made sugaring paste from CocoJoJo costs about $9.

You can use the same applicators (popsicle sticks) for wax or for sugaring paste. You can also use the same kind of wax/sugaring paste removal strips for both, which you can buy in bulk or tear up an old cotton bed sheet to make strips. One benefit of sugaring paste is that you can throw all of your cotton strips in the washing machine after you have removed hair with them, and reuse them for as long as you want.

Complete kits that include a plug in wax/paste warmer and pre and post treatments for either waxing or sugaring paste are also similarly priced, running from $40 to $120, depending on how fancy you get with the accessories.

We can also compare professional services. If we wanted to get a professional to do it, waxing prices near us in California can cost about $300 dollars for a full body wax. Sugaring costs a little bit more at about $350.

Winner: No clear winner

Sugaring and waxing both cost similar amounts of money for wax/sugaring paste and accessories. Professional sugaring is slightly more expensive than professional waxing.

Compare – Pain

Waxing removes hair but can also remove the top dead layers of skin as a mild exfoliant. Waxes grab both the skin and hair, and so when you pull the wax off of your skin, you are feeling the sensation of both your hair being pulled and your skin being tugged gently.

In contrast, sugaring paste does not stick to the skin at all. It only grabs hair and removes it when pulled away without any of the exfoliation of waxing. So sugaring is a less painful hair removal method than waxing.

The sugar in the sugaring paste can be a gentle conditioner for your skin as well. If there are essential oils in your sugaring paste, these can act as skin conditioners as well.

Winner: Sugaring

Sugaring does not grab skin like wax does and so is less painful.

Compare – How long each takes

For this we aren’t going to count the prep time for sugaring or waxing. What does this mean? For waxing, there is prep time involved for warming the wax and for sugaring, you either need to make the sugaring paste or like wax, you need to warm the sugaring paste.

Prep aside, the actual process of sugaring can take longer than waxing, especially the “hard wax” type of sugaring paste.

Waxing involves applying the wax in lines with an applicator stick, and then removing it with a strip or by gripping the edge of the cooled wax. With sugaring, you take a wad of sugar and work it with your hands and fingers to make it more sticky and easy to apply. Then you take the sugaring paste and apply it to your hair, grab the edge and remove the sugaring paste and hair quickly. Before reapplying sugaring paste, you take what you just removed and work it between your fingers again, before you take it and apply it the next area with hair. This process takes a little time to do well efficiently.

With waxing, it is applied while hot and pulled, applied and pulled. Sugaring takes a little more finesse and time because the sugaring paste is not as hot and so it must be worked with your hands to make it easy to apply.

Winner: Waxing

Waxing is somewhat faster to do than sugaring, but not by much. The process is similar for both, but sugaring’s extra step adds a little time.

Compare – Skill needed

As you might have caught on in the previous comparison, sugaring has an extra step because it is used at a cooler temperature than waxing. But does it make sugaring harder to learn?

Actually waxing and sugaring require the same physical skills to remove hair from the root without breaking it halfway. Sure, there is some extra skill needed to manage the sugaring paste, but the application of wax or sugaring paste on your skin and then its removal is the same.

It takes a little practice with both waxing and sugaring to realize how fast and at what angle you should pull to remove the entire hair. If you’ve had a professional wax session before, then you have a good idea of how to grab the wax or sugar and quickly flick your wrist to remove the hair with the least amount of pain. But even if you haven’t, it only takes 1 or 2 tries before you get the handle on the best way to remove sugaring paste or wax.

Winner: No clear winner

Both sugaring paste and wax remove hair in the same way and so require the same type of skills to do well.

Compare – Convenience

Sugaring and waxing are definitely far more convenient than shaving because they last so much longer.

Between the two, sugaring might have a very slight edge over waxing in terms of convenience because you can just wash off the residue of the sugaring paste when you are done removing hair. To remove wax residue, you have to use an oil that will stop your skin from feeling tacky or sticking to clothes. But with sugaring, you can just hop in the shower or wash the area you just sugared with some warm water to remove all stickiness.

Winner: Sugaring

Sugaring is a slightly more convenient process than waxing because its residue is easier to remove.

Summary – So which is better

Sure, we have broken down the pros and cons of both sugaring and waxing and it may seem like sugaring is the better option. But we don’t think sugaring has a clear leg up over waxing. We think that sugaring and waxing are very similar, but with one big difference:

Sugaring has all natural ingredients and so is better suitable for those with sensitive skin that is easily irritated or acne prone.

Waxing has more options in terms of aromatherapeutic benefits via essential oils and skin conditioners as well as types of wax, like for face or for bikini.

Otherwise, whether you choose waxing or sugaring is up to your personal preferences or adventure level.

To learn more about sugaring, read our guide to sugaring at home and how to pick a sugaring recipe or product to get starting on removing hair with sugaring.

Want to get into waxing? Read our guide to the best wax kits available today and how to wax at home as painlessly as possible.

A Comparison of Waxing at Home Kits

Below is a side by side comparison of 5 of the top at home waxing kits. Which at home waxing kit is microwaveable or has a wax warmer? Which can be used a soft wax versus a hard wax? Do they offer additional accessories, like pre waxing oils or a way to remove wax residue when you’re done waxing? Which one best meets my hair removal needs?

Waxing ModelGigi Student Starter KitBody Honee Extra StrengthBliss Poetic Waxing KitNair Brazilian Spa Clay Roll On WaxVeet Ready-to-use Wax Strip Kit
SummaryBest all inclusive at home waxing kitBest microwavable wax for at home waxingBest microwavable wax with accessoriesBest roll on wax, great for travelBest wax for travel
Use as Soft or Hard WaxBothBothBothBothBoth
ReviewsOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review hereOur review here
Wax Warmer or MicrowaveableWax warmer with drip colorMicrowavableMicrowavableMicrowavableMicrowavable
Strips included?YesYesNoYes, strips can be washed and reusedYes
Pre or post waxing treatments includedYes, Pre Hon skin cleanser, Pre Epilation Oil, and of Post Wax Cooling GelNoYes, Super Skin cleanser and Bliss Poetic Waxing pre/post waxing oilNo4 finishing wipes to remove wax residue
Other AccessoriesSlow Grow lotion,
Spatulas in 2 sizes, Wax strips
2 wood spatulas,
8 wax strips
Ingrown Eliminating pad,
6 spatulas in 2 different sizes,
None40 wax strips
PriceHighMediumMediumLowLow
See more product detailsGo to Gigi Student Starter KitGo to Body Honee Extra StrengthGo to Bliss Poetic Waxing KitGo to Nair Brazilian Spa Clay Roll On WaxGo to Veet Ready-to-use Wax Strip Kit