Threading hair is usually used for flat areas, because it is rather difficult to eliminate hair growing in the area of bikini or knees. The method is also difficult to exercise with those who have bad acne. As the string is dragged over the skin, it can irritate severe acne and cause its rupture. For people suffering acne the best way of hair removal is electrolysis.
Threading hair is a perfect method of hair removal in the areas like the line running from the belly button to the public area or those annoying sprouts on the big toes. But don't try to do the procedure at home. It takes months to learn. If threading is done incorrectly, you'll just pinch your skin. The procedure costs about $40 for a full face and $15 for the upper lip.
A couple of years ago it was possible to observe the procedure of facial threading and eyebrow threading in the streets of Guangzhou. It was usually exercised by a woman in her 40s or 50s wearing plain clothes sitting face to face with another woman, either old or young. The practitioner was moving her head, upper body and her left arm. Looking closer it was possible to see that she held one end of a thread in her teeth, the other one-in left hand and the middle part of the thread looped through the index and middle fingers of her right hand. The loop is used to trap rows of customer's facial hair and to pull them out by the roots.
The practice of threading hair is no longer allowed on the street largely due to the obstruction of pedestrian traffic and to the work's unsanitary environment. Now the practitioners occupy the busy shopping streets like Beijing Road and Shang Xia Jiu, asking female passers-by if they want a La Lian Mao- the pulling of facial hair. If they find a client, they offer her the price, usually from 5 to 8 yuan and lead her up to their attics or to a back street, anywhere that's not in the sight of policemen or in the way of traffic. The practitioner and the client sit down on stools and the ancient ritual begins.
It is not an exaggeration to call it a ritual, or at least not in the older days. In Northern China girls used to get a threading hair right before the day of their wedding. They call it Kai Lian, which means the opening face. The elimination of birth hair means the end of immaturity and the beginning of womanhood.
Nowadays, the custom is not that strict. The procedure of threading hair can be done either before or after marriage. Everything depends only on one's tolerance of facial hair. In Canton the hot and humid climate can undesirably influence one's face causing the growth of thicker and darker hair. That is why the ritual keeps its charm.
If you are a new comer, the practitioner may show you her treasure boxes which are filled with small paper boxes. There may be hundreds of these boxes with a person's name written on their cover. They are the names of regular patrons. Theses boxes contain pearl powder which is applied to the customer's face before the procedure of threading begins. It is done in order to add friction and to fight bacteria. After that the woman ties your hair behind with bands and powders your face with her hand (unwashed, by the way). While this you may become a little anxious and suspicious. You may ask if it is going to hurt or if something bad is going to happen with your face. The practitioner will reassure you that it may hurt a little but the face is going to become whiter and smoother.