A riddle goes like this: “Four eyes staring at each other, four legs clashing with each other. One bites hard, another’s face hurts”, describing this traditional beautifying skill —— facial threading, also known as shaving fine hairs. Facial threading could be said as a wisdom and technique passed on from ancient times, using one simple tool to get rid of fine facial hair, dead skin and even acne. At the same time, it enhances blood circulation of the face, as well as keeping the skin smooth and shiny.
A scorching sun shines bright in the sky, beneath luscious tree shades, with two low stools, a spool of cotton thread, polishing powder, hairpin and a comb, Grandma Teo Yoke Kim bites on one end of the thread, her right hand holding the other end, the cotton thread curled around her left hand like scissors, forming three points coordinating with each other to exert force. Grandma Teo uses the intertwined knot to move back and forth on the skin and pores, quickly and effectively clean fine hairs and dead skin off the face. This unique technique attracts full attention of bystanders, and is much admired.
Since a tender age, Grandma Teo observe the way her elders in the village do facial threading, thus acquiring the skill. As the elders pass away one by one, Grandma Teo also gradually age. Now that she is 86, she seldom does facial threading for others, the younger generation has no way to pick up the technique. The people who mastered this traditional skill are getting fewer in numbers, which is regrettable.
Text: Daniel Lim & Pua Hui Wen
有你 UNI Production
Producer : Mok Yii Chek
Coordinator : Daniel Lim
Cinematographer : Amelia Lim / Evon Pang
Video Editor : Amelia Lim
Music : Mellowlands from Felt Music
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