Sugaring vs. Regular Waxing: A Guide
If you’ve ever gotten waxed, be it on your legs, under-arms or uber-sensitive bikini area, then you know just how painful it can be. Sure, it’s worth it for the long-term hair removal but the stinging feeling that you have to endure during the procedure is not a walk in the park. That’s just one of the many reasons that people seek alternative methods of hair removal. Enter: sugar waxing. Similar to regular waxing in some ways, but different in many others, sugaring is oftentimes a less painful way to temporarily remove hair at the root for smooth skin.
Ahead, we talked to Samantha Garlow, sugar waxing expert and esthetician at New York City-based sugaring center D A P H N E, to find out more about sugaring and how it differs from regular waxing.
Can you explain what sugaring is?
Sugaring is a traditional ancient Egyptian method of hair removal that is safe and 100% natural, using a paste made from lemon, sugar and water. There are no strips or cloths. There are no chemical additives, and it can be applied on any body part. It’s applied to the skin and removes hair in the direction of growth, removing the root (the bulb at the end of the hair). When you remove the root, the follicle will have less blood supply to it over time, which can in turn weaken it. Over time, you may notice the hair grows back finer and sparser.
What’s the difference between sugaring and waxing?
According to Samantha, the hair can be shorter for sugaring than it can be for waxing. An eighth to a quarter of an inch is the ideal length of the hair — think of a grain of rice. There’s also less risk of breakage because the sugar paste is more moldable and adheres to the hair and the root. Unlike waxing, the sugar pulls from the direction of the hair growth, a technique that helps to avoid pesky in-grown hairs, which can occur when hair is removed in the opposite direction of hair growth.
Does sugaring use hot wax?
Sugar paste is slightly warm — not hot — like typical wax.
Does sugar waxing work on all hair types?
Sugaring is great for all hair types, as long as the hair is long enough.
Is sugaring good for all skin types, including sensitive?
Sugaring pulls less on the skin compared to waxing. There are also natural waxing formulas — such as those only consisting of sugar, lemon and water — that lack chemical additives.
How bad does sugar waxing hurt compared to regular waxing?
There’s still a bit of an ouch factor when sugaring — it’s still pulling out hair from the root. But most people find it less painful than waxing.
How long do sugaring results last?
Typically four to five weeks.
What should someone expect if they’re going to their first sugaring appointment?
First, the area of skin that is going to be sugared is cleansed and then powder is applied, which provides some distance between the skin and sugar paste. Once the skin is prepped, the sugar paste is molded while it’s slightly warm and applied to skin against the hair growth. When the paste dries, it’s flicked off in the same direction of hair growth. During the service, your esthetician should hold the skin taut, which can help with any discomfort. If done by the right esthetician, a Brazilian/bikini service shouldn't take longer than 30 minutes.
What tips do you have for post-sugaring care?
I tell people to find their “sugaring underwear” — something made from cotton that is also loose. If an individual wears tight clothing after a sugaring session, the hair follicle growth may be impaired. Also, refrain from sexual activity for 48 hours, soaking in a tub or jacuzzi, going in a sauna, or anything with high heat due to the area being sensitive and risking contact with bacteria. Showering is okay, just do not exfoliate for 24 hours. However, after 24 hours it is crucial to exfoliate your skin every day to help avoid ingrown hairs. Salicylic acid is a great option for exfoliating, followed with vitamin E and aloe to moisturize the skin after sugaring.