Why Sugaring Could Replace Waxing as Your Go-To Hair Removal Method

We asked an expert if it's as sweet as it sounds.

We never thought we'd see the day when we referred to a hair removal process (especially a Brazilian) as sweet, though in the case of sugaring, we mean it in a literal sense. The process is somewhat similar to your go-to bikini wax, but uses a mixture of warm water, sugar, and lemon juice to create a fuzz-free finish that won't quit for several weeks.

So what is the deal with sugaring anyway? Is it better than waxing? Does it last longer? Is it less painful? We answer all your burning (which sugaring doesn't do) questions and more below.

What is Sugaring?

This method has actually been around for a long time — like a really long time ago according to Natalya Alexsandrova, Master Esthetician at DAPHNE Studio in New York City. Alexsandrova says that the hypoallergenic, all-natural product is made of sugar, lemon juice, and water, so it's generally safe for those with sensitive skin.

"It's similar to waxing, but uses a different technique," she explains. "Sugaring removes body hair by quickly pulling the hair from the root." She adds that the process dates back to ancient Eastern countries. "This technology of hair removal has survived very successfully to this day, and developments in esthetics have brought it almost to perfection."

There are also an array of areas on your body that can be treated with sugaring — pretty much everywhere that grows hair, i.e., your face, arms, underarm, legs, back, and bikini area. It is applied using a "ball of sugar paste."

What is the Process For Sugaring?

Of course, how long a treatment takes depends on the area you are sugaring. According to Alexsandrova, the process starts with a "Pre-Sugar Cleanse" to rid the area of any dirt, oil, lotion residue, etc. The next step is dusting a drying powder over the area.

Once the area is prepped, Alexsandrova says the technician will start applying the sugar paste by hand and smoothing it on the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. It can be used with heated or lukewarm water to reduce the risk of burns or irritation. After it's applied, the esthetician will flick off the sugar paste and remove the hair in the direction of growth.

Once the hair removal is complete, Alexsandrova says the water-based and water-soluble formula easily wipes off with a warm, damp towel, followed by a toner or after-shave lotion to protect the skin and slow down new hair growth.

How long do the results last you might ask? According to Alexsandrova, it once again depends on the specific customer, but expect two to four weeks of no hair and smooth skin for five or more weeks. The results vary depending on the person's "density of the hairline, hair structure, and the uneven growth of new hair," she tells us.

Sugaring Wax
Getty Images

Are there Side Effects to Sugaring?

Generally, there seems to be few side effects or risks involved with the process thanks to it's unique natural formula; plus, a lack of hot temperatures.

But Alexsandrova says that incorrect application can result in "dryness, itching of the skin, or even pustular inflammation." She highly recommends receiving sugaring from a trained professional you trust to avoid these side effects caused by improper technique, "insufficiently heated" product, or failure to use disinfectants and emollients.

When it comes to pain level, Alexsandrova says it entirely depends on the client's personal pain tolerance and the area being treated (news flash: the bikini area is the most sensitive). Of course, yanking of the hair is still involved wherever you receive the treatment, so it's by no means pain-free, but the sting isn't as bad since the sugar won't adhere to your skin as much as wax, and leaves that first layer intact.

You can limit the amount of pain by growing your hair to the recommended four to five mm length ("about the size of the grain of rice"). Alexsandrova says too long or too short can make removal worse.

Sugaring or Waxing?

Depending on who you ask, you'll get differing answers on this question. Alexsandrova says she personally prefers sugaring over waxing because the treatment will "make the hair softer and thinner than waxing, especially over time. It is performed quickly enough, it never burns the skin and gives a longer lasting results, unlike waxing."

At the end of the day, the best hair removal method depends on your preference and whatever works best for your body and hair.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles