What Is Sugaring Hair Removal? Sugaring Vs Waxing

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For many generations, women have been in search of methods to rid themselves of unwanted hair. This is not only a women’s issue. Men also are choosing to rid themselves of their own unwanted hair. For many men in the modeling, bodybuilding, and other athletic communities, these methods of hair removal have been becoming more common.

As early as the times of ancient Egypt, hair removal was not just a statement of status and class. It was also a great treatment to control the prevalent plague of lice.

There are many ways to remove unwanted hair, some more effective than others. There are also many false promises for permanence, but for now let’s look at waxing and sugaring. We’ll compare and hopefully shed (no pun intended!) light on some myths. We’ll also give you plenty of information so that you can make a more informed decision for your own approach to hair removal.

An inexact technique can often result in incomplete extraction of the hair follicle, breakage of the hair shaft, or worse. The skin surrounding the hair shaft can become inflamed and possibly infected. And if the retained hair becomes trapped in the follicle, this can lead to ingrown hairs.

What Is Waxing? Waxing Explained

Legs partially covered by a sheet.

Waxing is one way to remove unwanted hair.

What is waxing? Very simply, waxing is a method of hair removal whereby the unwanted hairs are covered with wax (often hot) and then ripped out of the skin. Sounds harsh, right?

This method of hair removal uses waxes made from resins and tree byproducts to remove unwanted hair. There are hard waxes (or stripless wax) and soft waxes. Both have the same basic effect but do have many differences. While you can certainly use either of these methods at home, it is definitely best for you to have a professional perform this service for you.

The hard wax has some advantages over the soft wax. For example, the hard wax claims to be able to be reapplied to the same area if hairs were somehow missed. Generally, hard waxes are mostly used on the face, underarms, and bikini areas. Many people find the hard wax to be less painful.

Heat is important. Heat the wax in a microwave or warmer as per the instructions on the package. The right amount of heat lets you warm the wax at a lower temperature than soft wax. Then apply the wax in the direction of the hair growth. Let it harden as the wax begins to cool. Once it is cool and firm to the touch, in one quick motion, pull the wax off in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

In using a soft wax, hopefully the technician or esthetician will only apply the wax once to each area. Even if they miss hairs, reapplying is not appropriate. This is because there is a layer of skin that is also being lifted. Repeat application can cause hyperpigmentation as well as other complications including (unnecessary) excess bleeding.

The technique for application of soft wax is basically the same as with the hard, but you’ll need strips of linen or muslin for the removal and a wooden applicator to spread the wax on. Care must be taken that your pull should be aligned with the area treated and not upward, since this can cause unnecessary bleeding and hair breakage.

Remember that you are ripping hairs out of your skin, so the possibility of bleeding is real. It is important to note that under no circumstances should a technician double-dip in the pot of wax. This is assuming that the technician is NOT using an individual pot that they will discard after your job is complete.

What Is Sugaring? Sugaring Explained

Sliced lemon on leaf.

Sugar, lemon, and water are all you need for sugaring.

What is sugaring? Also known as Persian waxing, sugaring has been used to remove unwanted hair since 1900 BCE and has been making a strong comeback to rival traditional waxing, boasting that it doesn’t hurt. Since the sugaring paste is water-based and water-soluble, you can easily clean up the paste with warm water. This ancient solution is a great natural alternative and it’s environmentally friendly.

It uses only three natural ingredients, all easy to pronounce: sugar, lemon, and water. While you can do sugaring yourself at home, it really is ideal to have a trained professional do it.

Sugaring is a much gentler method of epilation. Unlike traditional waxing, sugaring doesn’t disturb the skin’s surface, and it generally leaves the skin exfoliated and soft. The fact that you can apply sugaring at a lukewarm temperature means that there is no burning or scarring. This chemical-free method leaves your skin smooth with less hair breakage than with waxing due to the fact that the hair is removed in the natural direction of its growth.

Many men are moving toward this method for their “manscaping”, and the reduction of discomfort is a major reason. It’s also a good alternative since there is less skin irritation to more sensitive areas like the scrotum.

Because sugaring removes the hair from the same direction that it grows, there is less evidence of ingrown hairs in regrowth. 

Is Sugaring Less Painful Than Waxing?

So, is sugaring less painful than waxing? Everyone’s pain threshold is different. But most find both waxing and sugaring to be ranging between somewhat uncomfortable and really painful.

Since traditional waxing uses a hot wax, it is harsh to the skin even before pulling the hairs from their follicles. Sugaring also pulls less on the skin, so there is much less pain and irritation.

Both methods involve pulling hairs out from their follicles. But since sugaring doesn’t remove a layer of the skin along with the hair, the recovering time is shorter. There are ways to minimize the level of pain or discomfort. While some have been known to use a numbing cream before a treatment, others have chosen to take Ibuprofen to take the edge off. Both sugaring and waxing require the hair to be about ¼ inch long or about as long as an eyelash.

With both methods, you should exfoliate your skin the day before. But skip any lotions, creams, or deodorants on the day of the treatment.

What Is The Best Waxing Method For Facial Hair?

Woman checking facial skin in mirror.

Sugaring is better than waxing for facial hair removal.

What is the best waxing method for facial hair? Many dermatologists have tried to dissuade their patients from both waxing and sugaring, especially for the removal of facial hair. This is especially true of waxing, since the hot wax removes a layer of live skin as well as the hair. This can leave the skin more vulnerable to infections.

Waxing can cause irritation because the skin can be more sensitive to the products you apply to its surface. This is especially true for skin by the eyebrows and upper lip. Between the two methods being discussed, sugaring is the most appropriate and desired method. That’s because its trauma to the skin is minimal in comparison to that of traditional waxing.                    

Which Method Lasts Longer?

So, which method lasts longer? Many articles that are available online claim that both of these methods can result in permanent hair removal. But in reality, that claim is totally false.

As far as judging between these two choices, they both require a precision pull. This means that if the pull of the strip or sugar ball is not in line with the hair’s growth, the result can be breakage of the hair and a shorter amount of hairless time.

Basically, hair grows in cycles.

Anagen is the growing stage, catagen is the transition stage, telogen is the resting stage, and exogen is the stage where the hair sheds naturally. We can’t know what stage the hairs are in. So, if you wax or sugar them during the exogen stage, your time of being hair-free is very short, as there is a new hair already growing in that follicle. However, if you catch it during the anagen stage, you’ve got about a month without hair. If you live in a place where there is a distinct change of seasons, you may notice that the hairs will grow faster in the warmer months. That’s because this is when your body produces more sweat and oils.


Contrary to popular belief, neither waxing nor sugaring are permanent.

According to the FDA, as well as the American Medical Association, the only method known to date for permanent hair removal is electrolysis.

You can do both sugaring and waxing yourself at home. Or you can have a professional do it in an office or salon with similar results. Basic hygiene and sanitary practices must be in place whether at home or in a salon.

Unlike traditional waxing, you can reapply a sugaring ball for any areas you missed. And you can do so without the fear of causing additional trauma or infection to the skin.

Both of these techniques require the hair to be about the length of an eyelash. And both rip hair out of their follicles. Comparable in price, both sugaring and waxing rates vary according to the treatment areas.

Both men and women use both methods for their hair removal. As far as after treatments, they both require certain actions and restrictions. You should avoid the sun and any heat treatments, such as going to a sauna or having hot showers. It is also suggested to wear loose-fitting clothing in the areas treated.

Not every hair removal method is good for every person. So it is wise to gather your own information to determine what would be appropriate for your needs.

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