Hair removal methods are a bit like the seasons—everyone has a favourite. But quite frankly, there is no perfect way to be rid of unwanted hair. Shaving doesn’t last quite long enough, depilatories are hit or miss, and waxing can hurt like hell. But if there were anything close to an ideal way to remove hair, sugaring just might be the answer we’ve been searching for. A traditional ancient Egyptian method of hair removal, sugaring involves using a 100% natural paste to remove hair from its root. Unlike waxing, it doesn’t require strips or cloths for removal, and some even prefer it over other hair removal techniques.
“Sugaring is a far superior method of hair removal because when you remove the root, the follicle will have less blood supply to it over time, which will in turn weaken it,”says sugaring expert. “You’ll get less hair growth each time, and the hair that does grow will be finer and sparser”. The end result: smooth, hairless skin, which lasts for four to six weeks.
What is Sugaring?
Sugaring hair removal uses a sticky, gel-like paste to remove hair. “The paste—which is made up of lemon, sugar, and water—is safe, natural, and uses no chemical additives. “It’s applied to any area that has unwanted hair and is then removed in the direction of the hair growth.” What’s more, because sugaring doesn’t stick to the top layer of the skin, it doesn’t pull at live skin cells (unlike waxing, which breaks the hair at the surface). Instead, it removes the hair from the root (the bulb at the end of the hair that resembles an onion), making it especially effective for ingrown or curly hair
How Does Sugaring Work?
It can be hard to believe that what we know and love as our morning coffee’s finest accomplice can actually help get rid of unwanted hair. But how? “First, the area of skin that’s going to be sugared is cleansed. Then, the 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 is applied to the skin against the hair growth. The dried paste is then flicked off in the same direction of hair growth.” Yep, that’s it!
Overtime (and with consistent upkeep), you’ll notice a reduction of hair growth. Even better, the hairs that do grow in will be thinner, finer, and sparser. One caveat: You’ll need about an eighth- to a quarter-inch of hair growth in order for the sugar to be able to catch the hairs. Just like with waxing, you’ll have to be OK with a little fuzz in between appointments.
It is SANITARY: The sugar paste is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Sugar is antimicrobial and in fact, was used in the civil war to treat open wounds to prevent infection and promote healing. One ball of sugar can be used on the entire body.
What Body Areas Can Be Sugared?
Sugaring is gentle enough for delicate skin and can be applied on any body part (basically, anywhere you’d wax). For example, the sugaring menu at Beauty Grace includes everything from abdomen and Brazilian to legs and toes. Here are the most common areas.
- Underarms: An experienced therapist can sugar your underarms in under five minutes.
- Arms: Depending on how long the hair is (and whether or not you shave this area), sugaring the arms can take about 30 minutes.
- Bikini/Brazilian: While sugaring this area can still be done during your monthly cycle, your skin may be more sensitive. This area typically takes between 30 to 45 minutes to sugar.
- Legs: The sugaring process may take longer for a larger area like the legs—expect the appointment to last about 45 minutes.
One thing to note: if there’s an active skin disease on the desired sugaring area—such as folliculitis or eczema—sugaring needs to be avoided, as it can exacerbate the issue.
Is Sugaring Less Painful Than Waxing?
Let’s get one thing straight: Sugaring doesn’t hurt. That said, many people do find it less painful than waxing. “Sugaring does not stick to live skin cells—only to the hair and dead skin cells—which means less irritation and discomfort, “There’s still a bit of an ouch factor when sugaring, as it’s still pulling out hair from the root, but the feedback we’ve received from our customer is that most find it less painful than waxing.” And because sugaring thins the hair and eventually kills the hair follicle in total, over time, the procedure will be less painful.
What is the Aftercare of Sugaring Like?
While sugaring is a pretty straight-forward process, there are some things to bear in mind in terms of aftercare, especially when it comes to your lady bits or man parts. After a Brazilian, wearing loose clothing is important to let your skin breathe. Avoid working out and sitting in a tub, Jacuzzi, sauna, or anything with high heat—the area will be sensitive and is more prone to bacteria, showering is permitted, but exfoliation should wait an extra 24 hours, as should skin-to-skin contact (yep, that includes sex).
Twenty-four hours post-sugaring, though, it’s a different ballgame. “It’s crucial to exfoliate your skin every day to avoid ingrown hairs. “Salicylic acid is a great option for exfoliating, as is vitamin E and aloe for moisturizing the skin following treatment, maintaining that keeping the skin hydrated can help decrease inflammation and the chance of infection.
How Long Do Sugaring Results Last?
Sugaring results typically last around three to five weeks depending on the area and the rate at which your hair grows. The beauty of sugaring is that it reduces hair growth over time, meaning you’ll have less hair to sugar each time a new appointment rolls around. We recommend booking your hair removal appointments on a regular maintenance schedule (every four to six weeks) to ensure the smoothest result and most painless service possible.
Are There Any Risks or Side Effects?
Should not have sugaring done if any of the following apply: you’re using retinol or vitamin C on your skin; you’re taking steroids; you’re on Accutane; you have bruising, swelling, rashes, open sores, a sunburn, or cold sores. These are the key factors to consider, but there are other conditions that would make you a poor candidate for sugaring. As always, consult your dermatologist before trying a new treatment.
Can Sugaring Be Done at Home?
Sugaring should be left to the pros. “Sugaring should always be done to clean skin by a trained professional to minimize any complications or risks.