During traditional hair waxing, the wax adheres to the unwanted body hair and the top layer of the skin. This leaves the skin very sensitive after the hair removal process. However, another ancient hair removal method uses everyday regular kitchen ingredients to get rid of unwanted hair. This hair removal method is called “Sugaring” and is otherwise referred to as “Sugar waxing” (1). It serves as an easier alternative to traditional waxing because the waxing substance only adheres to the hair follicles and not to the top layer of the skin. This article shares an informative guideline on the Sugaring hair removal process.
Hair Removal Methods
There are several hair removal methods, and everyone has a favorite one they opt for. Whatever the choice may be, the intended goal remains the same, to remove unwanted hair from the body. Some of these hair removal methods include
The Sugaring Hair removal Method
This process involves using natural sugar paste to remove unwanted hair from your body, specifically uprooting the hair. The sugaring paste used is made of sugar, lemon, and water (2). These ingredients are made into a blend and heated to a gel-like consistency. It is allowed to cool – to warmness, then applied directly to the skin. The sugaring paste is a natural paste with no chemical additives. Also, it does not stick to the top skin layer; it is only soft enough to penetrate the hair pores. Careful attention is paid when applying it to ensure it is removed in the direction of the hair growth (3).
During the sugaring process, the hair root is removed, reducing blood supply to the follicles, an action that weakens hair. Therefore, with every sugaring session done, you will get less hair growth subsequently, a consistent reduction in hair growth. This reduction in hair growth continues with finer and sparser new hair growth until the skin is hairless. The sugaring hair removal process leaves the skin hairless for 4 to 6 weeks.
Sugaring is an effective hair removal process for ingrown or curly hair. It removes the hair from the root, not breaking the hair at the surface, and does not pull at the live skin cells.
Types of Sugaring Substances
The sugaring substance is of two forms, and this depends on the consistency of the substrate.
Sugaring Paste – This is a thick consistency, just like a paste, and is used at room temperature. Because of the paste’s thick consistency, all stages of the application are done using fingers. The sugar paste is molded in a ball and applied directly to the skin, against the direction of hair growth, then pulled out in the same direction as hair growth.
Sugaring Gel – This has a thin consistency and is used at a warm temperature. It is applied directly on the skin in the direction of the hair growth and pulled in the opposite direction against the hair growth. An applicator is used during the application stage to use the gel, and a cloth or muslin strip is used in the removal stage (4).
What Body Areas Can be Sugared?
This hair removal process is viable for all parts of the body (5). It does not adhere to the top skin surface. This makes it a preferred option for sensitive skin and delicate body parts, as there is less skin irritation. The body areas include
- Sensitive parts – bikini lines
- Legs, toes
- Happy trail
How to Prepare the Sugaring Solutions?
It is most recommended to have a hair removal expert carry out the sugaring process. However, if you like to try DIY, you may carry out your sugaring processes yourself. But first, you will need the sugaring substance – paste or gel. You may buy pre-made sugaring paste from your local store or make one. To make the sugaring paste, you will need
- Half cup of lemon juice
- 4 cups of white sugar
- Half cup of water
- Heater – preferably microwave
- Pour all ingredients in a bowl and heat up into a perfect mix
- For paste sugaring consistency, heat at 118 degrees Celsius
- For gel consistency, heat at 121 degrees Celsius
- In 3 minutes, the blend will turn thick or silky, changing to a slightly golden color.
- Take the mixture out of the heater and allow it to cool to room temperature
- Pour in leftover into a reheatable jar for easy heating for subsequent uses
The Processes – What to Expect Before, During, and After
- Your hair has to be long enough, although the sugaring method takes out the shortest range of hair. The preferred length range is 1/8 to ¼ inch.
- A light skin exfoliation may be needed few days ahead of your appointment to get rid of dead skin cells.
- You may be required to avoid applying certain skincare products at least 24 to 48 hours before your appointment (retinoid-based creams).
- You may also be required to avoid all forms of skin tanning activities at least 24 to 48 hours before your appointment.
- You may also need to minimize alcohol and caffeine intake before your appointment to prevent your skin pores from tightening.
- You may be required to wear loose-fitting cloth. Wearing tight-fitting cloth may cause you to sweat, encouraging bacteria growth near the sensitive hair follicles. It may also result in allergic inflammations and irritation. In addition, your skin needs to breathe.
- The sugaring process is painful; you may grab pain relief and swallow the right dosage 20 to 30 minutes before your appointment. Also, speak to your technician; they may have an in-house solution for pain relief.
- Your beauty technician may start on the scheduled day before your procedure by cleaning the target skin areas with a gentle cleanser.
- After this, he/she applies cornstarch or powder generously on the skin area. This acts as a protective barrier shielding the top layer of the skin from the paste.
- The technician takes up the paste and molds consistently to warm it up – this helps the paste spread thinly to your skin without causing a burn.
- Then the warm paste is applied directly to your skin, in a direction against your hair growth.
- And the dried sugar paste pulled off in the same direction as your hair growth.
- The same ball of paste is used for the entire procedure; it is enough for all the target skin areas. However, there are repeated hand molding of the paste between applications.
- At the end of the sugaring procedure, the technician will apply oil or serum to soothe and hydrate your skin. This may also prevent ingrown hair.
- After a sugaring session, you may be required to avoid some activities for at least 48 hours. Some of these activities include sex, exfoliation, working out, and a hot bath. Engaging in these activities may cause pimples, rashes, and ingrown hairs. The skin area should be kept cool and clean through the healing process.
- With consistency, the damage caused to your hair follicle during the sugaring process reduces hair growth. As a result, subsequent hair growth may be sparse, thin, and fine hair.
- You may be required to apply a cold compress after the process, especially if you develop bumps, skin redness, rashes, or experience intense itching. The cold compress may get rid of these reactions in 15 to 20 minutes.
Benefits of Sugaring
Here are some benefits of using the sugaring method to remove unwanted body hair.
- It is a less painful method than traditional waxing. The sugaring paste or gel does not adhere to your live skin cells, only to your hair follicles. This reduces the irritation and discomfort that occurs due to adherence and pulling of the skin cells.
- Sugaring is environmentally friendly. The ingredients used (sugar, lemon, and water) are hypoallergenic and biodegradable.
- The sugaring procedure is fast, as you can cover a large skin surface area at a time.
- Residue clean-up after sugaring is easy; all the used substances are water-soluble and can be easily washed off.
- The sugaring substance is made of natural ingredients and is safe. It does not contain harmful chemical substances such as resin.
- It is a hair removal process that can get rid of hair on all body areas, sensitive skin, and delicate skin areas inclusive.
- Sugaring removes dead skin cells, and this provides light exfoliation, which improves skin appearance.
- Because the sugaring process removes hair from the roots, consistent sessions may result in an overall reduction of hair growth.
There are precautions you need to take to ensure a smooth sugaring process.
- Avoid exfoliating the skin area intended for sugaring at least 2 to 3 days before your appointment.
- After your sugaring procedure, avoid shaving, picking stray hairs, or tweezing. This will reduce the possibility of ingrown hair.
- Apply oil or serum on the skin area after sugaring to prevent ingrown hair.
- Avoid sugaring if you have an active skin disease on the intended skin area. Such skin diseases may include eczema, folliculitis.
- Some medical treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy may increase your skin sensitivity. Therefore, sugaring may not be a great choice for hair removal.
- Discuss with your technician about your current medical prescription as certain medications may make your skin overly sensitive. Some of them include retinoids, vitamin C, steroids, Accutane.
- If you opt for the DIY procedure, achieving paste of gel consistency may be difficult.
- You may have to avoid sugaring when you are on your period. This is because menstruation increases skin sensitivity and hormonal fluctuations; sugaring may result in skin reactions (6).
- If you are pregnant, check with your doctor before opting for sugaring hair removal. Pregnancy may change your skin sensitivity.
- Avoid sugaring if you have skin bruising, rashes, open sores, cold sores, or swelling.
- If you have genital piercing or tattoos, discuss with your technician before your appointment to confirm they do not interfere with the procedure.
- Avoid sugaring if your skin is sunburned. Instead, wait for the sunburn to heal completely. Sunburned skin is like an open wound; the exfoliating process of sugaring will leave the skin with irritations.
- Resist the urge to scratch your skin after sugaring.
Possible Side Effects
The risks associated with the sugaring hair removal process are mostly caused by user error. They include
- Burning – this could happen if the paste is too hot
- Bruising – may occur if the paste is pulled off wrongly
- Itching skin
- Ingrown hairs
- Folliculitis – occurs when the paste is left on the skin for an extended time.
- However, most of these reactions are temporary and fade off after a few days.
Sugaring is an effective hair removal process involving the use of natural sugar paste to remove unwanted hair from your body, specifically uprooting the hair. This hair removal process is viable for all parts of the body. It does not adhere to the top skin surface, this makes it a preferred option for sensitive skin and delicate body parts, as there is less skin irritation. It is most recommended to have a hair removal expert carry out the sugaring process. You may need to consult with your dermatologist to confirm you are a good candidate for a sugaring procedure. As with all hair removal process, there are some precautionary measures to ensure the procedure is successful. After the procedure, you may experience mild reactions such as skin redness, itching, and irritation. This may be temporary and can be relieved by applying a cold compress. There are various methods of removing unwanted hair from the body, if you haven’t tried the sugaring technique, you may schedule an appointment for one session.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is sugaring a better hair removal method than waxing?
Sugaring is not necessarily better, but there are some pros. Sugaring offers a gentler experience. There are no chemicals in the sugaring substance; everything is natural, which means fewer reactions. Sugaring only targets and adheres to the hair follicles, while waxing adheres to the top layer of the skin, ripping the skin of its cells.
How long does the results from sugaring last?
This procedure may leave your skin hairless for 4 to 6 weeks. This will be dependent on some factors, such as your hair growth rate. However, it is also important to note that because the sugaring process removes the hair from the root, the consistency of application destroys the hair follicles and reduces hair growth. As a result, subsequent hair is less and appears as sparse and fine hair.
Can you exfoliate your skin after sugaring?
It is recommended that you avoid all forms of exfoliation for 24 to 48 hours after sugaring. However, afterward, you may have to exfoliate your skin to prevent ingrown hair.
Can sugaring be done at home?
Yes, it can. But it is most recommended to be done by experts – trained professionals. This will greatly reduce the risks and possible complications.
- “Sugaring—Modern Revival of an Ancient Egyptian Technique for Hair Removal” – jamanetwork.com
- “I Tried Sugaring and I’ll Never Get Waxed Again“- self.com
- “What Is Sugaring? 14 Things to Know Before You Go” – healthline.com
- “Sugaring Paste Vs Sugar Wax“- liveabout.com
- “Sugaring Hair Removal 101: Pros, Cons, and Costs” – byrdie.com
- “Sensitive skin and the influence of female hormone fluctuations: results from a cross-sectional digital survey in the Dutch population” – pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov