Today we are going to talk about a sticky (literally!) subject – sugaring vs. waxing. I get a bikini wax every month and more recently my aesthetician (I go to Shobha in Williamsburg but they have locations all over the city) convinced me to try sugaring instead of waxing. I’m going to talk about the benefits of both.
Sugaring vs. Waxing
As it turns out, she was right – I like sugaring so much more than waxing. So much more. But it isn’t right for everyone; whether you should sugar or wax definitely depends on your hair type + skin. Both techniques have been around for centuries and both (for lack of a more delicate way of saying it rip hair out from the root) so the results (while painful) last MUCH longer than with shaving. Today I’m going to break down the two different treatments and my experiences with both!
What is Waxing?
Waxing is when a wax (usually a hard wax) is applied to an area of skin and then pulled off in the opposite direction; removing the hair from the follicle. It’s good to check with your salon to find out what’s in the wax they’re using… some waxes are all natural, some contain essential oils or other ingredients (I like Azulene), and some contain chemicals (which I try to avoid).
Is Waxing Painful?
Yes – it’s painful! You are pulling out the hair from the root and because the strip is pulled in the opposite direction of the hair growth, it can be pretty painful.
The Pros & Cons of Waxing:
It lasts a long time, and it’s super effective no matter what your hair type… even the thickest, coarsest hair types respond well to wax. Waxing hurts, but it delivers smooth long-lasting results and it’s always effective.
What is Sugaring?
Sugaring is a completely natural treatment. The warm (not hot) paste consists of just three ingredients: lemon, sugar, and water. There are no additives or cloth strips involved which makes it more environmentally conscious vs. waxing. One thing I just learned is that sugaring can help you avoid ingrown hairs as it cleans out the live skin cells that keep your hair from growing normally.
Is Sugaring Painful?
Yes, it hurts! That being said it’s more gentle than waxing because the sugar lemon mixture is warm and not hot. Also: with waxing, the hair is pulled out from the opposite direction of your follicle’s growth pattern but with sugaring, hair is pulled in the natural direction of the follicle’s growth pattern. One other thing that makes it less painful than waxing is that the paste does not stick to your skin; it only attaches to the hair.
Still, you’re pulling hair out so I want to manage expectations: while less painful than waxing, it does hurt quite a bit, especially if you are doing a more sensitive area like the bikini line. The pain level is more in line with tweezing… if you tweezed several hairs at a time!
The Pros and Cons of Sugaring:
Sugaring is amazing for sensitive skin, it’s gentle and it’s natural. So the pros are pretty good. The only con is that if your hair is very thick or coarse, it may not be effective. Your aesthetician will be able to determine which option is better for you.
Which is Better for Your Skin?
Sugaring is better for your skin. It’s natural, and it’s gentler. If you have sensitive skin it’s definitely the best option!
Which process is more effective for hair removal?
There’s definitely a debate here and there are pros and cons to both. If you have thick or coarse hair, waxing is going to be more effective. Otherwise, sugaring can actually be more effective as the treatment causes less breakage and can pull out more hair. In my own experience they results are pretty similar – hair grows back no matter what. I found that sugaring is more effective and gets off even the little baby hairs. Waxing lasts about 4 weeks long (for me) and sugaring lasts about 5 weeks long. It’s pretty negligable and for me it’s more about the experience than the result (sugaring is so much more gentle and I love that it’s organic!)
Sugaring is a little bit more expensive than waxing (in my experience, $5-10 more).
So what’s the verdict? Sugaring or Waxing?
This definitely depends on your hair and skin types. If your body hair is more coarse, waxing is the best option. But if not, I would definitely recommend giving sugaring a try! I really appreciate that it’s totally clean and natural… and I like that it’s warm vs. hot. If you have sensitive skin, sugaring is definitely the better option… I definitely notice less redness with sugaring vs. waxing.
I will be honest – now that I’ve tried sugaring I don’t think I will go back to waxing, unless it’s an emergency and the salon doesn’t offer it. It’s gentler, the pain difference is noticeable, and again, I like that it’s all natural and I know exactly what’s in it!
What about you? Sugaring or waxing?
If you like this sugaring vs. waxing post, also, check out How to Pick the Best Yoga Retreats, What to Pack, + More! and Summer Fridays Mask Review.
photography by Carter Fish.
I’ve actually never heard of sugaring! Thanks for all the info – glad you found a method you prefer! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
Timely as I am getting a wax tomorrow and will ask my aesthetician if sugaring is available at the salon! For me anything that will help with ingrown hairs I will try ugh 🙁
Let me know how it goes! I like it so much more.
I just recently started sugaring (just had my 2nd appointment yesterday) and it’s a game changer! I love it and wish I had started doing it sooner!
Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl
That is exactly how I felt!!!!
I think I will try sugaring in the upcoming months although my hair is very thick and coarse so I’ll have to see if it actually works.
Thanks for the comparison, very useful.
xx A. | mylondonandbeyond.wordpress.com
So glad it was helpful!
I discovered sugaring about 8 years ago and have never looked back! It is so much better for my sensitive skin.
Right!? It’s a game changer!!!!! I’ve only been doing it for about 6 months and really prefer it.
It’s been around for 8 YEARS!?? Where have I been?? I heard about it maybe a year ago and have been doing it for the last 4 months. Love it so much!!
Can you share where your slides are from? Love! ❤️
Of course, here you go! https://shopstyle.it/l/5C7e
Thank you so much
Have you listened to the Call Your Girlfriend episode last Friday about body hair? A timely topic I guess!
Yes I did!!!
It made me feel a little bad about my own obsessive body hair removal (shaving every or every other day and sugaring my bikini line). But I think what’s cool is that body hair removable has gone from this mandatory thing to where everyone can do what they’re most comfortable with and I really love that!
Wow, I’ve never heard of sugaring and will be doing my research to look for a salon near me that offers it as I already know mine does not. Thank you for this!
You’re so welcome – glad it was helpful!
I had never heard of sugaring until you mentioned it in a recent Instagram story. I still don’t understand how it works though—does it dry and then you pull? Is it something you could try at home? Thanks!
I probably wouldn’t try it at home. It’s a paste and it’s applied very similar to wax!! Most salons offer both options; and it just feels like a less painful wax.
I’m a Journeyperson Esthetician and I have 11 years of experience with hair removal.
You’re right. Both methods remove the hair at the root. They are simply different techniques with different products and different levels of experience of technicians.
The reason why you had 4 weeks with waxing and 5 with sugaring are not because one is better than the other. Like you said, the hair is pulled out buy the root with both methods so how can that be? Hair growth can be determined by, your diet, your hormones, medications you are taking and the time of the year.
You could have also had an inexperienced technician who broke the hair off or chose a wax product that is not best suited for your type of skin or hair.
There are 100’s of of types of waxes and some are better than others , some for dehydrated skin, some for sensitive , some for thick so on and so on. Some of the waxes are low temperature waxes and are not nearly as hot as traditional waxes.
There are also hard waxes. Those do not adhere to the skin! They are totally different than strip waxes.
Like waxing sugaring also has variables.
Some technicians us a ball method or flicking method. Some use paper strips just like waxing. Technique and experience also comes into play.
I agree that sugar is more natural but now with the new waxes to the market they are becoming more and more natural. And the many newer waxes don’t contain beeswax which is great for Vegans. There are also new “recycling” methods. They get sent to factories and broken down and are made into new things. (This is really new to the waxing industry so I don’t know all the details)
The sugar/wax hair removal debate has been around for years and I’m glad you made it clear that sugaring was best for you. But there is zero ( trust me I have searched for years and have asked scientists to find it for me) scientific evidence that one is better than the other.
I would say it would be more important ( unless you have allergies or prefer the most natural solution) to choose a technician with valid credentials, experience and clean work environment.
Great article though.
I think I might be biased because my one and only sugaring experience was terrible (rude aesthetician, it took 25 min and I had been brazilian waxing for many years and there was NOT that much regrowth, among other things) but my now-aesthetician of 4 years uses hard wax and I will NEVER use anything else! It’s basically a combo of traditional wax in that it is wax but it has the properties of sugaring – you pull it off in the direction of the hair growth and it only pulls the hair, not your skin. I’ve never had any reaction or skin tears and I can count maybe one ingrown hair in the 4 years I’ve been using hard wax – and my skin is SUPER sensitive! I also found it less painful than sugaring and traditional waxing. Throwing it out there as another option, just ask your aesthetician if it’s available and a good option for your skin 🙂
Oh no! I’m sorry that happened! But that sounds like a great option!
Where do I get the sugaring ingredients or is it homemade ?
This is a spa treatment – I have never tried doing it at home.
Oh I never tried sugaring.. sounds interesting though!
x Lisa | lisaautumn.com
I am team laser! I had my legs, bikini and underarms done last year and it is an absolute game changer if you are a good candidate for it!
So glad it worked for you! Mine grew back so I do not recommend; but that’s fab it worked well for you.
Sugar wax is WAY better than regular wax for a few different reasons, but the main ones being that sugar wax is a lot less painful, plus you can make it at home for super cheap. I’ve been making sugar wax at home for years and I swear I probably saved thousands of dollars!