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?
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photography by Carter Fish.