Waxing is really unpleasant, if you’ve ever tried it you’re no stranger to the pain. If you haven’t, good for you, way to #embracethebush. I’ve been waxing on and off for many years, mostly because my skin is sensitive and razors are a no-go on my bikini zone, not mention, just like a mani/pedi hair removal is a necessity for bikini season and I love a good trip to the beach!
The thing about wax is it’s not a gentle method, at all. Regardless of whether your esthetician is using a hard or soft wax you’re going to experience some serious pain, redness and possibly blisters and bumps for at least 24 hours. Different salons use different methods, some preferring hard over soft wax, or vice versa, but it doesn’t really seem to matter and taking advil won’t help, sorry.
What is sugaring?
I was recently prompted by a health coach in Oakland to try sugaring for the first time and was curious to try it out when she told me it was a more natural alternative. After doing some research for this article I found that there really isn’t a lot of information out there about the process, which is weird because it’s been around since 1900 BC when the Persians started using it! Regardless, I was ready to give it a try. A quick Google search only brought up a few sugaring services in my area and I chose Yung who was totally amazing! Yung let me know that not many aestheticians use the sugaring method because it takes much longer to learn and making/using the paste isn’t nearly as straightforward as normal waxing methods. In fact, in France they go through two years of schooling just to learn it! Yung also said she did a lot of trial and error on friends and family before working on clients… brave souls.
After my first session, I can see why the price point is slightly higher–the whole process is much more bearable. So what’s the difference? First, sugaring paste is kind of like a blob of wax and the same piece is used for the whole session. It’s placed on one spot and then pulled in the same direction as hair growth, helping to fully remove the hair follicles. The session took a bit longer than my usual wax would, but that’s primarily because I was asking a million questions. Based on what I learned from Yung and my research it turns out there are a lot of reasons to try sugaring vs. waxing, here are a few:
- Cleaner ingredients: Wax is usually full of toxic ingredients like preservatives, resins and chemicals that can cause rashes and bumps, especially when used on sensitive skin. Sugaring paste, on the other hand, is generally made of just a few ingredients including water, sugar and lemon juice and may contain cornstarch, honey or molasses, with the worst ingredient I could find was guar gum.
- Less ingrown hairs: Sugaring removes dead skin cells helping prevent ingrown hairs from growing in. The sugar can also be used over the same place several times to ensure removal of small stubborn hairs that cause problems later. Finally, unlike wax, sugaring isn’t as likely to break the hair and cause it to get stuck under the skin.
- No sticky residue: Unlike wax, sugaring paste doesn’t contain resins that stick to skin and therefore won’t need to be removed with a chemical solvent (gross!). You’ll leave your sugaring appointment with no wax pieces leftover and skin will become calmer more quickly because the skin is less damaged.
- No Burns/Infections: Wax is often overheated and can result in burns and scarring to the skin, especially if it’s left on too long. Some women have also reported infections occurring in the bikini zone which happens when bacteria gets into open hair follicles. To top it off, wax is also often cross contaminated with bacteria because of double dipping. Since one blob of sugar is used for the entire sugaring session no contamination is possible, making the experience cleaner and producing less waste.
- Slower re-growth: Sugaring doesn’t require the hair follicle to be as long as it needs to be for waxing. Getting ‘sugared’ every three weeks for the first few treatments will help to extract the hair at it’s earliest growth phase, which can lead to permanent hair removal.
- Less Pain: Ok, there is still some pain, but I found sugaring a lot less intense. My waxer told me this is because she’s pulling smaller sections than traditional wax would. Alternatively, the sugaring paste seeps into the hair follicle, lubricating it and making extraction less painful, grabbing the hair from the root and quickly removing, with less disturbance to the skin.
I’m only a couple of weeks post my first sugaring experience, but so far I’m impressed. I have less ingrown hairs and my skin was much softer and less aggravated after. In just a few hours it was totally back to normal. Apparently, you can even make your own sugaring paste at home… I think I’ll let the pros handle it for now! Have you tried sugaring? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!