Most women (and men) are confused whenever the topic of waxing and sugaring comes up. A common misconception is that both are the same. The reason for this has to do with the technique. Unlike depilatory methods like shaving, they lift hair from the root rather than just from the surface.
Also known as epilation, waxing, and sugaring are techniques that involve removing hair on the surface and its follicle embedded in the skin. Although their effects are temporary, these two methods offer more than traditional razors regarding side effects and the hair regrowth rate.
In the United States, women typically remove their legs and underarm hair. And in some circles, not conforming to these standards avoid it.
If you are thinking of waxing or sugaring, you are in the right place. In this article, we discuss the fundamentals to help you make an informed decision. Get to know what they are and how they are carried out. Read on to get answers to all questions you may have regarding sugaring and waxing.
A Walkthrough History
Hair removal is not a thing of this century. It began more than a thousand years ago. Ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Romans, and Victorian-era elites, practiced one form or another of hair removal.
However, we see the trend of getting rid of unwanted body hair gain and lose popularity throughout history. As women’s clothing became increasingly sheer and shorter, promoted by numerous fashion magazines of the time, thus began the great underarm campaign.
Remember the 1999 movie premiere of Notting Hill when Julia Roberts sported long underarm hair. Chances are, most of us dived headfirst into the au naturel pool of the celebrity unshaven armpit, as did feminists of the 70s and 80s who were specifically opposed to shaving.
But as bikinis became mainstream in the 1980s and men began to embrace personal grooming more seriously, waxing and sugaring became a thing of the mainstream.
Over the next five years, we anticipate experiencing robust growth in the personal sugaring and waxing salons in the U.S. Polished lifestyles and societal norms continue to influence our decisions regarding visiting hair removal salons.
For the sake of the newbies, I will attempt to break down what sugaring and waxing are, how they relate to each other, and most importantly, which method you should choose.
What is Sugaring?
Whenever I think of sugaring, my thoughts rush back to the ancient Egyptians. Historians reveal that they notoriously used caramelized sugar to get rid of all their body hair. And this applied to both men and women.
Can you imagine the pain? Well, this method of hair removal has deep roots in history.
A sugaring paste is made from water and sugar. A few drops of lemon can be added as a mild astringent or aromatic agent. It is then applied to the skin at body temperature in an even layer. After it dries, it is pulled in the natural direction of the hair follicle’s growth pattern.
The most significant advantage attached to sugaring as a hair removal technique is its use of all-natural materials. Only organic materials are used in sugaring. I mean, zero additives, nil scents, and no coloring is added in the preparation.
Natural ingredients like sugar and water are commonly used.
Your skin is less prone to irritation as the preparation used for sugaring is hypoallergenic. Certain waxes contain chemical elements like resins which can be toxic to the skin in the long run.
Unlike waxes that must be melted, the sugaring paste is applied directly to the skin after mixing. The result? Less discomfort for you combined with minimal trauma to the skin—no occurrence of blisters and aftermath scars.
The biggest downside to sugaring is that it is temporary. To maintain silky smooth skin, you may have to schedule regular appointments.
Another disadvantage is that the method is ineffective if the texture of the hair is coarse or thick.
What About Waxing?
Waxing involves removing the hair from the root using a sticky substance, usually wax. It is done on various parts of the body like the eyebrows, lip area, knuckles, public region, arms, and legs.
- Soft Wax – A thin layer of wax is spread on the skin, and a paper or cloth strip is firmly placed on top. It is then ripped quickly against the hair gradient.
- Hard Wax – A thick layer is applied and left to harden as it cools. A therapist then removes it.
- Wax Strips – A DIY hair removal These strips are premade and sold over the counter. You warm the strip between your palms and apply it to the affected area, then pull.
Waxing removes not only unwanted hair but also eliminates dry skin. Since the wax attaches to both the hair and the skin when pulled, it removes any dead skin cells. You are left with a stubble-free surface as the hair is pulled from the follicle.
Most salons use FDA-approved waxes. So, there is minimal use of harmful chemicals on your skin. Waxing will rarely cause allergic reactions.
Because the hair is removed plus the follicle, regrowth is slower. It takes an average of 5 – 6 weeks before you have to revisit the hair removal clinic.
Although the materials used are FDA-approved, they contain certain resins and chemicals. People with allergies to any of these compounds are exempted from waxing.
Waxes have to be melted before application. It is then put on the skin while hot. If not done carefully by a trained professional, risk of scalding and scarring is higher.
Why Do People Try Sugaring or Get Waxed?
As fashion continues to evolve, trends keep on popping up every so often. You never know when those backless dresses or shorty shorts will be back. And suppose you’re traveling to a different state or continent, do not get caught unawares and unshaven.
Unwanted body hair is unflattering to even the most toned beach body.
Sugaring and waxing ensure you’re always prepared for any occasion.
Society has also indoctrinated women to believe that having hairless arms and keys is necessary to show off their lovely dresses boldly. And in recent years, men have caught up and chosen to do the same.
Some regions of the body, like the underarms, are prone to sweating. Excessive hair in these areas causes you to sweat more, especially if you live in hot states.
Think Florida and Hawaii – the reality is incomplete without unpleasant sweat patches on shirts or dresses. Getting rid of excess hair from the body lessens the likelihood of profuse perspiration.
Thus, waxing and sugaring are utilized as proven ways to maintain good hygiene. Moreover, you can say goodbye to the telltale stink of retained sweat on your body and clothes.
Cleanliness is next to godliness. This adage is taken more seriously in some faiths than in others regarding waxing and religion. For instance, Sunni Muslims of the Hanafi branch of Islam in Turkey use homemade waxes concocted from sugar infused with several herbs to get rid of body hair.
Studies reveal that about 30% of Saudi women use sugaring and waxing solely to get rid of facial, pubic, and underarm hair.
Some medical conditions predispose you to get waxed or try sugaring. When I was pregnant with my daughter a few years back, I remember my friends and sisters telling me that I should shave before going into the delivery room.
I didn’t think it was necessary until I watched a birthing video – then I understood why people around me were insisting on getting rid of hair down there.
And it didn’t take long before I experienced it firsthand. As soon as I checked into the hospital, I had to undergo an emergency Cesarean. I sure was glad for the bikini wax I got prior.
Since waxing and sugaring slow down the regrowth rate, it is preferred by people in the military. Removing public hair is known to reduce infestation of disease-causing organisms like fleas and crab lice.
Sugaring or Waxing: What Should You Choose?
Sugaring vs. waxing: The debate rages on. Well, Cleopatra and her handmaidens may have unknowingly started a campaign to the benefit of sugaring. Waxing also has a multitude of staunch supporters.
Although both practices aim to remove not just the hair on the surface, there are some key differences. To help you decide between the two, here are a few things you should keep in mind.
“Waxing is preferred if your skin is thick or coarse,” says Jade Haifa of Daphne Studio, located in NYC. On the other hand, sugaring causes less hair breakage and gets rid of more hair.
In my own experience, hair grows back at almost the same rate regardless of the method. Sugaring lasts about 5 weeks, and waxing is a monthly affair. But sugaring can remove even the tiniest baby hairs and is much gentler.
Type of Skin
We all are aware that the more you shave, the regrowth is often thicker and shorter. If you have susceptible skin, the hair removal clinic may suggest sugaring vs. waxing.
But if sensitivity is not an issue for you, Maria Nartov of Sugaring NYC asserts that wax can be the best option for you.
With waxing, molten wax is applied and pulled in the opposite direction of hair growth. The opposite applies in sugaring.
The wax adheres to the skin, which causes a bit of irritation and soreness after it’s removed. The sugaring paste only attaches to the hair. Pulling it out is less painful.
Level of Pain
You’re probably waiting for me to pick the painless method. Expect some degree of discomfort with both methods.
To alleviate the pain, try exfoliating the night before. Pain medication like ibuprofen can help with any discomfort.
Cost-wise, be prepared to spend a few more dollars for sugaring. The discrepancy ranges between $5 and $ 50.
Different hair removal clinics will quote varying prices for their services depending on the techniques and materials used.
Word of Caution
The beauty industry is highly unregulated. Often, there are no clear laws and regulations to govern hair removal practices. Therefore, avoid falling prey to unscrupulous people claiming to be trained professionals.
You risk developing complications. But what can you do?
Before you visit a salon for either sugaring or waxing, research to establish their credibility; usually, separate salons specialize in one technique. So it helps if you have already narrowed down your choice to either of the two.
An excellent way to pick a reputable spa is word of mouth. Ask friends and family for referrals. Read recent reviews to gauge the customer satisfaction rate. Settle for a salon that upholds professionalism and sanitation.
Who is a Suitable Candidate?
Well, everyone is a potential candidate for waxing and sugaring. However, a small group of individuals is discouraged for one reason or another.
Sugaring and waxing are not for you if:
You are Pregnant
Can I wax when pregnant? What about sugaring? Pregnancy is a pretty unstable condition. You never know what is recommended and what is not.
Generally speaking, to avoid developing any complications or harming the baby, it is often advised to refrain from things like waxing and sugaring.
When I was expecting, I scheduled an appointment with my gynecologist to check whether I could get waxed during my last trimester. After a short checkup, the doctor gave the green light. Hence the Brazilian that came in handy when I went for CS.
It’s That Time of the Month
Technically, you still can. But experts advise against shaving during your period. The reason cited has to do with the increase in sensitivity to the region around your public bone. A bikini wax could leave you in excruciating pain.
Both sugaring and waxing can aggravate the area leading to complications.
But you can choose to go ahead and get one of the procedures. In this case:
- Opt for sugaring as it is less invasive and not as painful as waxing.
- Switch pads for a tampon or cup. Do not free flow.
You Have Sensitive Skin
There are different types of skin, which means that we all have varying levels of sensitivity. Some people are blessed with skin from the gods. They can handle anything that flings their way. On the flip side, some of us have more sensitive skin. We may attribute this sensitivity to sugaring and waxing to:
- Hormonal imbalances due to birth control or hormone replacement therapy
- Using certain antibiotics
- Some skin creams like Retin-A.
- Medications like Accutane.
To determine your candidacy for either waxing or sugaring, consult a specialist. A dermatologist will conduct a test to suggest sugaring over waxing (or vice versa).
I try sugaring the next time I need to get rid of hair on my face, underarms, and bikini region. I already have years of experience with waxing, and it would be exciting to try doublethink new.
If you are like me, ensure you consider your skin and hair types before settling on either waxing or sugaring. The aim is to achieve silky smooth hairless skin despite the method you choose.