Saturday 16 November 2019

Sugaring vs Waxing

(aff links) Something a little bit different today because I spent a large portion of the Summer just gone thinking about body hair and how best to rid myself of it. I've therefore been asking myself a few very (un)important questions over the past few months:
What's the difference between waxing and sugaring?
Does waxing hurt more than sugaring?
Should I really attempt to wax or sugar myself at home?
How can I remove the hair on my legs without it growing back within 10 minutes?
Can I give myself a Brazilian wax and if so how do I avoid 3rd degree burns on my bits?
So. Many. Questions.

Sugaring vs Waxing - a wooden spatula with sugar wax dripping from it

Summer may be long gone but while it was still here, I tried a few different hair removal methods - hot wax, wax strips, sugar wax and an epilator have all featured - and throughout this vanity-driven journey I've felt inspired to share my findings and try to answer that age-old question that plagues so many of us (it doesn't): Which is better? Waxing or Sugaring?
So let's break it down, first of all we need to discuss how these two methods of hair removal differ.

Sugaring vs Waxing - What's the Difference?

The main difference between the two methods of hair removal is obviously the general formula; one uses a wax of some description while the other involves some variation of sugar. With waxing, you can choose between soft wax or hard wax. Generally speaking, hard wax is used on smaller areas with coarser hair (think bikini area and armpits) and soft wax is used on large areas such as the legs. Hard wax is stripless (it's allowed to cool slightly before being quickly 'zipped' off) while soft wax is spread onto the skin with a spatula and then removed with a cotton or paper strip. You can also buy pre-waxed strips, that I have used for years on my facial hair and the large strips can be a good option for getting your legs hair-free.

Body Sugar or Sugar Wax also comes in a few different variations - there's the soft sugar, which you apply with a spatula and take off with a strip (you can find a few different brands in Boots) or a 'hard' sugar, which I haven't seen in any stores but is fairly easy to make yourself. Hard sugar formulas are actually quite fun to use (yep, I've made my own and it actually worked) as it involves 'kneading' your little lump of hard sugar until it becomes opaque and flexible, spreading it onto your hairy skin and then quickly zipping it off. There are plenty of recipes online and step by step videos on YouTube showing you how to make this but they generally involve a bag of sugar, water, lemon juice, a little salt and a bit of patience while you heat it over the stove.

Does Waxing hurt more than Sugaring?

In my experience, yes, yes it does. The reason for this is that wax formulas not only adhere to the hair you want gone, but to the skin as well...which you probably don't want gone. This means that when you remove the wax, you remove some skin cells with it, which, granted is good for a wax-and-exfoliation-in-one effect but not so good if the wax didn't grab all the hairs and you want to go over the area again. I have made the mistake in the past (which I actually haven't learned from as I still do it occasionally) of over-waxing my upper lip and essentially giving myself a graze. Not only is this not a great look, but it stings! If I behave like a normal person and don't overdo the waxing on my upper lip, it's totally fine though and I'm moustache-free for a few weeks. I have also had a few DIY bikin wax attempts that have ended with me CUTTING WAX out of my pubic hair with nail scissors because it's all gone terribly wrong and hardened too much before I've braved the big rip.

I have found sugaring to be much less painful - yes it still feels like you're tearing your hair out at the roots, but it's much more bearable. This is because sugar does not stick to your skin, it just wraps itself around the hairs, therefore you're not irritating your skin in the process. Sugar wax is also water soluble, so if you do happen to get some stuck in your hair, or you chicken out and want to get it off your skin without taking any hair off, you can just remove it very easily with water.

Some Waxing and Sugaring Products I Recommend

As mentioned, I have tried a lot of different hair removal products over the Summer just gone, so I thought I'd share a few that worked well for me.

Hair Removal Wax:

Smooth Appeal Original Facial Hair Remover Wax - This is a little saucepan of wax that you heat carefully on the hob before applying to the hair and removing quickly, without a strip. This is one of the more gentle formulas I've found.
*A note on post-facial wax care; I often would break out in tiny white heads on my upper lip a few days after waxing and it totally took away all the enjoyment of having a nice, smooth face. I found a way to stop this happening, which is quite simple really - I now gently cleanse the area after waxing (obviously cleanse before waxing too) with a tea-tree wash (we have a big bottle of Australian Bodycare Skinwash) and the next day apply a gentle acid exfoliant - I was using Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner but I've now run out so will try something else next time. If you have sensitive skin, this might not be a great idea, but it worked for me in keeping the post-wax spots at bay.

Jolen Facial Wax Strips - Pre-coated wax strips that look a lot like sticky tape. Hands down, the best, least irritating wax strips for face that I've tried. They're quite reasonably priced too, which is always a bonus.

Veet EasyGrip Ready-to-Use Wax Strips - Large, pre-coated strips that I found to be good for bigger areas, like legs. These are by no means painless but they are really easy to use. Just warm the strip a bit in your hands before pulling it apart so the wax is nice and sticky, ready to adhere to the hairs. Or, do what I do and sit on the strips to keep them warm and ready as you wax. If that's not an excellent hack, I don't know what is.


Nad's Natural Hair Removal Wax  - This is a sugaring kit that inlcudes a tub of 100% natural Sugar Wax, wooden applicators , fabric strips and a little bar of pre-wax soap. The soap is a really important step as it removes any oils (both natural and from body lotions etc) from the surface of the skin and hair, giving the sugar the best grip. I found this to be an excellent product and was really pleasantly surprised when I first tried it.

I haven't tried any other commercial sugar wax formulas as yet but as mentioned, I did make a little pot of my own that I used a few times and found to be really effective. There are a lot of tutorials out there but I followed this one on YouTube.

Overall, I definitely prefer sugaring as a hair removal method - it's less painful, it's easier to clean up and it's much less irritating. That said, I have had some great experiences with professional waxes (you can read my reviews of Brazilian and Bikini waxes at Ministry of Waxing here and here) and am yet to try professional sugaring - that'll be one for next Summer I think!

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