Mackenzie Dunn
June 18, 2020 12:33 pm
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While what you choose to do with your body hair is totally and completely up to personal preference, if you’re someone who wants to be smooth and hair-free at all times, we know what it’s like to stop at nothing to banish stubble—especially in summer. As the temperature heats up and we get ready to swap out our comfy loungewear for our favorite sundresses, shorts, and of course, those trendy, high-cut bathing suits, we’re baring more skin and searching for hair removal options that last. If you haven’t tried it yet, sugaring might be your new go-to hair removal service. For bare underarms, legs, and bikini lines, this all-natural process grabs hair and pulls it straight from the root, leaving skin soft, supple, and stubble-free.

What is sugaring?

Sugaring is an ancient Egyptian technique that uses a water-soluble gel-like sugar paste to remove unwanted hair. The paste is made entirely from natural ingredients—just sugar, lemon, and water. It is applied to areas with unwanted hair in the opposite direction of hair growth, then removed in a quick motion called “flicking” that’s done in the same direction of hair growth. The paste seeps into the hair follicle and wraps around each hair shaft, allowing the flicking motion to extract the hair right from the root (that’s the little bulb at the end of the hair that looks like a seed). Unlike waxing, the sugaring paste doesn’t stick to the top layer of skin, so this method won’t tug on live skin cells in the process of extracting the hair. Plus, since it removes hair from the root, it is especially good for thick, curly, or ingrown hairs.

How does sugaring work?

We asked Courtney Claghorn, founder of SUGARED + BRONZED to take us through what a typical sugaring appointment looks like.

“Our licensed estheticians, or “sugaristas”, cleanse their hands with antibacterial soap and water before placing a pair of latex-free, extra strength, tear-resistant disposable gloves on their hands,” she says. “They’ll start by cleansing the area before applying a drying powder and will then prepare the sugar paste, with the consistency of the sugar and the size of the sugar ball dependent on the body part, hair type, and skin type.” With that in mind, Claghorn assures us that sugaring is ultra-hygienic—the paste is created and used for one service, then thrown away. This is different from waxing, in which the same pot of hot wax can be used on multiple clients.

Once the ball of sugar paste is created, it’s applied to the hair in the opposite direction of growth, and quickly removed with the signature “flicking” motion that captures and uproots hair. The estheticians continue this until the area is completely hair-free. That’s it! No plastic or fabric strips required.

Post-service, Claghorn explains that the estheticians remove any residual sugar paste with a clean, wet towel (a major benefit of sugaring is how easy the paste is to get off of skin) and then offer to apply a soothing mixture of jojoba and tea tree oil. The tea tree oil acts as an antibacterial to help prevent post-hair-removal bumps.

Does sugaring hurt?

The reality is, any process of physically removing hair from its root is going to hurt, so we’d be lying if we said sugaring is pain-free. But according to Claghorn, “The first sugaring session is often the same pain level as a typical waxing session, but if sugaring is done on a monthly basis, most clients typically find sugaring to be less painful than waxing.”

For best results, it is recommended that hair is at least 1/8” long (so about the length of a grain of rice). A good rule of thumb is to get sugared about once a month, or, if it’s your first time, try booking an appointment for two weeks since your last shave.

What does the after-care of sugaring like?

You’ll want to steer clear of exposing your freshly sugared area to the sun, hot tubs, pools, or any products with fragrance for about 48-hours post-treatment. “This is because the skin will be more susceptible to UV rays and bacteria during this time,” Claghorn tells us. You’ll also want to avoid exfoliating for two-days post-sugar session, but after that, regular exfoliation becomes a regular part of upkeep to avoid pesky ingrown hairs. Additionally, sweating could potentially clog the hair follicles, so save your heavy-duty workout for a few days after the appointment.

What are the benefits of sugaring over waxing?

“Sugaring is less likely to break hair and simultaneously prevents ingrown hairs, while most other forms of hair removal cause them,” says Claghorn. Sugaring is also more hygienic than waxing because double-dipping isn’t a possibility and there’s no risk of burning the skin. Sugaring is also less abrasive than traditional waxing and safe for those with sensitive skin.

How much does sugaring typically cost?

Pricing depends on your geographic location, the area of your body, and the amount of sugar paste needed for your session, so a typical sugaring appointment can cost anywhere between $19 and $119. It’d be best to call your salon ahead of time to get a sense of its pricing.