A guide for sugaring hair removal at home, wax’s all natural sister alternative
Waxing, shaving, laser/IPL, and even epilating are all popular and even mainstream methods of hair removal. Sugaring is a lesser known but ever growing in popularity method of hair removal. Sugaring is similar to waxing, but uses a sugaring paste or wax that is all natural and is more gentle on the skin.
In this guide:
Sugaring wax – How to make and where to buy
Sugaring predates modern day waxes because it is so simple to make. The ancient Persian recipe of heating sugar and water to make a candy like syrup was easy to make in a part of the world where sugar was abundant and hair removal was as much of an art form as routine.
At the same time, it may take an attempt or two to get the perfect consistency for at home sugaring and not end up with a sugaring paste that is too thick or runny. If you can’t get it right, don’t have the time to make it yourself, or it’s too messy of a process, but like the gentleness and ease of sugaring instead of waxing, there are a few great options of premade sugaring wax. These options are just as convenient, (if not more because it’s premade) as homemade sugaring wax. They have short ingredient lists and can easily be washed off.
Either way, let’s look at your options for how to make sugaring wax at home or which ready-to-use sugaring wax products you can buy.
Don’t want to make sugaring wax yourself and prefer a ready to use product? CocoJojo sugaring wax is our favorite option because its simple ingredients make it most like the homemade sugaring wax.
First, let’s look at the ingredient list. It has honey, sugar, lemon juice which make up the basic sugaring wax base with argan oil, tea tree extract, and azulene oil for skin conditioning. No needless additives or chemicals. If you prefer simple products or don’t want the hassle of making sugaring wax at home, this is like if your DIY skilled friend offered to make it for you.
CocoJojo also makes several types of sugaring waxes – hard sugar wax and soft sugaring wax just like you can at home. There is also a bikini wax that is a thicker harder version of regular sugaring paste.
To read verified reviews of CocoJoJo sugaring wax, click here.
Gentle Bees sugaring wax is made by a very small company in Texas, and is another great ready to use sugaring wax option. You might have noticed that CocoJoJo adds skin conditioning essential oils. But, if you’re allergic to one of the oils or you’re allergic to honey, then Bees sugaring wax is a better product for you.
Gentle Bees sugaring wax only has 3 ingredients – sugar, wax, and lemon juice. These are the same 3 ingredients you use to make the basic sugaring wax at home.
It also comes in a glass container that you can microwave and use when you need to remove hair, and it makes it easy to control the temperature of the wax.
To read verified reviews of Gentle Bees sugaring wax, click here.
Moom sugaring wax is our favorite option for sugaring hair removal while traveling. Moom is a family owned business that has been around for a long time, and has more diverse set of products than anyone else. Their kits come with everything you need – applicator popsicle sticks, wax removing strips, and easy to warm wax, and it all comes in a small travel friendly packaging.
Like CocoJojo and Bees, Moom sugaring wax also has a simple ingredient list – sugar, lemon, water make up the base and chamomile and tea tree oil offer skin conditioning properties.
To read verified reviews of Moom sugaring wax, click here.
4. DIY Sugaring Wax – Can I do sugaring at home?
We get this question a lot and the answer is yes, you can sugar at home! In fact, sugaring is the most DIY friendly method of hair removal from all of the options because you can both make sugaring wax at home with just lemon, sugar & water AND then use it to remove your hair on the same day.
Making sugaring wax can be a little tricky at first, but only involves 3 ingredients – sugar, water, lemon juice. It is tricky because you have to figure out when to stop cooking to get the right consistency. However, if you are a natural DIY-er and don’t mind throwing out the first learning batch that you make, then it’s easy to make sugaring wax at home.
There are several pros of making sugaring wax at home. First, you can control the ingredients. Maybe you have sensitive skin? Add a few drops of lavender oil to help condition your skin while you sugar off hair. Or you want to create a spa like experience at home? You can add any essential oil to the sugaring paste and you’ll be able to smell it and enjoy its aromatherapeutic benefits. Or you found that muslim strips you are using prefer the wax to be slightly more liquid. You can cook the sugaring paste a bit less in your next batch. These are just some of the many ways you can custom make your own sugaring paste.
Not to mention, because most people have sugar, water, and lemon juice in their kitchens all the time, you can make sugaring paste any time. No need to wait for a mail delivery or run to the store to restock sugaring paste. Make some more in 5 minutes and get to smooth skin at 6.
So, you want to make your own sugaring paste? Here is a guide to how to make different kinds of sugaring wax at home.
What is sugaring?
Sugaring hair removal was first used in Persian over a millennium ago, during a time where sugar was only found in Persia or modern day Middle East. Unlike wax which sticks to both hair and skin, this ancient method of hair removal sticks to the hair while conditioning the skin.
Sugaring wax is primarily a heated mixture of water, sugar, and lemon, heated until it resembles a pliable candy like consistency. This is then applied just like you would apply wax to remove hair. Aside from lemon, there are many other additives that can be found in sugaring paste, including those that had aromatherapeutic benefits. Some other common ingredients are cornstarch to thicken, honey or molasses for additional skin conditioning, guar gum for thickening, and any essential oil for aromatherapy and fragrance.
You can buy pre made sugaring wax or paste, or make it at home yourself like the ancient Persians. To make it, the process is very simple but it takes a little bit of practice to get the consistency right. There are also several great ready-to-use options with simple ingredients available on the market to purchase, if you don’t want to make your own sugaring wax.
Sugaring vs waxing
Sugaring paste feels similar to regular wax, but is actually much more gentle on the skin.
Even the most gentlest of wax grabs both skin and hair. This allows for the wax to grab all of the hair at one time with one pass. Sugaring wax only grabs the hair and this makes sugaring less painful than waxing. Because sugaring wax isn’t as grabby as regular wax, it sometimes takes more than 1 application of sugaring wax to completely remove all of the hair. However, because the pain is minimal, this is easy to do.
Sugaring wax is also made of natural ingredients, usually of water, sugar, and lemon. The lemon is added for acidity to break up the sugar molecules. The water in the paste helps moisturize and condition your skin while it is applied.
You can also sugar large areas of hair at one time. With regular wax, there is risk of the wax drying out and making it more difficult to remove so you wax a section of skin, remove wax, and then move onto the next section. With sugaring hair removal, you can apply the sugaring wax to a large area without risk of it drying or hardening. Then you can take your time removing the sugar in smaller sections.
Not as hot
Regular waxes, especially soft waxes have to be applied hot otherwise you end up with too much wax with each application. This can result in the wax strip or cotton strip grabbing onto the wax and not the hair. Even with regular hard wax, you need for it to be very warm so that it remains pliable while you apply it on your hair.
Sugaring wax has a much lower melting point temperature than many regular waxes. So you can keep the temperature of the sugaring wax much lower and still apply and reapply.
Traditional or homemade sugaring wax leaves no residue. With some pre made sugaring waxes you may notice a small amount of residue, but this can be washed off. Unlike regular wax, sugaring requires no pre treatments or post treatment oils to help with the sticky residue. If you apply too much sugar in an area or have difficulty getting it all off, you can just wash it off with water and start again.
In fact, if you use cotton muslin strips to remove the sugaring wax, you can just throw the strips in the washing machine and reuse them again during your next sugaring session. It’s a very eco friendly hair removal method!
Get all of the missed hairs
With regular wax, you find that if you miss hairs, a second pass with the wax leaves your skin red, irritated, and resembling chicken skin. This is because the regular wax grabs both the skin and the hair. With sugaring wax, you can apply and remove the wax as many times as you need with little irritation. While sugaring should take no more than two passes to remove the hair, if you need a few applications to remove hair in a curvy or joint area, then sugaring is a great gentle option.
Better for less coarse hair
If you have thick coarse hair that you have let grow out or have been shaving, we’d recommend that you wax with regular wax first before sugaring. Sugaring is great for softer hair and will not work as well on very coarse hair. Long term shaving (without waxing in the interval) can make the hair follicles thicker, and sugaring may not be able to be remove all of the hair. However, if you have been waxing, then you may have noticed that the hair regrowing is softer and less coarse. Sugaring is a great follow up to traditional wax for long term maintenance.
If you have softer, finer hair to begin with, you already make for a great candidate for this eco and at home friendly hair removal method.
How to sugar?
Hard sugaring wax
Sugaring wax hair removal is similar to traditional wax hair removal, with a minor but important difference.
First, if you make your wax at home, you’ll find that you can make both the traditional hard and soft waxes with the sugar. Even if you do not make it at home, and buy ready to use options, you’ll notice that some have a hard wax consistency while others have the soft wax viscosity.
This means, you can make the sugaring paste a bit thicker by cooking a little bit longer and use this just like you would a regular hard wax – without cotton strips. You apply the “hard” sugaring wax in the direction of hair growth, and then remove. You apply it thickly, then you lift the edges with your fingers and remove by gripping the wax and pulling in the direction opposite of hair growth. This is the same technique that you would normally use for a regular hardwax.
Soft sugaring wax
If you prefer using strips to remove the wax, then you make the soft wax version of the sugaring wax by cooking it less. This method uses cotton muslin strips or another soft disposable wax strip like a regular soft wax.
Here’s where how you sugar breaks off from how you waxing. With the soft sugar wax, you apply the sugaring wax in the OPPOSITE direction of hair growth, press a strip down on the wax, and quickly pull in the SAME direction of hair growth to remove. This is the exact opposite of how regular soft wax is applied and removed. It seems very counterintuitive but this allows for better sugaring hair removal. If you’re not convinced, you should try both to see the difference.
Also if you use cotton muslim strips to remove hair, you can throw them all into the washing machine to wash off the hair and sugar, and reuse the strips. This can be a huge benefit. With sugaring hair removal, not only can make your own wax, but you don’t have to rebuy removal strips. It’s the ultimate money saver – no professional salon visits and no having to restock home waxing materials.
To remove any residue, wash with warm water and then moisturize. The lack of residue with sugaring makes this more ideal than regular wax for at home use.
Sugaring FAQ – Common questions about sugaring
Sugaring is an increasingly popular hair removal method, but for many, it is a brand new unknown technique. Here are some common questions about sugaring we have gotten from friends and readers.
Is sugaring less painful than waxing? Does sugaring hurt less than waxing?
Sugaring is much less painful than waxing. Sugaring hurts less than waxing because in traditional waxing, you remove the hair against its natural direction but in sugaring you have to remove the hair in the same direction as it naturally grows. This makes for a less painful hair removal.
Sugaring is a great alternative to explore for hair removal if you have trouble tolerating the pain involved in traditional waxing. You apply the sugar against the direction of hair growth, and then remove the strip by pulling in the same direction as the hair grows.
Is sugaring really better than waxing? Does sugaring work as well as waxing?
Sugaring is better than waxing for sensitive skin, because it is a less painful method of hair removal, helps condition your skin, and has natural ingrediants. You can also make sugaring wax anytime because all of the ingredients (sugar, lemon, water) are already in your kitchen.
If you suffer from psoriasis, eczema, or other illnesses that cause sensitive skin, then sugaring may be a gentler wax alternative for you. You can also safely use sugaring wax if you are allergic to certain stabilizers or chemicals found in traditional waxes.
Sugaring is less painful than waxing because it attaches more to your hair than your skin and so only pulls on the hair. Not only is sugaring is a less painfulful method of hair removal than traditional waxing, but the sugar and water mixture that is makes up the base of the sugaring wax also conditions your skin when you use it to remove hair.
Is sugaring better for ingrown hairs? Does sugaring cause less ingrown hairs? Does sugaring remove ingrown hairs?
If you regularly suffer from ingrown hairs after traditional waxing then you may find that sugaring is better for ingrown hairs. Sugaring causes less ingrown hairs because after applying, you remove the sugaring wax in the same direction as hair growth to pull out the hairs (instead of in the opposite direction like in traditional waxing). This helps remove the hair from its follicle root instead of snapping it off at only skin level, resulting in ingrown hairs when that snapped hair regrows and curls inward rather than regrowing straight out from the root.
Sugaring also helps remove ingrown hairs because sugaring paste acts an exfoliator. When you apply and then remove the sugaring wax from your skin, you also remove the top layers of shedding dead skin. This also occurs when you use a traditional wax, but the sugaring wax is a more gentler process. If you’re prone to redness or rashes after traditional waxing, you may notice that you do not experience these symptoms after sugaring.
If you suffer from severe ingrown hairs, you may need to supplement with a chemical exfoliator that can encourage those ingrowns to surface and shed.
Can sugaring remove hair permanently? Does sugaring make hair thinner?
Sugaring does not remove hair permanently. Like traditional waxing, sugaring removes hair from the root but does not kill the hair at its root. So depending on how fast your hair grows, sugaring can last from 2 to 4 weeks.
You may notice that sugaring makes your hair thinner, especially if you were only shaving before sugaring. Shaving cuts the hair off at the skins surface and over time the hair can grow slightly thicker or just feel rougher as you continue to shave over time. Sugaring removes the hair at the root and the hair must regrow anew each time. This results in a thinner, finer hairs.
Can you sugar wax your public hairs?
You can sugar wax your pubic hairs and any other hairs on your body. Sugaring can remove all types of hair, no matter how thick. And because sugaring wax sticks to the hair more than the skin, it can take few passes to remove tough or thick hair than traditional wax.
Is sugaring really better than waxing?
If you have a low tolerance for pain, sensitive skin that is prone to redness and rashes after traditional waxing, or are allergic to ingredients found in traditional waxes, than sugaring is really better than waxing.
The end result is the same no matter which method you use, however. Both sugaring and waxing remove hair from the follicle root and last anywhere between 2 to 4 weeks.
Is sugaring bad for your skin?
Unless you have an allergy to sugar or lemon, sugaring is not bad for your skin. If you’re sensitive to only the lemon, it is added in very small quanitities for antimicrobial properties and some sugaring pastes do not have it. If you’re worried, please be sure to patch test in a small area on your arm or neck and wait 24 hours to see if you have a reaction because attempting to use it on your whole body.
In fact, sugaring is great for your skin. It’s natural ingredients act as a skin conditioner and the sugaring process is much gentler on your skin than traditional wax.
Is sugaring safe for face? Is sugar wax good for face? Can I sugar wax my face?
Sugaring is safe for your face, and anywhere else on your body, including your bikini area. Sugar wax is good for your face too because it’s only made with sugar, lemon, and water, all recognizable ingredients.
You can sugar wax your face easily and you’ll find that you experience much less redness and irritation if you use sugaring paste instead of regular wax.
Does sugaring lighten skin?
Some people report that sugaring lightens skin because of the lemon juice added to sugaring paste. However, the lemon juice acts more as a antibacterial ingredient and is not added in quantities that can lighten your face.
A more likely explanation for any change in your skin’s complextion is due to the exfoliation that occurs when you remove hair. Along with the hair, you’re also removing dead skin cells which can give you a glow almost like you had gotten a facial.
How do you prepare for sugaring? What should I do before Brazilian sugaring?
Here is a checklist for what you should do before sugaring, whether it is a Brazilian or you’re just sugaring your face:
- Make sure your hair is 1/4 inch long. If it’s shorter, then the sugaring wax may not adhere to your hairs enough to remove them. If they’re too long, then the sugaring process may break them at the skin surface level instead of pulling them out from the root. You can also do a little trim to bring them down to 1/4″ before you apply the sugar paste.
- Clean your skin of any lotions or creams to make sure there is no residue that will prevent the sugaring wax application. Dry your skin after cleaning. Sugaring wax will not stick to wet skin
What can you not do after Brazilian sugaring?
Sugaring is far less restrictive than traditional waxing, but you should still take care for 1-2 hours right after you remove hair with sugar wax. Here is a checklist for what you should NOT do immediately after a Brazilian or bikini sugaring:
- Avoid the sun or wear protective clothing and a hat. Protect your skin from sun damage
- Dont use any scrubs or loofahs. Your skin was exfoliated during sugaring and you dont want to overdo it.
- Avoid swimming, saunas, hot tub, flotation tanks, hot yoga and baths,
- Dont use any chemical exfoliators or skincare acids. Your skin is still too sentiive for these, and you will experience stinging and pain if you apply skincare acids too soon.
Does sugaring help with strawberry legs?
Sugaring can help reduce the strawberry affect on your legs and arms through exfoliation. Be sure to follow up with a gentle, non-comodogenic lotion, like Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Vanicream Life Lotion, or Aveno Daily Moisturizer to help reintroduce some moisture to your skin after your sugaring session to help further reduce strawberry legs.
How long does sugaring last the first time? Does sugaring hurt less the second time?
Sugaring will last anywhere between 2 and 4 weeks the first time and each time you sugar after that. The speed depends on how quickly your hair typically grows back.
If you only shaved to remove hair and then decided to switch over to sugaring instead, sugaring may hurt more than average during your first time. This is because you’re ripping out thicker hairs that are a result of shaving regularly over a period. However, after your hair is pulled from the root during your first sugaring session, the hairs will have to regrow from the root and will grow in a little finer. Any subsequent sugaring sessions will hurt a lot less.
Can sugaring hair be too long? How long does pubic hair need to be for sugaring?
Sugaring hair can be too long. Any hairs that you want to remove with sugaring, whether it is pubic hair or your mustache, should be about 1/4 inch long. If the hair is too short, the sugaring wax will not be able to grip the hairs to pull them out. If they’re too long, you run the risk of breaking the hairs at the skin surface when you remove the sugar, resulting in ingrown hairs.
If your hairs are too long, you can use a trimmer to trim them down to about 1/4″ and then use the sugaring wax to remove them.
Can you shower after sugaring?
This depends on your skin. If you have sensitive skin, you should wait several hours before showering. And when you do, try to use warm water instead of a hot shower.
If you do not have sensitive skin, you should have no issue if you shower after sugaring.
Does sugaring cause wrinkles?
Sugaring does not cause wrinkles. There is an idea that because youre pulling your skin when you sugar away hair, the process causes wrinkles. However, this is a misunderstanding. If you notice more wrinkles after waxing then we recommend using a non comedogenic lotion soon after sugaring to help replace moisture lost during the sugaring process. The wrinkles are a sign of lack of hydration. Some lotions you can use are Cerave Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Vanicream Life Lotion, or Aveno Daily Moisturizer.
Is sugaring cheaper than waxing?
Sugaring is cheaper than waxing. You can make sugaring wax at home because the ingredients are already in your kitchen – sugar, lemon, water. Even if you do not make it at home, you can use cotton strips to remove the sugaring wax and then wash the strips in the washing machine and reuse. You also do not need to use any post waxing oils to remove any stickiness from your body because you can just use a wet towel or gently rinse the area with warm water to wash off the sugar paste.
Does sugaring leave red bumps?
Unless you are allergic to sugar or lemon, sugaring will not leave red bumps or cause you to break out with acne. Sugaring is a gentler form of traditional waxing and does not grip the skin in the same way as wax. It only grabs the hairs and then removes them without pulling on the skin too much. If you notice red bumps, make sure you are cleaning and drying your skin before sugaring.