Waxing versus Sugaring
To wax or to sugar? Let’s start out by describing the differences between waxing and sugaring. Waxing and sugaring are often grouped together because both techniques lift hair from the root and have a longer effect on the skin than shaving. But truth be told, they’re two very different techniques.
Waxing uses a resin-based product to remove hair by the root and comes in either a soft or a hard form. Soft always requires a strip. It may already come attached to a strip or be applied with an applicator and then the strip is placed on top. Hard wax is always applied warm and is removed with the hands or fingers, no strip required.
With waxing, you generally need 1/4-of-an-inch of hair for the product to grab onto and successfully be removed. It depends on the kind of wax being used, the type of hair and how skilled the technician is—but sometimes hair a bit shorter than ¼-of-an-inch can be removed.
Real sugaring products are made of natural ingredients like sugar, water, and lemon juice (and sometimes honey, salt, and essential oils.), and can be a more natural product than many waxes. There are two types (paste and gel), and while they consist of the same key ingredients, they require two different hair lengths.
This is warmed up to the same consistency as soft wax. It’s also applied in the direction of the hair growth, and removed against it, just like soft wax (this technique helps reduce the chance of ingrown hairs). It requires strips to zip off the product. So you still need about ¼-of-an-inch of hair length for the sugar to grab onto.
This is the traditional technique that is much thicker and isn’t very warm (about room temperature). It requires more skill to use than gel and because it’s applied against the direction of the hair growth and then removed in the direction that it grows with the hands. Using this method can remove hair as short as 1/6-of-an-inch.
Which Can Remove Shorter Hair, Sugaring or Waxing?
Sugaring paste can typically remove shorter hair than waxing can. Many people say sugaring is less painful and tends to cause less redness and irritation than waxing. The biggest advantage waxing has over all other types of temporary hair removal is that the hair takes considerably longer to grow back. Although the rate of regrowth can vary between each individual, results usually last up to 6 weeks.
How quickly hair regrows might depend on several factors: the average hair growth cycle, your personal hair growth cycle, breakage, and how frequently you get a wax. Additionally, different areas of the face and body spend different times in their phases of growth, rest, and transition. If you get waxed every two to four weeks, then all hair will likely have had the chance to be removed from the root. You’ll probably then notice that your skin is staying hair free longer, and you’ll be able to go longer between appointments.
Someone who gets waxed (or uses any method that removes hair from the root) regularly will often cause the follicle to become damaged over time. Hair can stop growing once follicles are damaged.
But not only does wax remove the hair at the root, but it also exfoliates the skin, providing ultra-smooth, silky results.
The most important thing to note with both waxing and sugaring is you generally need at least ¼-of-an-inch regrowth in order for the wax to grab the hair, however, a skilled technician sugaring with paste may be able to remove hair as short at ⅙-of-an-inch of regrowth. But with either option you will inevitably have a few days every four to six weeks with hair ⅙ to ¼ of an inch.
Consider Your Skin Type When Deciding on Sugaring vs. Waxing
Sugaring is less effective in removing thicker hair and can often require multiple treatments of the same area to remove all of the hair. If the part of your body you are looking to is particularly heat-sensitive, stick with sugaring, which is done at room temperature. Wax has to be warm to work.
The Stages of Hair Growth
There are three stages of hair: growing, resting, and transitional. At any given time, approximately 90 percent of hair follicles are in the growth phase. The rest are either in the transitional phase (1 to 2 percent) or in the resting phase (8 to 9 percent). This means that until you get consistent with your wax treatments, whenever you get waxed, there’s probably some hair underneath the skin growing that hasn’t reached the surface yet. It can even be above the skin and not long enough to be grasped. In this scenario, neither waxing nor sugaring is going to be able to grasp these hairs and remove them. In the next few days or weeks to come, these hairs will become noticeable, although how noticeable depending on their thickness and color. Even if the hairs are the same length, dark and thick hair will start to show much sooner than light and fine hair.
We recommend hair be at least ¼-of-an-inch long (about the size of a grain of rice) so it’s a good idea to stop shaving at least five days prior to your waxing appointment. Hair does go through different growth stages, which is why you want to stay on a consistent waxing regimen of three to four weeks—depending on the area.
We recommend waxing the bikini area less than four weeks to achieve consistent growth patterns. Smaller areas like the lip, chin, and underarms may benefit from a four-week cycle. You also want to make sure you are using the right products on your skin.
How to Make Wax Last Longer
There are ways to slow hair growth and maintain hair at-home while you’re between salon visits. We offer products that help to slow the regrowth of hair between waxes. One ingredient we use in particular is Narcissus Tazetta Bulb Extract, which aids in attacking the regrowth of hair at the root. Keep in mind that this extract may cause allergic reactions, so it’s important to do a patch test or consult an expert if you’re concerned about potential irritation.
It’s important to try your hardest not to shave in-between appointments. Another great reason to wax over shaving is when you wax regularly, time between treatments will increase. Waxing encourages the hair follicles to become weaker, making it easier to remove hair.
Ultimately, you’re at the mercy of your body when deciding to schedule your next wax. You’ll only really be able to guess how frequently you should schedule your appointments after you’ve had a few of them already.
DIY vs. Professional Waxing
Waxing at home can be tempting, but we and other experts recommend leaving it to the professionals. Waxing at home (when not performed by an expert and with a high-quality wax), can be unnecessarily painful, messy, allows for missed hairs, present a much higher risk for in-grown hairs (and broken hairs), and you can even risk damaging your skin. In-grown hairs can be painful, unsightly, and may even leave permanent marks or scarring on the skin.
We absolutely do not recommend doing a bikini or Brazilian wax at home as these areas can be very sensitive and it’s best to have a professional working on those delicate areas. Brows are also difficult as it’s hard to see what you’re doing. A waxing professional is licensed and trained on the safety and technique of waxing to give you the best results (with the least amount of discomfort).
Waxing at home could also lead to ripped skin if you don’t have the correct technique and waxing yourself can take twice as long and require significantly more wax. Our recommendation: leave the waxing to the pros!
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