Unlike waxing, sugaring only pulls out the hairs and doesn’t disturb the surface of the skin. “Hot wax attaches to the hair and the skin, pulling skin cells with it as it is removed. This is not only painful, but can cause redness, swelling, inflammation, and even bruising,” says dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D. “If the wax is too hot, it can also burn your skin, especially in sensitive areas. Sugaring is a more gentle method of hair removal as the paste does not stick to your skin—it only attaches to the hair.” This minimizes the amount of irritation to the area and pain during the process. The sugar paste is also more malleable than hard wax, which allows it to get all the way down to the root. This makes it less likely to break off hairs at the surface.
I can speak from my first-hand experience that irritation is far less with sugaring. After my Brazilian wax, my skin immediately broke out in red patches which is not what you want when you’re getting something done for cosmetic reasons. By the time the patches cleared, my hair started growing back, leaving me with no time to enjoy a full, clean wax. On the other hand, when I got sugared, there was no redness, even immediately after. “Sugaring does not stick to live skin cells,” Gunna Covert, master esthetician at Daphne Studio and Penelope & The Beauty Bar, tells SELF. “Only to the hair and dead skin cells which means less irritation and discomfort.” For my sensitive skin, a gentler approach like this is necessary.
As far as the pain level, sugaring is more like tweezing on the ouch scale—not pain-free but not waddle-to-the-subway painful.
Then there’s the issues of ingrown hairs. Even though I’ve never really had a problem with ingrown hairs, this technique does often benefit those who do. “This method of hair removal is especially beneficial for those who suffer from frequent ingrown hairs,” explains Dr. Sobel. “There is no way to 100 percent prevent ingrown hairs, as they are a natural side effect of hair removal, but sugaring removes dead skin cells and residue that clogs hair follicles. By sugaring, you are basically cleaning out any dirt or skin cells that prevent your hair from growing normally, which helps keep away ingrown hairs.”
Covert explains another benefit of sugaring: “When you remove the root, the follicle will have less blood supply to it overtime which will in turn weaken it. You’ll get less hair growth each time and the hair that does grow will be finer and sparser.” Something I definitely noticed after my most recent appointment because my hairs came in light and feathery instead of coarse and full.