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What is Sugaring Hair Removal? 7 Things to Know Before You Go Ahead

By Laura
December 28, 2023
8 minutes
What is Sugaring Hair Removal

Did you think you were going to add sugar to your skin when you first heard about sugaring hair removal? If yes, you aren’t alone. The term can be misleading, especially when it’s not as if you are trying to prepare a cup of coffee or sweeten a lemonade. How can sugar remove your unwanted body hair? And, what type of sugar are we even talking about? Granulated sugar or honey?

There’s surely a lot to clarify with this agelong traditional hair removal procedure. But before we delve into it deeply, let’s begin by setting the records straight.

Table of Contents:

What is Sugaring Hair Removal?

Classified among the temporary hair removal techniques, sugaring removes hair by pulling it from its roots. The paste or ‘sugar’ is a blend of water, sugar, and lime thoroughly heated to form a viscous, often dark substance that solidifies upon cooling.

With this method, you will apply the paste to the hair when it’s still hot, wait for it to cool, and then pull it off when it dries. The sugar is usually applied in the opposite direction of the hair growth, but pulled off or removed in the same direction as hair growth. What happens is that the sugar paste adheres to your hair and helps to hold each strand as you uproot it from the follicle. 

Given that the removal goes deep into the skin, you can take up to a month’s break from your objectionable body hair with this approach. Also, you will notice that the ingredients are directly from nature with no manipulation. As such, it’s healthy and not likely to cause any side effects if used correctly.

Is Sugaring A Recent Hair Removal Method?

Many sources point to Egypt as the first country to invent sugaring hair removal. Years after, Greece bought into the phenomenon, and both countries helped popularize this body-grooming procedure. It’s a method that has been in existence as far back as 1900 BC, with honey being the sugar source believed to be first used.

Therefore, sugaring is not in the same class as IPL and even electrolysis which were relatively recently discovered. People have been using it to get rid of body hair for a long time. It’s now more popular because of the advocacy for eco-friendly practices even as the world grapples with the pains of climate change.

Sugaring vs. Waxing: Are The Two The Same?

Sugaring and waxing are somewhat similar, but there are some differences in their usage methods, tools involved, and results. While both involve pulling hairs from their roots, you need a waxing strip or paste to carry out waxing. The strips are not necessarily made of sugar, and during a waxing session, the hair is removed from the root in a direction opposite to hair growth after the mixture has been applied. 

But with sugaring, the paste is applied opposite to hair growth and pulled out in the direction of hair growth gently and quickly. Also, there is no need for strips with sugaring, as the only thing required is the sugar and lemon paste.

Since waxing involves pulling out the hair in one direction, the strands may cut halfway, leading to ingrown hair. Besides, waxing is strictly on the skin and may cause damage, but sugaring is different because the sugar does not touch the skin, minimizing the pain or side effects that might come from manually pulling hairs from their roots.

Is Sugaring Really Painful? If So, How Painful is It?

Nearly all hair removal methods come with some degree of discomfort, sugaring not being an exemption. Because sugaring involves uprooting hairs manually from their roots, you will feel some tingling or painful aftermaths, which can involve swelling or redness. 

What many people do to alleviate this discomfort is to take painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen 15 minutes before their treatment time. Some others use topical analgesics to reduce the pain. Whichever way, there is no denying the fact that sugaring is a slightly painful hair removal method.

Each person’s pain tolerance also comes into play in answering whether sugaring is painful. That’s because what is very painful to A may be nothing severe to B. So, if your pain tolerance is very high, you may disagree with our submission that sugaring is slightly painful.

What Body Parts Can You Use Sugaring On?

Theoretically, you can use sugaring on any body part, including your head. However, in practice, it isn’t the best approach for sensitive areas like your groin, underarms, and face because of the pain associated with it. It is better to use other more effective and less painful methods like the IPL if the objectionable hair is on your sensitive body parts.

One tested and proven IPL device that is suitable for all body parts is the Ulike Sapphire Air 3 Hair Removal Device. It removes hair by sending lights of varying wavelengths into the follicles. These lights generate heat beneath the skin, resulting in the dislodgement of the follicles and the stoppage of hair growth. Experts describe this tool as a nearly long-lasting hair removal approach.

The Ulike IPL device is FDA-cleared and, therefore, safe for use. It also has the brand’s patented ice-cooling sapphire technology that cools your skin and the device during treatment. You can read more about its features, price, and where to buy it here.

What Are The Benefits of Sugaring Hair Removal?

We can’t take away the fact that sugaring is an affordable hair removal method. You can prepare the paste by yourself at home and use the same without external help. In addition, it’s among the safest depilatory methods which are also eco-friendly.

But that’s not all; sugaring helps in exfoliating dead skin and cells, making your skin look healthy and supple. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, the exfoliation you get from sugaring is as effective as those gotten from salons and professional beauty outlets. Your skin looks healthy and you can avoid ingrown hair to a degree.

What Are the After-Effects?

Sugaring is actually very good, but everything that has a benefit is sure to have a disadvantage, even if it is small. It is possible that you experience red skin, irritation, or feel itchy after a sugaring session. These effects are only temporary. As such, resist the urge to itch if you don’t want rough skin, as it could create a tear in your skin. 

Worse still, if your skin is very sensitive, rashes and bumps are certain if you itch. So, it’s better you don’t even try it all; consider it a price you are paying for beauty.

Can Sugaring Be Done on Tattoos or Genital Piercings?

Tattoos? You can actually. It can even help it look brighter and more visible. For genital piercing areas, it is best that you remove it before the whole process. If you cannot do it yourself, you can ask your technician to help you with how to go about removing it.

Just keep in mind that there may still be a few stray hairs after the sugaring work is done. It is due to the piercing.

How About a Pregnant Person?

In this case, it is best to seek advice from a doctor first to avoid any complications. Pregnancy often comes with a lot of changes in the body, and the skin is one part that can get even worse because it is the most sensitive. If you visit your doctor and he or she agrees that it is fine, then you can book a sugaring session immediately.

Can A Person On Period Do It?

Women’s monthly cycle comes with different skin sensitivity issues like dryness, redness, and itching due to hormonal fluctuations. Your skin will definitely take all the hits, and it can get worse if you go for sugaring at that point in time. It is best you reschedule it for next time when it is over; it only takes a few days anyway.

Who Else Shouldn’t Do Sugaring Hair Removal?

Sugaring is really a safe method, but regardless, it is your body we are talking about here. It is proper that you even consult your doctor if you are on any medication or suffering a medical complication of any type at all. 

For example, people taking birth control pills, retinoids, antibiotics, and hormonal-related medications should consult their physician first before booking an appointment; if your physician says no, don’t go. If yes, then yes.

What Should I Do Before My Appointment?

To ensure that all goes well and smoothly, there are certain things you can do.

  • Ensure your hair is at least 0.25 inches long; if it is longer, you should trim it a little with scissors. If you cannot do that, the esthetician or attendant can do it on the day before the process.
  • You should exfoliate a few days before the schedule; this helps to ensure there is no stray hair left behind.
  • Don’t apply any cream that contains retinoids at least 48 hours before the session.
  • To reduce the pain you will experience, you can take a pain reliever medication prior to the session.
  • Arrive early enough.

What Happens During a Sugaring Session?

So that you don’t get confused when your technician asks you to do something, here is a brief introduction to what is going to happen:

  • You are going to partially undress actually. Then you get on a table
  • Explain what and where you wanted to do the sugaring with the technician again
  • He or she is going to clean the surface first and then apply powder to make the hair stand
  • It is then applied, and the air is removed according to sugaring methods
  • After everything, you will be rubbed with a serum to soothe the surfaces.

What Are You Advised to Do After Sugaring?

Well, the technician will tell you what to do, but for informational purposes, here are a few things to do:

  • If you had the sugaring hair removal on your genitals, avoid sex for at least 24 to 48 hours after.
  • Don’t engage in exercise for 24 hours after the session, and stay out of the hot sun during that period.
  • If there is any stray hair you notice, leave it be.

How Long Does Sugar Hair Removal Method Last?

All hair removal methods are a slow process; it takes roughly 3 weeks after your first appointment. If you keep up with appointments, you do get longer results over time. 

Otherwise, you will have to start again, and your hair might go back to how it used to be. The downside is that when you leave it for a long time, the next time you go, you may experience more pain during the process. So keeping up with appointments is important.


Sugaring is one of the best because it is one of the safest hair removal methods out there. What is more, is that it lasts longer than some other methods like shaving and plucking. With the right preparations and information, it may not be as painful as feared. Well, everyone can have a different taste, so you are free to make your choice. You can go for other methods like electrolysis, IPL, laser hair removal, or even waxing.

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