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Public Service Announcement for my hairy mammas: Get sugared, not waxed

by Kate Beard |

Once you sugar, you won’t ever wax again

My first time

I remember the first time I had a wax done.  Being a very lucky blonde I have very fine hair and shaving is an easy option for my legs. But I wanted to wax my bikini area for an upcoming beach vacation hoping to avoid ingrown hairs and regrowth during my vacation.

So, I booked an appointment with a dear aesthetician friend of mine who is known around Milan for her waxing prowess. I have a high pain threshold and as I said before, I am blessed with fine hair so I arrogantly undressed ready for my waxing.

Holy mother of all that is holy - what fresh hell was that? I was literally sweating after the second strip was removed. My friend kept having to stop so that I could compose myself, tears streaming down my face, sweating bullets all while giving her the high five to continue. At that point vanity won out over sanity considering that she had only done half of my bikini line. 

So, eventually my friend finished torturing me and gave me the ‘calming’ post wax lotion to apply. There was sweet relief for about 30 seconds. And then my entire bikini area was on fire! The irritation and tenderness lasted over a week.

But I’m not even done yet! 

Innocently, I had booked my appointment on my lunch break, so I still had to act professional all afternoon and then walk home!

My underwear kept sticking where there were trace amounts of wax left behind and as the day progressed I walked, or rather waddled like a duck to manage the pain and to try to keep my underwear from strangling me.

Each time I had to use the bathroom, I would literally pray that my underwear didn’t stick to my increasingly angry skin, and yet, my prayers went unanswered. Agony. 

The. Worst.

Pregnancy - it just hurts more!

When I became pregnant, upon realizing just how many doctor’s visits were involved and just how many people were going to be checking me out down there, like many expecting moms I wanted to keep my bikini area neat and tidy. Regular hair removal is paramount to save some shred of dignity during those doctor’s visits.

That’s when I discovered sugaring. While skeptical, I knew I had to give it a try, even though I was terrified due to the fact that skin sensitivity is increased during pregnancy.

Game changer ladies. While you can’t call it painless, on a scale of 1-10, waxing had been around 754 while sugaring was right around 4. 
It is infinitely more delicate even on the most sensitive skin. I loved the fact that it was completely natural, and alleluia! No underwear sticking to me afterwards - whatever trace amount of sugar that remains is easily removed with a bit of water! BINGO!

What is sugaring?

Sugaring a form of hair removal that began hundreds of years ago in Arabic countries. It gained popularity as a way to improve hygiene before soap and deodorant were readily available.

Women made a paste, it looks like caramel, out of easily available ingredients, water, sugar and lemon. This paste would then be used to remove the hair on their underarms and bikini area to stay clean and fresh for longer.

At first glance it looks to be the same thing as traditional waxing, however there are some subtle differences that make it a different experience altogether.

Different than traditional waxing

When your aesthetician applies wax, she will apply it in the direction of the hair growth and rip off the strip in the opposite direction. With sugaring however, the sugar paste is applied in the opposite manner - the sugar is applied against the growth and that allows the paste to get as close to the root as possible making the actual removal of the root more probable.

In traditional waxing a spatula or a roller is used to apply the wax and a cloth strip is used to remove the wax. While many sugaring practitioners use this same method, the traditional sugar paste application and removal is done with the aesthetician’s hand, and a small golf size ball of paste can be used for the entire body making it much more gentle on delicate skin.

Make sure you ask before booking an appointment how the sugar paste is applied if you are uncomfortable having someone’s hands on you in delicate areas.

I recommend sugaring as opposed to waxing to everyone - in my experience both as the practitioner and as the victim, the results are much longer lasting and the hair removal less traumatic to the skin.

The case for sugaring

Sugar paste is much less painful, trust me, you will not be sorry

Traditional wax sticks, without mercy, to whatever it touches. If you have ever had the unfortunate experience of a drop of wax landing where it shouldn’t (on clothes, bikini area that should remain intact or worse on sensitive skin) you know that removal is not for the faint of heart.

Sugar paste on the other hand, is easily removed. After having your sugaring done on your lunch break, no need to spend the rest of the day with your clothes sticking to your skin, or feeling like your underwear is going to literally choke you!

Just a bit of warm water passed over the area and you are free!

In terms of hair removal, sugaring is much more gentle on your skin because it attaches only to the hair and to dead skin cells. It cannot attach itself to anything moist, which means that live skin cells remain intact, not the case with traditional waxing.

Sugaring is the perfect solution for hair removal if your skin is sensitive or even in cases of eczema and psoriasis. In fact, it may actually help with these skin disorders by removing the dry, damaged skin allowing the skin underneath to heal more effectively.

Sugar paste can be applied multiple times to the same area. That stubborn bikini area will be conquered!

Because wax attaches itself to live skin cells, each area can only be waxed a maximum of 2 times. Our hair grows in the same direction on our legs and arms for the most part. However, in particularly sensitive areas like your underarms and bikini area, the hair growth is completely random.

Should you apply and remove wax without respecting the direction of the hair growth, you simply break off the hair at the skin surface, or your aesthetician will have to remove with tweezers at the end of the appointment.

Sugaring has a huge advantage. Because it only attaches to your dead skin cells, it can be applied multiple times to the same area without damaging the skin.

This translates into a more effective hair removal because your aesthetician can repeat the application in the correct direction and remove the hair root and all!

It’s antibacterial and reduces inflammation and folliculitis

Sugar paste is made from 3 ingredients - water, sugar and lemon. No preservatives, no additives, dyes or perfumes. 

Sugar is antibacterial making it an option for those that suffer from folliculitis. Folliculitis is a common skin condition in which the hair follicles become inflamed. It is generally caused by a bacterial or fungal infection. 

This can happen when you wax as the hair follicle, which had been closed and ‘protected’ is suddenly open and at risk. By using a sugar paste which is antibacterial, the risk of inflammation is reduced significantly.

When I was sugaring clients at my spa in Milan, there was one client who I will always remember. She was in her 20’s and gorgeous. But her body hair was thick and black. Unfortunately she suffered from terrible folliculitis leaving her with horrible red, infections that scarred. This beautiful girl was left with legs full of these scars and infections.

Out of desperation she decided to try sugaring. It was a god send, not only did she not suffer folliculitis any longer, but her hair regrowth was finer and eventually stopped growing back. She had suffered so much because of her thick body hair and in the span of 2-3 years she had practically hair free skin and most of the scarring and healed.

Hair regrowth is thin and fine, and eventually hair removal is permanent

Sugaring is concentrated on removing the hair from the root. When we are born, each hair follicle only has a limited number of hairs that can regrow. 

This is why after plucking your eyebrows for years, they eventually stop growing back. It is the same concept for permanent laser hair removal. The more frequently you remove the root, the faster the follicle will exhaust its hair supply.

In my experience as a sugaring practitioner, the first couple of times a client would sugar she would see slightly faster hair regrowth. This is because as the hair is removed from the root, the follicle is stimulated to grow another hair.

But the new hair was decidedly finer and softer. Over the course of several months, their appointments were always less frequent. Over time, they would make an appointment at the beginning of bathing suit season just to remove the few hairs still growing.

Just think how amazing it would be to not have to think about waxing before your kids get invited to that pool party!

And how much money you’ll be saving - I’m not sure about you, but I would much rather spend my money getting a massage rather than having my skin ripped off!

Tips for best hair removal results

Whether you decide to wax or sugar, the preparation is the same.

You want to make sure that you are consistently hydrating your skin between hair removal treatments. By keeping your skin hydrated and healthy, it will be easier for your aesthetician to perform the hair removal. Tight healthy skin is much easier to work with than thin, fragile skin… you’re going to have to trust me on this one! You have no idea the horror stories of skin tearing and bruising!

That being said, do not use any creams or lotions in the 24 hours before your appointment. It will prevent both sugar and wax from sticking properly and the hair removal will not be as effective - and I promise your aesthetician will have to work 10 times harder for a less than ideal result.

You definitely want to exfoliate 48 hours before your appointment. By removing the layer of dead skin cells you not only ensure that the wax or sugar paste get as close to the hair follicle as possible, increasing likelihood that the root will be removed, but you also reduce the risk of suffering from ingrown hairs.

I highly recommend using my All Natural Skin Polishes daily between waxing and sugaring. They are delicate enough to be used every day, and the coconut oil will leave your skin glowing.

Daily polishing will also ensure that the hair regrowth is finer and softer and the increased circulation to your skin surface will allow for much more effective hair removal.

Today’s Take-Away

  • Sugaring is much gentler on sensitive skin making it perfect during pregnancy
  • Sugar paste is made from sugar, water and lemon juice. It is 100% natural.
  • It sticks only to the hair and dead skin cells, it will not attach itself to live skin cells. This means that it can be applied multiple times to the same area without damaging your skin.
  • Sugar paste is naturally antibacterial making it a realistic solution for anyone suffering from folliculitis, eczema or psoriasis.
  • Because sugaring pulls the hair out from the root, you can expect much finer hair regrowth that with time, will become permanent
  • Tips to maximise hair removal
    • Keep skin hydrated every day
    • Do not use any creams, lotions or other moisturizers for 24 hours before your appointment
    • Exfoliate 48 hours before your appointment to allow for the best application of the wax or sugar paste

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Until next time!!

xo Kate