I’m always eager to try out natural solutions for my beauty routine, such as hair removal. I’ll admit to going fuzzy during the winter just to avoid ripping wax strips off my legs and armpits, or the time chore of shaving. My friend swore by sugaring and told me I had to try it. I had already gone into leg hibernation mode, so I figured I didn’t have anything to lose if it went wrong. All it took was once and I was in love.
What Makes Sugaring Different
I thought sugaring worked the same way as waxing, so I couldn’t figure out why my friend said it hurt less. The big difference is that the sugar mixture adheres only to the hair and not your skin. It’s the difference between gently plucking a hair and ripping ultra-strong duct tape off your legs. I’ll take the former, thank you very much. Of course, having a simple waxing mixture you can make at home makes a major difference. Sugar, hot water, and lemon are cheaper than a trip to the salon or an at-home kit. It also doesn’t hurt that this method has been used since the days of Cleopatra. I’d say it’s a technique that’s stood the test of time.
Preparing for Sugaring
As I said, I’d already started growing my winter coat, so my hair was plenty long. Usually, hair needs to be at least a quarter of an inch long (about a week to a week and a half of growth) for best results. I start with a warm bath to help with skin hydration and loosen any debris in my pores, making it easier for the hairs to pull out. If you are dehydrated, the hair is more likely to break. I use an exfoliating scrub on all the areas where I plan to remove hair. Just remember to go easy on sensitive areas and don’t apply any lotion afterward. The next step is to make your sugaring mixture. I actually make this first and let it cool while I’m bathing. I mix the following in a heavy sauce pan: – 2 cups white sugar – 1/4 cup water – 1/4 cup lemon juice I start with a medium to medium-high heat. Mix it often or it’ll burn to the bottom of the pan. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low or low-medium (I prefer low myself) and let simmer for at least 25 minutes. The mixture should turn dark amber when it’s ready. Remove it from the heat and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. Place it in an air-tight container immediately to store it.
Using Sugaring Gel
The gel technique is most similar to waxing, and you’ll need cloth epilating strips, baby powder or cornstarch, and wooden applicators. I microwave my sugaring mixture around 50 seconds to get a pliable consistency that’s easy to apply. I apply an extremely light layer of cornstarch to the area I’m removing hair from to make the sugar mixture stick better. Using a wooden applicator, apply enough of the mixture to cover the area in the same direction as the hair’s growth. Place your epilating strip over the mixture. Hold your skin as taut as possible and remove the strip opposite the direction of your hair’s growth.
Using Sugaring Paste
The paste mixture is great for shorter hair (as short as 1/16 of an inch long). All you’ll need is some cornstarch for this method. Apply a light layer just like you do with the gel method. Microwave the mixture about 10 seconds just to make it easier to apply. Scoop out half a handful and roll into gently into a ball, using your hands to warm it. Apply it to the hair you want to remove in the opposite direction of the hair growth. Press hard to make sure it sticks to the hair. Hold your skin taut and use your fingers to quickly rip the paste off the hair in the same direction as the hair growth. This method left me with fewer bumps and ingrown hairs, but it’s harder to master.
I rinse my skin with warm water and soap made for sensitive skin. Don’t exfoliate for at least two days to avoid irritating your skin. I always apply an aloe-based lotion to soothe my skin. The results typically last one to two weeks longer than waxing. I’m more of a DIY woman, but you can get sugaring kits or have it done at many salons. If you’re like me and you hate the pain of waxing or the annoyance of shaving, try sugaring. It’s easy and chemical free.