Which hurts more, Sugaring or Waxing?

For nearly two decades, sugaring has been growing. In every sugaring manual, we will find the clichéd comparison image of “Sugaring vs. Waxing”. Every new sugarist will post this image on their website and social media pages. This image basically throws waxing under a bus, degrading the method while glorifying sugaring. The biggest claim is that sugaring hurts LESS than waxing. Well, does sugaring hurt less than waxing?

Not all the time! Look, it comes down to PRODUCT + TECHNIQUE. You absolutely cannot have one without the other. There are exceptional waxers out here using a phenomenal waxing product making six figures. They are doing something right. We, as sugarists, do not need to devalue our Esthetician sisters with these claims about waxing. Furthermore, it makes it seem like sugaring is fail proof, when in fact it is NOT. Again, PRODUCT + TECHNIQUE. If we put a terrible product in the hands of the experienced, the outcome will be a subpar service. Interchangeably, if you put an exceptional product in the hands of the inexperienced, you’ll again have a less than stellar service.

Discomfort and pain are subjective. The level of either depends on each individual’s threshold for pain. Neither method, waxing or sugaring, is left unnoticed. We are pulling hair by the root aren’t we?

Here is the scoop and WHY this particular “less painful” praise is given regarding sugaring. Sugaring paste, should not adhere to live skin layers. It adheres to hair and dead skin. However, the softer the sugar paste, the stickier it is. The stickier the paste, the more it adheres to the skin. Some genital skin is quite thin and will surely lift if we apply a sticky consistency paste to it. When we are newbie sugarists, we are inclined to get stuck more often than not. This not only hurts the client but may also cause skin lifting.

Reasons why Sugaring will hurt more than wax:

  • The sugarist is not experienced.
  • The wrong consistency of paste is being used. Often times the sugar is too firm or too cold. (read more about consistency here)
  • Too much pressure is being used. This can cause the hair to drag and pull. This right here is the biggest complaint.
  • The skin is not being held taught enough.
  • The sugarist is wiping the paste rather than lifting and molding the sugaring paste. This incorrect technique causes longer or dense hair to drag and pull. Ouch!!
  • The sugarist didn’t flick parallel to the skin and rather popped up. This will cause bruising and skin lifting.
  • The sugarist is removing too much hair at one time. Speed doesn’t equate to efficiency. I make this opinion when I think of Brazilians. When sugarists remove hair from the legs, we need to work with larger areas of course.

At the end of the day, both methods of removing hair are superior to shaving. Both methods remove hair for an extended amount of time. When I read somewhere “…sugaring hurt me WAY more than wax ever did!…”, I often have a knee jerk reaction to want to respond. I have questions. What was the pain like? If it was on the application, then yes, incorrect techniques may have been used. Was it in fact the hand + ball method or were they using spatulas and strips? If it was the latter, that is NOT sugaring, that is waxing with a sugaring product. Manufacturers are now producing strip sugaring for fuller body parts such as legs and backs for productivity reasons. Using sticks and strips is really waxing with a sugaring product. You receive the benefit of an all natural substance, but you may have more hair breakage. Strip sugar really shouldn’t be used on the Brazilian.

If the sugaring process hurt more when the hair was removed, then I beg to ask “Did your waxer really get most of your hair by the root?”. If the hair is breaking instead of being removed by the root, the discomfort is minimal at best. If a sugarist removes more hair by the root than the waxer, yep, it probably did hurt more. However, you’ll be smoother longer. True and correct sugaring really does not adhere to the skin. Applying and removing a piece of gorilla duct tape would hurt exceedingly more.

There is enough business to go around for all hair removal experts. If we go to a restaurant and are displeased with the meal, we don’t write off ALL restaurants. We just go to a new one. We read reviews. We ask our friends and family for recommendations. If we go on a vacation, we read up on the resort and look at their pictures. If you have a less than pleasant experience with a waxing or sugaring professional, don’t give up on the service altogether, simply try to find the professional that is right for YOU! Sugaring has loads of benefits when performed correctly.