Sugaring Vs. Waxing: Which Method Should You Use On Each Body Part?

While there is nothing wrong with having body hair, many women like to be hairless because it makes them feel more confident. For this purpose, women opt for different methods to get rid of their body hair, including shaving, plucking, waxing, using depilatory or hair removal creams and lotions, and sugaring (via WebMD). Some women also like to go for more permanent treatments to get rid of their body hair, such as electrolysis and laser hair removal. The trend of hair removal is not only common among women but is also popular among men.

Statistics from the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS) show that in 2020, 6.39 million Americans opted for professional waxing services four or more times within six months (via Statista). Meanwhile, in the same year, 1.99 million Americans chose methods other than waxing to remove hair from their bodies four or more times (via Statista).

Despite the availability of a variety of hair removal techniques in the market, waxing and sugaring remain the two most popular choices among women, perhaps in part because they have been there since the beginning of time. Research has shown that the methods were common in ancient Egypt (via Byrdie). And the difference between the two?

What's the difference between sugaring and waxing?

While both methods effectively pull the hair off your body, and women around the world swear by them, they are two different techniques, and therefore should not be grouped (via Byrdie). Women prefer these two methods over hair removing creams and shaving because they give longer-lasting and smoother results.

When it comes to waxing, you apply a warm or cold mixture over your skin and then usually place a strip over it. After a few seconds or a minute, the strip is pulled off your skin. This method effectively pulls hair from the root (via Healthline). When you wax your body, you become hair-free for at least three to six weeks, depending on the texture of your hair and the growth cycle (via The Waxing Co).

Sugaring is a process that resembles waxing, but a strip is not used. Instead, you apply a mixture on your skin and then peel it off, together with the hair. "Sugaring [...] is gentler on the skin and is all-natural [as it uses] only sugar, lemon juice, water, and glycerin," Shobha Tummala, the CEO of a full-service hair removal salon in New York, told Byrdie.

Which method to use on sensitive body parts?

According to Cici Huang, the owner of an NYC-based sugaring studio [ph7] Beauty, sugaring is a "natural, hypoallergenic way to remove hair." She said that since the ingredients used in a sugaring mixture also help to exfoliate the skin, it leaves the skin softer and smoother (via Glamour). The mixture is applied against the direction of hair growth and pulled off in the direction of the growth; therefore, it prevents breakage and reduces the possibility of getting ingrown hairs, said Huang.

When you wax your body, it could potentially be harsher for your skin because it hurts more and could cause redness and irritation on your skin. Sugaring also removes shorter hair, which waxing cannot do; therefore, each method could be suitable for different body parts (via Byrdie). That said, waxing is not ideal for sensitive body parts.

"If people tend to break out or have adverse reactions to waxing, sugaring would also be a better option," Tummala told Byrdie, adding that for more sensitive parts of the body, like the bikini area and the arms, sugaring is better. "For legs, I [use] wax, as it tends to be a faster process because when you sugar, you might have to go over an area two times because it is less sticky," she said.