Is Sugaring the Best-Kept Hair Removal Secret?

Leah Faye Cooper
Sugaring

Photo: Getty Images

Hair-removal horror stories are all too common. A knick is an inevitable, albeit uncomfortable, right of passage when one first starts shaving, and for many, razor burn is a familiar sting. Waxing, depilatory creams, and laser hair removal throw a whole new set of risks into the mix, among them burns, allergic reactions, and ingrown hairs. Many of us want smooth skin so badly that we’re willing to grin and bear these annoyances, chalking them up that old “beauty takes pain,” adage. But really, does getting rid of stubble have to be so troublesome? Ask any fan of sugaring for hair removal, and they’ll tell you it doesn’t.

We recently visited aptly titled Sugaring NYC in lower Manhattan, where salon founder Daria Afanaseva broke down the method. Here’s what we learned:

The hair-removal paste really is made with sugar
“It’s 100 percent natural,” Afanaseva says of the caramel-colored paste she and her staff use to banish clients’ unwanted hair. “It’s made of sugar, lemon juice, water, and a special ingredient that’s a trade secret.”

Strips aren’t used
The manual technique involves an esthetician taking a baseball-size dollop of paste and spreading it in the opposite direction of the hair growth. The paste is then pulled in the same direction of the growth, as to remove hair without breaking it and in turn causing ingrown hairs.

It’s less painful than waxing (no, really)
“The paste is only heated for 20 seconds until it’s room temperature, so it’s not hot, and it isn’t going to burn you,” Afanaseva says. Additionally, unlike wax, sugar doesn’t adhere to your skin. This means that the only discomfort comes from the actual hair removal, as opposed to the hair removal coupled with your skin being yanked by hot wax. The difference is game-changing.

You’re encouraged to prep for it
“We always ask our clients to exfoliate beforehand,” Afanaseva says, adding that removing excess dead skin cells ensures that there’s no barrier between the sugar and the hair follicles. “If you exfoliate the process is quicker and your skin is glowing afterwards.”

Smooth, glowing skin by way of sugar? We’ll take it.

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