Summer is here, and with it, the rush to get your body beach-ready. No doubt one of the peskiest things about summertime beauty prep is the hair removal process. This season, try a healthier alternative to waxing – sugaring.
Basically, sugaring uses a thick, honey-like paste of sugar, lemon and water to rid your body of unwanted hair. Find a local salon or spa that offers the treatment or, if you’re feeling brave, you can do it yourself. Read on to learn how.
What is sugaring?
As the story goes, sugaring dates back to the ancient Egyptians and Alexander the Great, at a time when a hairless body was a symbol of beauty, youth and innocence in women. This hair removal method was passed on through the generations, and today, there are two forms of sugaring.
In the first method, a sugar solution is applied onto the skin, followed by a piece of muslin that is then pulled off to remove hair – just like waxing. Another technique has the same application process, but the hair is removed by flicking the sugar paste off in the direction of hair growth. Both sugaring methods are effective, but the latter is considered to be more authentic.
Sugaring can be done on all parts of your body, except for the eyebrows, and eventually slows down your hair growth. Plus, the solution is water-based and completely soluble, so clean-up is a cinch.
Sugaring vs. waxing
Most body waxing products contain artificial fragrances, dyes and preservatives. Sugaring is 100 percent natural, and it’s easier on your skin than traditional waxing because it sticks only to the hair. Pregnant women or women with skin sensitivity issues (as long as they’re not allergic to the ingredients!) especially benefit from sugaring.
Wax hardens on hair and has the tendency to break it off only at the surface, which means you’re leaving quite a bit behind! And sugaring isn’t as painful as waxing because it pulls hair in its natural direction of growth. This also means less redness, irritation and inflammation.
Sugaring is definitely a healthier alternative to waxing, but even it is not completely without fault. For example, it could result in bruising if your skin isn’t held tightly when pulling off the muslin strips. And just like waxing, sugaring can result in ingrown hairs.
DIY sugaring recipe
Sugaring is good to easy at home because it requires only three ingredients and little preparation. Be advised, though, that the hair removal process requires some know-how.
It’s a good idea to get advice from a trained esthetician before you try sugaring at home. Here’s a good DIY recipe to follow:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- Pour ingredients into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often with a wooden spoon.
- After boiling, turn heat to low and simmer for 25 to 28 minutes. Continue stirring.
- The color will eventually change to a dark amber shade, and the paste will thicken to a honey-like consistency. If you have a candy thermometer, the mixture is ready when it’s a steady 250 degrees.
- Remove from heat and pour into a glass container. Be careful – it’s hot!
- Allow mixture to cool to room temperature, about 1.5 hours. The sugaring paste should be thick enough to roll into a small ball in your palm.
- Spread the mixture onto hair you want to remove, in the direction of hair growth. If it’s the right consistency, you should be able to peel up a corner of the paste and remove in a single piece. If that doesn’t work, you can use a strip of clean cloth (an old pillow case or pair of jeans).
Sugaring works best on hair that is between 1/8”- to 1/4”-long. Your skin should be completely dry beforehand, so don’t try sugaring right after showering or sweating. Exfoliating frequently and moisturizing will help prevent ingrown hairs.