Hair removal has been an integral part of grooming since the earliest of times, with fashion shaping the results and ‘know how’ providing different methods of hair removal throughout history. In ancient cultures, the absence of body hair often indicated class. Only the lower classes let their hair grow.
The ancient Egyptians did this long before suburban housewives discovered the bikini wax. A smooth and hairless body was the standard of beauty, youth and innocence for a woman in Egypt, Greece and Turkey until the habit of depilating fell out of fashion when Catherine de Medici, the queen of France, forbade her ladies in waiting to remove their pubic hair.
In the sixties, smoothness was rediscovered with the invention of the bikini, and today most woman and men remove hair somewhere on their bodies.
Although the areas of the body where hair is removed have remained similar, fashion trends and the options for hair removal have evolved. We are so lucky to have more options than ever when it comes to hair removal methods; shaving, electrolysis, laser, IPL, threading, waxing, and here’s where the confusion sometimes comes in: we also have sugaring.
That’s correct, sugaring is a validated option on its own. So, why is it that many people (other than trained professional sugaring technicians) categorise sugaring as waxing? They believe that sugaring is just another form of waxing, which would be understandable if the technique and theory were the same, but they are not; they are quite the opposite with significantly different outcomes for the client.
Sugaring is often put in the same category of hair removal as waxing because they are somewhat similar in the way they remove hair from the root. Upon investigation though, they are very different on a number of levels. So then why call it waxing or sugar waxing?
Let’s explore the most popular professional waxing options that are raising a lot of questions in the minds of the 21st century beauty therapist.
Waxing is a method of semi-permanent hair removal which removes the hair from the root. New hair will not grow back for two to eight weeks, although some people will start to see regrowth in only a week. Almost any area of the body can be waxed, including eyebrows, face, bikini area, legs, arms, back and stomach. There are many types of waxing suitable for removing unwanted hair.
The most popular form of waxing of the 20th Century is strip waxing and is accomplished by spreading a warm wax thinly over the skin, applying it in the direction of hair growth. A cloth or paper strip is then pressed on the top and ripped off with a quick movement against the direction of hair growth. This removes the wax along with the hair that is stuck in the wax.
Hard or Hot wax utilises a harder resin. In this case, the wax is applied thickly against the hair growth and also removed against the hair growth. The wax hardens when it cools, allowing the easy removal by a therapist without the aid of a cloth. This waxing method is the preferred method for sensitive skin or sensitive, fragile areas.
What about Sugar Waxing or Strip Sugaring?
There’s a lot of confusion about sugar wax, because it’s a term that could mean one of two things. Either it’s a sugaring gel that’s made up of natural ingredients like sugar, water and lemon juice, or it’s actually a wax resin product that also contains sugar. With the mixed wax and sugar, companies employ marketing techniques to make you think you have tried ‘sugaring’, when you haven’t.
A real sugaring product, whether a paste or gel, will be water soluble, meaning you can clean off the residue from your skin with just plain water, whereas wax will only budge with solvents.
Sugar waxing is a sugaring method that involves applying a sugar paste or ‘strip sugar’ to the skin in a similar way to a wax application, i.e. applied with a spatula in the direction of hair growth and removed against the direction of growth using cloth strips, again, similar to the ones used for waxing.
This method is often deemed kinder to the skin than traditional waxing due to the more natural substance, but presents the same shortcomings of any method that removes the hair in the opposite direction of its natural growth, i.e. it breaks the majority of the hairs off and can tear the delicate edge of the hair follicle, which inevitably leads to those horrible bumps, lumps and ingrowns.
Traditional Sugaring is the oldest most natural form of hair removal. The earliest forms of ‘waxing’ were actually documented as a process called sugaring, where honey or a home-made sugar solution was made to entangle and strip away hair. This early method of sugaring is often still referred to as the ‘Ball Method’ of Sugaring where the sugar is formed into a ball, flattened or rolled onto the skin, then quickly stripped away, removing the hair from the root. Real sugaring is made up of all natural food-grade ingredients like sugar, lemon juice, and water and should be edible.
Although around for a long time, there has recently been a tremendous modernisation and refinement of this method, and with it has come a new demand. So, why has sugaring recently re-emerged as the ‘king of hair removal’?
Alexandria Professional, a world leader in modern sugaring, uses a natural sugar paste and has also patented the unique six-step method of hair removal known as the Kennedy Technique, which is the only method that removes hair in the natural direction of growth, bringing with it a whole host of benefits:
Removing hair against the natural direction of growth is the primary cause of ingrown hair. Removal of the hair in the natural direction of growth means less breakage of hair and therefore less intermediate regrowth and fewer ingrown hairs. Encourage your clients to team this method of hair removal with regular exfoliation at home to keep the mouth of the follicle clear of dead skin cells, and virtually eliminate the risk of ingrown hairs.
Hair can be removed when it is as short as 1.5mm in length, which means you are able to remove hair in the anagen phase, allowing longer intervals between treatments and reaching permanency with time. If permanency is the desired outcome, schedule treatments 10-14 days apart.
A natural sugar paste will seep into the follicle as it is applied against the hair growth, lubricating the hair shaft, allowing it to glide out of the follicle, rather than being ripped out, once again leading to less hair breakage and of course less pain.
Because it is so mild, sugaring paste may be applied to the same area more than once, resulting in a more thorough removal of undesirable hair.
Sugar paste adheres to the hair and gently exfoliates only dead skin cells resulting in a much gentler and less painful treatment. Sugaring doesn’t attach to live skin cells, unlike waxing which removes live skin cells as well as the hair. If your client’s skin isn’t already over-exfoliated (using glycolic, Retin A or peels) you don’t have to worry about the sugar accidentally removing skin, causing long-term issues with fragility and sensitivity.
Most waxes are made primarily of resins and contain artificial fragrances, dyes, chemicals and preservatives. Although you can be allergic to any given ingredient, natural or not, it’s more common for people to be allergic to artificial fragrances and ingredients like those found in waxes. Allergic reactions can make skin red, irritated, and break out into a rash.
Wax may risk burning sensitive skin; sugar paste is only heated to body temperature to make it pliable enough to work with without causing unnecessary trauma to the skin.
Instead of becoming sensitive or prematurely aged, sugared skin will go from sallow and dull to looking brighter and healthier.
Sugaring paste is water-soluble, meaning you can wash it off with plain water, unlike wax which needs a special wax remover, baby oil or petroleum jelly.
There is no need for strips, cloths, utensils or a chemical cleaning product. All that is required is professional body sugar, the therapist’s hands, and gloves for increased hygiene.
Sugar is naturally antibacterial and has natural ‘healing powers’ for people who suffer from skin conditions such as dry itch, eczema, psoriasis or just a genetically dry flaky skin.
Due to the gentler method of removal, there tends to be less redness and irritation after sugaring, especially on the face. Any mild redness will also diminish a lot faster after the treatment.
Sugaring is a more profitable hair removal option. Sugaring requires minimal product use, as one handful of sugar will treat multiple areas, reducing your product cost. You can also charge more for your services as sugaring can be sold as a total skin conditioning treatment rather than just a hair removal treatment.
Equally important to the business as to the outcome of the service, there is a home maintenance range of products that actually reduce the amount of work the therapist has to do with successive treatments, as the client can improve the results at home.
If you want to be one of the first in your area to offer sugaring to your clients contact Alicia Hewlett on?
Article supplied by NZ Skin Management.