As summer approaches, many of us are ready to get rid of that winter fuzz. But with so many hair removal methods around, which one is best? The debate has been a long-standing one between sugaring and waxing, and this is probably because both techniques pull hair from the roots, unlike shaving, which removes hair from the skin’s surface.

While both methods pull hair from the root, the techniques and ingredients used are pretty different. Waxing pulls against the direction of the growth pattern, and sugaring moves in the natural direction of hair growth.

Although new and innovative hair removal strategies continuously emerge (like laser or epilation), sugaring and waxing have been around for thousands of years. In Ancient Egypt, for example, body hair symbolized a lack of civilization. Queen Cleopatra of the Ancient Egyptians used an adhesive sugar-like mix to eradicate body hair. To this day, sugaring and waxing options are still popular worldwide.

We decided to do some digging and find the best option for your needs. When it comes to sugaring vs. waxing, there is much to be explored!

Sugar wax

What Is Waxing?

Waxing is a popular technique that removes body hair from the root. Various body parts (such as legs, underarms, or bikini line) are covered in sticky wax, which sticks to the skin and hair. Wax is applied in the same direction as the hair growth and is pulled in the opposite direction to reduce trauma to the skin.

Hair is removed from the follicle, and this can keep skin hair-free for 4 to 6 weeks, depending on the individual and the speed of their hair growth.

Types of Waxing:

There are two main types of waxing, namely strip waxing and stripless waxing.

Strip waxing: For this method, a thin layer of soft wax is applied to the area of skin being waxed (in the direction of the hair growth), and a strip of cloth or paper is immediately applied over the wax. The wax sticks to the hair, and the fabric sticks to the hair. The waxing technician will then pull the strip against the growth of hair.

This should be done in a quick, parallel direction to avoid any trauma to the skin. Wax types include:

  • Soft hot wax.
  • Cold wax (which is harder to apply).
  • Pre-made wax strips with wax already adhered to the strip.

Stripless waxing:  Stripless waxing using hard wax. The wax is applied to the skin and hardens as it cools. The therapist then pulls at the wax directly instead of pulling at a strip. Once it cools, it becomes taut and easy to pull.

This method can be gentler for those with sensitive skin, and some say that it isn’t as painful as strip waxing.

While it’s advised to go to a qualified waxing technician, waxing kits have also become popular in recent years for those who would prefer to do it at home.

What Is Sugaring? 

Sugaring is an organic hair removal method that uses a special gel-like paste made of sugar, water, lemon juice, and glycerine. It’s similar to waxing in that it removes hair from the follicle rather than the skin’s surface, but the removal method is slightly different, and it’s considered a gentler option.

Sugaring has historical roots in Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, and Greece.

While wax mixtures stick to the skin, the sugaring paste binds to the hair, making it a gentler option. The mixture is brought to a boil and then cooled down.

Sugaring occurs in short, small pulls. The sugar mix is applied to the skin (in the opposite direction of hair growth) in a dragging motion and removed in the same direction of the hair growth. Since it exfoliates the skin (rather than irritating or pulling it), this motion can be repeated many times.

Deciding on Sugaring vs. Waxing Based on:

Skin Type

When you decide between sugaring Vs. waxing, one of the primary considerations is your skin type and the thickness of your hair.

If you have sensitive skin prone to redness or irritation, sugaring might be a better option as it is gentler on the skin. Since waxing pulls at the skin, it can cause more irritation.

However, sugaring also works best for more delicate hairs, while waxing works better for thicker, more stubborn hairs. Happily, you can mix and match, though. If your bikini area is sensitive, you might opt for sugaring, but if the skin on your legs is more resilient, you could go for a wax.

As hair-removal salon owner and esthetician Shobha Tummala shares:

“Sugaring is all-natural, which is great for folks who may have allergies to certain ingredients or just want only natural ingredients on their body. [It] is also a lot less sticky than traditional wax, so usually, the redness and irritation that many people see with wax will not occur with sugaring. You’re also able to wash the sugar off with water, whereas may waxes have to be washed off with a special cleanser or natural oil.”

Top takeaway: For sensitive skin and those who prefer natural products, sugar hair removal will work best. For those with thicker, stubborn hair, waxing is the way to go.

Set for hair removal


Many hair-removal connoisseurs report that sugaring is less painful than waxing, largely because the sugar paste grips the hair rather than skin. That being said, both methods will cause some pain as they are ripping the hair from its root.


This depends on your skin type and the thickness of the hair. Waxing is usually the preferred method for thicker hair, with many finding the stripless wax slightly less painful. For those with thinner hair and more sensitive skin, sugaring is often preferred.


Your salon of choice determines the price factor. However, as a rule of thumb, sugaring might be more expensive. An entire leg sugaring session can cost around $120 at some salons, with waxing costing around$100 for a full leg.

However, price is also determined by location, and it’s best to do your research before choosing a salon.


Both waxing and sugaring are effective ways to remove unwanted hair. Deciding between the methods is a hugely personal decision and will depend on your skin type, the thickness of hair, and pain threshold.

If you’re ready for smooth summer skin, both options can yield fantastic results.