People often associated sugaring with waxing as they are both hair removal techniques that lift hair from the root. Traditional razor shaving only removes hair from the surface layer of the skin. While sugaring and waxing are similar, there are a few differences between the procedures, such as how the wax is applied and removed, the composition of what is used, pain level, and side effects. Below we examine the similarities and differences to help you determine which procedure is the best for you.

Wax Application

Traditional wax is applied against the hair growth. When the wax is removed, it is done against the direction of hair growth, removing the hair at the root. Conversely, with sugaring, the sugar is applied in the opposite direction of the hair growth and then removed in the same direction as the hair growth. Because of the differences in application and removal, the results can vary greatly. Your skin care professional at Solara Skin & Laser Center can help explain the process to you and provide assistance determining which procedure is best for your skin and hair removal needs.

What Products are Applied to the Skin?

The mixture of ingredients used in each procedure is different. Sugaring paste (sometimes referred to as “sugaring wax” is made with a mixture of lemon, water, and sugar. These are mixed to form a candy-like consistency and applied to the skin. Wax mixtures are slightly different. Hard waxes are applied to the skin and removed after the product cools. Soft waxes are made with beeswax, resin, and oils and require strips of cloth to remove.

Does One Hurt More Than the Other?

Pain levels will differ depending on your pain tolerance, treatment type, and the experience level of your technician. Sugaring paste does not adhere to the skin but to hear and dead skin cells, so there is less risk of hair breakage and skin irritation. On the other hand, wax does adhere to the skin, and some people report a noticeable difference in discomfort levels upon removal. For both procedures, the first appointment is usually the most uncomfortable. Second and subsequent appointments are far less painful.

Are There Any Side Effects?

With both procedures, there is a risk of increased sensitivity after your appointment. Slight redness and bumps are also common and should disappear in a few days. With waxing, there is an increased risk for ingrown hairs due to the composition of the wax mixture.


Typically, the results from sugaring and waxing last around the same time. The duration of smooth skin directly relates to how fast your hair grows and how dark your hair is. As a general rule, you can expect to need to repeat the process every three to four weeks.

What about Skin and Hair Types?

Waxing is generally considered suitable for all skin and hair types. For the procedure to be successful, however, hair must be between ¼ an ½ of an inch long. If the hair is shorter, the wax cannot adhere properly, and hair may not be removed entirely. Sugaring is excellent for sensitive skin or for those who experience significant discomfort with traditional waxing. Like conventional waxing, sugaring is suitable for all hair types and still requires a hair length of ¼ to ½ of an inch.

Should Anyone Avoid Sugaring or Waxing?

Sugaring and waxing are both considered generally safe for everyone; however, there are a few circumstances in which you may want to speak to your doctor first.


If you are taking certain medications, your skin may be abnormally sensitive to waxing. These include some antibiotics, HRT (hormone replacement therapy), hormonal birth control, Accutane, and certain topical creams such as Retin-A. How these medications affect your procedure will depend on your skin’s sensitivity and the location on your body where you are

having treatment. Even if you do not have noticeable side effects from your medication, it is always suggested to consult with your medical provider before either procedure. Your provider may recommend sugaring over waxing due to how the products adhere and remove hair.

Medical Treatments

Certain medical treatments can increase the skin’s sensitivity and make it more susceptible to dryness and irritation. If you are undergoing treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy, waxing or sugaring may prove to be more uncomfortable than expected.


While pregnancy certainly does not negate sugaring or waxing as a hair removal option, it is always good to check with your care provider first. During certain parts of your pregnancy, your skin may be more sensitive than others. Therefore sugaring may be the better alternative as it is less invasive and often less uncomfortable than waxing.

How to Prepare for Your Appointment

Skin preparation is essentially the same for both procedures. First, you will need to ensure your hair is between ¼ and ½ inches long. If it is longer than ½ inch, you may need to trim it before your appointment as both products may have difficulty removing hair that is too long. A few days before your appointment, lightly exfoliate the area to be treated. This will help to remove any dead skin cells and reduce the chances of ingrown hairs.

On the day of your appointment, avoid exfoliation, tanning, or hot baths. These may make your skin more sensitive and prone to irritation. You should also avoid creams or lotions, and you should arrive at the salon with clean and dry skin. Some technicians also suggest avoiding caffeine or alcohol before your procedure, as it can increase sensitivity in some people.

Both sugaring and waxing are excellent forms of hair removal which provide lasting results. In reality, one isn’t necessarily “better” than the other, as both offer excellent results. Ultimately, it comes down to individual preference. Those with sensitive skin may find they prefer sugaring over waxing due to the gentler nature of the process and natural products in the sugaring mixture. If you are unsure which to try, read reviews, chat with friends, or call us at Solara Skin + Laser Center for a FREE consultation. Our highly trained technicians can explain both procedures and help you understand which might be best for your skin.