Skin Care

Sugaring Vs Waxing: Clash Of The Choices!

Splitting hairs? This is no Hobson’s choice! Find out the one that suits you best!

Written by Rani Premkumar

On Aug 18, 2023 – 12 minutes read

sugaring vs waxing

Most women, if not all, find body hair to be unappealing, unhygienic, and just ew! Understandably, hair removal has been part of a woman’s grooming ritual for centuries. The iconic Cleopatra is said to have used beeswax and pumice stones for hair removal. Epilators and razors aside, for the modern woman, the top choice is between sugaring vs waxing. 

Sugaring vs. waxing is an age-old battle. People often confuse sugaring with waxing. However, both are different and have their pluses and minuses. There are various factors that come into play that determine whether you find sugaring or waxing desirable.

Sugaring Vs Waxing: Sugaring

Sugaring aka sugar waxing has been in practice since 1900 BC. It is also known as Persian waxing as the availability of sugar was once restricted to areas around Persia(1).

Sugar is boiled in water along with the juice of a lemon to a certain sticky consistency, which ensures that it sticks to the hair and removes it without attaching to the skin. This makes it less painful than waxing. It can be applied at room temperature or heated to a lukewarm temperature to rule out the risk of burns. Sugar is generally hypoallergenic but any skin irritation on sensitive skin ensuing the sugaring can be dealt with antihistamines.

Sugaring Vs Waxing: Sugaring

Traditional Sugaring

Traditional sugaring is done with a ball of sugar paste.  There are no cotton strips involved. The method of hair removal in sugaring involves the application of the paste against the direction of hair growth and removing the sugar paste in the direction of hair growth. This form of yanking puts less pressure on the hair shaft, hence there is very little hair breakage. The skin will appear smoother and cleaner as dead skin cells may also get removed in the act.

The Alternative Sugaring Method

In another form of sugaring, the skin is dusted with corn powder before the sticky paste is applied to the skin in the same direction of hair growth. A strip of porous cloth or paper is pressed into the paste and quickly yanked to remove the hairs in the process. Unlike traditional waxing, any sugaring paste residue left can be washed off with water. The hair regrowth in this process will be faster than the hair growth that comes after the traditional sugaring method.

Sugaring has fewer side effects as well. Those who have ultra-sensitive skin may develop rashes. Others may experience temporary redness and irritation in the skin which may prod us to itch off. Resisting this is important to avoid micro tears and rashes.

Pros Of Sugaring

  • All natural: There are no synthetic ingredients in sugaring
  • Exfoliation: Sugaring will help to exfoliate the skin as the paste adheres to the dead skin cells which gets removed with the progress of the process which leads to a renewed and rejuvenated appearance of the skin. Sugaring also leads to the reduction of the subsequent hair growth in the area.
  • More hygienic: As there is no possibility of double dipping in sugaring as the ball of sugar will be thrown away once it stops serving the purpose and replaced by a new one.
  • Opted by those with sensitive skin: As sugaring sticks to the hair more and yanked in the direction of hair growth, it is less painful and great on sensitive skin. There will be less chances of hair breakage and ingrown hairs.
  • Sugaring is great for tiny hairs and sparse hair growth.
  • Ease in cleaning: Sugaring does not stick to clothes and can be washed off easily. The after-cleaning of the sugaring residue on the skin is also easy as you just need to wash it away with wanted as sugar is soluble in water.

Cons Of Sugaring

  • Skin blistering: One major con is possible skin blistering. If you are new to sugaring, getting a grip on the ideal temperature of the sugar mix will be tricky. You need to know how much you need to let the mixture sit for cooling down. If not, the skin could get burnt and it can cause blistering and scarring. 
  • Right consistency: Another ordeal is getting the right consistency for the sugar paste. We should not burn it or have it thin in order to get the best results. 
  • Bruising: If you are a newbie, sugaring can cause bruising due to the lack of finesse in pulling the skin. Bruising of the skin can occur if the skin is not gripped tightly or if the strip of sugar is yanked off incorrectly.
  • Not a readily available service: Sugaring is mostly done as a DIY. It is not a service that is readily available in many salons as it requires some skill in pulling it off let alone preparing an impeccably consistent sugar paste. Waxing is a popular alternative at every salon with different products for waxing flooding the beauty markets.
  • Not advisable for some skin conditions 
  • Some skin conditions like eczema can get exacerbated by the act of sugaring. Sensitive skin is also likely to act out due to heat or incorrect yanking. 

Sugaring Vs Waxing: Waxing

Waxing can be done with either hard or soft wax. It is a blend of a few sticky ingredients, such as beeswax, resins, oils, etc. The application is just the opposite of what is employed in sugaring. The soft/hard wax is placed on the skin in the direction of the hair growth and tugged in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

This is done either with the hands if it is hard wax, or strips if it is soft wax. On difficult and obstinate hairs, additional wax can be reapplied only once as too much of the wax can cause irritation. An oil-based remover is recommended to remove any extra wax on the body.

Sugaring Vs Waxing: Waxing

You can do the prep by wearing loose and comfortable clothes to the appointment and applying a cold pack to the area or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever around half an hour before a hair removal process(2).

Pros Of Waxing

  • Stubborn coarse hair: Waxing is supposed to be the best remedy for removing stubborn coarse hair.
  • Slower regrowth: This is another plus of waxing as the hair clean-up is better causing the hair to grow back slowly.
  • Good for heat-sensitive skin: Waxing is a great option for skin sensitive to heat. Hard wax is great to be used in sensitive areas like the armpits, while soft wax can be used around larger areas like the legs.

Cons Of Waxing

  • Painful: As it pulls the hair off some skin also can get tugged which can make you wriggle in pain.
  • Skin irritation: It will be quite normal to get your skin red, flared up, or itchy after you get a wax. You may have to resist the temptation to use your nails there for avoiding micro tears that can end up in infections. If the temperature is too high, you may risk burns as well.
  • Hair breakage: While yanking the hair off in the opposite direction of the hair follicle growth, waxing can cause hair to break off while the roots and the remaining hair are not removed. Hair breakage while waxing can cause the menace of ingrown hairs.

Waxing is not advisable if you:

  • Are taking an antibiotic.
  • Are applying prescription-only tretinoin, which is a  retinoic acid
  • Have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatment.
  • Have taken the prescription acne medicine isotretinoin or Accutane in the last six months.
  • Are pregnant, applying any topical cream, or undergoing any hormone therapy. In these cases, you should consult a physician if you are considering waxing.

Difference Between Waxing And Sugaring

The main difference is in the mode of application. In sugaring, the cooled sugar paste is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth and removed in the direction of hair growth with quick yanks. On the other hand, waxing involves the application of wax in the same direction of hair growth and is removed in the opposite direction. The results are different as well.

Ingredients- sugar, lemon, waterResins, wax, oils, etc.
Applied against hair growthApplied along hair growth
Pulled along the hair growthPulled opposite to the hair growth 
Minimal irritationCan cause irritation, rashes, etc.
Best for sensitive skin types Not great for sensitive skin
Hair grows back in 3 weeksHair grows back in 3-6 weeks
All types of hair growthAll types of hair growth
Sensitive areasGreat except in sensitive areas
No hair breakageHair breakage possible
Decimated risks of ingrown hairRisk of Ingrown hair
Not tattoo friendlyNot tattoo friendly 
Costlier than waxingCheaper than sugaring
Natural ingredientsIncludes Synthetic ingredients as well
One typeTwo variants- soft and hard 
Best for tiny hair, light hair growthBest for longer and coarser hair growth 
Relatively faster regrowthSlower regrowth
More hygienic as there is no double dippingDouble dipping involved
Sugaring vs waxing
Waxing And Sugaring
  • Ingredients: Sugaring includes natural ingredients like lime juice, sugar, and water. Wax, on the other hand, is mainly a mixture of beeswax, resins, and oil and may include additives and paraffin wax which is derived from petroleum.
  • Skill needed: In sugaring vs waxing, the skill needed is more in sugaring in order to bring the mixture to the right consistency that can come with practice. This makes it an option in fewer salons
  • Application: In sugaring, you apply the mixture in the opposite direction of the hair growth, while in waxing the application if wax is in the direction of the hair growth. Sugaring can permeate to get to the root of the hair follicles, hence it is the hair and not the skin that gets yanked in the act.
  • The pulling is in the direction of the hair growth in sugaring while it is in the opposite direction for waxing. 
  • Heating: The waxing mixture is heated to higher temperatures than sugaring.
  • Two types of waxing: Waxing is available in soft and hard variants. Soft wax is applied in a very thin layer with a muslin strip to stick to the hair and remove the hair easily, especially where it needs more precision like the eyebrows and upper lips. Hard wax when applied cools and hardens on the skin in a thick layer. It can be removed without the muslin strip and is said to be less painful than soft wax.
  • Grow-back time: The grow-back time for the hairs will be slower in sugaring as it thoroughly pulls out the hair with the roots.

Prep In Sugaring Vs Waxing

Both need you to have oil-free skin to act better. If you can get a cold compress or an over-the-counter pain reliever minutes before your process, you can focus on it instead of focusing on pain suppression. If you can exfoliate some days before the waxing, it can prevent ingrown hairs.

Costs: Sugaring Vs Waxing

Sugaring is a tad costlier than waxing. The costs depend on the place you are going to choose. But it is a matter of consensus that the cost of sugaring is higher than waxing. The cost of waxing your chin may cost you around $20 and you may have to shell out $60 for a bikini wax. Sugaring would cost you around $30 for small patches and a decent $100 for bikini wax. This is how it works- if it is $15 for sugaring, it is $10 for waxing.

Pain In Sugaring Vs Waxing

Good news! Both are painful😭

How much pain you will experience will depend on your pain threshold.  Though experienced folks suggest that sugaring is less painful than waxing- both hard and soft wax, as the sugaring will let the sugar mix stick to the hair which will be pulled out. Waxing can get the skin also pulled in the process which leads to more painful experiences.

Aftercare For Sugaring vs Waxing

There is no elaborate aftercare needed for both sugaring and waxing. You just need to avoid heat like the sun’s rays and hot weather conditions, and got baths within 24 hours. Try to wear loose clothes made out of breathable fabrics. Try applying something soothing like an aloe vera gel to let your skin heal faster whether there is blistering or not.

It is also a great remedy to quell itchy skin. It will be prudent to use sunscreen on the skin before you step outdoors anyway. Stay away from tanning beds as well for at least 24 hours. If there is any tenderness or redness, apply hydrocortisone cream or a cool compress. 

How long is too long in a sugaring vs waxing situation?

It is best to trim your hair if it has gone too long as the yanking acts will not make you swear each time. It sure hurts like hell if the hair is longer. You are supposed to do something – before the hair grows ¼ to ½ inches max(3).

Sugaring Vs Waxing Vs Brazilian Wax

SugaringWaxing Brazilian wax
AnywhereAnywhereAreas- front, external genetalia and anus
One variantHard wax and soft wax. Hard wax is less painfulBetter to use hard wax to lessen the pain
Aftercare less required as pain will be less. Aftercare with avoidance of heat, exercises and application of topical pain relievers or cold compressAftercare with topical creams, avoiding sex, heat, exercises,etc for at least 24 hrs and by wearing loose clothes and undies. Brazilian sugaring is less painful though.

Note that Brazilian wax and Brazilian sugaring are also options that are available.

Sugaring Vs Waxing Not Advisable If You Have/Are:


If you are in the family way, especially towards the last trimester, do have a chat with your doctor before sugaring or waxing, as you could be really sensitive. But if your doctor is cool about it, you can go ahead. Again, you are a better judge of how sensitive you are to pain. sugaring might be your best choice as it is not so invasive and not as painful as waxing is. 


The skin around your pubic bone becomes more sensitive while menstruating. You may be more prone to cramping. Both sugaring and waxing can be uncomfortable then. You can wear a tampon, menstrual cup or menstrual discs instead of a sanitary pad. If you can reschedule an appointment, better!

Sensitive Skin

If you are prone to irritation from waxing, then it is best to go with sugaring as it is easier on the skin than waxing. It is also used in sensitive areas like face, neck, lady parts, underarms, etc.

Body Piercings

If you have any body piercings, like say, genital piercing, you may have to remove the jewelry while sugaring or waxing in order to ensure the removal of hair near the piercing.


If you have a tat, then waxing and sugaring sure will cause some major exfoliation to the skin which can interfere with the visual appeal of the tat over time.

The Takeaway

Your body- so you are a better judge. But a general rule of thumb would be to opt for sugaring if the hair growth is light and not dense. It would be prudent to go for waxing in heavy-duty hair removals.

Proper grooming is great in social situations but it should never be at the cost of your suffering and misery. You are your goddess!


Is sugaring more effective than waxing?

The answer depends on how dense the hair in question is. If it’s coarser, waxing will be more effective.

What is the downside of sugaring?

Sugaring is not that great on coarse hair and it requires skill to prepare the sugar paste in a candy consistency for it to do its job effectively.

Is sugaring less painful than waxing?

Yes. Sugaring us less painful than waxing because the sugar paste will stick to the hair more leaving the skin out thereby causing less pain.

Is sugar wax good for pubic hair?

If the hair is trimmed or the growth is sparse, sugaring is the best choice as it pains less.

  1. ResearchGate.(2008-2023 ). Sugaring: An Ancient Method of Hair Removal. (Online). Available at
  2. Cortiva Institute Massage Therapy & Skincare Schools. (2023). Does Waxing Remove Hair Permanently?. (Online). Available at
  3. National Council of Educational Research and Training. (n.d). Depilation Services. (Online). Available at

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Rani is a women’s lifestyle coach with a knack for translating high fashion into accessible, everyday looks. She has helped countless women embrace their personal style, fostering confidence and self-expression.

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