Sugaring Hair Removal Is Sweeter Than It Sounds

Veronica Webb tries out the ancient hair-removal treatment of sugaring. (Photo: Getty Images)

Veronica Webb is a celebrity columnist for Yahoo Beauty. Known for being one of the first black supermodels to break barriers in the beauty and fashion industries, Veronica uses her experiences as a model, health and fitness enthusiast, lifestyle blogger (Webb on the Fly), mother, and wife to exclusively report on what’s trending in beauty.

If you’re looking for a hair-removal alternative to shaving or waxing in a quest to get smoother legs, underarms, or just about anywhere else you don’t want hair, sugaring may be the answer.

Sugaring is an ancient method of hair removal that’s been used in the Middle East and India for thousands of years, but it’s new to a beauty junkie like me. Hibba Beauty, salon to the green beauty experts in Manhattan, has established itself as the new mecca for sugaring.

Ingrown hairs drove me to invest in waxing years ago, and I have never looked back. But I’ve also never stopped looking around for a better option to traditional waxing. While it beats shaving any day of the week, minimizes razor bumps, and prolongs the time between hair-removal sessions, waxing still hurts, and I am no sissy when it comes to trading pain for beauty.

When I arrived at Hibba, the decor instantly put me in a good mood. The walls are painted in festive bright colors with beautiful Indian woodwork around the mirrors and arched doorways. The Bollywood soundtrack that plays through the speakers in the salon also sets a very cool vibe. The staff was so polite and cheerful that I felt like I had gone on vacation as I walked under an ornate archway into the treatment room.

As we began the appointment, the technician explained that the reason why waxing can be so painful is that most wax products sold commercially contain chemical glues and adhesives that stick to your skin as well to the hair being removed. So when you pull the wax away, it’s not only yanking the hair you’re trying to get rid of but also yanking the heck out of your skin. Who knew? I didn’t.

Sugaring is different because it’s all natural and typically uses only four ingredients: sugar, lemon, water, and glycerine, which is a natural form of vegetable fat. Most salons that offer sugaring make their own on premises.

The process is just like waxing, only without the ouch factor. The warm, sugary salve is spread over the area to be waxed and pulled away along with the unwanted hair. Even in the most cringeworthy areas like the underarm and along the bikini line, it was no more painful than shaving.

The combination of lactic acid from the sugar, which softens the skin, and citric acid from the lemon, which exfoliates and brightens even the driest skin, made it feel like I was getting a facial on my legs at the same time. I loved it!

The clean up afterward takes two seconds. Unlike waxing, which more often than not leaves a sticky residue behind that can take some effort to remove, sugaring requires only a quick wipe-down with a wet washcloth to whisk everything away.

The only aftercare instructions I got: Avoid very hot baths or showers for 24 hours (which is standard for waxing), as all the pores are open and skin might be sensitive to soaps for a short period.

Sugaring is not ideal for everyone, at least not right away. If your hair is coarse from routine shaving, you’ll need a few waxing sessions to thin the hair out before you can start sugaring. It lasts longer than waxing and is roughly the same price for the treatment. But if you’re brave enough and in a do-it-yourself mood, you can make your own sugaring solution at home, and that’s a sweet deal!

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