Why is Sugaring Better than Waxing?

What's the Difference Between Waxing and Sugaring?

Waxing and sugaring are often ranked together in terms of hair removal because they are both epilators which use similar procedures.  

In other words both waxing and sugaring involve pulling your hair out from the root, to give longer lasting results than other (depilatory) methods such as shaving and hair removal creams.

In actual fact, as well as the difference in ingredients, they involve quite different techniques and sugaring is generally considered a much more natural and gentle method than waxing. 


Hair removal waxes are resin based and often include artificial preservatives, scents, colourants etc., although there are some that contain only natural ingredients. 

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If you have sensitive or allergy-prone skin, any artificial components of the wax you use are more likely to produce adverse reactions.

In order for wax to be effective and adhere well enough to your hair it needs to be at least ¼" long.

Waxing involves heating wax to melt it to a thick, sticky consistency and so there is always the risk of burns from over-heating it. 

Heated wax is applied to the treatment area with an application stick in the direction of your hair's natural growth and then removed in the opposite direction.

Depending on the type of wax used, this can involve smoothing waxing strips over the wax and then swiftly ripping back to remove it.

The wax not only adheres to your hair but also to your skin, removing the surface layer of skin cells along with your hair.

You need to use an oil-based agent to remove any residue wax that you have remaining on your skin after treatment.  Something simple like baby oil or coconut oil will do the trick.


Firstly, I want to be clear that when I talk about sugaring I am referring to the use of sugar paste and not sugar gel or sugar wax, which I will explain about a bit later.

A basic sugar paste consists of sugar, lemon juice and water and although there can be additions to this, such as essential oils nothing else is needed.

Sticking to the bare minimum reduces the risk of allergic reactions to the ingredients and keeps it very gentle and natural.

In order for sugar paste to be effective your hair needs to be grown to a minimum of 1/16" in length, around half that required for waxing.

Sugar paste is used at room temperature and simply manipulated in the hands to warm it to a pliable consistency that can be smoothed onto your skin.

As it is removed in the same direction as the hair is growing it pulls less on your skin, making it gentler and a bit less painful as opposed to waxing.

Also, sugar paste does not adhere as much to the skin, making the whole process somewhat kinder and less likely to cause post treatment redness and irritation.

The paste is soluble, so any residue can simply be rinsed off with cool, clean water.

You can actually make your own sugar paste very easily at home so, with a bit of practice, it can be a very inexpensive method of hair removal.

What is Sugar Wax and Sugar Gel?

Although Sugar Gel consists of the same basic ingredients as sugar paste it is made to a different consistency, as implied in the name, and is used in the same way as strip wax.

Sugar wax is more likely to contain a mix of sugar and wax resin although the name is also used for some proprietary sugar gels.

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The truth is that the two terms tend to be interchangeable nowadays and refer to any waxing product that contains sugar.

This can be a bit confusing but you just need to check the list of ingredients to be sure what it is you are using.

Both require the use of strips and are spread on in the direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction, a completely different technique to sugaring.

Waxing vs Sugaring - Comparison Table

The table below summarizes the main differences between waxing and sugaring but there are also a number of similarities.

For one thing, although sugaring is considered by many to be the gentler option, it still involves yanking your hair out from the root and is therefore painful.

Although the natural ingredients and method of sugaring may reduce the risks of side effects and allergic reaction it does not, by any means, eliminate them.

Whilst both waxing and sugaring can be done yourself in the comfort and privacy of your own home, they both require a level of expertise in technique to be safe and effective.

Both are offered in salons and whilst sugaring may be slightly more expensive because it takes a bit longer, there is not a huge difference between the two.



100% natural ingredients

Can contain synthetic ingredients - need to check

Effective for hair from 1/16" in length

Hair needs to be at least 1/4" long

Warmed in the hands - used at room temperature

Most waxes require heating in a wax warmer or microwave

No strips required

Strips required unless it is hard wax

Hair is removed in the direction of hair growth - less pulling on the skin

Hair removed in opposite direction to hair growth

Adheres to hair and not so much to the skin - reducing risk of after-effects (redness and irritation)

Adheres to the hair and skin and removes surface layer (less so with hard wax)

Excess easily removed with water

Oil required to remove residue

Best for sensitive skin

Best for thick, coarse hair


Overall sugaring is preferable to waxing, especially for sensitive skin or the more sensitive areas of your body such as upper lip, underarm, bikini line etc.

However, if you have very thick, coarse hair to remove then you may well find that waxing will be more efficient.


For the past 12 months, I have been testing and playing with all sorts of hair removal products for Hair Free Life. My goal is to provide the most accurate and up-to-date hair removal consumer information on the internet. When I'm not photographing, reviewing and researching hair removal products I play the drums in a samba band and am a volunteer for the Swindon Lions! Got any questions? Write to us below: