Since summer isn’t the only season when hair removal is top of mind, I’m always on the hunt for new, relatively pain-free options. I’m not a big fan of hair removal in the first place — my underarms and bikini area are both really sensitive, I like to keep my brows pretty full, and my leg hair grows in so quickly that shaving feels like an endless chore. But I still do it several times a year, and knowing I’d be in bathing suits most of the time for a recent vacation, I figured I’d undergo some bikini line hair removal.
When a friend suggested I try sugaring instead of a traditional bikini wax I embraced the idea since ingrown hairs and irritation are always concerns of mine. It was quite the eye opening experience — one that I wish I’d been better prepared for. So I’m sharing the top things you should know (and that I wish I’d known) before your first sugaring session.
What Is Sugaring?
Before we get to the preparation need-to-knows, let’s start with the basics of what exactly sugaring is and how it differs from waxing. For starters, with sugaring there are no strips, spatulas or warming pots. For anyone concerned about double dipping into wax, it makes this option that much more appealing. A soft sugar paste is applied directly to the hair and peeled away little by little using a specific (almost rolling and rubbing) pulling technique. Sugar paste is also applied against the direction of hair growth and then pulled away in the direction of hair growth. Many people prefer sugaring to traditional waxing because sugar wax is made of natural ingredients and as a result causes less irritation than other forms of hair removal.
What To Know Before You Get A Sugaring
While sugaring and waxing are different hair removal techniques, there are some similarities. Here’s what you should know in order to prepare for your first sugaring appointment.
1. There May Still Be Pain
One of the reasons I opted for sugaring versus traditional waxing is because of all of the praise it garnered for being a painless hair removal method. I found out the hard way that that’s not exactly true. In fact, the sugaring hurt way more than any wax I’d ever gotten (full Brazilian wax notwithstanding) because I didn’t follow any preparation protocols, which brings me to my second tip.
2. Trim Beforehand
The technique for sugaring is different from waxing but some of the prep is the same, including trimming your hair beforehand. You still want to make sure your hair is no less than one quarter inch long but also no longer than a half inch. The pain was pretty intense on the follicles of my extra long hair and the paste seemed to be tugging on my skin more. Keep in mind you don’t want to trim your hair too low either. The paste needs something to grab onto or you won’t have a good outcome. If you’re really unsure, ask the salon if they’ll trim your hair beforehand as some places will do it for a small fee.
3. All Numbing Creams Are Not Created Equal
Having been subjected to some seriously painful bikini waxes in the past I jumped at the opportunity to have the area numbed before my session (for an extra fee of course). Unfortunately, the numbing spray was not effective. Whether or not your sugaring hurts, and how badly will all come down to your pain threshold. So depending on your past experiences with hair removal you may want to consider investing in some numbing cream that you know will work and bring it to your appointment.
4. Don’t Booze Out Before Your Appointment
It might seem like a great idea to knock back a drink or two before waxing or sugaring to relax you. However, several research studies by the National Center for Biotechnology Information confirms that alcohol causes blood vessels to relax and widen, which can cause the blood to thin slightly and cause sensitivity in certain areas. So avoid that favorite glass of wine before your appointment for the sake of not increasing your chances of a painful experience.
5. Don’t Take A Bath Right After
Fortunately, I’m well-versed in all things baths, including the times to actually avoid indulging in this favorite pastime of mine. After your sugaring it’s best to shower in lukewarm water. You don’t want to increase the risk of irritating the newly hairless skin that’s still very sensitive from the hair removal process.
Written by: Shalwah Evans, Photo Credit: Shutterstock
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