Help! A Reader Needs Your Sugar Waxing Tips

When it comes to waxing advice, S and I are pretty useless. We both tried waxing our legs as teens, but the truth is that Siobhan—being a real blondie—barely sprouts a visible leg hair, and I never really got why I should wait to let mine grow out for half the month only to submit to expensive torture.

Of course, many ladies who stuck with it now report that they barely have any hair at all. Unfortunately, that kind of patience has never been my virtue. But onto our reader! She’s sick of going to the salon to pay for something she knows she can accomplish at home. Here’s her note to us:

I am just about ready to be brave enough to try sugar waxing (as opposed to going to a salon 2 or 3 times a year to have my bikini line waxed). I’m not concerned about the clean-ness of the ingredients (sugar, lemon, water–how much cleaner can you get?), but would like to know if your readers have tricks and tips and general feedback. I’ve read good things around the web, but not from places I know. Thanks!

Back when I confessed of my mustache woes, you guys had so much great advice, including DIY sugar waxing. I think I might try this—maybe even today! So please post those tips.

Not into sugar? What kind of hair removal habits do you have?

Image via Etsy

22 Responses to “Help! A Reader Needs Your Sugar Waxing Tips”
  1. Lolly says:

    Oy. I gotta tell ya: bikini is the waxing Mt. Everest. I am all about self-inflicted de-fuzzing. Once, when I was 16 and withou access to waxing facilities while on vacation, I decided to remove the hair on my lip using electrical tape. Ladies! Take it from me: a slight shadow on your lip is far, far more attractive than two symmetrical, oozing wounds that take about a month to heal and then leave dark marks for a few months more. I was a bright one in me teens.

    Anywhoodle. Back to the Bikini Query. The problem with bikini waxing is that a) it is, by far, the most painful of all waxing and on the most sensitive of areas; b) the “area” is irregular, with almost no flat surfaces, the hair is the thickest and tends to grow ever-which-way, and c) part of the “area” is not visible without some Cirque de Soleil-level contortionism and strategically placed mirrors. So although it can definitely be done at home, bikini waxing, in my opinion, is truly the one thing that is best left to the pros.

    Still, I have done it (using Nads – remember that?) and it can be done. What I would strongly suggest is that you go for one last professional wax before embarking on the self-waxing adventure. It is much, much easier to do your own bikini when you are mainting an existing wax job. Unless you are especially, ahem, unencumbered down there, trying to go it alone with a full growth will be far too torturous, unweildy and could lead to some potentially horrifying snafus (you do NOT want to glue things together!). Once you start, be diligent and regular about it – wax every 4 to 6 weeks, rather leaving it for several months in between waxes. Oh, and don’t do it on or around your period. It’s much more painful then.

    Good luck and godspeed!

  2. Lolly says:

    Oooh, oooh, and! Dr. Alkaitis Soothing Gel is a great, clean post-waxing soother that helps calm irritation and prevent nasty lumps and bumps.

  3. Megan says:

    To me, the bikini area is the WORST area to do myself at home lol. I personally suck at handling this area, so it is the one spot I do go to a salon for. Times when I have done it at home, it has always been essential to pull the skin extremely tight before pulling the wax strip off. If you don’t pull the skin tight, it hurts SO badly, and it also will not wax it off properly, leaving for a waxy and half done mess being left.

    For other parts of the body, I have recently tried threading which is supposed to be better for your skin. It is only available in a few places in my town. I have only done it for brows so far, but it was great!

    Hope that helps a bit :)


  4. Alexandra says:

    OK, I’m back to report that I just sugar-waxed my mustache. Total success! Not sure why it took me so long to try, but I just cut up an old tee and followed these tips from Audrey:

    I just make my own honey/ sugar wax! I got the idea after researching Brazilian Sugaring, but modified the recipe to include honey so no stove top boiling is required. (i.e. I was simply too lazy.)

    I just mix about a 2 teaspoons of honey with 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and microwave the mixture until it’s boiling, about 30 seconds. Then I just stir it up and wait for it to cool. (The trickiest part is catching it at the right temperature- not too hot, but before it solidifies.)

    I always use some sort of powder (corn starch, powdered makeup, etc) to dust my upper lip. Then I just mix the honey/ sugar concoction one more time and use the goopy spoon like a paddle. You can also spread the mixture and use cotton strips like you would to wax. The best consistency is when it’s just thicker than honey.

    The pros: very cheap, easy, supposedly hurts less than waxing, great for upper lip, chin, and arms
    The cons: still hurts, if you use the mixture before it’s cooled, you will scorch yourself (speaking from experience, hello red upper lip), doesn’t work quite as well as waxing (won’t grab every small hair), doesn’t work on legs

  5. Lesley says:

    Have it done by a professional. You want it done fast and by someone who can see the area well. I would not suggest attempting it at home.

    I like sugaring better than waxing because it doesn’t irritate the skin. However, it can be slightly more painful in that you can feel the hairs being tugged out more. Find a good sugarist in your area and go for it! You won’t want to get waxed again.

  6. Annette says:

    @Lolly Read your post while eating breakfast and snorted cereal out my nose!

  7. R says:

    Hi there! I would like to take this opportunity to go old school and suggest electrolysis for facial hair removal. Especially for hormonal areas such as chin and lip which are trending towards more hair as we age, instead of less like the rest of our body. Through research (and discussions with dermatologists and trusted aestheticians I’m related to, not paying) and personal experience confirming; tweezing, waxing, sugaring, threading and for most people lasering these areas can cause the follicle to deepen and strengthen and cause burlier, thicker and darker hair to sprout. Laser actually caused an increase in hair growth for me in this area. I still get my body hair and eyebrows sugared, but I’m no longer trying temporary fixes for my lower face because it seems to be anything but. And wrecked my skin in the process.

  8. lisa says:

    i have been waxing myself for years. i do my brows and my armpits and my bikini.
    i dont use sugar wax so i dont know if there is a difference.
    i use a hot wax for sensitive skin and i bought an inexpensive wax warmer. my husband tears the muslin off for me, i put the wax on. (i am a hairstylist with knowledge of waxing).
    i personally think it’s pretty easy to do on my own. i only need help from him with my armpits because i cant hold the skin taught AND pull the strip at the same time.
    but for tips.
    make sure the skin is clean and dry.
    apply wax in the direction of the hair growth.
    if it’s the kind of wax that needs a strip on it, put it on and kind of rub it.
    when you go to pull the strip, make sure you are pulling your skin taught (as tight as possible!) when you pull the strip, dont pull straight up, pull as parallel to whatever you are waxing as possible. go fast and if you need to, gently tap your fingers on the area you just waxed.
    i also like to use pre waxing powder. esp for sensitive skin!
    i find that it hurts less when i do it myself because i’m concentrating on what i’m doing, and not focusing on the pain factor when someone else does it!

  9. poo says:

    Waxing doesn’t work for me. For the upper lip, I bought this spring thing (R.E.M. spring hair remover on amazon) that works like a charm. It takes seconds and only stings a little at first. I put aloe on after I use it, otherwise it doesn’t require anything. It’s cheap too. I had been looking on amazon at different hair removal methods, and this came up with high ratings.

  10. zimt-peppermint says:

    Another way to get rid of your upper lip hair is with this tool. It also pulls out the hair like waxing does, but it is easier to do than sugaring, because u don’t need to prepare. Here’s a how to:

  11. Shannon says:

    As a professional, PLEASE don’t do it yourself. For one, it is very difficult to do yourself because you can’t position yourself correctly. Tow, professionals have trained to do this and have a lot of practice doing so. To really get the benefit of waxing your should be going more than 2-3 times a year. You will see the best results if you go religiously once every 3 to 4 weeks for about 6 sessions. The hair WILL grow back softer, slower, lighter. If you wait so long in between waxes, you are starting from square one. I KNOW it’s hard to grow out that hair for 3 weeks before your wax, but it is essential that your hair is long enough to be waxed.

    Prepare your skin before waxing: exfoliation is key to prevent ingrowns and to get a smooth result, so use a loofah or a salicylic wash in the shower a couple days prior (not the day of!)

    Aftercare: Continue exfoliation (a couple of days after waxing), and apply Tend Skin to prevent ingrowns. You MAY get ingrowns; some people are prone to them. Avoid overstimulating the area (heat, fragrance, friction…)

    P.S. Ask if the salon uses hard wax- hard wax doesn’t adhere to the skin so its much more gentler and WAY more comfortable than traditional strip wax!

  12. philosophotarian says:

    Thanks for the advice, dolls!

    I only go so seldom to the salon because I’m a cash-strapped grad student. I save the leftovers from the grocery budget and when that adds up to a wax, I get one. I do start over fresh every time, but the pain never bothers me. If I can get the hang of it (and if I do, I’ll report back), I can be fuzz-free more frequently. Just because I’m a philosopher doesn’t mean I don’t want to feel pretty!

  13. Rebecca says:

    I use a Philips epilator for underarms and nether-regions. Of course it hurts, but it’s tolerable. I’m thinking of trying that springy thing for upper lip – I looked at it before and though it seemed ridiculous, but maybe it’s worth a try.

  14. Green Janie says:

    Am a big fan of waxing. I am pretty much the most anti-shaving person you could meet as not only does it not last but it makes hair coarser!!! I have found through personal experience that sugar waxing can be even better that regular waxing because the products are cheaper and you can even remove it without strips (just by letting it cool and rolling it off with your palm). I have to admit that using cotton strips is less painful and faster, which I consider preferable when it comes to bikini line! It is also more economical as you can reuse strips.

    Hope this is useful,
    Good luck!

  15. She Who Must Not Be Named says:

    I tweeze my eyebrows and renegade chin/jaw hairs.
    I sugar wax my upper lip hair (MOOM Organic Hair Remover).
    I shave my armpits and legs (Kiss My Face Fragrance-Free Moisture Shave & Gillette Venus Sensitive Skin Disposable Razors).
    I trim my “special place” (Gillette Venus Bikini Trimmer).

  16. JeanineD says:

    I am going to fully disagree with everyone who suggests going to a salon and getting this done by “a professional”. I started waxing/sugaring years ago and it is so much cheaper and convenient at home, plus I get exactly the results I want which was not always happening when I went to a salon. And that is without considering the risk of bacterial infection from double dipping the spatula in the wax. Yes, you do need to be a bit flexible to do it down there (and a good large lighted mirror) but it is not much harder than anywhere else. I do my full legs, bikini (even brazilian!) and my underarms. For my eyebrows I use a tweezer instead, much prefer the results this way and I don’t need to wait for the hair to grow to a certain length (meaning you look great for a week or two and like Groucho Marx the rest of the time). Since you are not very experienced, I would definitely recommend you start with sugar and not wax. I had a friend of mine who tried to do it with wax once and ended up totally stuck (pun intended) and having to ask her boyfriend to help her pull the strip out! Ouch! Sugar, on the other hand, dissolves in water so if you get stuck you can just always run to the bathtub to get rid of it. I also find I get no ingrowns from sugar, whereas I always do with wax (I think it leaves residue inside the pores). Other than that, make sure it is not too hot, rub the strip well to make sure it adheres well to the hair, and pull against the growth (not always easy as you will find), and if your hair is long, trim it with scissors before you attempt to wax! I use either MOON or Parissa, which you can get at Whole Foods. Lastly, I do not recommend electrolysis. Did it years ago on my upper lip and it worked great, but a few years later I ended up with a calcified salivary gland in that area which had to be surgically removed and left me permanently hyper-sensitive in that area. I can’t be sure, but I think it was a result of the electrolysis so I can’t recommend, at least over there (I tried it elsewhere and I did not get good results unfortunately).

  17. Katie says:

    Sugaring is the best. There are tons of videos you can research that tell you how to make the wax and use it. I don’t know what the exact term is for the way I do it but it is the traditional sugaring technique where no fabric strips are used. Just the wax itself that you manipulate with your hands. Be careful not to burn yourself. Use some corn starch on your skin because any trace of sweat will mess up the wax. I use coconut oil on my skin afterwards which I think helps sooth and protect it. It you can get the recipe and the technique down, it is sooo cheap and easy to keep up.

  18. philosophotarian says:

    I did it! Inner thigh, full bikini line and then, for the heck of it, my upper lip. It took me a while to get the hang of it (my second leg went much faster, easier, cleaner than my first), but I’ll definitely do it again. Being able to rinse it right off when I overworked (I assume?) the wax and/or got stuck was a real help. I had very fine, very blond hair on my upper lip (I’m probably the only one who ever noticed it) and the sugar took it right off. I did bruise the skin on my first leg a little; next time that shouldn’t happen (nothing after that leg bruised). I also bought the sugar paste from a seller on etsy–since I’ve never done it and since I don’t yet have a candy thermometer, I thought I’d see how an experienced person makes it before I experimented. Still, for $20 (less than the cost of one salon wax), I have enough paste for (probably) 8 more self-grooming sessions.

  19. kechgi says:

    I’ve been using sugar wax for a bit but recently used a piece of a plastic bag in place of strips and I worked far better. Never using strips again. Plastic bags are free and work great.

  20. mandy says:

    @kechgi, didn’t the plastic from the plastic bags melt?

  21. Anna Crowley says:

    Leave it to a professional. Trust me! I’m an experienced esthetician and an adorable salon owner, Honeypot is the studio, and there are certain practices that are so much gentler and easier when done by one who knows what they are doing, especially considering all the certain angles needed for body sugaring and waxing. A glass of sangria, some witty banter and 15 minutes later you’ll be so happy you were feeling adventurous!

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