Beauty School Directory Blog

The Bikini Waxing Debate: Sugaring vs. Waxing

Posted on: July 23rd, 2009 by Heather 11 Comments

All of the horror stories in the media lately about the dangers of Brazilian waxing and bikini waxing got me wondering, what alternatives are there for men and women who want to go hairless? For those who are tired of shaving but can’t commit to laser hair removal? There is another alternative that’s been around much longer than waxing (supposedly ancient Egypt) but isn’t as popular in salons and spas – sugaring.

And so it begins. The battle of the century. Which hair removal technique is better: sugaring or waxing?


Sugaring – Sugaring is similar to waxing as it rips hair straight from the root, but there are differences in the application. The sugaring paste or gel is applied lukewarm, under no circumstances should you accidently get burned during this procedure. Using a traditional sugaring technique, the sugaring paste or gel is removed the same direction as hair grows; this is easier on the skin and less painful. Sugaring also only attaches to dead skin cells – it won’t accidently remove your skin.

esthetics-hair-removal-sugaring-waxingWaxing – Wax is applied warm, there have been several cases of clients getting burned during this procedure. Wax strips are pulled off in the opposite direction of hair growth, which can be hard on the skin and painful. Wax attaches to both dead and live skin cells making the possibility of skin coming off more likely.


Sugaring – Sugaring has natural ingredients that are less harsh on the skin and are less likely to cause allergic reactions. The main ingredients in the sugaring formula are sugar, lemon juice and water; essential oils may be included as well.

Waxing – Waxes have many more ingredients and most are not natural. Waxes are usually made of resins and can include artificial fragrances, dyes, chemicals, and preservatives.


Sugaring – Bacteria does not breed or survive in sugar; it actually helps prevent infections and promotes healing. Sugaring is also water-soluble, extremely easy to clean up and leaves the skin feeling smooth.

Waxing – Bacteria breeds in wax, can bruise skin, and can cause rashes and bumps. Wax is difficult to clean up; usually heavy oils or chemicals are needed and it often leaves the client’s skin sticky.


At most salons and spas, sugaring costs a few dollars more than waxing. The main reason for the price increase is that sugaring takes longer than waxing.


From most of the comparisons I’ve read, sugaring seems like the obvious choice. I think most of us would be willing to pay a few dollars more for less pain and risk of infection, as well as a better, more natural result.

So why isn’t it available everywhere like waxing seems to be? I’m curious, is this technique is being taught in the majority of cosmetology schools? Does your salon or spa offer it? What are your experiences with sugaring and waxing?


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11 Responses

  1. Nia Vassilonikolidakis says:

    I have been an esthetician for over four years, and I am stunned with all the horror stories I hear about professional bikini and Brazalian waxing. Maybe it is the type of wax we use (Nufree, which is technically not a wax) or maybe I am just good at it, but I have never burnt a Brazalian/bikini client or tore skin. I have tried sugaring and HATED it. First, it took double to triple the time than waxing. You have to keep going over an area multiple times to remove the hair. Second, the sugar is difficult to work with. Too thick, and it does not work. After awhile, the sugar gets too warm and becomes goo. Lastly, it is very difficult to sugar with gloves on. Doing a Brazalian without gloves is not only awkward, but against Iowa code! My vote is a big NO from me with regards to sugaring!

  2. Feuza says:

    Great post! Our salon were in the forefront of the fight against banning Brazilian Waxing in NJ. The main problem was punshing every one due to very small % of incidents and these incidents took place mostly in shady places. I am sure there are nail problems, hair color horro stories and so forth and they have not banned these things. We are just now starting to offer Sugaring and to Studying. With the green and organic movement it is the smarter choice. As far as timing, might take longer for body waxing but as for Bikini Area, not much longer, and worth it.A good waxologist knows what is doing, and does every thing to lesson the pain and sugaring is a good option to offer clients.

  3. hey ladies…hey fueza!!!

    i’m still on the fence with sugaring… I 100% agree with nia…it is difficult to sugar with gloves on…it breakdowns to fast and is very messy…it took me longer to sugar myself, but i chalked that up to inexperience.

    if a client’s skin is just to sensitive to wax…sugaring may be an alternative.

  4. Tina says:

    I have never had an incident with bikini or brazilian waxing. I generally only use hard (green) wax as it doesn’t stick to skin, just the hair. It usually doesn’t stick to my gloves either. I heard N.J. was trying to ban brazilians but am not familiar with the “horror stories”. What ‘s going on?

  5. Cheries Dutton says:

    Great article. I do feel though that waxing is a better alternative. I recently went to my local beauty salon in Fulham (London) where I had a Wax which I highly recommend. They do all types of waxing from legs, underarms & even brazilians. They have a great tranquil environment where it was very easy to relax and the staff are informative & professional.

  6. Jessica says:

    I stand by sugaring for facial waxing especially.
    I have had to have my face waxed for years. I tried laser removal (didn’t work) waxing (ripped my skin) and bleaching (bleached my skin and caused acne)

    Sugaring does take longer but I can leave the salon and go straight to work without fear of irritation, itching, redness or acne. No one would ever know that I have had hair removal 20 minutes prior.

    I say stay with what God made…Sugar all the way!

  7. Tanya says:

    I have been waxing professionally for years, and have sought out to use the best hard and soft wax on the market.

    Yesterday, I made some soft wax from sugar and waxed my legs, underarms, and lip and I have to say, I am shocked and stunned at how gentle it is on the skin. As far as the more sensitive bikini/brazilian area, I am still a fan of the hard wax. I could not imagine taking the time of rolling a ball of sugar, applying, and reapplying, reapplying again, rolling. It is definately an art, and one that should be appreciated.

    As for any style, waxing or sugaring, it’s in the hands of the technician knowing their product and their craft .

  8. T-Baby says:

    Ok soo… I’ve stumbled across this site while googling for more information on Sugaring as my aesthetician just administered this process to me. She’s a completely gifted Brow artist and does an excellent nearly Brazilian ( I haven’t been bold enough to go full Brazilian :) anyway…i go in for my regular appointment – during work which I never do usually because my area is so sensitive from the waxing afterward i can’t stand to have anything touching my skin there. So she asks if i want to try sugaring and everything else she’s ever suggested has been marvelous so i went for it and ….WOOOOOOWWWWW!!!!

    I was in heaven … compared to the usually horrific pain i’m in during waxing – it was virtually pain free! And was actually a lot more comfortable than a traditional waxing, mainly because i wasn’t holding my breath anticpating the RIPPING off of a strip :)

    With sugaring – yes the process was a teeny bit longer and did notice the consistency turned a little gooey towards the end but it was completely wonderful and soooooo incredibly smooth. All i felt were the hairs glide out as she removed the paste – she rolled it up and reapplied and the same again. My aesthetician kind of gently kneaded the ‘sugar’ onto my skin, folded it, kneaded again and removed it – along with the hair. I applied my antibiotic cream as usual and went back to work and have ZERO complaints.

    Go for the sugaring its totally worth it!!!!

  9. [...] Not sure you’re up for a wax? Why not try a great alternative? [...]

  10. hairremovalarticles says:

    howdy, I like all your posts, keep them coming.

  11. Sarah says:

    Sugaring ALL the way!! I can’t believe what a difference it is. Maybe it’s because I have been going to a very experienced aesthetician who only uses the sugaring technique, but it is definitely 100% better. Less painful, no bumps afterwards, less ingrown hairs, and great for sensitive skin. I went to a salon for a brazilian wax a couple months ago, and it was absolutely horrible compared to sugaring. It was more painful, left me with bumps for 2 weeks, and took the same amount of time! Sugaring has my vote… natural and better for your skin.