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Waxing vs Sugaring: Everything You Need to Know

The waxing vs. sugaring discussion is not actually a debate. These two hair removal methods have a lot in common.

Sugaring is an ancient technique, just like waxing.

There are only a few aspects that set them apart.


As you’re going to see, those few difference can easily influence your decision on which one you’d prefer trying or mastering at home.

Waxing and Sugaring Similarities

Waxing vs Sugaring: What Really Sets Them Apart?

waxing vs sugaring similarities

From my point of view, the answer is obvious.

One of these two hair removal costs basically nothing.

As long as you do it at home.

Those salon prices are outrageous.

Yep, it’s the one that sounds like a candy not the one that reminds you of bees.

A good at-home waxing kit is about $50 and you only need to get the hard wax after that, which costs about $10 for 14 oz (400 g).


Sugaring only involves sugar, lemon, and water.


The composition is edible but use it remove unwanted hairs.

Sugaring is definitely cheaper (the cost is pretty much non-existent).

Sugaring recipe

sugaring recipe

The recipe only consists of: sugar, lemon, and water.

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water

It might be possible that you’re not going to nail it from the first try.

But it’s important to follow the instructions precisely.


Watch some YouTube videos before actually going near a stove.

Here are the specific steps to make the sugaring recipe:

  • grab a pot, one with a thicker base is ideal to make sure that you don’t burn the mix
  • add the sugar, lemon, and water and whisk them together
  • put the pot on the stove, medium heat, and bring the mix to a boil for 5 to 7 minutes
  • stir it a bit in the beginning but once it starts to boil it’s best to leave it alone otherwise it might turn into hard candy, it’s the same principle that applies when making caramel
  • it should have a rich golden-brown color, sort of like a dark honey
  • let it cool for about 2 minutes then pour it in a glass container (preheat the glass so it doesn’t shatter)
  • let the paste cool for about 20 minutes
  • test it with the finger to make that it’s not hot, it shouldn’t burn at all, but still be malleable

If this recipe doesn’t help, you can find a different one here.

The recipe above is for hard sugar wax.

It’s the type that doesn’t need muslin strips to be pulled off.

You can also apply it using the fingers, no spatula needed, because it has a thicker consistency.

Use a small amount in the beginning, see if you can handle the pain.

Apply it in the opposite direction of hair growth, let it harden for a few seconds, lift the corners a bit, and pull it in one swift movement in the direction of hair growth.

You can use the same piece of wax 3-4 times.

If you want to make soft sugar wax follow the above steps, just add one cup of sugar instead of two.

That’s the only difference.

The soft sugar wax should have a lighter color, like honey, and once it cools it should be a bit thicker than honey.

After applying it in the same manner as above but this time use a spatula instead, put the cotton cloth or muslin strip over it and pull quickly and swiftly.

Each cotton muslin strip can be used about 4-5 times.

After, you can wash and dry them for your next session.

You can store it in the fridge, heat it up, and you’re ready to remove some unwanted hair again.

How do you heat it up?

The simplest way is to put it in the microwave until it’s melted.

Waxing vs Sugaring: A Difference in Applying and Pulling it Off

Waxing – the strip is pulled in the opposite direction in which the hair is growing.

The wax is applied in the direction of hair growth.

Sugaring – the strip is pulled in the same direction of hair growth.

The sugar wax is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth.

They’re exact opposites.

Waxing vs Sugaring: Is There a Pain Difference?

The good news is that sugaring tends to be a bit less painful than waxing.

Why is that?

In the case of sugaring, the paste sticks only to the hairs, it doesn’t stick to the skin at all.

You definitely have to be patient in the beginning.

Both these hair removal methods require some patience until you acquire the necessary skill and dexterity.

On the other hand,

It’s totally worth it because going to a beauty salon for either waxing or sugaring is very expensive.

I couldn’t spend so much money on either.

The Needed Hair Length is the Same for Both Waxing and Sugaring

For both these hair removal methods, the hair should be at least 1/4 inches long (the size of a grain of rice).

No shaving 10-12 days prior.


You will end up with very smooth skin for a week and a half up to 2 weeks and the hairs start growing back and they become quite visible and after 3-4 weeks you can remove them again.

Don’t shave between sessions because hair grows in 3 cycles so the length won’t be the same if you shave. You disrupt those cycles.

Types of Wax

There are two types of wax:

  • hard wax – is applied on the skin in small strips, after it hardens is simply pulled with the fingers in the opposite direction in which the hairs are growing.

hard wax type

I recommend applying small strips of hard wax especially in sensitive areas – underarms, bikini line, face.

On the legs you can be a little bold, especially below the knee.

From my personal experience, though I’m using an epilator, it’s the area that hurts less.

Hard wax only sticks to the hairs.

It doesn’t stick to the skin.

It’s also very good for those with sensitive skin.

In this aspect it’s similar to sugaring.

  • soft wax – for this type you need muslin strips to pull it off and it’s actually used for larger areas of the body because first, you don’t have to wait for it to completely harden, and second because it can be applied in larger strips

soft wax type

Soft wax sticks to the skin as well as the hairs.

In this respect, it exfoliates better but, when using it, hold the skin taut with your free hand and then pull the strip in the opposite direction of hair growth.

Waxing vs Sugaring: Which is Better?

I definitely like that sugaring is so cheap, anyone can do it at home.

I would be a bit nervous about doing the recipe but it doesn’t have to be perfect from the start.

Keep trying.

I’m not going to lie.

I think that an at-home waxing kit with good hard wax and a warmer to keep it constantly melted for as long as you need to use it, sounds a bit simpler.

I’m not going to lie, take two.

I still prefer using my epilator. I’m lazy and it’s cheaper than waxing because sugaring costs basically nothing.

That’s the definition of really cheap, which definitely makes it worthwhile to put in the effort.

Even though epilation is a bit more painful, all I have to do is turn on the device and I’m all set for an hour of pain and torture and then bliss at seeing and feeling my smooth skin.

All in all,

If you get used to it, either one of this waxing vs sugaring debate can be the perfect hair removal method for you.