One of the most common phrases I hear from my new clients about Sugaring is, “I’ve never heard of Sugaring, is this new?” I love educating others how Sugaring is one of the first methods of hair removal to be discovered dating back to 1900 BC in the middle east. In Ancient Egypt, smooth, hairless skin was thought of as a status symbol of the rich and upper-class. Egyptian hieroglyphics describe how slave girls serving the Pharaoh were expected to remove their body hair as it was considered to be unclean. Writings from Mesopotamia describe kings asked for women to be brought to them clean, smooth and hairless. Aside from those forced to serve the kings and pharos, most woman removed most of their body hair with the exception of the eyebrows. Smooth, hairless skin was the epitome of youth and beauty in their culture, and Cleopatra herself was also known to have her hair removed by sugaring methods. In addition to women, many Egyptian men, Gladiators and Romans removed their body hair, including the hair on their heads, in order to practice “heliosis” a form of sunbathing that was done to strengthen their muscles. Hair was also removed to keep from being pulled when in battle in some areas. In addition to Egypt, Sugaring can be found in the ancient cultures of Peru, Greece, Turkey, Africa and Iran. Sugaring was also known as “sukkar” in the Middle East and in Egypt, as “ağda” in Turkey, and as “moum” in Iran.  Because it is made from simple ingredients such as sugar, water and lemon, sugar pastes have been created for a very long time!

There is a benefit of Sugaring which led to the discovery of this all natural hair removal method. Vast amounts of sugar inhibit bacteria growth causing the cells to die off due to plasmolysis, dehydration or shrinkage of the cells. Essentially, bacteria cannot grow in large amounts of sugar. Ancient Peruvians would use a sugar paste to treat wounds or dress burns in order to prevent infection and aid in healing. Those ancestors discovered when they removed the paste from their healed wounds, it removed the hair as well leaving the skin smooth with very little irritation. In addition to treating wounds, they started to use the paste to remove their hair. They found Sugaring was a faster, less painful, and more effective method than scraping their skin with pumice stones or using flint razors. Sugaring left their skin smoother, more supple, and without stubble leaving hair regrowth softer and finer. Because of its hygienic benefits, it is understandable how sugaring became a lasting and preferred method of hair removal around the region.

As time continued and people immigrated to other lands, the ancient hair removal technique was brought into northern territories like Europe. While sugaring techniques have remained basically unchanged throughout history, when the technique arrived on U.S. soil it started to evolve dramatically. Now there are two very different types of sugaring: the hand method and the strip or spatula method. It is important to recognize the differences between the two because they have different effect on the skin and hair. Traditional sugaring used in ancient times is the hand method. This requires the sugar paste to be thicker, rolled in a ball and applied to the skin in opposite direction of hair growth. It is removed quickly with a flicking motion. The same ball of sugar can be used over and over on the individual until the hair left in the product interferes with the process. A benefit of this traditional method is the sugar only adheres to the hair, which is less painful than all other forms of hair removal. The strip method requires the sugar to be thinner, more like the consistency of honey. This paste is applied with the direction of hair growth and removed against the grain like waxing. Often this method is called “sugar waxing.” Like waxing, the thinner sugar can adhere to the top layer of skin which can be slightly more painful. However, unlike resin waxes, the strip method of sugaring only adheres to the dead skin cells of the top layer, so it’s safer than traditional waxing and cannot lift layers below the top layer also known as the stratum corneum.

Sugaring is gaining in popularity as more and more people are finding themselves with skin irritations and sensitivities. As mentioned, sugar pastes are made of only three ingredients, sugar water and lemon. The mixture is heated up to form a syrup or paste. Thinner sugar can be used at room temperature and is warmed up with the skin. Thicker sugar needs to be warmed up slightly to maneuver. Because sugar will “melt” it is not as effective if used above body temperature. This is one of the preferred benefits when compared to traditional resin waxing. When used correctly, it cannot burn the skin. This leaves the skin in a more symbiotic state, with the less irritation post hair removal. Because the ingredients are natural, there are less contraindications and reactions. In conclusion, sugaring is a gentler and more natural method of hair removal that offers several benefits over traditional waxing. It is less painful, more hygienic, eco-friendly and cost-effective. However, it requires a certain level of skill and practice to be performed correctly, and it’s advisable to seek out professional sugaring services. If you are interested in learning more or trying this organic, all-natural method of hair removal, reach out to me here!