TikTok's Obsessed With Sugar Hair Removal - Here's How To Avoid Disaster



Sugaring has been around for ages – we’re talking Cleopatra days – but this hair removal method has really gained momentum in the last few years as an eco-friendly alternative to traditional waxing. It’s also started to infiltrate the TikTok beauty space, which is where you may have seen the waxing method over the past few months. Instead of melting down plastic beads, which aren’t renewable and just end up in a landfill somewhere, sugaring uses only natural ingredients.  

Here’s the kicker: sugaring works just as well as plastic! Also, you have the option to go into a salon to have it done, or you can buy a sugaring kit for at-home hair removal. Below we’re going into a bit more detail on what sugaring is, how it’s different compared to other hair removal methods, and what the in-home/in-salon process is like. Also beware, we have seen some TikTok disasters, so make sure you read this guide!

What is Sugaring, and What Ingredients Are Used? 

“Sugaring is the process of applying a sugar-based wax by hand and removing the hair and dead skin. There are no strips or spatulas involved in sugaring,” explains Salome Sallehy, the founder and CEO of Sugar Sugar Wax. “Though there seem to be huge variations in process and ratios; all sugaring waxes are made primarily of cane sugar and some sort of citric acid, most commonly lemons or limes.”  

If you’re thinking, “Well, can’t I just whip up a batch at home?” Sallehy says it’s not quite that simple. It took Sugar Sugar Wax about 18 months to perfect their user-friendly formula that can be used both at home or for professional use.  

Another cool thing about sugaring is that one ball of sugar can be used to remove hair from several areas of the body. (If you’re in-salon, rest assured that ball is only used on you and not shared between clients.) Once the sugar has served its purpose, it can be discarded in a biodegradable bag and will become one with the earth! Or, if you compost, you can add the sugary mix straight to your bin. 

@taty_etlSugaring check!🤩 IG: taty_etl ##epilation ##sugaring♬ Why so much people use my sound – Sounds.zxc

What Does Sugaring Feel Like?  

We’re not going to sit here and tell you that removing hair from your body feels 100% pleasant. As with many hair removal methods (plastic waxing, epilator, tweezing), it does come with some discomfort.  

That said, there are some tricks that help reduce the ouch, and some people say that sugaring does hurt less than other options. Sallehy explains that some experience less pain because the sugar concoction is only adhering to dead cells – not living ones. 

After cleansing the area being treated, an in-salon esthetician scoops out fists full of soft sugaring wax and then applies it on the skin in long and slow strokes. It’s truly an art! After applying and restroking the same area, they then flick their wrists quickly to remove a few inches of the sugaring wax at a time until it’s all off. 

Sarah Bourgoin, an esthetician at Elina Organics Spa in Kalamazoo, Michigan, describes sugaring as “warm, moldable taffy applied against the hair grain. Afterward, the treated area is wiped clean to remove any residue. Bourgoin likes to use Elina Organics Oil Control Formula, $48, to sanitize the skin, minimize inflammation, and gently exfoliate to prevent ingrown hairs and excess oil production. 

You can have any part of your body sugared, including your brows, ‘stache, bikini region, legs, arms, and pits. 

How Sugaring Differs from Other Types of Hair Removal  

“When people ask about the benefits of sugaring, I usually respond with ‘how much time do you have?’ There are so many benefits that are equally important that it’s difficult to sum it up in one sentence!” says Sallehy.  

To demonstrate her point, she outlines some of the problems with other methods of hair removal.  

  • Shaving can damage the skin by creating cuts, “razor burn,” and sensitivity. Also, you have that pesky issue of hair regrowth as soon as within 24 hours.
  • Traditional plastic waxing does work, but it’s not without drawbacks. For one, it’s a big old messy operation to set up with warmer, strips, and spatulas. It’s also not as eco-friendly compared to sugaring, and Sallehy says that longer, thicker hairs are sometimes resistant to the plastic wax.  
  • Lasering is another option and doesn’t have waste, but it can be very expensive, and it also requires multiple visits. For many, lasering also doesn’t remove all the hairs, so there’s still a little upkeep required anyway. Also, laser can create some physical damage to the skin if it’s not done well, particularly on deeper complexions.

With sugaring, you’ll see about a four to six-week regrowth cycle, and you can apply it to any skin tone and any hair, and it’s approved for sensitive skin use. What also sets it apart is that you don’t have to wait until hair is a certain length to re-sugar. Of course, the fact that it’s biodegradable and easy to clean up since it’s water-soluble is a major win!  

How to Sugar At-Home  

Source: Sugar Sugar

Bourgoin says that even though she offers in-salon sugaring via Elina Organics Spa, she’s still a proponent of at-home sugaring.  

“In my professional opinion, I think it’s much safer to use at home than a waxing kit. I have so many clients tell me about their mishaps and horror stories with waxing at home,” she says. “Sugar is water soluble so if you get it on an area you don’t want to sugar or if you chicken out you can just wash it off.”

@miradoodlesReal way of sugaring: *no dangerous pouring in a cup* ##sugarwax ##sugaring ##sugaringwax ##smoothskin ##exfoliation ##waxingathome♬ Sugaring w Miradoodles – Mira

You may have seen TikTokers creating their own sugar wax but we recommend avoiding this as it increases the likelihood of wax burns and irritation. Instead, use an at-home kit. The good news is you’ve got a few at-home options out there to choose from, including Sugar Sugar Wax Glow Goop, $36.  

“It’s important to understand that sugaring is meant to be applied by hand and reused, so if you get something that comes with strips and applicators, it doesn’t function on the same principles and doesn’t have the same benefits of sugaring wax,” notes Sallehy. “Sugaring wax isn’t runny like honey but rather hard like tree sap that softens as you play with it and it warms up in your hands.” 

To use, follow these steps:  

  1. Cleanse skin with soap and water, cleansing wipes, or even something super gentle like micellar water. This prevents post-sugaring breakouts. 
  2. Allow your skin to dry so that the sugar can adhere. A drying powder – like Detox Dust, $26 – can come in handy since skin perspires when hair is removed from the follicle.  
  3. Warm the sugaring wax in your hands and slowly apply it against the grain. Stroke about three times so it’s smooth, then flick it off in quick, short bursts. 
  4. Clean off any residue sugar with warm water or use a wet towel and follow up with an oil-free product, like Elina Organics Oil Control Formula, $48.  

For more hair removal options, check out our hair removal guide here.

Disclaimer: Every product we review has been independently selected and tested without bias by our editorial team. We never take payment to review products, however, some brands allow affiliate links, so we may earn a commission if you purchase a product by clicking on one of our links.