Sugaring (epilation)

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Sugaring, sugar waxing or Persian waxing is a method of hair removal that has been in use since 1900 BC.[1][2] Historically, sugar was confined to the regions surrounding Persia until the first millennium AD. As a result, it is speculated that honey was the first sugaring agent. Sugaring was also known as sukkar or ḥalawa in the Middle East, as ağda in Turkey, and as moum in Iran.[3]

Sugaring is often compared to standard waxing. During the process, a sugaring substrate sticks to and essentially removes hair without attaching to the skin. The substrate can be applied at room temperature or heated to a lukewarm temperature, minimizing the risk of burns.[4] For this reason, sugaring is generally preferred over waxing when it comes to removing hair from larger areas of skin.[3] If someone has sensitive skin, sugaring can nevertheless result in skin irritation and reaction.[4] However, this can sometimes be prevented by taking an anti-histamine. Sugar itself is otherwise hypoallergenic.

There are some distinct differences between home and professional-use sugar paste. The majority of store-bought products contain wax, while homemade pastes often utilize sugar and other natural ingredients.

Sugaring paste[edit]

Sugaring paste can be prepared with common household food items such as water, sugar, lemon juice,[4][5] cornstarch,[6] honey and molasses. Lemon juice is added for its acidity, which breaks up the sucrose into fructose and glucose. As in candy making, this gives the finished sugaring wax a non-crystalline, or amorphous, structure. Getting the correct consistency takes practice for most users. Pre-made sugar paste is also sold. This includes professional and retail versions, which may contain guar gum among other ingredients.[4][5] Since sugaring paste is water-based and water-soluble, the substance can be easily cleaned up with warm water.[4][5] Sugaring is sometimes preferable to waxing because it has no resins, except for guar.[5]


With the strip method, the area to be epilated is typically dusted with powder (commercial or corn starch) prior to application of the sugaring solution, which is spread on with a spatula or tongue depressor. Some eco-friendly salons have noted that these products are not necessary for applying the sugaring solution.[6][7] After the sticky paste is applied to the skin in the same direction of hair growth, a strip of porous cloth or paper is pressed into the preparation and quickly removed, with the strip taking hairs along with it.[4][6] Afterwards, the process can be repeated after 8–10 days of hair growth. This is unlike the 3–4 weeks worth of hair growth traditional waxing requires.[7]


  1. ^ Tannir, Dania; Leshin, Barry (March 2001). "Sugaring: An Ancient Method of Hair Removal". Dermatologic Surgery. 27 (3): 309–311. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.2001.00175.x. 
  2. ^ "History of Shaving". Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Fernandez, Alexandra A; França, Katlein; Chacon, Anna H; Nouri, Keyvan (2013). "From flint razors to lasers: a timeline of hair removal methods". Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 12 (2): 156. doi:10.1111/jocd.12021. ISSN 1473-2130. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Sugaring vs waxing". Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Your Questions". Retrieved 11 April 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sugaring". 11 April 2009. 
  7. ^ a b Namkung, Victoria (2010-03-18). "A Sweet (and Green) Way to Remove Hair". Retrieved 2014-08-22. 

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