Sugaring vs Waxing

By Jamie Riverman

People tend to associate sugaring with waxing because they’re both hair removal techniques that lift hair from the root, as opposed to shaving, which only removes hair from the surface layer of the skin.

Despite the similarities, there are some key differences between sugaring and waxing: the direction they are applied and removed.

With sugaring, the sugar is applied in the opposite direction of hair growth and then removed the same direction as hair growth. With waxing, the wax is applied in the same direction of hair growth and removed in the opposite direction.

The process differs between sugaring and waxing.

With sugaring, the cooled paste is applied to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. It’s then removed in the direction of hair growth in quick, small pulls.

Because the sugar only exfoliates the surface of skin, it can be reapplied multiple times to the same area of skin.

Waxing is much more methodical. Both hard and soft wax mixtures are applied in the same direction as hair growth. Once the substance cools and slightly hardens, it’s removed in the opposite direction of hair growth.

Due to how it’s removed, some waxes can be harsh on skin and break shorter hairs instead of removing them from the root. To help prevent this, wax should only be applied to the same area once or twice.


Outside of smooth, hairless skin, there are several long-term benefits for both sugaring and waxing.

For starters, both sugaring and waxing are a form of exfoliation. The process removes dead skin cells from the surface while smoothing skin.

Both waxing and sugaring remove hair from the root, and with continued upkeep the hair will grow back thinner and softer.

Finally, unlike epilators or chemical hair removal, sugaring and hard wax are both minimally irritating — even for the most sensitive skin types.