By Gigi Fisher
Originally published in Skin Deep, July/August 2009.
Sugaring is an ancient and natural method to achieve clean, hairless, smooth skin, and it’s replacing waxing in some spas, salons, and estheticians’ offices. Knowing about this option means you can decide whether to learn the technique and offer it yourself or, if nothing else, to know what your competition might be up to.
Sugaring is referenced in the earliest writings of Egypt, Greece, and Mesopotamia. The beautiful women of the Egyptian pharaohs’ households were known for their hairless, smooth skin. Over time, sugaring products and techniques have been perfected to ensure the best possible results.
Sugar paste is an all-natural, antibacterial product that can be washed off with warm water. Several types of sugaring pastes are available for professional use and most manufacturers provide training courses. Plan to dedicate about 15 hours to learning the technique.
Sugaring is suitable for men or women of all skin types and for most parts of the body. Hair removal treatments should be scheduled at least every three weeks, more frequently when a client’s hair grows more quickly. The goal is to attempt to remove the highest percentage of hair in an area while it is still in the early anagen stage of hair growth, when hair is approximately 1/8-1/16 inch long. It may be surprising that an experienced sugaring practitioner can effectively remove hair at this length. But this is the secret of sugaring’s success—regrown hair will be visibly softer, thinner, and more refined because it’s been removed at this early stage. With each removal, the hair follicle is depleted until it eventually collapses and cannot grow a hair shaft in that spot. In some cases, this may lead to permanent hair removal. In addition to exfoliating without burning or tearing, sugaring is an especially gentle method of hair removal and is far less painful than waxing. Many clients who try sugaring swear off waxing.
It’s wise to seek out manufacturers who offer hands-on training. Although the technique has been passed down in many cultures over time, the industry today offers refined techniques and pre- and post-product lines. Some companies teach the theory behind sugaring, but also offer practical, hands-on training. Make sure contraindications and home care are also part of your training.
Pathogens and Precautions
Because pathogens can enter the body through cuts in the ears, eyes, mouth, or nose, sugar carefully around these areas and avoid sugaring inside the ear. Other precautions include checking with clients about possible skin infections, washing hands before and after each procedure, wearing gloves on both hands, disinfecting beds and all instruments (clippers, scissors, tweezers), and using, pre- and posttreatment products on every client.
Sugaring is making its way into the spotlight as some estheticians and spas are moving to more natural methods in their philosophies and services. With sugaring, ancient recipes and basic ingredients mean we can fulfill our clients’ wishes in a gentler and more comfortable manner.