Sugaring in Singapore: The costs, benefits, and risks of this (relatively) painless hair removal technique
It comes as no surprise that both ladies and lads have a complicated relationship with body hair. Thanks to unrealistic beauty standards, we're constantly battling the never-ending stream of issues with our fuzz — from overabundance to deficit. And while many a movement are underway embracing hairiness in all its states and forms, unlearning years of what society considers "ideal beauty" is hard work. Luckily, the community is making big strides in embracing individuality. Glitter-bomb your pits? Why not. A full bush? Sure. Bare as the day you were born? Works too — though you're probably going to have to suffer a little for it, considering what we know about waxing and IPL treatments.
But maybe, you don't. Meet the new (sort of) kid on the block: sugaring. Originated from ancient times in the Middle East, sugaring involves a natural paste which pulls off body hair with significantly less pain and damage done to hair follicles. A practice still relatively under-the-radar in Singapore, we set out to get the dirt on the costs, risks, and benefits of the process.
How does sugaring work?
According to Jasmine Yong, founder of Singapore's first sugaring studio, Sugar(ed), the technique utilises a 100% natural and water-soluble paste made of water, lemon juice, and sugar. The paste is slathered on at body temperature and removes only dead skin cells, leaving skin soft and smooth — as opposed to red and irritated.
Is sugaring suitable for everyone?
Mostly. It is only unsuitable for people on topical medication such as Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, or Differin as well as Accutane as it can make skin more susceptible to tearing and irritation. Consult your therapist if unsure.
Why does sugaring hurt less compared to other forms of waxing?
"Hot wax attaches to the hair and the skin, pulling skin cells with it as it is removed. This is not only painful, but can cause redness, swelling, inflammation, and even bruising," says dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D, in an interview with Self. "If the wax is too hot, it can also burn your skin, especially in sensitive areas. Sugaring is a much more gentle method of hair removal as the paste does not stick to your skin — it only attaches to the hair." Hair is also removed in its natural direction of growth, meaning far less breakage and fewer ingrown hairs.
What are the benefits of sugaring?
For one, its all-natural formulation makes it suitable for sensitive skin types. Sugaring is also easier to remove as compared to wax due to its water-soluble formulation. It doesn't have to be used at scalding temperatures (like wax) either — which reduces the chances of burns — and leads to a permanent reduction in hair growth in the long-term. This is attributed to how hair bulbs are removed with each sugaring session, which causes the collapse of the follicle. The follicle has to be reconstructed each time, and hair needs to be strong enough to push through the collapse. Over time, hair gets weaker and eventually the follicle stops producing hair completely. Score.
Sugaring also doesn't come with the side effects that IPL typically exhibits, too, such as swelling and pigmentation. Moreover, there is no destruction of follicles and hair roots involved, which means customers won't have to avoid excessive sun exposure before the treatment, unlike waxing and IPL.
Are there risks with sugaring?
There are little to no risks associated with sugaring. In fact, Jasmine points out that sugaring is safe for all skin conditions, and is popular amongst pregnant women who prefer natural methods of hair removal and people with sensitive skin conditions such as eczema.
How do you to prepare your skin for sugaring?
It's best to have at least 3mm of hair growth — as long as a grain of rice — before heading down for a sugaring session. It is also recommended to avoid exfoliating the areas to be sugared three days prior, and to come in comfortable clothing. Be sure to be lotion-, oil-, and make-up free on the areas to be sugared, too.
Is aftercare required after a sugaring session?
Avoid exposing skin to high heat for at least 24 hours after sugaring — this includes sports, saunas, and sex. Reason: when follicles are dilated, sweat and bacteria can irritate freshly sugared skin, which can rapidly lead to inflammation or tenderness and even ingrown hairs down the line.
How much does sugaring typically cost?
It differs based on the salon and the sugaring area of choice, but prices of each session begin from $20 and can go up to $100.
Where to go for sugaring in Singapore?
Singapore's first and only professional body-sugaring studio covers a comprehensive range of areas when it comes to hair removal. Think arms, legs, and between your bum! For those new to the sugaring scene, we say opt for the Virgin package which comes with a Hungarian Mud Treatment to soothe and prevent skin inflammation.
Led by holistic facialist, Sharifah Fazzeleen, Flare Wellness provides a careful curation of oils, elixirs, and formulations in their treatments — all of which are botanical, organic and environmentally friendly to ensure suitability for those with even the most sensitive, finicky of complexions. Sweet, eh?