To sugar, or not to sugar? Let's start out by describing the differences between waxing and sugaring. Waxing uses a resin-based product to remove hair by the root and comes in either a soft or a hard form. Soft always requires a strip. It may already come attached to a strip or be applied with an applicator and then the strip is placed on top. Hard wax is always applied warm and is removed with the hands or fingers, no strip required.
With waxing, you generally need 1/4-of-an-inch of hair for the product to grab onto and successfully be removed. It depends on the kind of wax being used, the type of hair and how skilled the person is—but sometimes hair a bit shorter than 1/4-of-an-inch can be removed.
Real sugaring products are made of natural ingredients like sugar, water, and lemon juice, and is therefore a much less artificial product than many waxes. There are two types (paste and gel), and while made of the same recipe, they require two different hair lengths.
This is warmed up to the same consistency as soft wax. It’s also applied with the direction of hair growth, and removed against it, just like soft wax (this technique helps lessen the chance of ingrown hairs). It requires strips to zip off the product. So you still need about 1/4-of-an-inch of length for the sugar to grab onto.
This is the traditional technique that is much thicker and isn’t very warm (about room temperature). It requires more skill to use than the gel and because it's applied against the direction of hair growth and then removed in the direction that it grows with the hands. Using this method can remove hair as short as 1/16-of-an-inch.
In short, sugaring paste can remove much shorter hair than waxing can. As a plus, most people say sugaring is less painful and tends to cause less redness and irritation than waxing. And, since it isn't scalding hot, it won't cause the burns that some gels and waxes can. In terms of grow-back, however, sugaring and wax are generally on par with one another.
Issues Removing Hair
Even if you have the minimum amount of hair growth, you can still have some challenges removing the hair. For example, pre-made wax strips are notorious for leaving hair behind. Soft wax can also disappoint. If the skin isn't prepped correctly, or if the wax isn't warm enough or is applied too thickly, stragglers may remain. Hard wax also takes much more practice to get down, as it needs to be put on more thickly and should be allowed to cool before removing.
Sugaring may also not be as sweet of a hair removal process as you'd like. Not cooking the sugaring product together just right, the humidity, and removing the strip fast enough all play a role in getting silky smooth.