Let's start out and describe the differences between these two methods. Waxing uses a resin-based product to remove hair out from the root and comes in the soft or 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 is needed.
With waxing, you generally need 1/4” length of hair for the product to grab onto and successfully remove it. 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.
The real sugaring is made of natural ingredients like sugar, water, and lemon juice. 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. It requires strips to zip off the product. So you still need about 1/4” 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”.
So, obviously the sugaring paste can remove much shorter hair than waxing. But even if you choose the gel, most people say it’s less painful and causes less redness and irritation over waxing.
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, if the wax isn't warm enough or applied too thick, stragglers may remain. Hard wax also takes much more practice to get down as it needs to be put on thicker and be allowed to cool enough 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.