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I Tried An All-Natural Hair Removal Treatment And I'm Never Gonna Wax Again

Believe the hype, ya'll!

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What's good, ya'll? That's me, Patrice, beauty writer here at BuzzFeed, and that's my hairy armpit. I’ve never been big on body hair removal cuz I’m too lazy for routine shavings and waxing = MY LIVING HELL.

I honestly LOVE how smooth my skin feels and looks after a good waxing, especially a Brazilian wax. I'm also more comfortable when my armpits are hair-free. But whenever I actually get waxed, those painful 15-20 minutes ALWAYS eclipse the result. Plus, getting monthly waxes from a clean, reputable place can get very pricey here in NYC. So last fall, I decided to stop giving away what little coin I had for a service that I hated and started trimming. Tedious? Yes. Painful? No. (ICYWW, I do get my brows threaded. I can endure that pain because it's a fraction of the time.)
Patrice Peck

I honestly LOVE how smooth my skin feels and looks after a good waxing, especially a Brazilian wax. I'm also more comfortable when my armpits are hair-free. But whenever I actually get waxed, those painful 15-20 minutes ALWAYS eclipse the result. Plus, getting monthly waxes from a clean, reputable place can get very pricey here in NYC. So last fall, I decided to stop giving away what little coin I had for a service that I hated and started trimming. Tedious? Yes. Painful? No. (ICYWW, I do get my brows threaded. I can endure that pain because it's a fraction of the time.)

But recently, I'd heard through the grapevine that sugaring—i.e., removing hair with a sugar, water, and lemon paste—is less painful than waxing. So I decided to investigate.

Lionsgate Films / Via giphy.com

There are a few other cool benefits to sugaring that made me take the leap, like slower hair regrowth, little to no ingrown hairs, and overall smoother results. And unlike wax, sugaring paste can't stick to or grab live skin cells, it can only grab to hairs and dead skin. So, you're basically getting a complimentary, mild exfoliation too! (But experts still advise clients to exfoliate before and after the treatment to avoid ingrown hairs and inflammation.)

I booked two sugaring appointments at D A P H N E Spa in Soho: an underarm, which ran $27, and a Brazilian, which was $80 for the initial visit and $68 for maintenance visits.

The sugaring prep was pretty much the same as my other waxing appointments. My esthetician Tora brought me to the room where I took off my pants and underwear. She then had me lie back on a comfy white bed with my legs spread eagle.

Here's an important PSA for all future sugaring clients: Don't trim your hair too short before the appointment! Because that's exactly what I did the night before mine and, as Tora informed me, that meant I wouldn't have the super smooth, hairless results that I wanted. "Make sure the hairs are the length of a grain of rice, at least," Tora told me. "Sometimes clients trim too much (IT ME!) and it's difficult for the sugar to pick up those hairs. Just come in, and if the esthetician needs to trim, they definitely will."
Patrice Peck

Here's an important PSA for all future sugaring clients: Don't trim your hair too short before the appointment! Because that's exactly what I did the night before mine and, as Tora informed me, that meant I wouldn't have the super smooth, hairless results that I wanted.

"Make sure the hairs are the length of a grain of rice, at least," Tora told me. "Sometimes clients trim too much (IT ME!) and it's difficult for the sugar to pick up those hairs. Just come in, and if the esthetician needs to trim, they definitely will."

Next up was the sugar! The thick, gooey paste is a 100% natural mixture of sugar, water, and lemon juice. That's it! It doesn't have any of the irritating chemical additives found in waxes, which makes sugaring an ideal alternative for people with sensitive and/or delicate skin.

VH1 / Via giphy.com

ICYWW, sugaring is possible for anyone, regardless of her hair texture or type. This was a major concern of mine walking into the appointment, because, a while back, another esthetician at a popular NYC-based threading company informed me that she couldn't sugar "my type of hair." Mind you, my hair was relaxed, so I have no idea how the hell she even knew what "my type of hair" was. *insert eternal eyeroll*

Anyhoo, Tora assured me that the only thing she needs to consider when sugaring different hair textures is the consistency of the paste. Thicker hair requires a standard sugar, while softer hair requires a medium to medium soft. For me, Tora used the spa's go-to sugaring paste brand Tamara, mixing both the standard and medium soft pastes because I have thicker hair and haven't gotten waxed in a looong time.

I braced myself as Tora molded the warm sugar paste onto my bush against the direction of hair growth. This part felt a little uncomfortable because the molding movement slightly tugged on my hair.

FOX / Via giphy.com

Just imagine your hair being tugged hard enough to hurt, but not hard enough to be pulled out. Irritating? Yes. But apparently applying the paste in the direction of hair growth helps it to penetrate and lubricate the hair follicle and results in less hair breakage (which means LESS INGROWN HAIRS!!!) and a much slower regrowth process than waxing.

Then, I was instructed to hold the surrounding skin area tightly and take a DEEP BREATH. That's when Tora let 'er rip!!!

Patrice Peck

So the million dollar question: DID IT HURT???

HELL YEAH THAT SH*T HURT!!!

Hulu / Via giphy.com

As soon as Tora flicked her wrist and snatched a patch of my pube hairs straight outta their follicles, I was immediately reminded of why Brazilian waxes are my mortal enemy. Buuut, to be fair, anything that involves hair snatching will probably involve pain.

And did sugaring hurt more or less than waxing? I'd say the sensation was about the same tbh.

The underarm sugaring was a breeze compared to the Brazilian, but that's typically been the case for me with waxing, too.
Patrice Peck

The underarm sugaring was a breeze compared to the Brazilian, but that's typically been the case for me with waxing, too.

So is sugaring really worth the hype?

It's been about three weeks since my appointment and the areas where I was sugared are still looking and feeling pretty damn soft and smooth. I'll also admit that I haven't been good about daily exfoliations because I've been traveling overseas and cross-country all this month. So I braced myself for the inevitable: painful, inflammed, ingrown hairs. But guess what??? NADA! As a Black woman with thick, curly hair, I resigned to a life of ingrown hairs from an early age, so this is a BIG DEAL. The hype around slow new growth turned out to be very real, too! My underarm hairs are definitely growing slower than they've grown post-waxing. My pubic hairs, on the other hand, are pretty much 50/50: some of the hairs are growing slower than usual, while others are growing at the same rate as they did post-waxing. But Tora did warn me that this would be the case because I had trimmed some of the hairs too low. As for the pain, I say to each her own. People experience pain differently, so one person's sugaring hell might be another person's sugaring heaven. It all comes down to personal preference. But if you're someone who frequently waxes, you should definitely give sugaring a chance!
Patrice Peck

It's been about three weeks since my appointment and the areas where I was sugared are still looking and feeling pretty damn soft and smooth. I'll also admit that I haven't been good about daily exfoliations because I've been traveling overseas and cross-country all this month. So I braced myself for the inevitable: painful, inflammed, ingrown hairs. But guess what??? NADA! As a Black woman with thick, curly hair, I resigned to a life of ingrown hairs from an early age, so this is a BIG DEAL.

The hype around slow new growth turned out to be very real, too! My underarm hairs are definitely growing slower than they've grown post-waxing. My pubic hairs, on the other hand, are pretty much 50/50: some of the hairs are growing slower than usual, while others are growing at the same rate as they did post-waxing. But Tora did warn me that this would be the case because I had trimmed some of the hairs too low.

As for the pain, I say to each her own. People experience pain differently, so one person's sugaring hell might be another person's sugaring heaven. It all comes down to personal preference. But if you're someone who frequently waxes, you should definitely give sugaring a chance!

It's worth it if...

• You have sensitive skin, are prone to breakouts, and/or have negative reactions to products with chemical additives.

• You're really into using all-natural products.

• You can afford to go to an experienced esthetician (like Tora) who uses high-grade sugaring paste (like Tamara). Before your appointment, find out what sugaring paste brand will be used and do research to make sure you’re getting the quality you want/are paying for, especially if it’s a higher end place.

It's not worth it if...

• You're getting it because you want a zero-pain hair removal experience. That's what I thought might happen and, boy, was I WRONG.

• You don't feel like/always forget to exfoliate right before and right after your waxes. I know I said I didn't exfoliate religiously after my sugaring, but I think my having done it right before and after made a BIG difference.

BTW, D A P H N E Spa provided the service free of charge. BuzzFeed did not, however, get paid for covering the spa.

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