By Amy Medling, founder of PCOS Diva
For so many years hair growth (hirsutism) held me back. I had tried everything and nothing seemed to work until I was able to get laser hair removal. But I recently discovered a technique called sugaring and used a product called Sugar Sugar Wax. I wish I had found this sooner because it’s a great option for women that want to get rid of an overgrowth of hair from PCOS.
I had a wonderful conversation on my podcast with Salome Sallehy the founder and president of Sugar Sugar Wax. I learned the history, cultural traditions and the technique of how to use sugaring for hair removal. I wanted to share what I learned so you can use choose if sugaring is right for you.
WHAT IS SUGARING?
Sugaring is the practice of removing hair from the root using a sugar-based wax at room temperature. The method doesn’t require any tools, spatulas, strips or special equipment. The sugaring wax is scooped and applied to the skin by hand against the direction of hair growth.
Natural sugar wax is free of artificial waxes, resins and only adheres to hair, fuzz and dead skin so that when applied it is not pulling on live skin and causing pain and damage to the skin like most hair removal waxes. Natural sugar wax is made of organic, renewable ingredients; lemon, sugar and water, that’s it.
A great byproduct of sugaring is the exfoliation of the skin that is both gentle and even, often resulting in glowing skin. Since the sugaring wax only attaches to dead skin cells all the dullness of the surface of the skin is removed gently & without abrasion.
The sugaring method is so gentle on the skin that there is usually less than 10% hair breakage in the process which results in longer regrowth cycles , often as long as 6-8 weeks.
Sugaring is one of the oldest methods of hair removal in human history. Dating back to Ancient Persia where royals would meld cane sugar with the juice of fresh lemons in copper pots over fire. This practice was common in the equatorial regions where cane sugar was readily available and smooth, hair-free skin was fashionable.
As battles were fought and traditions were lost in conquests many regions lost this art, sometimes as a result of also losing access to raw materials, as both cane sugar and fresh lemons could seldom be found in the same areas.
While the process of making sugaring wax has evolved significantly since it was first invented, the technique of application hasn’t changed. Today there are still some cultures in Northern Africa that still use sugaring as their primary method of hair removal. The tradition and technique is usually taught from mother to daughter or from an aunt, and is often a monthly ceremony shortly after the full moon.
It is believed that in the days immediately following the menstrual cycle when estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, women tend to have a higher threshold for discomfort/pain. It also happens to be a period where grooming and beautifying are top of mind (in the limbic brain) in preparation for ovulation.
HOW TO USE IT
How you handle the sugar is partially a function of style and partly a function of use. Some like to control every bit of the sugar wax so they roll it up into a ball; moving the sugar with the thumb around in hand until the wax forms a ball. The sugar likes to hold together so with a few rolls around the hand you’ll have a ball.
Others like to scoop the sugar and apply it right away, loose ends and all.
Size Matters: The size of the lump depends on what you’re planning on applying the sugar to.
For the upper lip area you’ll just need about a finger tip size lump and you may not want such a small lump to be too soft. Whereas your legs would require a much larger scoop; ideally spanning across all four fingers; and you may want it to be softer for ease of application.
Hard vs. Soft: It’s easier to scoop and apply the wax when it’s softer, but starting out warmer will shorten the endurance of the lump, especially in a warm room. A harder (cooler) lump will require more force to apply, but it lasts longer and is easier to handle especially when you’re new to it.
Press, Stretch, Pull – Triple Pull Technique: Think of your 4 fingers as your application tool. First you press the wax onto the skin at your starting point; then you sloooowly stretch it against the direction of growth*, all while pressing. Once you’ve stretched out the lump and reinforced it a few times then you anchor the remaining bit of sugar in your hand with your thumb and you quickly pull the wax in the direction of hair growth*.
*The general rule is to apply against the direction of hair growth so that the sugar gets under the hair and into the follicle.
PHASES OF HAIR GROWTH
It’s important to understand how hair grows. There are 3 phases of hair growth: Anagen (active growth), Catagen (transitional), and Telogen (resting phase). All 3 of these phases are happening simultaneously, although most of your hair is in the Anagen phase.
Since these are overlapping cycles you can see hair start to grow back in as little as 2 weeks. You’ll notice that it’s only about 10 to 15% of the hair that starts the early regrowth.
The secret to slowing the hair growth way down is to do sugaring of the area in 3 consecutive short phases. What that means is that you select an area – let’s say your lower legs – and you sugar the area clean. Wait 2-3 weeks – just monitor the regrowth and as soon as you see about 10% of the hair regrowing at the same pace and at ⅛th of an inch – sugar again. A few of the hairs might be longer but the majority should be at least ⅛th of an inch.
Amy Medling, best-selling author of Healing PCOS and certified health coach, specializes in working with women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), who are frustrated and have lost all hope when the only solution their doctors offer is to lose weight, take a pill, and live with their symptoms. In response, Amy founded PCOS Diva and developed a proven protocol of supplements, diet, and lifestyle programs that offer women tools to help gain control of their PCOS and regain their fertility, femininity, health, and happiness.