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Hair removal without the 'Ouch!'

Kathleen Luppi gets her brows shaped by sugaring.

Orange County Register

Kathleen Luppi gets her brows shaped by sugaring.

"Oh wow!" marveled our esthetician. "That's a long one!"

We're at Studio 37 Salon in Huntington Beach, Calif., undergoing "sugaring," a trendy alternative to waxing to remove unwanted body hair.

No need to get all grossed out, folks. Our delightful, professional and talented sugaring expert, Danielle Ghan, is commenting on a hair she yanked from Kathleen's left eyebrow — nothing too funky, so relax.

And despite Greg's joking threat of offering to get sugared down there, well, Studio 37 Salon only offers that service to women. Greg would have wimped out anyway.

So, anyway, about sugaring: The point is to remove hair follicles from their roots. Results can last up to six weeks. Sugaring slows the growth of hair and reduces its thickness. After several years of regular sugaring, the roots will die and your skin will revert to a permanent state of baby-butt smoothness.

Sugaring dates back to the ancient Middle East. Although it's catching on, it's still not a regular service at most salons because it's a specialized skill.

Kathleen opts for the $20 brow sugaring, while Greg decides to stick out his feet and toes.

In a cozy, comfortable room she calls the Zen Den, Ghan plucks a quarter-size blob of gooey, lukewarm, amber-colored paste, which is eight parts sugar to one part water to one part lemon juice. "You could eat this," Ghan says.

Wearing pink gloves, she gets to work on Kathleen's brows, first applying baby powder to the area to absorb oil.

She then applies the lukewarm concoction, which she has formed into a small ball, in the opposite direction of hair growth, then flicks it off in the direction of hair growth. When you wax, hair is ripped off in the opposite direction of hair growth, which can result in ingrown hairs and breakage.

When she's done, Ghan "calms" Kathleen's skin by applying a toner. The slight redness around her brows disappears in about 30 minutes. "It feels like you ripped a sticker off my face," Kathleen says.

It takes less than 10 minutes for Ghan to remove the hair from Greg's feet. The first few yanks of the goop off the skin tingles a bit, but by the time Ghan is close to finishing, Greg is ready for more sugaring.

"No big deal!" he says.

Sugaring vs. waxing

The benefits of sugaring, according to Danielle Ghan:

It's more gentle and less painful than waxing. Sugaring doesn't yank away live skin cells or stick to the skin like wax does, which means less irritation. Miss a few hairs? No worries. Your esthetician can sugar the area again without irritating the skin more.

It's good for your skin, since the ingredients all are natural. Sugar is anti-bacterial.

You can get sugared with shorter hair. Waxing typically requires at least 1/4 inch of hair growth, while sugaring only requires 1/8 inch.

To consider

Sugaring is slightly more expensive than waxing.

Waxing generally takes less time.

Make sure a licensed esthetician who has been trained in sugaring performs the service.

Hair removal without the 'Ouch!' 06/16/14 [Last modified: Monday, June 16, 2014 5:10pm]
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