Let me preface this article before I begin. I am in no way saying that women (or men) should remove their body hair, and I don't want to pressure anyone into thinking that they have to. If you want to keep your body hair, go for it! But waxing is my preference. So, let's continue on.
A little background on my hair type—I have very dark thick hair. A blessing and a curse, as I have come to find out! I began grooming my pubic hair in high school, and like most, I started out shaving it. I tried upwards and downwards. Five-bladed razors and shaving cream, but at the end of all these techniques, I was either left irritated or with my hair still visible underneath my skin. So, like many other people in Gen Z, I hopped on the internet and did a quick search. What I found was a comfort. Many women had similar experiences, and their solutions had been depilatory creams or waxing.
Now, depilatory creams and I have a history. I had tried Nair a couple of different times on different parts of my body. Each time following the instructions meticulously so as not to get a chemical burn. With my hair type, depilatory creams usually work fifty percent of the time. That fact, in addition to the minor irritation, and how quickly I would use up the product. Eventually had me researching waxing. In terms of waxing products, I ran the gambit. I've tried strips, microwavable hard wax, DIYing your own wax/sugaring, and professional wax salons. My two favorites are sugaring and professional wax salons.
For anybody who doesn't know, wax salons are businesses where a technician waxes you. Their waxing services include both facial and bodily waxing with a range of different areas. My favorite waxing salon is the European Wax Center. I prefer this one because it has many branches, so whether I'm at school or at home, I get consistent and knowledgeable treatment and services. I've made appointments with many different technicians who've all been friendly. Overall, I would say that the pros of waxing salons are that the service is quick, convenient, and ends with beautiful results. The biggest downside to waxing salons is that the service is pricey. For a Brazillian, which is a relatively small space, it costs $60 plus tip.
I've found that sugaring is the opposite. Sugaring is a very inexpensive way to get waxed, but it takes much longer than going to a waxing salon. When I first started looking into sugaring, I found that it is the oldest way to wax yourself. Sugaring is just as it sounds, a sugar-based wax. Most sugar wax recipes contain sugar, water, and lemon juice. The ratio of sugar to liquid is 2:1. So, however much liquid you have, you want twice the amount of sugar.
1/2 cup sugar (Using regular cane sugar or raw sugar is best. Brown sugar changes the mixture's color, which makes the caramelization process difficult. Powder sugar is just too fine-textured.)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp water
The ingredients are simple, but I found the heating process to be fairly complicated. Basically all you need to do is mix everything in a pot and heat it on medium-high heat. While you're heating your mixture you stir it to keep it from burning. As the sugar mixture begins to take in more heat it will start to become a darker, more caramel, color (this is why it's harder with brown sugar). Different recipes say you can tell when to take your sugar off based upon color or it's consistency dropped into water. I had trouble with both of these methods so I used a digital cooking thermometer. The temperature you heat your mixture depends on what type of sugaring wax you want to make. There is strip wax (think reusable wax strips, cotton, or another natural material should work), soft wax, firm wax, and hard wax. I hard wax because I'm able to use it in every season and it gives me plenty of molding time. Your body temperature and air temperature heat up sugaring wax. For example, in colder seasons I microwave my sugaring wax for 10-15 seconds before I scoop out my ball. Yet in the summer the air temperature warms it up enough for me to be able to scoop out a ball without microwaving it. When you use sugaring wax you mold it into your hair against the grain (in the opposite direction it grows). After you've pressed/rubbed your piece of wax in 4-6 times you pull it back off in the direction of the hair growth. When you pull the sugaring wax off make sure you hold the skin around it taut, so you don't bruise yourself!
Sugaring wax is a great alternative to waxing salons because it's much cheaper. When I first started sugaring I tried making my own wax. My first batch was a failure and while my second was a success I actually ended up purchasing a 12oz container for $17. Either way, DIYing your sugaring wax or buying it, sugaring will be significantly cheaper than going to a waxing salon. Another plus to sugaring is that it is water-soluble! So if you put the sugaring wax on and decide you don't want to pull it off you can just wash it off with hot water. While these are huge upsides, I found that the trade-off was that giving myself a Brazillian was super time-consuming! I've been doing it for a few months now and it takes me around two hours.
For me, both sugaring and going to the waxing salon have their right time and place. As a broke college student living in the time of coronavirus staying at home, saving money, and giving myself a two hour Brazillian is something I'm okay with. When Massachusetts residents are finally allowed out and I get a job and save some money you bet I'll treat myself and go to a waxing salon. But either waxing method is much preferable to me than shaving. While using a razor never irritated my skin I frequently got ingrown hairs which waxing has ended. Waxing also lets me take longer periods between grooming sessions. So, anyone who's been interested in trying out some new self-care, or has been thinking about trying waxing and never has I’d say this is a perfect time! Have fun and good luck!