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As a thick-haired, sensitive-skinned gal, I have spent more time than I’m willing to admit trying to find ways to remove my hair without absolutely destroying my skin in the process.

I honestly thought I’d tried everything — razors designed for men (because maybe the pink tax was to blame?), expensive exfoliators, shaving creams, and scary hair removal creams that just can’t be good for anybody. I even bought three separate Groupons for laser hair removal in an attempt to just slow the damn hair growth. But that sh*t is WAY too expensive and feels like getting snapped with the world’s hottest rubber band.

When I saw at-home sugaring going viral on TikTok, I realized that I really hadn’t exhausted all my options. And boy, am I SO glad I tried it — because I will never shave again.

What is sugaring?

Sugaring is a form of hair removal using a paste that’s typically made from sugar, water, and citric acid (or lemon juice).

Though the end result is similar to waxing, there are a few key differences:

  • Sugar paste is applied against the grain of hair growth, while wax is applied with it. The idea is that this is less painful and less likely to lead to breakage.
  • You can reuse the same piece of sugar paste for basically your entire body (once you’ve nailed down the technique, of course).
  • Sugar paste is less abrasive than wax, so you can use it on the same spot multiple times without causing damage to your skin.
  • Sugar paste can be dissolved in water when you’re done using it.

Sugardoh is a small business founded by Aliyah Marandiz (aka the sugar mama of Sugardoh), who says hair removal is a choice — but if you choose to remove it, Sugardoh is a planet-friendly way to do it from the comfort of your home. Even better, Sugardoh’s sugar paste uses minimal ingredients and produces little waste, so you can say goodbye to the days of expensive razor heads and wax strips.

After seeing one of Sugardoh’s videos go viral on TikTok, I reached out to the company to ask about testing some products. Marandiz got back to me immediately, and agreed to send me and another editor the Sugardoh Essentials Kit. She said there would be a bit of a delay in shipping since they had just had a recent surge in purchases (thanks, TikTok!), so I had some time to prepare (aka grow my hair out and brace myself mentally).

Step 1: Getting educated

When my kit arrived a couple weeks later, I was more than ready to say goodbye to my ultra hairy legs, so I spent that evening learning all I could about sugaring — what tools to use, the different techniques, and tips and tricks for sugaring different parts of your bod.

Thankfully, Marandiz has super-detailed instructions on the Sugardoh website and TikTok account, which made it SO much easier to figure out WTF I was doing.

Step 2: First attempt (fail)

I decided to sugar my legs first, since they seemed like the least sensitive place to start. After studying the instructions, I applied a Sugardoh Body Powder first to absorb any moisture or oil on my skin. I also warmed the paste for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave to make it a little easier to work with. Next, I took a ping pong ball-size piece of sugar paste and used the applicator to spread it over a section of skin, making sure I was applying it against the grain of my hair and keeping the applicator perpendicular to my leg.

After applying the paste, I used a quick flick to pull back the paste and — $#!T I DID NOT DO THIS RIGHT. Yes, it was my first time, but it shouldn’t hurt like that. Cue a return to the instructions to see what went wrong.

Step 3: Second attempt (success)

Problem solved: I wasn’t holding the applicator at the correct angle when pulling back my hair. Take two.

After 45 minutes of sweaty, intense concentration, I eventually got the hang of it. My legs were completely bare and I was damn proud of my work. To wrap up, I applied an aloe gel that comes in the essentials kit and proudly displayed my naked shins to my fiance. Mission accomplished.

As I’m writing this, it’s been 2 full weeks since I sugared my legs, and I don’t have even the slightest sign of hair growth yet — which is WILD considering I usually need to shave every single day to maintain baby-seal-like smoothness. :’)

I won’t sugarcoat it — 😏 — the whole affair was a process, but one that I’d say was totally worth it. My life and my legs have been changed!

If you choose to remove your hair via sugaring, here are some takeaways I hope save you time and pain:

Lesson 1: Please — I am begging you to read all the instructions

Watch the videos on Sugardoh’s site, scroll through the TikTok account, and read the instructions in the box. Sugaring without the right technique can be painful, lead to bruising, and leave you with uneven patches of hair. Plus, you’ll end up wasting a lot of product and you might get stuck to the floor (more on that in a sec).

Lesson 2: Try it in your bathroom and set up shop on a towel

The best part about sugar paste is that it dissolves in water. The worst part about sugar paste is that… it dissolves in water.

That means that if you get even a little sweaty, it starts to dissolve slightly — which can get really messy. (No joke, at one point, I was stuck to the floor because I didn’t realize I had melted sugar paste on my calf).

But that also means that clean up is pretty easy as long as you’re not sitting on your bed, expensive rug, or cashmere blanket. If you set up a clean space with some washcloths and a big towel to sit on, all you gotta do is fill up your tub (or a big bucket) and soak any pasty cloths until the sugar dissolves. If it gets stuck to your skin, just hop in the shower or bath and massage until it comes off or dissolves.

Pro tip: If you’re applying the body powder often enough (which I didn’t), you shouldn’t have too many issues with melting sugar paste.

Lesson 3: Try the cloth strips

Even though I did a lot of research, I kind of ignored the cloth strips when I tried this the first time. The strips make for a more typical waxing experience — you spread the paste on your chosen area, press the cloth into the paste, and then pull back on the cloth like a wax strip. They make it A LOT easier (especially on your bikini line or armpits), but you’ll also go through more product since you’re not reusing the same piece of sugar paste over and over again. IMO, it’s a beginner-friendly way to get into sugaring.

Lesson 4: Don’t be afraid to try again!

If you’re reading this after trying it once, you’re probably rolling your eyes. I’m NGL, it was really hard to get the hang of — even though I really put in the time to learn how to do it. But the best part about sugaring is that it’s not as abrasive as waxing, so you can go over the same spot more than once. So, if you’re sweaty, frustrated, and covered in melted sugar paste, take a break and try again tomorrow.

Lesson 5: Even though it takes a long time, remember that you only have to do it once a month(ish)

After more than an hour of hard work, I was still pretty convinced my hair would grow back in a few days and the whole process wouldn’t be worth it. But now that it’s been 2 full weeks and I’m still as smooth as I’ve ever been, I am totally sold on spending an hour sugaring myself every month.

PSA: Removing body hair is by no means a requirement for anybody ever, full stop. But if you’re someone that likes to be relatively hairless (like me!), then sugaring yourself at home using Sugardoh’s products is an amazing way to do it. Not only is it extremely effective at pulling out your hair, but the pain is bearable, it’s less harsh than waxing, and it dissolves in water when you’re done. I’m definitely a fan for life — and I’ve already tossed my old Venus razor to prove it. 🙃