Waxing and sugaring

March 18, 2021 3 min read

Why waxing can cause ingrown hairs

Whilst it's possible to get ingrown hairs with any hair removal method, waxing is one of the worst culprits for causing them.

The hair is pulled out rapidly and this disrupts the lining of the hair follicle. When it starts to re-grow, it doesn't have the lining to guide it and no longer has a way to get out of the skin. Sometimes the hair breaks rather than being removed from the root and this can make it hard for the new hair to pierce the skin and grow back properly.

However, waxing over long periods changes the growth cycle of the hair follicle leading to slower growth and a weaker follicle. Even though the hair doesn't stop growing completely, this leads to less waxing and ultimately, fewer ingrown hairs.

Top Tips

1. Exfoliate regularly to buff away dead skin cells. Your last exfoliation should be at least two days before your wax treatment.

2. Moisturise your skin until the day before your wax treatment to keep skin hydrated.

3. Find a salon that uses an all-natural wax made for sensitive skin as this is applied at body temperature to minimise irritation to your skin.

4. Use a skincare treatment such as Daily Treatment Oil immediately after the wax to calm inflammation and daily thereafter to exfoliate, cleanse the follicle and nourish your skin.

5. Exfoliate a few days after the wax (if the area isn't inflamed) and thereafter 2-3 times a week.

Sugaring v. waxing

You may think that waxing and sugaring are the same. It's a similar process where hair is removed by the root and the skin stays smooth for a long time.

However they are very different. With waxing, the wax is applied with the direction of hair growth and removed against it. Whereas with sugaring, the opposite occurs and the paste is applied against the direction of the hair growth and removed with it.

The problem with waxing

Waxing can be harsh and because the hair is removed against the growth, this can result in hair bending or breaking under the skin surface. When this happens the hair is left inside the follicle and is more likely to become ingrown.

Why waxing can feel more painful

Wax is made using synthetic resins which stick to the hair and live skin cells. When the wax is torn off, the hair and upper layers of the skin are removed. This causes pain and potentially injury through bruising, burning and increased sensitivity, particularly if an area needs repeating.

Why sugaring is a more gentle option

With sugaring, the paste adheres to the hairs deep within the hair follicle and only the superficial dead skin cells. The sugar paste is heated to a lower temperature so there's less risk of burning. The removal is therefore less painful.

Sugar paste is also water soluble so it washes off easily leaving no sticky residue behind.

Waxing and sugaring after care

These methods of hair removal leave your pores open so you're susceptible to bacterial infection in the hours immediately after treatment.

To avoid irritation, inflammation and pimples after a treatment, follow these guidelines.

In the first 24-48 hours:


  • Keep the area clean and avoid heat and friction for 24-48 hours.
  • Use an antibacterial wash (or Exfoliating Tonic) to help prevent infection in the days after your treatment. Always wash your hands before applying any products.
  • Wear clean, loose fitting clothes.


  • No hot baths, showers or saunas (cool to lukewarm only).
  • No tanning (sunbathing, sunbeds or fake tan).
  • No sports, swimming, gym work or vigorous exercise.
  • No scratching or scrubbing the area.
  • No sexual activity after an intimate wax for minimum 24 hours.
  • No deodorants, body sprays, powders or lotion on the waxed area.

Once your skin has settled (a few days after your treatment)

  • Gently exfoliate up to 3 times a week with a scrub, mitt or dry brush.
  • Moisturise every day.