Real talk: long lasting hair removal hurts. In fact, all types of hair removal are uncomfortable, some more so than others, with varying degrees of results. So what’s the best option to minimize discomfort and get you the soft, smooth skin you crave? Let’s compare the various risks, rewards, and pain caused by different hair removal methods:  


While it doesn’t hurt to shave — unless of course you cut yourself — shaving can cause a painful rash and ingrown hairs.  And you have to do it far more often which compounds the irritation and creates tiny cuts that can get infected.

Depilatory Creams

Removing body hair with a depilatory cream like Nair doesn’t hurt, but it does smell horrific and has the potential to burn delicate skin. After all, any chemical that is melting hair can’t possibly be good for your skin.

Laser Hair Removal

The lasers work by targeting pigment changes under the skin and forcing heat into the follicle to destroy the hair. Pushing a burst of heat under the skin is painful; numbing creams can help a little but don’t really get deep enough to really take the edge off. If performed incorrectly, lasers can cause serious burns.


Uncomfortable, and can be excruciating if the service provider is untrained, inexperienced or is rushing to finish your service. In addition, waxing removes hair backwards which pulls and contorts the follicle and increases the pain. Wax can burn and tear the skin if not applied properly, and let’s not forget, if the hairs break off under the skin, you can experience painful, unsightly ingrown hair bumps.

Sugar Hair Removal

Sugaring, or sugar wax as it’s sometimes called, is hands down the gentlest way to remove hair. With that being said, we are pulling hair out, so you can expect it to hurt at least a bit. (Clients report about 50% less discomfort than waxing!) The best part about sugaring is you won’t experience any unpleasant after effects, no cuts or nicks, no chemical burns, no tears, no ingrown hairs. 

7 Tips to Minimize Discomfort Before Hair Removal:

  1. Take care of your skin properly between appointments by exfoliating during every shower and applying lotion afterwards.
  2. Exfoliate with the proper product, in the right direction, for the right amount of time. Trust me, your provider can tell if you’ve kept on top of this.
  3. Moisturize. Oil isn’t lotion. Lotion is water based and adds moisture to dry skin. Oil is an occlusive that holds in moisture, but doesn’t add any to already dry skin.
  4. A few clients have ingrown hairs no matter what they do and require a treatment product to alleviate the problem. Enzyme treatment products, such as the one we use at Sugar Spa STL, also loosen the hair for easier removal.
  5. Hair that is too short, less than 1/4 inch or approximately 2 weeks of growth, creates a more uncomfortable experience. Shorter hair requires the provider to pull much harder to remove it.
  6. Some clients swear that taking an ibuprofen 30 minutes before your appointment makes a difference.
  7. Numbing creams don’t work; save your money. I’ve personally tried them all and can say they don’t make any difference. The reason is because the hair is connected and growing under the skin and numbing creams only desensitize the surface.

The Best Ways to Reduce Discomfort During a Hair Removal Service:

– Remember to breathe

– Use your hands and stretch the area your provider is working on. Tighter skin allows the hair to come out easier. That means you have to put your phone down. Yes, I take clients phones away on a daily basis.

Come in regularly, every 4-6 weeks. Longer than that means you have more hair growth phases that have returned, making it more painful.

Trim if the hair is longer than one inch. Or we can trim for you, but we charge for that. 

Relax and remember this is a voluntary service you asked to have done. The discomfort is short and temporary, but the results are awesome.

In conclusion, there is no way to remove hair with long lasting results that is completely pain free. (If there was I would be a very wealthy woman!) But of all your options, sugar hair removal is the gentlest way to have smooth, healthy, bump free skin for up to 5 weeks.