While you have most likely heard waxing and sugaring are supposed to make your legs baby smooth for weeks, you might be confused by what exactly they involve. Surely you wouldn’t want to miss out on such a great industry secret, though, so here’s a brief primer on what each entails and whether it might be right for you.

How the hair removal works

Whether you live in a warm climate year-round or just want to look great for summer, both waxing and sugaring can help. Each involves using a thick gel that adheres to hair and, when quickly removed, takes the hair out by the root. This means it doesn’t grow back for several weeks. When it does, it grows in much smoother compared to stubble from shaving, which is much blunter and sharper from being cut off at skin’s surface.

What’s in the wax and sugaring formula?

Waxing and sugaring are slightly different in their formulations. While wax most commonly consists of paraffin or beeswax as a base, with added chemicals, sugar usually contains just sugar, lemon and water. Wax requires a strip of cloth pressed on top to be effective, while sugaring removes hair with the gel alone.

Before you go assuming that sugaring must therefore be better, though, keep in mind that sugaring is harder to find and therefore is typically be a bit more expensive at salons. Plus, it is a more difficult method to get right, so you have to be extra careful to go to a reputable service provider. It does, however, carry less risk of irritation or rash, because unlike wax it does not adhere to skin – it sticks only to hair, and that’s it.

The Bottom Line, Hair Removal Style

At the end of the day, both waxing and sugaring are beneficial methods of hair removal. While they are certainly spendier than shaving, this cost is balanced by the fact that you don’t have to go back into the salon for 4-6 weeks, and the hair in between sessions is much finer and less noticeable. So this summer, you may just find the surest route to smooth lies in one of these techniques.