Sure there’s shaving, waxing and fancy lasers, but there’s no sweeter way to rid limbs and loins of unwanted hair than sugaring.
It sounds more like something you’d do to cake than your bikini line, but sugaring, or Persian waxing, is an ancient technique that removes hair with a simple paste of sugar, water and lemon juice. It’s a great natural alternative to traditional waxing for anyone allergic to wax, averse to chemical ingredients or not that keen on pain.
You can easily whip up a batch and do this at home – you'll find no shortage of recipes and advice online regarding techniques – but, depending on deftness and what you're waxing, you may prefer an expert hand. I recently popped into the Hive Salon on South Great George's Street in Dublin for first-rate service from Lindsay Leggett, or Lindsay the Sugarist.
The scuba-instructor-turned-aesthetician started out honing her epilation skills at a premier sugaring studio in her home town of Seattle, Washington, or what she calls "ground zero of the sugaring revival".
Four years and “17,000 crotches” later, she moved to Dublin with her husband, who is Irish. She has been up and running on her own as the Sugarist for two years now, operating out of her cosy studio at the Hive from Tuesday to Saturday.
Lindsay removes hair from pretty much anywhere – ears, noses, butt cracks, you name it – but she’s not keen on sugaring eyebrows or beards and her “area of expertise” is the bikini.
After dusting the area with powder to remove any moisture, she pushes a sticky, lukewarm wad of honey-like paste (Lindsay uses Tamara’s organic hair removal sugar paste) on to your skin and begins working it into the hair.
With quick, expert flicks she then pulls the sugar away in the direction of the hair growth, unlike traditional waxing where hair is pulled against the growth. This removes the hair at the root, meaning there’s less breakage and slower regrowth. She rolls up the sugar paste and repeats until all the desired bits are hair-free and silky smooth.
The sugar solution grabs on to shorter hair better than wax, so you don’t have to let your hair grow out longer than you’d like it to between appointments.
You should stay completely hair-free for about two weeks, and regrowth is likely to become finer and sparser with each subsequent sugaring.
So how does it feel? I’d choose it over waxing any day. It doesn’t pack quite the same pinch and it doesn’t feel like molten lava – and it doesn’t hurt that Lindsay distracts you with a breathing exercise, Tootsie Pops and I-feel-like- I’ve-known-you-for-years conversation.
Post-sugaring, she recommends that you avoid exfoliation, hot water, exercise and “hanky panky” for 12 to 24 hours. After that, exfoliating regularly and keeping hydrated will help stave off ingrowns, which in any case are less likely with sugaring.
Prices for the bikini start at €20 (lindsaythesugarist.com), and if you’re undecided or timid when it comes to ‘style’, believe the woman who has literally seen thousands of crotches when she says there is no ‘normal’.
“People ask me: ‘Is this normal? Am I normal?’,” says Lindsay. “And I feel really happy that I’m able to say: ‘Yes, you’re normal. Whatever you want it to look like, that’s what it should look like.’ And anyone who doesn’t like that should just kick rocks.”
Amen to that.