How Much Hair Growth Is Really Needed For Waxing & Sugaring? Here's What To Know

It wasn't until the 1920s that women started removing their body hair. Until then, the concept of living a hair-free lifestyle, if you had a vulva, wasn't on anyone's radar. But as sleeveless shirts and shorter hemlines came into fashion, advertisers realized there was a money-making market there. Because of this, ads for hair removal creams started targeting women, and by the 1940s, hairless body parts were the norm, per Vox.

Although body hair is personal and no one should ever feel pressured to remove any of it, these days we're surrounded by lots of hair removal options. There is, of course, the cheapest method via razor shaving at home, but there are other techniques that, unlike shaving, last much longer. Two of those options are waxing and sugaring, both of which are great in their own way because they pull the hair out from the root, as opposed to just cutting it as shaving does.

But no matter which approach to hair removal you prefer, it's important to realize that you need new growth before going back under the wax or sugar. While some salons will estimate the number of weeks before you make your next appointment, that's not very accurate because hair doesn't grow at the same rate for everyone. According to Medical News Daily, hair grows between 0.2 and 0.7 inches every month. It's with this in mind that you should schedule your next wax or sugaring.

Necessary hair growth for waxing

If you're looking to get waxed, you need about 1/4" hair growth. The reason for this is simple: the wax needs to latch onto something. If the hair is too short, the wax struggles to hang onto it, so it can't be successfully pulled up from the root. When this happens, there can be hair breakage, which is not much different than the stubble that comes with shaving. On the other hand, hair that's too long isn't that much of a problem, despite it being more painful when it's pulled out. If you think your hair might be too long, do yourself a favor and don't cut it. Leave that to the experts.

"Most women worry about their hair being too long for a wax and will trim beforehand, but the problem is they sometimes take that hair too short for us to be able to grip the hair and wax," wax technician Chloe Scriminger told Cosmopolitan UK. "Hair must be at least 6mm in length, or a good two weeks growth from a previous shave ... we always trim our clients beforehand [as] we have specialized sanitized bikini scissors." You may think you're helping out by giving yourself a trim before your appointment, but people who are trained in this field have a better eye than those of us at home with a dull pair of scissors.

Necessary hair growth for sugaring

If you prefer to go the sugaring route, then you can do it as soon as you have 1/8" of hair growth — or even shorter. Unlike waxing, the sugar paste is applied in the opposite direction, then pulled in the same direction as the hair grows, making shorter hairs easier prey for the paste, per Mind Body Green. "Sugaring has the ability to remove hairs as short as one-sixteenth of an inch, compared to traditional waxing at one-fourth of an inch," board-certified dermatologist Erum Ilyas, M.D. told Forbes. Granted, this doesn't mean you need to pop into your waxer's office the second you have 1/16" of hair growth, but for those who like a super clean, smooth, hairless look, you do have the option to go more frequently than you would with waxing.

There's no right or wrong way to remove body hair because it's all about what's best for you, the look you're trying to achieve, and your skin type. People with sensitive skin who don't mind hitting up the aesthetician every 1/16" of hair growth tend to lean more toward sugaring, while others who don't have those concerns might prefer waxing. You won't know what's best for you until you give them both a try.