BEHIND THE BRAND: Sugar StripEase   

We ladies love smooth, hair-free skin, but who doesn't get sick of shaving their legs, underarms and other 'bits' every few days?

Research shows that shaving is still the most popular method of hair removal in the UK, with 80% of women choosing to remove body hair with a razor and cream. This compares to just 5% of women in France and is one of the highest rates in Europe. But have ladies in the UK got it right and is shaving best? Well not according to Rosie Khandwala, creator of cruelty-free hair removal brand, Sugar StripEase.

Traditional techniques

Growing up as a teenager in Tanzania, East Africa, Rosie, her sisters and their cousins had limited access to imported beauty products so would gather and perform treatments on each other using traditional recipes handed down through the generations.

In Eastern cultures such as India, Africa and the Orient it is traditional to removal all body hair for hygiene purposes and the art is passed down from mother to daughter. Among Tanzanian women it was traditional to use a paste made from sugar, lemon juice and water - known as 'sugaring'.

When Rosie moved to the UK in 1987 she was surprised that the only home treatments available involved razors and creams.

She said: "I found shaving left a stubbly growth and had to be repeated every two to three days, while creams were smelly, contained chemicals to dissolve the hair, and were not the most effective. Beauty salons offered waxing as an alternative, but treatments were expensive and the waxes also contained chemicals."

Say goodbye to shaving mess!

Getting to the root of the problem

What these alternative hair removal methods do not do is remove the hair from the root. According to Rosie, this is key and, while it is not pain free, the long-term benefits outweigh any discomfort.

She explains: "Removing hair from the roots for the first time can be daunting, but the regrowth gets weaker and finer over time and leaves skin smoother and softer without any stubble."

What's even better is that you only have to repeat the treatment every 4-6 weeks rather than every other day.

"The younger you start to use sugaring treatments, the longer you will be able to go without treatments when you are older," she adds.

In essence, Rosie says that by using her traditional sugaring method, which you can do in the comfort of your own home, you are getting almost the same result as costly IPL and laser treatments.

"In these ever-tightening economic times, there are great financial benefits to using an at-home hair removal kit as opposed to going to a salon" she says. "The average cost of getting a half-leg wax at a salon is upwards of £15, but our at-home sugaring kit costs £9.99 and one tub treats three pairs of half legs."

Gentle and smooth

Rosie and her partner, Hafiz, started manufacturing their Sugar StripEase product 24 years ago, starting off making small batches in their kitchen using Rosie's grandmother's recipe. They have since tweaked and refined the process to form the 'gentlest and smoothest treatment of hair removal' on the market.

The chemical and cruelty-free solution

In the UK, Sugar StripEase is available through the Aqua Natural brand and each kit includes a 250g jar of Sugar StripEase, 15 reusable woven strips, three spatulas and a step-by-step guide. It is 100% chemical-free and each jar contains just two ingredients - sugar and water. As it is so pure, it can be used on all areas of the body including the more sensitive upper lip and bikini line.

"A skin-softening blend, it has been formulated to be microwaveable, retaining its heat in the jar so you have plenty of time to treat the areas you wish to blitz," Rosie says.

A sensitive issue

Sugaring is particularly good for people with sensitive skin, for whom shaving can cause irritation. Rosie told Beauty Without The Beasts: "We are constantly being abrasive on the skin by shaving and some people can't use razors or other waxing products.

"If you are going to take out the hair from the root, which is the best way to do it, then you are better off using a natural product not a cream containing chemicals, which can get into your pores and cause irritation.

"Our treatment is nothing new, but what we have done is make is available for home use.

"Waxing products stick to the hair and the skin, so when you peel them off, you are peeling off and traumatising your skin too. Sugar is not abrasive and sticks to the hair, not the skin."

Smooth legs without the salon price-tag

Cruelty-free commitment

Sugar StripEase is the only hair remover certified by The Vegan Society and ingredients are ethically sourced and not tested on animals. Rosie said: "We have been BUAV certified since 1989 and are proud to display the Leaping Bunny logo.

"At Sugar StripEase we do not test any of our products or ingredients on animals, and we are careful to ensure that our suppliers have the same standards."

In addition the company, where possible, uses British suppliers and all its packaging is recyclable, so you can help the environment as well as animals - and, of course, your skin.

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The information given in this feature (ie the cruelty-free status of the brands, product information and prices) is correct at the time of publication (July 2013). For an up-to-date list of cruelty-free brands and their contact details, please see our Where To Shop Guide