Sugar is the new wax

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Sometimes in life, you just need a spoonful of sugar… but not in the way Mary Poppins way. At the newly opened Sugar Bar Salon in Rittenhouse, sugar is used for a beauty treatment that dates back to the earliest forms of hair removal—just many people don’t know that this type of treatment still exists. 

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Sugar Bar is the City of Brotherly Love’s first women-led centrally focused sugaring salon, and although this concept has been done since the ancient Egyptians roamed the earth, Philly so far has only seen a few other spots pop up that offer just solely the treatment as its specialty. The salon was set to open earlier this year, but for obvious reasons, Sugar Bar had to put a hold on their plans and instead cut the ribbon in the summertime offering limited capacity. 

“I wouldn’t say that any of this has been a struggle because I feel like this place really sells itself,” says Alexandra Heck, Head Esthetician of Sugar Bar Salon. “Especially through social media and the specials that we have, our location is insane. Also you come in and the atmosphere is super chic, modern and eclectic inside, so, it’s been able to promote itself pretty well. The only thing is, when this place was supposed to open, we were supposed to have four times the amount of clients that we are currently allowed to have that we are unable to take now because of COVID.” 

Sugar Bar was designed by DAS architect Sharon Fahnestock, who has worked on other notable locations in the city such as the popular rooftop spot overlooking the Avenue of the Arts, Attico and Boyd’s Philadelphia. The venue was designed with the intention to not only provide a much-needed service for many women (and men), but to also help inspire confidence and promote a place where people can unwind and feel their best. Something that is extremely beneficial during uncertain times such as this. 

“We really pride ourselves on making women and men feel as comfortable as they can when they come in,” adds Heck. “Obviously, this is an intimate service and what we’re trying to do is make it as comfortable as possible while giving someone that experience of being in a high-end salon. We give complimentary champagne and wine when they walk in and we make them feel as safe as possible with the regulations that we’re following with temperature checks and things like that. It’s just the kind of service that sells itself. People can see immediate results even from their first time coming in.” 

So, what does sugaring entail exactly? The formula might sound complicated, but in reality, it’s extremely simple. 

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“Sugaring is basically the oldest form of hair removal that we know of. It’s created with three ingredients: Sugar, water and lemon heated up and cooled down to a taffy paste. That’s then applied to the skin and there’s no heat to it,” explains Heck. 

Sugaring, although not well known for hair removal, is actually the most effective— especially for those with sensitive skin. 

“It’s non-abrasive and it’s great for people with sensitive skin in general because it doesn’t adhere to any live skin cells. Waxing does the complete opposite—waxing adheres to the live skin cells, is abrasive because it does remove those live skin cells and for people with sensitive skin, it makes them sensitive for a couple of days. Sugaring doesn’t and sugaring helps prevent ingrown and helps stunt the hair growth more than waxing because it’s pulling the hair out of the root while damaging the root more because it’s pulled out of the same direction as it grows, and waxing does the opposite.” 

Sugaring recently has become the most popular on the West Coast and has seen shops pop up around the East Coast in the Big Apple and now in the City of Brotherly Love. The procedure is simple, and it’s also safe. Having someone that close to you during a pandemic can make some nervous, so the Salon has decided to take every precaution they can to help ensure that everyone from the estheticians to the customers can remain healthy. 

“It’s been an adjustment for sure, but it was something we didn’t know was going to be an obstacle when we planned on opening,” says Heck. But, we are following all of the regulations and we’re taking it really seriously. We have to make sure we have at least 15 minutes in between appointment times, we’re cleaning, and we’re taking all the precautions we can with temperature checks. Masks are obviously mandatory, and there will be sanitizer for everyone who walks in etc.” 

For now, the Salon has four private rooms for guests to book sugaring appointments for a variety of areas (legs, bikini, underarms and sideburns.) The establishment also hopes in the future to host private events for product launches and groups, but that will come as restrictions ease. Heck also says that other services such as lash tinting, lash perming, brow waxing and laminating may soon be offered. Those who sign up can also buy monthly memberships or receive first-time discounts, and healthcare workers and students also receive an additional 10% off. 

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“It’s just been pretty exciting to see people’s reactions when they come in to such a beautiful space,” says Heck. “It’s Instagram catchy, but it’s also just really clean and it’s a very boutique-y feeling which is great. We play good music, and we want to create an atmosphere where a woman just feels really comfortable and confident when she leaves.”

For more information or to book an appointment, visit sugarbarsalon.com

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