5 Questions With Jasmine Yong, Founder of Sugaring Studio Sugar(ed)
When Sugar(ed) was first founded in 2016, sugaring was virtually unknown in Singapore—but a lot has changed since then. For the uninitiated, Sugaring is an ancient hair removal technique using a 100 per cent natural and water-soluble sugar paste.
Now, five years on, the homegrown brand has grown from strength to strength with a total of four studios islandwide and a client base of over 20,000. A fifth outpost is planned for this year too. More significantly, Sugar(ed) has helped to disrupt the hair removal landscape in Singapore and open up more meaningful conversations about personal and feminine hygiene and health.
“Since Sugar(ed) was founded five years back, many home-based and brick-and-mortar businesses that provide sugaring services have appeared,” said brand founder Jasmine Yong. Far from harbouring negative feelings towards these businesses, she instead feels grateful to have been able to pioneer sugaring in Singapore.
“This growing market is a positive sign for us because it means that people are seeking out more eco-friendly hair removal choices—for themselves, their future, and our earth. Educating people about sugaring and the fundamentals of skincare has always been at the forefront of our ethos. We have a long yet promising trajectory ahead.”
(Related: 15 Eco-Friendly Beauty Brands to Know)
For the organic, all-natural hair removal studio chain, one could say success has been sweet—but that’s no accident. Since its inception, Sugar(ed) has always been clear about its ethos: to de-stigmatise intimate care.
“We have strived to create a space in which women can feel comfortable expressing themselves and asking questions, be it about sugaring sessions, skincare, feminine wellness or even lifestyle, so much so that in 2019, we decided to extend that discursive space beyond our studios and created The (V) Spot on Instagram—only this time, for everyone.”
(Related: Beauty Talk: Jasmine Yong, Founder Of Singapore's First Sugaring Studio, Sugar(ed))
The Sugar(ed) team isn’t shy about broaching traditionally taboo topics, either—it believes it’s important to educate clients so that they can make the best decisions for their own intimate health.
Yong recalls, “On one occasion, we were sharing information on feminine care with a client but were met with furrowed brows and embarrassed glances because we mentioned the word 'vagina', although [we were] only in the presence of women. On another, we were verbally guiding a client through using her very first tampon, but she was concerned that her virginity would be compromised should she choose to use one. These moments inspired us to do more for the female community, not just in the personal grooming sector.”
Moving forward, Sugar(ed) promises new services to look forward to but it is careful not to rush the process. “We plan to create a couple of universal skincare products, but are also making a conscious decision about keeping production and ingredient sourcing within the region,” Yong says. “So we’re definitely taking our time. We’re also looking at complementary beauty services but aren’t ready to announce anything just yet.”
Here, Yong takes on five quick-fire questions to talk more about Sugar(ed) and sugaring.
Which is Sugar(ed)'s most popular service?
JY Our signature service, the Virgin Brazilian, is still our number one go-to but over the years, we’ve definitely noticed a transition in mindset behind getting one and maintaining its results. For some of us, it might have started with “pruning” our lady garden in preparation for a special visit and having that goal “carry the weight” of the pain. We very often (and happily) learn that after the first session, clients no longer see that discomfort as a barrier and choose to return regularly themselves.
Has your client demographic shifted over the years?
JY The beauty, skincare and hair removal industry generally revolves around a predominantly female community. It’s got to do with culture and stigmas concerning effeminacy. While we do recognise that these norms require time to evolve, it is definitely heartening to see more male clients coming to Sugar(ed). Baby steps, we say.
What’s a common reaction for customers undergoing sugaring for the first time?
JY Before the session, the most frequently asked question is, “Will it be painful?”. After the session, their reactions can go either way: “It wasn’t as bad as I expected” or “The pain was worth it”.
How often is too often?
JY There isn’t really a "too often" for sugaring because clients do pace themselves according to the time taken for hair to regrow. A rule of thumb is to get sugared with at least 3mm length of hair. What’s more important is that clients avoid getting sugared when their skin barrier has been compromised, such as sunburnt skin, after chemical peels or medical-related issues.
Are there any post-sugaring aftercare products that you personally recommend?
JY A two-step routine is all we ask: hydrate and exfoliate. Some Sugar(ed) top-sellers include the Phenomen-all Skin Repair balm, Sweet Cheeks facial exfoliant and Salt Smoothie body scrub—all non-comedogenic, free of harmful chemicals, and formulated to boost sugared skin.