If you’re into DIY projects,especially during this time of year, ripping one's body hair out at the roots is usually something you might leave to the professionals. But the ancient technique of sugaring is so accessible, why not give it a go? Having a recipe that actually works makes removing body hair seem like a breeze.
- Your skin will love the results and you’ve just upped the ante on your creative style by learning how to innovate a sugar wax that removes body hair and gives your skin a natural glow. So, what’s special about sugaring that everyone seems to be excited about? Here are a few reasons:The Ancients Loved It - Sugaring has been user-tested for a casual few millennia. Purportedly dating to the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt around 1900 BC, sugaring went on to conquer Ancient Greece, Ancient Persia, and has been a popular method in the Middle East for centuries.
- It's simple, cheap, and easy - Essentially, sugaring "wax" is just caramel, and is made of only sugar, water, and lemon juice – affordable pantry staples that often don't require an extra trip to the store. Plus, sugar is a natural preservative, making this last a long time so you don't have to make a new batch every time.
- It works and it hurts less - This sticky paste pulls hair out at the roots without ripping off the top layer of skin. Yeah, it still hurts a little, but much less than waxing, so you might get hooked.
- It's zero-waste, non-toxic, and eco-friendly - Razors create needless trash, and waxing wax has the double whammy against it of being made with questionable ingredients, and needing to be thrown away. Sugaring, on the other hand, is a no-waste operation, and dissolves in hot water to literal sugar water. Did you know you can also eat this? Not necessarily recommended because it's much too sticky to be comfortable on teeth, but it is okay to consume.
How to make your sugaring wax solution
Before you get started, have all ingredients on hand so you don’t have to stop throughout your DIY process to go run and get more. This will eliminate any hiccups along the way.
- 1 cup sugar, preferably organic, fair trade cane sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice, again-- either a bottled organic, or freshly squeezed from the actual source.
- 1/4 cup water
- A bowl with water of any temperature you like
- A candy thermometer, if you have one
- A glass jar for storing -- short mason jar works well, as you’ll need to be able to reach the bottom.
As an aside--feel free to halve or double the recipe to make less or more.
- Pour sugar in the bottom of a saucepan, being careful not to get any crystals on the sides.
- Pour in your liquids, being sure to cover all the sugar. No dry spots!
- Place the saucepan over medium-high heat.
- DO NOT STIR CARAMEL. Instead, do a light swirl to incorporate the ingredients.
- Watch your pot until it boils.
- Watch for your mixture to change to a warm honey color, and not too dark. Then pull it from the heat. You can always put it back on. If you do have a candy thermometer, heat the mixture to 240˚F and pull from the heat. The perfect temperature is going to be different depending on the heat and humidity where you live.
- Turn off your stove.
- When your candy is cool enough to touch, dip a finger in your water and spread it across your fingers and palms so your hands are slightly damp but not wet. Scoop out a hunk of candy and knead it by stretching it between your hands like taffy. If you end up with syrupy hands, you've got too much water going on. You'll know it's ready when the candy turns opaque. Roll it into a ball and you're ready to begin.
- If storing, oil your storage jar as lightly as a jar can be oiled before putting your kneaded ball in. This will make removal much easier.
- If you opt to skip the kneading and to pour your candy into your storage container unprepped, run the glass under hot water first so it doesn't shatter when you add the hot liquid. Keep water out of the interior, though. Kneading before storage will make your sugar easier to handle in the future.
The waxing phase of using your sugar
- Make sure that the hair is about 1/4-1/2 inch long. Hair too long will be more painful to remove.
- Make sure skin is clean, dry, and free of any lotions, oils, etc.
- Beginning at the bottom of the intended hair removal area, rest the ball of sugar against your skin, and use three fingers to push the ball into your skin and up against the direction of hair growth. Without lifting it from its current location, re-stretch the putty across the area to make sure you've got good adherence and coverage. If your sugar pulls up from the skin as you try to stretch it, you've got too much moisture. Try dusting a tiny amount of arrowroot powder or cornstarch on the skin to absorb excess moisture.
- Holding the skin taut, pull sugar putty away from your skin in the direction of the hair growth and as parallel as possible with your body. You may find it easiest to do this in a flicking motion.
- Reform the ball and keep going. Use the same ball of wax until it's not sticky anymore and then start fresh with a new one.
- When finished, remove any lingering stickies with a clean luke-warm wash cloth.
- Wait 24 hours for any hot showers, repetitive motion activities, or soothing ointments or serums. Be extra careful to keep the area clean. After 24 hours, you can apply soothing oil, either coconut oil, sweet almond oil, or fresh aloe vera gel.
- After 48 hours, exfoliate the area and repeat 2-3 times a week. This helps prevent ingrown hairs.
In a nutshell
You're going to have to do this a couple times to find what works best for you. If starting with the soft ball stage--a lighter honey color--you can always heat the wax more, but not less. This will probably be a good temperature for you if you live in a colder region. If you live somewhere hot and humid, you may find that you need to heat your mixture to the firm ball (250˚F) or hard ball (260˚F) stage so that it doesn't get melty and sticky as you work.
If you're heating to a firmer stage, it's highly recommended to knead before storing, or you'll need to reheat your mixture to get it out of the jar. Please keep in mind that the warmer your sugar is, the softer it will be. So if you're working with it right away when it's still warm, and it's too loose, you can either heat it to a firmer state, or wait for it to cool more. Either way, this DIY recipe is one to try and one to enjoy!