Centuries ago in ancient Egypt, Cleopatra and her handmaidens discovered a secret beauty treatment that magically and painlessly got rid of unwanted hair…and this recipe was lost for years until recently discovered. At least that’s what the television infomercial declared years ago when I first became aware of body sugaring.
I pulled out my credit card, ordered my tub, gave it a try and found that a) it wasn’t painless like the infomercial stated and b) it was pretty pricey considering I could go to the salon and have a professional take care of the mess for just a few bucks more. I never placed another order.
Over the years I’ve discovered a few homemade versions that do just as good a job as that pricey tub cost me, and they cost only pennies to make! Now we’re talking ;).
If you’re wondering what this is, it’s epilation that’s very similar to waxing, a sugary mixture is heated then cooled and applied to the area of the body that you want to get rid of hair. Strips of fabric are pressed over top then ripped off. If it works, the fabric is now covered with hair. If it doesn’t completely get it all, just reapply and rip again.
Since the paste can grab and pull the hair out deep at its roots, the new growth is slower to appear than if shaved (which just removes growth at the surface). Skin is left soft and smooth and there’s not much mess (especially when compared to waxing) since the mixture is water soluble and washes off easily.
If you’d like to give this a try, here are three different ways to make it plus directions for application (and ripping). Good luck!
- Candy thermometer (to measure temperature while mixture is heating)
- 1″ strips of cotton fabric (about 8″ to 10″ in length)
- Wooden popsicle sticks or spatula
Before getting started: Wash well with soap and water, removing all traces of oil, makeup, deodorant and dirt. Pat dry.
Ingredients: (Two different recipes, choose one)
- #1: 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 1/4 cup water
- #2: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)
- Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan and turn on the heat to medium. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture reaches 250°F (stir often so it doesn’t boil over) then take off heat. If a thicker paste is preferred, just heat to 245°F.
- Let it sit until it’s warm then pour into a glass canning jar. Continue to let it cool till it’s at room temperature. Careful! This will cause serious burns if it’s not cooled down properly before applying.
- 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)
- Directions: Combine items in a large glass bowl then heat in the microwave for two minutes, stopping every 20 to 30 seconds to stir. Once it’s finished cooking, allow to cool down a bit before pouring into a glass canning jar and letting it rest till it’s at room temperature. Source: cbc.ca.
How To Apply:
- Lightly dust the surface with cornstarch and rub it in. Lightly is key, this will help protect the skin a bit so the paste doesn’t stick to it as much (helping lessen the pain).
- Using the popsicle sticks, slather on a thin layer in the direction of the growth then cover with cotton strips (do in batches of 3 or 4 until the entire area is covered). Rub the fabric a few times firmly (in the direction of the growth).
- Let it sit for about a minute then pull skin tight with one hand and rip each strip off quickly with the other (in the opposite direction of the growth). Reapply as needed (can reheat if it gets too cool).
That’s it! Does it hurt? Yes, I think it does but I’m a bit of a wimp ;). Over time with more treatments you do get de-sensitized to it a bit.
- Hair should be at least 1/4″ so the mix/paste has something to really grab onto.
- Hand wash the strips in warm soapy water, dry and reuse them again and again. Muslin or diaper flannel work well.
- Careful to avoid growths such as skin tags, warts and moles. Also avoid applying on top of stretch marks, abrasions, scrapes or cuts, scar tissue, delicate area around the eyes, rashes and varicose veins.
- Seal any leftovers in the jar and refrigerate to use later (simply reheat).
- If paste is too hard to work with, add a spoonful of water and reheat in the microwave for a minute or so until it’s hot. Stir then allow to cool as above.