Body Sugaring Recipes For Hair Removal: { Legs | Armpits }

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 it was recently discovered.

At least that’s what the television infomercial declared years ago when I first became aware of body sugaring. So intriguing, wouldn’t you agree!

I pulled out my credit card, ordered myself a tub and when it arrived in the mail, gave it a try on my legs and armpits.

Results? I 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 awkwardness and 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 just what this is all about, it’s epilation that’s very similar to waxing. A sugary mixture is warmed then cooled and slathered over 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 the stubbles. If it doesn’t completely get it all, just reapply and rip again.

Since the paste can grab and pull out each hair deep at its root, 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 how to do it. Good luck!

DIY Body Sugaring/Epilation Wax

Supplies Needed:

  • Candy thermometer (to measure temperature while mixture is warming)
  • 1″ strips of cotton fabric (about 8″ to 10″ in length)
  • Wooden popsicle sticks or spatula

Before getting started: Wash skin well with soap and water, removing all traces of oil, makeup, deodorant and dirt. Pat dry.

Stovetop Method: (Two different recipes, choose one)

  • #1: 2 cups white granulated sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 1/4 cup water
  • #2: 1 cup white granulated sugar, 2 TBS honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)

Heating Directions:

  • Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan and turn on the heat to medium. Once it starts boiling, reduce to low heat and cook until the mixture reaches 250°F (stir often so it doesn’t boil over) then take off stove. 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.

Microwave Recipe:

  • Ingredients: 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)
  • Directions: Combine items in a large glass bowl then start 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:

How To Apply

  • As mentioned above, wash the removal area well then pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Lightly dust the body 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).
  • Before application, smear a bit on the inner arm up by your wrist. If the temperature is comfortable, proceed. Too hot? Wait a bit.
  • Using the popsicle sticks, slather on a thin layer in the direction of the hair 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).
  • When you’re done, jump in the shower to rinse off any residue or wipe down with a warm, wet cloth.

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″ to 1/2″ long so the concoction has something to really grab onto and pull out at the follicle.
  • Hand wash the strips in warm soapy water, dry and reuse them again and again. Muslin or diaper flannel work well.
  • This homemade wax is best suited for legs, top of arms, armpits, upper lip, sides of face. Avoid using on thinner/delicate skin areas such as the area around eyes since rapid pulling is required. Unless you are very experienced with doing this and quite diligent in application, I’d avoid the “nether regions”. Inadvertently dropping a blob of the wax in the bikini area and then being pulled/ripped up can be extremely painful and even cause injury.
  • Careful to avoid growths such as tag growth, warts and moles. Also avoid applying on top of stretch marks, abrasions, scrapes or cuts, scar tissue, delicate areas, rashes and varicose veins.
  • Drink plenty of water and frequently moisturize during the few days before procedure (do not moisturize the day of). When the skin is well hydrated, it helps minimize the pain.
  • Have ugly dark “stubble” bumps on your legs? Shaving is likely the culprit. Try exfoliating your legs the day before treatment, this will help get rid of them. Simple method: Take a rough facecloth, saturate in warm water then rub small circles all over calves and upper legs. You can also try a good DIY salon-style scrub. About three days after treatment, gently rub skin all over with an exfoliating glove our another rough washcloth.
  • Seal any leftovers in the jar and refrigerate to use next time (simply reheat).
  • If concoction is too hard to work with, add a spoonful of water and zap in the microwave for a minute or so until it’s hot. Stir then allow to cool as above.
  • Avoid shaving between treatments and reap the benefits! This helps train new hair growth to be finer, softer and more sparse (hooray!).
  • Results should last between 3 to 6 weeks.

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    • Mireya

    Used the first recipe… Followed it exactly and it has been cooling for 3 hours, and it is still sticky and not tacky…. It started boiling a lot quicker than I thought it would have, could that be why? How can I fix it??

      • carly

      boil it for a bit longer

    • Rosie

    Great, great, great!! I thought it wouldnt work, but it sure did!! Thanks for sharing!

    • Ally

    Do I have to use cornstarch?

    • Kelly

    Was super skeptical (I mean come on, we’ve all seen those cool looking things on Pinterest that we try excitedly & they just do not work!!) but I just tried this out & it works AMAZINGLY!!!! I have been waxing for over 10 years & am always annoyed by the mess, cost & pain. I did the stove top method with the first recipe, I didn’t have a thermometer but I just kept in on med/high stirring constantly and the moment it turned that caramel color I removed it from the heat. I’m shocked that so many people didn’t have luck with this but I’m sure the fact that I’ve waxed myself many times before helps a lot. Anyone who knows the mess that wax causes & how it’s impossible to remove from clothing, countertops, floors & anything else can appreciate the soap & water cleanup of this method!!! Thanks sooooooo much, this is my new hair removal method for sure!!!!! BTW compared to waxing pain this tickled!!!! Lol!

    • Grace

    Can you do this on your lip?

    • Dima

    HI, i am a fan of an epilator and currently use the Emjoi Caress brand; however, i believe that sugaring is the same concept. i am currently a dorm room college student and do not own a stainless steel pot. i would like to know if the sugaring recipe (1 cup sugar, 1/4 lemon juice & water) can be made with the double boiling method?? please anyone answer and help, i would highly appreciate it.

    • Stephanie

    You do not have to use strips to do this. It just takes learning to be able to flick the stuff off. Also, do not RIP against the growth. go with the growth of the hair so that it just pulls it straight from the follicle, otherwise you risk just breaking the hair off, then it will resurface much quicker! That is all. Good luck 🙂

    • Stephanie

    you can use baby powder or any kind of talc powder in place of corn starch!

    • Mia

    Is there anything you could replace the cotton pads with?

    • MK

    Does anyone know if putting it in a plastic container is ok? I didn’t have a glass one, so I resorted to plastic & I wanted to know if reheating it in the plastic will be fine

    • Dani

    My sister is a professional sugaring hair removal technician, and from what I have had done by her, this encompasses a lot of things that real sugaring does not. True sugar-removal does not involve heated products (the product is warmed to a little above room temperature, just enough to be malleable), it is applied against the growth and ripped with the growth (to prevent ingrown hairs) and actually you don’t rip sugar products off (with or without cotton strips), there is a flicking technique used with two fingers to take the sugar off, and that is how it is removed. If you’re going to follow the directions on this post, you might as well just call it waxing, because it is the exact same thing except the product is a little more natural, but I would not call this true sugaring.

    • Amanda

    Also try applying with Q-tips for the brows. Helps you control where the stuff ends up going. ;0)

    • Tina

    Why not just kill the root and be done with it? Coffee and baking soda worked on me….maybe it will you too! (And a whole lot more “pain free” than this!)

      • Petra

      Can you be more specific? I’m very interested in that what you’re saying 🙂

      • Valery

      Well, killing the root CAN be harmful and dangerous SOMETIMES. It causes dry skin and sometimes bleeding too! It may be more pain free than this, I almost pulled my skin off while trying this one! 😛 lol

    • Aly

    Do you use brown sugar ?

    • Maddie

    Do you just use regular white sugar or brown sugar? and do you have to add the lemon juice or can it be left out if I don’t have any at the house?

    • Crafteemom

    I used the sugar method on the stovetop and cut the recipe in half. I watched a couple of videos on YouTube before trying it to see the consistency and because I wanted to try without using strips. IT WORKS!!! Okay, it’s not exactly fast, you have to go over the area a few times, but it’s fantastic! A few tips: work in a cool room and wet your heads with cold water before working the “putty” if you aren’t using strips. If it starts to get to warm, it will stick, so when you see this, put the ball in the fridge for a few minutes and work with another one while you wait. I followed Maha’s video, and didn’t even wait for more than 5 minutes for it to cool! Thanks for the recipe! No more shaving for me!

    • Lara

    nice recipe and comments…TIP to original poster of recipe etc…please tack a comment to the top that says **PLEASE READ ALL COMMENTS FOR FAQ OR CONCERNS***…re-reading the same questions and comments over and over when a simple scroll down can answer them…thereby saving typing time! 🙂 THANKS AGAIN!

      • Clare

      Amen Lara! I can not believe how many questions have been posted over and over again. People please read all the comments before asking anything.

    • Kaye

    To reduce the sting when ripping it off, AS SOON AS you rip it off, cover the area with your hand or fingers, pressing lightly. It really helps.

    • Anna

    Trying this now, I hope it comes out right :/ Will let know 🙂

    • Corarae

    I just tried the microwave one, and it worked! I’ve tried a bunch of homemade wax and none of it ever worked. I’m so excited right now. Well, I’m going to get back to waxing, waxing, waxing. Thank you!!!

    • Safeeyah

    I am a living example that is absolutely works wonders!!!!

    the hairs on my body were very pretty thick they have thinned out and in a few years time they will be completely gone..YAY!

    and it doesn’t even hurt more!

    • Risa

    Yay this rocked, saved money and it was easier than sharing my goods with a stranger. First if you don’t have a candy thermometer, bring mixture to boil then simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is a copper color. I also found that it works much easier when you wait until the mixture cools (Its much thicker). I did my underarms, legs, and my entire Va-yay-yay. It also helps if you have enough pieces of cloth cut before you begin. Good luck ladies, cheers to saving money!

    • Nancy Peterman

    Ladies, the right temperature seems to be quite critical in this process. (I haven’t tried it yet, but I think I will). The sugar process is like making candy, there are different stages of “hardness” at different temperatures. Here is a simple chart that will help you….be patient! Bringing the sugar to the right temperature takes some time. It appears you want the “firm ball” stage.

    Candy – Making Chart

    Thread begins at 230° The syrup will make a 2″ thread when dropped from a spoon.
    Soft Ball begins at 234° A small amount of syrup dropped into chilled water forms a ball, but flattens when picked up with fingers
    Firm Ball begins at 244° The ball will hold its shape and flatten only when pressed.
    Hard Ball begins at 250° The ball is more rigid but still pliable.
    Soft Crack begins at 270° When a small amount of syrup is dropped into chilled water it will separate into threads which will bend when picked up.
    Hard Crack begins at 300° The syrup separates into threads that are hard and brittle.
    Caramelized Sugar 310° to 338° Between these temperatures the syrup will turn dark golden, but will turn black at 350°.

    • Katherine

    Can you use this on your face?

    • carly

    when it says sugar, does it mean standard refined white sugar?

    • sofia

    This is genius! I tried it both ways (same way as the hair growth and against it) and the second way was much more quicker, clean and less painful (it all happened to fast!). Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • kyle

    What If You Dont Have Lemon Juice. Can You Use A Substitute?

    • Artemis

    I tried doing this before it had thickened completely, and it was a painful, messy disaster. But after it had rest for a couple of hours, I managed to sugar both of my arms perfectly! Yaaaaaaaayyyyyyy!!!

    • djamila

    excellent recipe,I tried the first one and it did work amazingly.Thank you so much

    • shelbycrowl

    How long should I let it cool?

    • Kaycee

    Do NOT use the microwave version. It left an extremely hard blob on everything it touched. I scrubbed for hours to get it off and had to just throw away the container I put the “wax” in. So terrible!!

    • Caroline

    Hello! I was wondering if while you are cooking it on the stovetop is it supposed to be a liquid and then cool into a wax or should it already have a tad bit of wax look to it while you cook it.

    • Angel Miller

    Ive made a huge mess in my kitchen wasted 4 cups of sugar and i keep adding sugarand cooking longer
    But all im getting is a too hard mixture or a grainy soup like consistency. please help?!?

    • Rose

    Can the microwave recipe be used for bikini waxing?

    • Stacey

    Is having the lemon neccessary?

    • msDre

    These both look like nice recipes.. im gonna give it a try 🙂 I would like to make a puddy like wax that could be rolled in a ball, flattened to a strip, applied and ripped off all in one… used to be a product like that.. anyone have any ideas?

    • Andy

    So, I’m male and a bit of a sport nut. I got fed up with shaving and my girlfriend came back one day with a tub of sugaring stuff. Ran out half way through and this saved me! Absolutely fantastic, better than the bought tub. I had to play around with the recipe and ended up using more sugar, but amazing. Going to save me a fortune. Thanks!

    • Dana

    I tried this about 2 yrs ago & LOVED it. I applied it with a butter knife or spoon and removed in a FLICKING motion. NOT with strips. They aren’t necessary. Also going WITH direction of hair growth… I’m n ot sure why I ever stopped??? I’m making a batch tonight to correct a DIY Brazilian with hot wax. hoping to use it as a ball this time! Glad I read this 🙂 happy sugaring!

    • Kimi

    Hello everyone!! Okay so I made this the other night and tried using it but it did not work!! so I went ahead and placed it in the fridge for about 2 days (to let it set up a bit more) and tried using it again. I made sure to use it right after I showered and used baby powder too…but it still didnt work. So I began reading through all of the posts on here to see what might have happened. Then I decided to heat it up again. I just used a sauce pan with boiling water and placed the mason jar full of wax in the middle of the pan with the candy thermometer. I got it up to about 200F then moved it over to the microwave and heated it in 20 second intervals until I finally got it up to 250F! Finally, it became a nice amber color! So if you feel as if you did not cook yours long enough try this!

    • Christy

    Thanks for this recipe… I’ve tried one that I found on YouTube and it didn’t come out right. I think I’ll invest in the candy thermometer and try this one. I have two teenage daughters and razors get expensive. Maybe I can talk them into doing this for our next girls night with our yummy homemade oatmeal facials. :0)

    • lani

    yah it don’t work for me. it only pulls out a few hairs.:/ omg I was so scared to try this

    • jack

    Much better than just tearing out my beard with pliers… definitely gonna try this!

    • Maria

    I just made a batch tonight but it’s too late to wait for it to cool down so I’ll just have to wait til morning (maybe this is bad…?) But I was wondering if you take it off the stove right after it changes that amberish color? We have a candy thermometer but the temperature just wouldn’t go above 220. So eventually I just took it off the stove and put it in the jar. I just wanted to make sure I didn’t cook it too long. I’m so excited for this! I really hope it works… :]

    • Maria

    Ok so after doing a little more research I found out I didn’t cook it long enough. But my question now is, can I take that batch that didnt turn out and just cook it a little longer til it is ready…?

    • Rudy

    I made some and it just turned into a sticky mess. D: What did I do wrong?

    • Maria

    So I hate to be a bother… but my second batch turned out a little better. I just can not master the application and removal! After 25 seconds or less it gets too warm on my fingers and legs to work. It just becomes this sticky mass on my legs that I have to scrape and wash off. I have tried with just my fingers and I’ve tried with cotton strips. Both end up basically the same. Too warm and sticky to rip off. :/ Any suggestions?

    • Susan

    Didn’t see anything to tell how to avoid skin tags, etc. Here is how. Coat skin tags, etc. with oil and the wax mixture will not stick to that spot. Use just enough. Not to little and not to much.

    • Macy

    I’m defiantly trying this! I’m a teenage girl with dark hair, super pale skin and my father’s hair pattern’s as embarrassing as that is…
    I’ve tried Nair before for sensitive skin; it left me with a huge second degree burn on my legs…
    Regular waxing doesn’t get all of the hair and my first time waxing left me with a huge scab in between my eye’s and I have so many scars from nicking myself while shaving. 🙁
    So, I’m defiantly going to try this out! Hopefully, I’ll get as great of results as the rest of you.

    • Morgan

    Does it matter if the lemon juice isn’t freshly squeezed?

    • geminican

    hi. first of all, i’d like thank you for sharing this. but there’s something i still wonder: my armpits now have many red spots, because i used to pluck the hair ( i think so), and my skin is a little bit sensitive. so can i use sugaring recipe with safeness?
    please reply me as soon as possible. and if there were something wrong in my grammar, please forgive and ask me by texting through e-mail. thank you.

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