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
- 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)
- 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.
- 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: cbc.ca.
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.