I’ve been thinking lately about what I would do if I could not get my hands on any razors for shaving. Money’s tight… what happens when we can’t afford such luxuries anymore? What happens when manufacturers stop distributing coupons that often make razors free with sales? What happens if (or in my mind, more like when) the economy tanks and you can’t even find such things as razors? The thought of having to wear long sleeved shirts and long skirts year round to hide my hairiness makes me cringe. Yuck!!

My mind got to thinking… there must be some homemade hair removal system that can easily be made from everyday ingredients around the home. And then I found it: Body Sugaring; also called Sugar Wax, Sugar Paste, or Halawa. It’s actually an ancient Egyptian method of hair removal that’s been used for centuries; and it seems to be making a come back! Not only is it all natural and cheap to make, but it’s much more preferred to traditional waxing for a variety of reasons.

As soon as I found the following recipe I knew I wanted to share it with you right away, but I had to make sure that it would work before I boasted of its genius. Unfortunately, my legs were freshly shaved. I decided to sacrifice a hairy arm to the experiment instead. ( Though I admit, I was tempted to con my poor husband into being the guinea pig; he does have hairier arms, after all! But I changed my mind after having a flashback of the time that me and his sister snuck up behind him while he was blissfully zoning out on television, slapped a hot wax strip on his arm and yanked it off before he knew what had happened. Fortunately for us, he has a good sense of humor! We died laughing while he jumped up and down in pain. Yeah, I know. Mean. But oh my goodness it was funny. Poor, poor guy. The things I do to him. No, I couldn’t expect him to fall for that one twice.)

I was actually excited about this experiment, and hopeful of good results! There are a lot of different recipes for this out there, and several different methods of application, but here is the one I chose- it looked the simplest:

Homemade Hair Remover: Body Sugaring Paste

  • 2 cups sugar (granulated white, brown, cane… anything but powdered)
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice (fresh or concentrate; just strain the pulp if using fresh)
  • 1/4 c. water
  • A candy thermometer is highly recommended, though I don’t have one yet, so I just winged it.
  • A small or medium sized heavy saucepan- stainless steel is best

Pour all of the ingredients into the saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat. Bring to a slow boil, stirring, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 25-28 minutes. Continue stirring occasionally- I’d recommend using a wooden spoon.

The color will change to a golden honey color. As it cooks it will get darker in tone. By the end of the time it should be a dark amber:

If you have a candy thermometer, the mixture is ready when it reaches a steady 250*. Be very careful not to overcook. If it burns, or caramelizes, it will be ruined.

Once you’ve reached the desired temperature and color, remove from heat and pour into a glass container with an airtight lid. Be careful, it will be very hot!

Allow to cool for about an hour and a half, to room temperature.

The mixture should be thick. Though it will be a little sticky, you should be able to pull out a glob and roll it into a ball in your palm, like chewing gum. I don’t think I let mine cool completely… or maybe I should have let it cook just a tad bit longer, ’cause it was still a bit too sticky to roll into a ball.

Still, I spread it over my arm in a thin, even strip, about 1/4″ thick. Apply it going the direction your hair grows, not against it. If it is the right consistency, you should be able to peel up a small edge of the paste, and pulling against the direction your hair grows, yank the whole piece off in one rip.

Yeah. It hurts.

But not unbearably.

Since mine was still a little too sticky, it would not pull off in one piece. So, I cut a strip of cloth from an old pillow case, and rubbed it over the paste on my arm. With a quick yank, I pulled the cloth off in the opposite direction from my hair’s growth. And it worked!! Smooth as a baby’s bottom! You can even re-use the same strip of wax several times over before it loses its stickiness. Apply some lotion when you are finished waxing.

The cool thing about this stuff is that it easily washes away with water. I even rinsed the cloth strip I used so that I can re-use it next time.

It is recommended to store the leftovers in the fridge, for up to one month. I’m thinking my paste will be the right consistency next time, after having been refrigerated.

A few tips:

Sugar waxing works best on hair that is between 1/8″ to 1/4″ long. If it’s any shorter, it won’t be picked up by the wax. If it’s too long, it will just hurt more.

Your skin must be completely dry before waxing. Don’t do it immediately after showering or working out. You may sprinkle some cornstarch or baby powder on your skin before applying the wax to help it adhere.

Keep your skin smooth and free from ingrown hairs by exfoliating frequently, and moisturizing. Loofah’s work great for exfoliating.

I wish you could feel how smooth my arm feels. I LOVE it!! I can’t wait to try it on my legs. After I was finished, I gave an Egyptian friend of mine a call. I recalled her telling me once that she didn’t shave; she waxed. I was curious how she did it. So when she answered her phone, I asked her if she makes her own wax, or buys it at the store. I was so surprised when she told me how she makes her own… it was exactly this recipe!! Well, actually, she doesn’t measure her ingredients, she just knows how much to use, but she used the same ingredients listed here, and the same method. She’s been doing it forever. Sure wish I’d known to ask her sooner!!

So, now I’m comforted to know that I won’t have to go Sasquatch on hubby if razors become a thing of the past. Yay for homemade products!

I was wondering if any of you have ever tried making this homemade sugar wax? How did it turn out? If you’ve never done it, would you consider giving it a try?

What You Need:

  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • a candy thermometer

Mix all the ingredients in a heavy sauce pan. Heat on med-high until it reaches a boil.

Turn down to a simmer for 25 min. Stir often! Don’t rush the cooking process. You want it to cook low and slow!

The mixture will start to turn a dark amber color. It will be ready when the thermometer reaches firm ball stage – 245-250 degrees.

Let the mixture cool for 10 min. Pour into an airtight container. Be careful, it will still be really hot!! Let the mixture finish cooling.

When you are ready to wax, make sure you skin is clean and dry. Some people found that lightly dusting their skin with corn starch made the sugar paste stick better to the hair, and not to their skin. (We didn’t really notice a difference.)

The sugar will be pretty firm at this point. You want to grab a blob and roll it into a ball and flatten. Try not to over work it. The heat from your hands can make it sticky. Press the paste onto your skin, keeping it 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch thick for easy removal. Now flick up one end and quickly pull off skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. You can keep reusing the paste until it gets too gooey.

Because this is just made out of sugar and lemon juice clean up is a breeze! Just use a little water.

Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come out just right the first time. Our first try went past the firm ball stage and was a little hard (this was before we had a candy thermometer). We found it still worked if we warmed it in the microwave for 10 seconds. Another batch was undercooked so we just put it back in the pot and heated it again.

If you find you prefer using strips of fabric, you can warm this recipe in the microwave and use it like our last recipe. However, once we got the hang of this recipe, we found we preferred the sugaring paste method .