Fact Checked

This Dr. Axe content is medically reviewed or fact checked to ensure factually accurate information.

With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by our trained editorial staff. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to medically peer-reviewed studies.

Our team includes licensed nutritionists and dietitians, certified health education specialists, as well as certified strength and conditioning specialists, personal trainers and corrective exercise specialists. Our team aims to be not only thorough with its research, but also objective and unbiased.

The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.

DIY Sugar Wax Recipe for Smooth Skin

By

DIY sugar wax - Dr. Axe
Most of us start doing a little more grooming before heading to the beach or outdoors, along with when the weather gets colder and skin tends to get more irritated. The problem is, the idea of hot wax treatment is painful, and razor burn is embarrassing and stings. Don’t worry though — there’s another way to deal with unwanted hair: sugar wax.

Have you heard of sugar wax, or “sugaring”? While eating sugar seems to get all the heat these days, sugaring to remove hair has been used by Egyptian and Greek women for centuries.

Like other types of wax, sugar wax is applied to the skin and then removed, taking body hair along with it. You can also use it on your face.

How does it work? Let’s dive in and discuss how you can make your very own sugar wax recipe at home to get your skin feeling silky smooth.

What Is Sugar Wax?

Sugar wax is a paste made from a combination of sugar, honey, water and lemon juice.

Is sugar wax painful? What’s great about this at-home waxing approach to body grooming is that when you remove it — unlike traditional waxing done at a salon — it doesn’t pull the top layer of the skin, which is what causes much of the discomfort of traditional waxing.

Instead, sugaring removes the hair because the sugar binds to the hair, not the skin. For this to work, your hair needs to be about a quarter inch long so the sugar can easily adhere to it.

While it still may be a bit uncomfortable, it should feel better than other methods of waxing.

Is sugaring better than waxing for your skin? If you have sensitive skin, this may be perfect for you and a better option than traditional waxing.

Additionally, the sugar acts as an exfoliant for the skin, adding even more softness. It may take a few rounds, but this is a great way to take care of your skin.

Another perk: Sugaring helps you avoid petroleum-based ingredients found in typical off-the-shelf hair removal products .It’s made of only sugar, water and lemon juice, meaning it’s simple to make, cheap, non-toxic and easy to clean up.

How long will your skin stay smooth? According to experts, sugar waxing is good for six to eight weeks of hair removal. The hair that grows back may also be softer than it originally was.

Sugaring Methods

In order to use sugar wax to remove body hair or hair on your face, there are two main methods: using either your fingers to remove the wax, or using pieces of cloth to remove the wax and hair.

Some people find that they get the best results when using their fingers to roll the sugar into a sticky ball, which can then be applied to the skin. However, others find the wax is too sticky and won’t come off easily without a cloth.

Using a cloth strip to remove the wax is a method that’s more like traditional waxing.

Which method should you try? It depends on which gives you the best results.

You may want to start with the ball-and-fingers method and then use a piece of cloth if you prefer.

Related: 13 Best Ingredients for Your Natural Skin Care Ritual

How to Make Sugar Wax

How do you make sugar wax? Try this sugar wax recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup organic raw cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons raw local honey
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Small pan
  • Soft towel
  • Popsicle stick or small plastic spatula
  • Small pieces of thin cotton fabric (about 1 inch by 3 inches each)
  • Airtight container for storage of leftover wax

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Put the lemon juice and water in a small pan on the stove. Heat slowly. You can make sugar wax without lemon, but it’s recommend to include it if possible. Fresh lemon juice is great because it helps fight the bacteria that could cause breakouts, deeply nourishing the skin with vitamin C. It also acts as a natural exfoliator by removing dead skin cells that can clog your pores.
  2. Now, add the honey and the sugar and stir. Using raw local honey helps prevent breakouts caused by bacteria. Raw honey can also help quicken healing time, should a rash occur. It contains naturally occurring antioxidants, which help offer fast healing and a youthful glow to the skin. The sugar helps the skin obtain a supple and soft touch while moisturizing, and it also acts as a gentle exfoliant to the skin.
  3. Reduce the heat, continue to stir and allow the mixture to simmer until it turns smooth and golden in color. Be careful! Be sure not to overcook it as it may cause it to harden, making it difficult to handle. Additionally, if it is too thin, it may be too hot. You ideally want it to reach about 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. The wax should have a tacky consistency and warm honey color. Once heated and well-blended, remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe glass or stainless steel bowl.

The amount of wax you need depends on how much area you are covering. Consider trying this recipe first, which should yield enough for one or two legs — depending on how much hair you’re removing.

If you have any left over, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to four or five weeks, then reheat when ready to use.

How to Prep the Skin

Now that you know how to make sugar wax, let’s talk about prepping your skin.

You want your hair to be about a 1/4- to 1/2-inch long. For the best results, while the sugar wax mixture is cooling, wash the area you want to wax and dry it well. Make sure the skin is free of lotion or makeup.

You may want to do a patch test first to make sure it is OK for your skin. If you notice any unusual sensitivity, stop.

However, since these ingredients are pure, it should be a treatment your skin will love.

How to Use

If you’re using your hands to remove the wax:

  • You need to scoop out a chunk of wax while it’s warm and knead it by stretching it between your hands. (Some describe it as being like taffy.) You want to stretch and fold it until it turns opaque and can be rolled into a ball.
  • Press the ball of sugar wax against your skin, and use your fingers to push the ball into your skin and up against the direction of hair growth. Stretch the wax across the area of skin you’re targeting.
  • Holding the skin taut, pull sugar wax away from your skin in the direction of the hair growth and as parallel as possible with your body.
  • Reform the ball and keep going until it’s not sticky anymore, then use a newly formed wax ball.

If you want to use a cloth to remove the wax:

  • First use a popsicle stick or a small plastic spatula to spread a thin, even coating of the sugar wax on a small area of skin. Make sure to apply it in the opposite direction of hair growth. (Before doing this, do a small patch test to make sure the wax does not cause unusual irritation.)
  • Next, place a strip of the cotton fabric on the area and smooth it down by pressing and rubbing it. Allow it to cool on the skin.
  • Then, holding the skin taut, very quickly pull the cloth in the direction of hair growth. It’s also possible to apply and remove the wax without using the cloth strips. Repeat if needed.

Risks and Side Effects

Is sugar wax safe? It’s safe for most skin types if you follow directions and are careful not to burn yourself.

Note that this recipe works best for softer hair, such as hair on the legs, back and chest.

Most experts caution against sugar waxing areas, such as the underarms or bikini line, where the hair is more coarse. Make sure to test a small area first if you choose to sugar wax in those areas.

The eyebrows may be a challenging area as well. The upper lip may be OK, but please test first.

Regardless, if you are uncertain, work with a professional to perform any waxing, particularly if you’ve had bad reactions in the past.

After Care

When you are done, rinse the area in warm water, and use a cloth to gently remove any residual sugar from your skin. Apply a natural moisturizer, and be sure to avoid any additional exfoliation, hot water and the sauna for a couple of days to allow the skin to heal from the hair removal process.

Wait 24 hours for any hot showers, repetitive motion activities (e.g., running), or soothing ointments or serums. After about 48 hours you can exfoliate your skin if you’d like.

Now, you are ready for the season with soft, smooth skin.

Josh Axe

Get FREE Access!

Dr. Josh Axe is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips and healthy recipes in the world...Sign up to get VIP access to his eBooks and valuable weekly health tips for FREE!

Free eBook to boost
metabolism & healing

30 Gluten-Free Recipes
& detox juicing guide

Shopping Guide &
premium newsletter

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

45 Comments

  1. Eimo on

    I am from Egypt and we use this sugar paste always for hair removal. But we either use honey or sugar. Sugar amount should be double the amount of water you add. When it starts to cook add the lemon juice I always add a half lemon to one whole lemon. Lemon will keep its elasticity for a longer time. Never let the paste change in color while cooking otherwise it will be too hard to handle. Instead, you can check if the paste ready or not during cooking by dropping a few drops on a cold and slightly wet surface, it should form a ball that will be easy to remove from one finger to another. Make sure that while chicking the bowl is removed from the stove. Pour it into a cold and slightly wet surface and keep an eye on it while trying to gather the poured mixture together until it’s slightly cool. Be careful not to burn yourself because in the liquid form it can adhere to the skin and cause burning damage and scars. Knead it for a while before using it. Kneading will whitten its color and made it more flexible and indeed you won’t need a cotton stip or anything to pull it out. When refrigerated, before using it you can leave it in a warm place nearby the heater and then try to get warm between your hands. You should never reheat otherwise it will harden. If you slightly overcooked it and it’s hard to handle, then wet your fingertips and kneed it for a few seconds

    Reply
  2. Eimo on

    Big thanks to Dr. Axe, I appreciate the effort and the time you invest in these free information. Especially the knowledge of essentials oils that have helped me a lot with different issues concerning my hair and skin. Thanks a lot and God bless you.

    Reply
  3. Rayna on

    I’m all for using the most natural ingredients when eating, but it seems a bit unnecessary (and more expensive than necessary) to use raw sugar and honey in something that will be well-cooked and then applied externally for a few seconds.

    Reply
    • Abigail on

      Don’t use this recipe and if you are be very careful. They don’t specify how hot the sugar wax is. Even after letting cool for a while. Currently I have second degree burns on my left hand and I was in extreme pain. Please be aware of these danger when making this.

      Reply
  4. Polly on

    Love this method of hair removal, which I was taught whilst working in Turkey over 25 yrs ago. Now to have a good recipe to follow is fabulous and also Eimo, thank you for sharing. I am so used to doing this at home as I am constantly traveling on a yacht, and it is so much cheaper and easier to do it at home! Now I am off to buy some raw honey as I have the other organic ingredients …

    Reply
  5. Ray on

    What is the reason for using raw ingredients if the mixture is heated to a simmer? Wouldn’t the heat negate the raw benefits?

    Reply
  6. Raj on

    You can use jeans strips in place of cotton cloth or paper strip, It will be less painful while waxing. Keep a container will warm water near you and when you are done with the strip throw it in the warm water. Later on you can rinse them and wash them in washing machine. they can be reused again and again a lot of times. it saves money and are also environment friendly because instead of throwing your old jeans you will be repurposing them.

    Reply
  7. tommie on

    Can you give me a temperature when done? Its like making toffee … I am wasting ingredients and not getting the right consistency. You can’t go by color when it is boiling… it is a guessing game.. please help!

    Reply
    • Darlene on

      Are you sure the sugar & honey were the correct amounts ? Is that with only a half a lemon ? I’m about to make this and yours is the most recent comment . I’ve seen this before and it’s consistency was thinner , not in a solid ball .

      Reply
  8. fernanda on

    can we just talk about how the woman on the image for sure got all that sugar wax underneath her nails, but besides the point,,, imma try this recipe 😌

    Reply
  9. Germaine Dodd on

    Unless you have waxing experience, it is my recommendation as a Licensed Certified Esthetician in the field of Aesthetics, to allow a Professional to perform this or any type of Epilating/Hair Removal services.
    Whether at Spa or Mobile services. A Professional Esthetician can get proper intake information that will eliminate any Contraindications, Employ proper techniques to not cause injury as well as address proper before and aftercare. (A Must!).
    With the respect to author of this article, which has some good information, there are some inaccuracies. The use of Sugaring or Wax is preference. They both in application adhere to skin and hair and exfoliates the skin in removal process

    Reply
  10. Gabrielle on

    I don’t know if it’s the measurements or if the instructions aren’t clear enough, but this recipe literally does not work. Don’t waste your time and ingredients on this. I added more sugar and honey as I continued to stir and ended up still stirring just a pot of liquid honey and sugar for thirty minutes. It’s not worth it.

    Reply
  11. Siphindile Ngcingci Dlomo on

    Great staff I am interested in learning more on how to detox and take care of my entire body but my skin is very dry and it is not firm so I will be glad if Dr Axe can assist me on how to keep my skin moisture and firm

    Reply

More Beauty