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DIY Sugar Wax Recipe for Smooth Summer Skin

DIY sugar wax - Dr. Axe
Summer is here and that may mean a little more grooming before heading to the beach. But the idea of hot wax treatment is painful. And razor burn is embarrassing and stings! Don’t worry — there may be another way. Have you heard of sugaring? While sugar seems to get all the heat these days, sugaring has been used by Egyptian and Greek women for centuries. Sugaring, or sugar wax, is applied to the skin and removed, taking the hair along with it. How does it work? Let’s dive in and you can make your very own sugar wax to get your skin summer-soft ready. (1

What Is Sugar Wax?

Sugar wax is a paste made from a combination of sugar, honey, water and lemon juice. (2) What is great about this at-home waxing approach to body grooming is that when you remove it — unlike traditional waxing in a salon — it doesn’t pull the skin, which is what causes much of the discomfort of traditional waxing. Instead, it 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 that the sugar can easily adhere to it.

If you have sensitive skin, this may be perfect for you. 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 reason this is great — sugaring helps you avoid petroleum-based ingredients found in typical off-the-shelf hair removal products. According to Health Services at Columbia University, sugar waxing is good for six to eight weeks of hair removal. They also think that the hair that grows back in will be softer than the original. (3

If you think this is for you, try my recipe. You may want to do a patch test first to make sure it is okay 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. (4)

How to Make Sugar Wax

Put the lemon juice and water in a small pan on the stove. Heat slowly. You can make sugar wax without lemon, but I recommend including it. Fresh lemon juice is great because it helps to 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.

Now, add the honey and the sugar and stir. Using raw local honey helps prevent breakouts caused by bacteria. (5)  Raw honey can also help quicken healing time, should a rash occur. Raw honey 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.

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. It should have a tacky consistency. 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 will depend 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.

Sugar Waxing

While the mixture is cooling, wash the area you want to wax and dry it well. 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, I recommend you 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. 


Note that this recipe works best for softer hair such as hair on the legs, back and chest. I caution against sugar waxing areas such as the underarms or bikini 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 okay, but please test first. Regardless, if you are uncertain, work with a professional to perform any waxing.

After Waxing

When you are done, rinse the area in warm water. 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. Now, you are ready for summer with soft, smooth skin.

Read Next: 13 Best Ingredients for Your Natural Skin Care Ritual

DIY Sugar Wax Recipe for Smooth Summer Skin

Total Time: 5 minutes to make
Serves: 1


  • 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


  1. Put the lemon juice and water in the pan on the stove.  Heat slowly.
  2. Add the honey and the sugar and stir.
  3. Reduce the heat. Continue to stir and allow the mixture to simmer until it turns smooth and golden in color.
  4. Once heated and well-blended, remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe glass or stainless steel bowl.
  5. Wash and dry the skin to be waxed.
  6. Use a popsicle stick or small spatula to apply a thin, even coating of the wax to a small area of the skin you plan to wax. Apply in the opposite direction of hair growth.
  7. Place pieces of fabric over the wax firmly by rubbing and pressing down. Allow it to cool against the skin.
  8. Holding the skin taut, pull fabric pieces off quickly in the same direction of hair growth. 
  9. Repeat as needed to remove unwanted hair.
  10. Refrigerate any leftover wax in an airtight container for up to four to five weeks. Reheat to use.
Josh Axe

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  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

    • Sara on

      I should try that because it might be easier then using a cotton strip. With the strip you have to pull it off then it might might hurt.now with the recipe you gave can you use it on the binki or underarm areas?

  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.

  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.

  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 …

  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?

  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.

  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!


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