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.
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.
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.
DIY Sugar Wax Recipe for Smooth Summer Skin
- 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
- Put the lemon juice and water in the pan on the stove. Heat slowly.
- Add the honey and the sugar and stir.
- Reduce the heat. Continue to stir and allow the mixture to simmer until it turns smooth and golden in color.
- Once heated and well-blended, remove from heat and transfer to a heat-safe glass or stainless steel bowl.
- Wash and dry the skin to be waxed.
- 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.
- Place pieces of fabric over the wax firmly by rubbing and pressing down. Allow it to cool against the skin.
- Holding the skin taut, pull fabric pieces off quickly in the same direction of hair growth.
- Repeat as needed to remove unwanted hair.
- Refrigerate any leftover wax in an airtight container for up to four to five weeks. Reheat to use.
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