DIY Sugaring Hair Removal

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 recently discovered. At least that’s what the television infomercial declared years ago when I first became aware of body sugaring.

I pulled out my credit card, ordered my tub, gave it a try and 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 mess for just a few bucks more. I never placed another order.

Over the years I’ve discovered a few homemade recipes that do just as good a job as that pricey tub cost me, and they cost only pennies to make! Now we’re talking.

What is sugaring? It’s epilation that’s very similar to waxing, a sugary mixture is heated then cooled and applied to the area of your 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 hair. If it doesn’t completely remove all the hair, you just reapply and rip again.
Since the paste can grab and pull the hair out deep at its roots, the new growth is slower to appear than if you shaved (which just removes growth at the skin surface). Your 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 recipes plus directions for application (and ripping). Good luck!
Supplies Needed:
Candy thermometer (to measure temperature while mixture is heating)
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 body oil, makeup, deodorant and dirt. Pat dry.
#1: 2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice (freshly squeezed), 1/4 cup water
#2: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)

Heating Directions:
Combine ingredients in a heavy saucepan and turn on the heat to medium. Once it starts boiling, reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture reaches 250°F (stir often so it doesn’t boil over) then remove from heat. If you prefer a thicker paste, just heat to 245°F.
Let it sit until it’s warm then pour into a glass canning jar. Continue to let it cool until it’s at room temperature. Careful! This will cause serious burns to your skin if it’s not cooled down properly before applying.

Microwave Version:
1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, juice from one half lemon (freshly squeezed)
Directions: Mix ingredients in a large glass bowl then heat in 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 until it’s at room temperature. Source:

How To Apply:
Lightly dust the skin 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).
Using the popsicle sticks, slather a thin layer on your skin 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 hair growth).

Let it sit for about a minute then pull your skin tight with one hand and rip each strip off quickly with the other (in the opposite direction of the hair growth). Reapply paste as needed (you can reheat if it gets too cool).
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″ so the mix/paste has something to really grab onto.

Hand wash the strips in warm soapy water, dry and you can reuse them again and again. Muslin or diaper flannel work well.
Careful to avoid growths such as skin tags, warts and moles. Also avoid applying on top of stretch marks, broken skin, scar tissue, delicate skin around the eyes, irritated area or rashes and varicose veins.
Seal any leftovers in the jar and refrigerate to use later (simply reheat).
If paste is too hard to work with, add a spoonful of water and reheat the mixture in the microwave for a minute or so until it’s hot. Stir then allow to cool as above.