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Sugar Waxing: Is it Worth the Hype?

I’m going to look back 30 years from now and question how an app like TikTok had so much power to convince me to try new things. One of those new things being sugar waxing. I’m sure if you’re not new to the YouTube and TikTok stratosphere you know of sugar waxing, but on the off chance you’re new, let me tell you about it. Sugar waxing is exactly how it sounds, using sugar (and other ingredients) to make a wax at home for hair removal. I’m going to tell you all about it, and if it's worth the hype! (as well as some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way!)

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of sugar 

  • ¼ cup of lemon juice

  • ¼ cup of Water

  • Wisk

  • *Food thermometer* (everyone says this is suggested, but I HIGHLY(!!!) recommend)

  • Light-colored saucepan (I’ll explain why below)

  • Jar to put the wax in 

  • Some type of powder to help with the wax removal (I use gold bond)

  • Popsicle sticks *optional*

  • Scrap fabric *optional*

Note: Other recipes online might call for more ingredients - but I haven’t found the need to add anything else. Also depending on your experience level with waxing at home, as well as the amount of hair you're trying to remove, you might need to double or triple the ingredients - but if this is your first time, stick with a smaller batch! 

What you’re going to do is combine the ingredients together in your saucepan and put the pan on your stove on medium-high heat. Then you're going to constantly stir/whisk your mixture while on the heat to make sure it doesn’t burn. Now everything online tells you that there are so many different factors regarding how long it will take to make this mix (weather, how hot your stove will get, etc.) so it might seem to take a bit - listen to some tunes while you're at it! You’ll keep on mixing and the mixture will start to get all frothy and bubbly (that's fine)! You're going to keep on whisking until your mixture turns a golden brown - If you don’t have a thermometer that's how you will tell your mixture is ready. I recommend using a silver or light-colored interior saucepan. When I first tested this out I used a saucepan with a black interior and it was harder for me to tell that the wax was finished. 

Being fully transparent with y’all, I’ve tried making sugar wax MULTIPLE TIMES and every single time I’ve tried it this way, it hasn’t worked. My wax was either undercooked and too liquidy or I would keep it on the heat too long and it would be way too firm for me to use! This is why I HIGHLY recommend using a food thermometer to check the temperature of the wax. Let me be clear, this still doesn’t ensure the perfect mixture on your first try (because I still struggled to make the mix even after having a thermometer) but it makes it so much easier! The first time I tried it with a thermometer - it didn’t work. It was way too liquidy and wouldn’t work as a solid wax. I believe that first try it was around 245-250 degrees. But I didn’t let that batch go to waste! I ended up using pieces of scrap muslin (you can use any scrap of fabric) to make strips to use for the waxing. Instead of using the firmness of the wax to help pull the hair, you can use the strip of fabric by placing it on top of the wax. Honestly, this might be the best method for a beginner because it makes it easier to pull the wax off! But my best tip to get the wax in a semi-solid form would be to use the magic temperature of 260 degrees! I used this temperature for my latest batch and it worked like a charm!! 

Okay so now that your batch has reached 260 degrees or looks to be a golden brown color - take it off the heat immediately! You don’t want the mix to keep cooking. I recommend to keep on stirring it for a bit more to keep it from burning and to help it cool down a bit. DON’T immediately put the mixture in your jar. I saw someone online legit crack their glass jar because it was wayyy too hot! Take the mix off the burner you were using and put it where another heat source can’t continue to heat it! When you feel it's cooled a bit more you can put it into your jar - BUT DON’T immediately use it!! Wait around 30-40 minutes. Hun, I know that seems like a lot of time BUT you just cooked that thing to around 260 degrees - you don’t want that temperature on your skin!!!

After you wait a hot minute, then you can use it. Start by rubbing in some of the gold bond powder to the area of your body you are trying to wax. Then you can use a popsicle stick to scoop some wax out - at this point, I start to blow on the wax before I put it on my skin because it could still be extremely hot!! You want to apply the wax in the opposite direction of your hair growth. So if the hair is growing downward, apply the wax in an upward motion. Keep on wiping the wax in that same spot in the same direction. When it starts to get a smidge firm, you can add a scrap cloth to pull out the hair or you can even use the popsicle stick or you can remove the popsicle stick and use your hands to pull the wax. Make sure to pull the wax in the direction of the hair growth and hold the skin nearby to keep it taught so it won’t hurt as much when ripping it off. You can reuse the wax you have for multiple pulls it’s just that the wax will start to turn a pale yellow color and you shouldn’t use that piece anymore because it probably won't pull a lot of hair because it’s filled with the other pieces of hair you already pulled and dead skin cells - hehe sounds gross but it's the truth! If you can’t pull the wax off don’t stress - it’s just sugar and lemons - which means you can use hot water to remove it from you and from the pan (might take some time but it will come off)!

If this is your first time - it’s going to take a while for the whole process- so let me tell you right now expect to be listening to your tunes for quite a bit!! Also if you're like me - an individual who is not used to waxing their body as well as a bit afraid to pull the wax off since it could hurt - air with caution! When I first tried doing this it was sooo painful and I wouldn’t have recommended it LOL. It left like those raspberry-like bruises on the very delicate areas of skin - wasn’t cute and I was wearing jeans and long sleeve shirts in the summertime… But I think I'm starting to get the hang of it. 

I really like the idea of using this wax because of the simple ingredients. When I used to get my eyebrows waxed, I was always getting little pimples because of the wax mixture. Also, you get a really nice exfoliation on your skin leaving you nice and soft since the wax takes away your dead skin cells. 

So is it worth the hype - I can’t clearly say. If you want to save some coin and try this out I think you should just for the experience. I think after the sixth time of trying this I’m getting a bit better. I do question the meaning of life when I’m halfway through the process and wonder why I'm doing this to myself again LOL, but it’s starting to grow on me. Lastly, PLEASE be careful! I’m not a waxer or esthetician so pleaseee do your research or at least watch a tutorial to get more information!

Kelsey is a senior at Montclair State University. She is majoring in Fashion Studies and minoring in both fashion design and business. She hopes this will help her boss babe dreams come true of one day owning her own swimwear brand. She loves talking all things sustainability, art, fashion and FOOD. Her go-to food is hands down pizza - it is one of the most versatile foods, duh!
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