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    Like almost everyone else I know, I hate shaving my legs. It takes a long time and no matter how careful I am, I always end up with razor burn. Here, it is even harder to shave because of the communal shower situation, so I have pretty much given up and just embraced my leg hair. However, a friend mentioned sugar waxing to me, and it sounded like the perfect alternative for those times when I do want smooth legs. It is less harsh on the skin than normal waxing, it lasts way longer than shaving, and you don’t have to pay the exorbitant prices that come with getting waxed in Williamstown. Best of all, I could make it myself. Here are my thoughts on the entire process.


Making the Wax

    The recipe I used is very simple: 1 cup sugar, 2 tbs water, and 1.5 tbs lemon juice. You just mix these three together and then cook the mixture over low to medium heat until it turns a nice golden brown. This is where the process started to break down. Most instructions I found recommended using a candy thermometer to make sure the wax is exactly the right temperature when you take it off the heat, and without one, I was forced to use the watch-and-wait method. When it looked about right (after about 15 minutes on medium-low), I took it off the heat and let it cool until I could touch it. The “wax” was a horrible sticky mess that was more like thick honey than wax. After a few minutes vainly attempting to knead the unruly sugar into some sort of wax ball, I gave up and decided to put it back on the heat. I let it cook for around three more minutes and then took it off and poured it in a bowl. At this point I was so fed up I decided to just let the liquid cool and hope it would turn into wax. It did get thicker, but not as thick as traditional wax. 


The Waxing Process

    Since my wax was so thin and liquid-like, there was no chance that I could use just the wax alone as it would not harden enough to pull off. Instead, I cut up an old shirt to use as strips to give the wax something to adhere to when I pulled it off. I used a popsicle stick to smooth the wax onto my leg in the direction of the hair growth, and then pressed the fabric strip into the wax. I waited a few seconds, and then yanked the strip off from the bottom (always wax in the opposite direction of hair growth). The good news is that is barely hurt, but the bad news was that there was still some hair left. After about 15 minutes of this, the wax was too cold and hard to work with, and only about a quarter of my lower right leg was waxed. Even in the waxed areas, there were still some hairs that didn’t come out.



    I will not be trying this process again. It could be that I messed up (it seems very likely given all of my difficulties in making the wax), but either way, the time I put in does not seem worth what I got out of it. It was cheap and it didn’t hurt, but it also took forever and didn’t remove all of the hair. If you have an entire weekend morning that you want to dedicate to this, it could be worth it, but I will not be trying this again. By the time I was done, I was just about ready to just pay the money to get my legs professionally waxed just so I could stop struggling. As the long, cold winter approaches, my best recommendation is just to let that leg hair grow. That little bit of extra protection can only make us warmer. 


Elizabeth Hughes is a sophomore at Williams College
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