This past week I attempted to do a thing that I failed at tremendously. I spent 3 full days failing before the fourth day where I finally got it right.
What did this teach me? That no one who has ever succeeded got there without a few set backs and that it’s the perseverance and persistence to keep moving forward despite said set-backs that is most important.
I wanted to make Sugar Wax — the hard kind that you don’t need strips to use. It’s this really beautiful art in my opinion. It’s also a science. If you don’t cook it long enough, it melts in your hands and won’t hold it’s shape. If you overcook it, it will be hard as a rock instead of supple and able to be molded.
I never overcooked it, but time after time, I kept under cooking it. I would realize this much too late and end up throwing out an entire batch of sugar wax. It got to be so frustrating, but after every failed attempt, I’d hit the internet researching different recipes, techniques, & any other troubleshooting materials I could find.
The key to my success came from two different bits of information.
Firstly, that if you live in a hot climate (hello, texas), you can benefit from an extra cup of sugar in your mixture. While I did do this and I do think it helped me, the second bit of information is the most criticial.
So, secondly, keep a small cup of COLD water near you & when you think you wax is ready, pull the pan off the burner and drop a glob into the cold water. Details on why this is critical and amazing step below in the instructions.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon/lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- Metal Saucepan
- Granite or Ceramic Surface
- Cup of Cold Water
- Metal Spoon
- Wooden Spoon
- Ziploc Baggie for storage afterwards
Before you begin, prepare a ceramic or granite surface that you will pour your HOT wax onto to cool it. I used a granite chopping block, but a ceramic plate would work, too. Whatever surface you use, wet the top of it to help the wax not stick. You will also need a small cup of water to test your wax in & then to use to wet your palms as you work the wax in your hands after it has cooled enough.
To start, add all your ingredients to a metal saucepan and heat on medium until the mixture comes to a boil. Keep stirring with your wooden spoon the whole time to avoid it sticking to the bottom or burning. You will keep cooking this mixture until it turns to a dark honey color.
Once it starts to approach this color, move the pan off the burner & test it by dropping some of the wax into the cold water.
Pick up the glob and play with it in your fingers, if it falls apart, put your pan back on the burner and cook for 2 more minutes. Then repeat this step as needed. When you can mold the wax in your fingers and it stays whole and doesn’t become slick/sticky, try that tiny piece of wax on your hair. If you can successfully remove hair, the mixture is done!
From there, pour the wax out onto your surface. BE VERY CAREFUL AS THE WAX IS TREMENDOUSLY HOT. Using your metal spoon play with the wax. Bring it all to the middle trying to as much as possible to keep it from sticking on the edges. Just keep moving it to the center all the way around. When you have the wax in the center and it starts to cool, harden, and stick to itself, lightly touch it with you finger to check the temperature. If it is cool enough to touch, wet your hands, & pick up the wax.
Once you have the wax in your hands, start to fold it and stretch it. If it sticks, add a few more drops of water to your palms and keep going. You will knead the wax until it becomes an oblique golden color that resembles soft caramel candy.
When your wax is ready, drop it into a plastic baggie, label it & store it in the fridge.
Clean up is remarkably easy, just soak everything with water till it breaks up and wipe away!
Pull off a small piece around the size of a ping-pong ball or a little smaller and work it in your hands. As it gets warmer, it will be easier to pull across the leg. Video below.
If you have difficulty removing a piece microwave it in 10 second intervals until you can pry off a chunk.
Sugar waxing is done as an alternative to shaving, which cuts the hair at the surface, or the western style of waxing, which rips hair out against the growth pattern. Instead, sugar waxing is applied against the growth & pulled with the growth. This removes the complete hair follicle without damaging the top layer skin while gently exfoliating. For this reason, sugar waxing is gentle enough to be used multiple times in the same area to get those really stubborn hairs.
This method takes a bit of practice, but once you know how it’s a total game changer especially if you’re like me & you have extremely sensitive skin.
If you have ANY questions about the process, leave them in the comments & I’ll be happy to help how ever I can. Like I mentioned above, it took me seven batches to get it right, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t turn out the first few times. Just keep at it, your persistance will be rewarded with gold! Also, if you get a bad batch that doesn’t firm up, you can apply it with a butter knife & use cloth strips to remove, so your waxing gets done & you don’t waste anything.