fingers holding sugar wax

How to make sugar wax

When I’m searching the web for natural DIY recipes, I get the impression that many authors don’t practice what they preach. Some people seem to simply repost content without validating it. Sometimes, the recipes are mildly effective, but not with the promised outcome. At other times, there’s contradicting information within the same web page that confuses the reader.

Recipes for sugar waxing were no exception.

I’ve never waxed before, but I’ve always been curious about sugar waxing (or “sugaring”) for its simple ingredients. Sugaring is also rumored to be less painful than conventional waxing, which I’m definitely never going to try (mainly because it’s too expensive and contains irritating chemicals). I recently watched a video on Snapchat about sugaring, and I wanted to make a cloth-free wax just like I saw in the video. How hard could it be?

So, on a Saturday afternoon, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to cook up a batch at home.

Starting with the most logical place—the great and terrible internet, I quickly found a consensus across multiple sites for a ratio of 4:1. 4 cups sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup lemon juice. Supposedly, this would yield wax that didn’t require cloth strips for removal. Alas, this recipe yielded goo instead of hard wax. Despite being the same recipe provided in the Snapchat video, it wasn’t even close.

I gently simmered the 4:1 recipe for 30+ minutes, but the sugar wax started to burn long before enough water boiled off. At room temperature, it ended up with the consistency of raw honey. I tried chilling it in the fridge overnight, hoping to save the gooey glop. The cooled temperature created a thicker consistency, but it immediately reverted to gooey honey as it warmed to room temperature. Down the drain it went.

As with any DIY recipe, sometimes the first failure is disheartening enough to give up. My first attempt wasted quite a bit of lemon juice, as well as my time. I seemed to be onto to something, if I could just get the ratios right. I told myself that I had 3 attempts to get this sugaring recipe right before I shelved it and stopped wasting ingredients.

Originally, the wax was too gooey, which signified too much liquid. So, I halved the recipe (too save on ingredients in case it failed again), and I halved the ratios (to reduce the liquid content). My second attempt yielded exactly what I wanted: a malleable but firm wax that can be applied without cloth strips.

sugar wax and wooden spoon

Hard Sugar Wax

Benefits

  • Easy to make at home
  • 3 simple ingredients
  • All-natural, organic
  • Fairly gentle on skin

Recipe (that works!)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed preferred)
  • ¼ cup filtered water

Cooking Instructions

  1. Squeeze fresh lemon juice and then strain for seeds and particles. If using store-bought lemon juice instead of fresh lemons, make sure it’s free of additives and preservatives.
  2. Combine ingredients in a pot or saucepan.
  3. Bring to boil and immediately reduce heat to medium-low.
  4. Stir frequently.
  5. Simmer for 20 minutes or until golden brown like the color of raw honey.
sugar wax boiling

Notes

  • The wax has finished cooking when it’s no longer gooey at room temperature.
  • Remember to let the wax cool before touching it.
  • After stirring the wax, I set the utensil in a glass container. After the excess wax cooled, I checked the consistency by lightly pressing it. After the wax no longer feels sticky, turn off the heat.
wax drips in glass bowl
Wax droplet test: hard at room temperature.

Application instructions

  1. Cleanse and exfoliate area. Let dry completely.
  2. Let wax cool for about 45 minutes or until cool enough to avoid burns.
  3. Transfer to heat-safe and portable container.
  4. Apply wax with fingers in the opposite direction of hair growth. Apply in a straight section, about 6 x 2 inches wide.
  5. Quickly remove hairs with fingers in the same direction of hair growth.
  6. Reuse wax strip over the same area as necessary.

Notes

  • This recipe worked at approximately 80 degrees, 80% humidity, at 600 feet above sea level, using a gas range, and a 3 QT stainless steel pot. You may need to adjust the ingredients or cooking time to accommodate your location.
  • You can use the wax strips more than once. Even if they contain hairs, you can mush the wax back into a ball and reapply it. By reusing strips, this recipe contains enough wax for both legs.
  • Hard wax works on almost any type of hair. Be smart about where you want to use it and remember to exfoliate often to reduce the chance of ingrown hairs.
  • Any type of hair removal may cause skin irritation. Test a small area first before waxing a large area.
  • Hair should be at least 1/8″ long; 1/4″ is better.

The Verdict

This was an interesting experiment, and it was satisfying to finally try it. However, waxing in general seems like more trouble than it’s worth, and I’m just going to stick with shaving my legs. Waxing might be useful in certain places, but nothing quite beats a quick 2-minute shave.

So, there you have it—a DIY sugaring recipe that actually works (with pictures to prove it). You don’t need fancy candy thermometers, cloth, or cooking skills. It’s easy, although incredibly messy. I’d recommend waxing in your bathroom or near a floor that can be wiped up. Afterwards, it’ll be time for a squeaky-clean shower. LOL!