I hate to pay for anything I can easily make or do at home. I’m not very high maintenance (I currently own two lipsticks and I am thinking of trading in my hair conditioner collection for vinegar water) but I am definitely girly (14 dresses in the closet not counting formals). Since I don’t paint or pencil in eyebrows every morning, I shape my real eyebrows once every few weeks. I haven’t got the patience (or eyesight, apparently) to do this with tweezers alone, so I wax the messy edges and then pluck the nitpicky bits.
Waxing has some advantages over shaving and plucking: 1) it’s quicker, 2) you don’t need a razor, razor refills, or shaving cream, 3) since you’re removing the whole follicle you don’t get a shadow so quickly, because the pore is empty, 4) every time you do it a little less hair returns. Drawbacks: 1) ow, 2) ow, 3) what a mess! Storebought waxes aren’t overly expensive*, but if you’re too chicken or shaky-handed to apply them yourself you can expect to pay a lot more to have someone else give you pain in the name of a neat appearance**.
Somehow I stumbled onto the topic of sugaring when I was farting around on YouTube recently. (I believe I was watching 90’s music videos, so how did I get that recommendation, I wonder? Is it the “grunge” connection? YouTube’s algorithm puzzles and amuses me.) Anyhoo, sugaring is a procedure almost identical to waxing, which uses a caramely boiled-down sugar gel instead of wax, making it easy peasy to make and do at home.
Just about everyone online uses the same ingredients in the same proportions. I have paraphrased the following recipe and instructions from About.com’s Hair Removal pages.
2 cups cane sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Don’t let it come to a boil – sugary stuff boils over in a heartbeat, so don’t turn your back on this stuff. Simmer for 15-25 minutes, until it’s a dark amber color. Let it cool a little and pour it into an airtight container. Store it in the fridge.
You use this stuff just as you would storebought wax: nuke it in the microwave until it is pleasantly warm and a little thicker than honey, spread it on in the direction of hair growth (I used a butter knife), press on a strip of cloth (I used old cotton fabric strips), and rip it off in the opposite direction of hair growth, quickly, and as close to parallel to the skin as possible (pulling at a 90 degree angle can cause bruising).
Reviewers online raved about how much less painful this method is than wax waxing because the sugar gel supposedly adheres only to the hair follicle and not to the skin. I can’t tell you why, but I can confirm that this method hurts about half as much as the storebought petroleum based stuff. (Please note: it does still hurt!)
The cloth strips are reusable: just throw them in the wash with everything else, no pre-soaking or anything.
And now for the price: I buy my sugar from the bulk bins at the local super-duper-market for $0.56 a pound. A 32 oz bottle of lemon juice is $1.88. According to my measurement a cup of sugar weighs 7.25 ounces. So, by my math the above recipe cost me a whopping $0.63! Hot dang!
Cheaper than all get out, less painful than storebought, cleans up with warm water, smells lovely, tastes good, and means a little less plastic in the trash can. Consider me converted! Hell – I “waxed” my legs with this stuff this morning for the first time in my life.
*The little peel-and-stick Sally Hansen plastic strips with “wax” already on them that I have always used for my eyebrows are $5.99 a box. Pretty cheap, really. However, if you do a lot of waxing – say, of your legs – you need a lot more wax. Pots of wax at Sally Beauty Supply range from $10-20 dollars a pop.
**To have someone else wax your eyebrows costs about $20 and to have half legs (up the the knee) done is about $40.