Do-It-Yourself Salon

Tips and tricks for sugar hair removal at home

Why does sugar get opaque and unworkable? — January 21, 2016

Why does sugar get opaque and unworkable?

If you’ve been sugaring for any length of time, you know what I’m talking about: at some point, the paste just stops working.  It turns white; it loses its elasticity; it sticks to your skin and just doesn’t come off.  (If this is happening to you, see the FAQ for what you can do about it.)

The question is: why?

I heard an interesting hypothesis a few months ago: sugar paste stops working when it gets too clogged up by dead skin cells.

That sounds reasonable enough.  One of the reasons sugaring is great for sensitive skin is that it sticks well to dead skin cells but not live ones (so you’re not going to rip your skin off, like you can with wax if you go over the same area too many times).  And sugaring is a great way to exfoliate.

So I decided to try to test this.  Basically, I added exfoliation via apple cider vinegar to my evening routine to see if that makes the sugar last longer.  It’s too early to say, but I’m cautiously optimistic…

How about you?  Have you noticed a correlation between exfoliating and your sugar effectiveness?


Exfoliating with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is basically acetic acid (plus various apple-y nutrients/smells) and it helps slough off the outermost layer of dead skin cells. It’s like a weak version of a facial peel… except you probably won’t use it on your face.

I’m doing this on legs, but pay attention to how your skin feels before and after applying apple cider vinegar, especially if you’re applying it on sensitive skin!  If you notice any irritation or dryness, dilute the apple cider vinegar more.

  1. Mix up 2 parts apple cider vinegar to 1 part water.  (I store this in a little travel-size toiletries bottle.)
  2. Apply to skin with a cotton pad.

That’s all.  It stops smelling like vinegar once it dries.

P.S. Some people find that apple cider vinegar helps with acne; if you try this, do be careful, as it can also dry your skin out… which makes acne worse.

Okay, I’ve changed my recipe — August 7, 2015
Rescuing a too-hard batch of sugar — April 18, 2015

Rescuing a too-hard batch of sugar

I recently overcooked a sugar batch.  Usually I watch the cooking thermometer carefully and take it off the heat right away, but this time I got distracted and let it cook too long.

Recall: sugar paste is basically sugar water, plus an acid, with just the right amount of water boiled out.  Too little, and it doesn’t hold together.  Too much, and it’s too hard to spread.

Anyway, this batch was a touch too hard.  I microwaved it for 10 seconds to start, but once it cooled to room temperature, it was just so stiff.  It was really difficult to spread; once spread it had to sit there for a few seconds till it melted enough to stick — I honestly thought of shaving.

But don’t!  These batches can be saved.  Here’s what you do:

Rescuing too-hard paste

1. Add maybe 1-2 tablespoons of water to your sugar paste.  (Sorry — I just eyeballed it this time, so I can’t give you exact measurements.  Add more water if your batch is really hard; less if not.) It will just puddle on the top, sadly.  That’s okay.

2. Microwave it for a good 30 seconds — until it’s liquidy like syrup.

3. Stir that water in!  Stir it!

4. Let it cool back down to room temperature the normal way.

After I did this, my batch turned out spreadable and so easy to use!  I may actually start cooking mine less to start with.

Epilating vs Sugaring — October 5, 2014

Epilating vs Sugaring

Well — it has been a while!  Apologies for the long absence.   I’m so thrilled to see how you all have been helping each other on the comments of previous posts.  :)

I have a confession to make.  I strayed from sugaring briefly.  I tried epilating.  Now, don’t fret, dear readers; I returned to sugaring.  I always do.  But here’s my adventures in Epilator Land.  I learned a lot there, so I hope this’ll be helpful to you.

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DIY Sugaring: Follow-up — July 6, 2011

DIY Sugaring: Follow-up

As it turns out, the secret ingredient does help.

Here’s the sugar paste recipe I’m using now:

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup water (less to evaporate out = shorter cook time)
1 tsp guar gum

Works like a charm!   I ordered the guar gum off of Amazon and I add it right at the end before pouring the paste into containers for storage.  The resulting paste (I cooked it to hard ball stage – 260F) needed to be warmed up in the microwave a little (10-20 seconds) before use.  This of course depends on the temperature where you live, but for me, at room temperature it was too stiff – although it still works, it’s tiring and slow to apply.  I think my next experiment will be to cook it less – maybe to 258F or 259F – and see if that eliminates the need for extra microwaving.

Another thing I’d love to do is get a copy of the book Sarah mentioned in the comments of the last post (Milady’s Hair Removal Techniques) and try gum arabic instead of guar gum.  I suspect they have similar properties.

Any other success stories?

DIY Sugaring — April 25, 2010

DIY Sugaring

“Sugaring” — it’s all the rage, apparently, being gentler and cleaner than waxing.  It’s harder to find information about it online than one might expect, especially since often it’s confused with waxing using a product based on sugar.  Sugar paste does not involve heating and it does not use cloth strips.

Hello new readers!

This post is pretty old!  For the most up-to-date recipe and how-to on sugaring, please see my page, How To Sugar.

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