The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish
August 4, 2011

Remove Hair with DIY Homemade Sugar Wax: Cheap, Plastic-free, and Dangerous in the Wrong Hands

The BlogHer conference is this weekend. Time for my annual eyebrow wax and pedicure. You know the saying that women dress for each other? When it comes to BlogHer, that saying couldn’t be more true. All other days of the year, I’m a pretty low maintenance gal. I mean, how often do I write about cosmetics on this blog? Almost never.  But when the BlogHer Estrogen Fest rolls around, I get all self-conscious about my neglected feet and crazy eyebrows.

Witness the crazy eyebrows for yourself.  Don’t see what I’m talking about?  That’s okay.  I see the crazy, and that’s what matters.

Beth Terry with bushy eyebrows

This time, instead of paying $15 for someone to slather paraffin wax (a petroleum product) on my face and rip it off with half my skin, I decided to save my money and inflict the pain on myself.  I found some ancient wax strips and a sugar waxing kit in the bathroom cabinet.  I can’t remember buying them, so I’d guess they could be over 7 years old.

hair waxing products

The wax strips are paraffin coated plastic. I’m not interested in using them, and as I recall, they never worked anyway. Into the plastic collection they go, unless I can find someone who wants them. The Sally Hansen sugar wax kit seemed like a possibility, despite all the plastic packaging… until I read the ingredients. In addition to various kinds of sugars and herbal extracts, the stuff contains methylparaben (a preservative which the Skin Deep Database describes as an estrogen mimic and hormone disruptor), imidazolidinyl urea (which Skin Deep says is an “antimicrobial preservative that acts as a formaldehyde releaser in cosmetics and personal care products”), and artifical colors. Um… no thanks.

So I Googled “homemade sugar wax” and found that 1) There’s no wax in it. The stuff is basically just candied sugar and water. 2) There are a ton of posts and Youtube videos explaining how to do it. Cool! I based my experiment on the Youtube Video D.I.Y Hair Removal Wax With Honey and Sugar because the recipe includes honey, which I thought would be nice for my skin (although honey is not necessary. You can do it with plain sugar.) and because the video shows how to use the “wax” to shape eyebrows. Also, the recipe makes a very small amount. Check out this video if you need to make a larger quantity for waxing legs or other body parts.

Note:  I realize I could skip this whole process by simply tweezing my brows.  But honestly, I’m too much of  a wimp for that.  I’d rather rip it all off at once.

Recipe: Homemade Sugar Wax With Honey

Ingredients: 2 tsp brown sugar (from Whole Foods bulk bin), 1 tsp honey (purchased in bulk from Whole Foods in my own container), 1 tsp water. You’ll also need a knife or something flat to apply the wax and some cloth strips for peeling it off.

homemade sugar wax ingredients

1) Combine ingredients in a microwavable container. I used a Pyrex measuring cup. You could also use the stove instead of microwave, but you’d need a very tiny pan.

homemade sugar wax

2) Cook mixture in the microwave (or on the stove) until it bubbles and turns brown. This part was challenging. If you don’t cook the mixture long enough, it stays too soft and sticky to work. If you cook it too long, it turns into hard candy.  I experimented with two different batches until I got it right. I believe I cooked it for about 30 or 35 seconds.

3) Let cool. This is also important. You won’t know if you’ve cooked the wax long enough until it cools down. If it’s too thick, dilute it a little and try it out.

4) Brows, get ready for some waxing! Here’s my immediately BEFORE shot:

Beth Terry with bushy eyebrows

5) Apply wax to only the part of the brow you want to remove. I didn’t have a little spatula (except I actually did — in the Sally Hanson kit — I just didn’t realize it was there until too late) and didn’t think to use a knife, so I used my finger. Not recommended. You’ll see why.

homemade sugar wax

homemade sugar wax

6) Apply cloth strip to waxed eyebrow. Press and smooth in the direction of the hair growth. I cut some strips from an old raggedy pair of flannel pajamas that were no longer wearable. I realized in hindsight I could have used some of the reusable organic cotton rounds I got a while back. Why? Because unlike actual wax, sugar wax dissolves in warm water, so I could just rinse them off and reuse.

homemade sugar wax

7) The moment of truth. When you’re ready, rip the cloth off of your eyebrow in the opposite direction of the hair growth. And…

CRAP. Not what I intended.

homemade sugar wax

Um… this is what I mean by dangerous. The stuff really, really works. Don’t mess around. Be careful where you spread it, and make sure it’s only coating hair you actually want to remove. Do not follow my example and end up with a big chunk of missing eyebrow right before the BlogHer conference!

Turns out, the situation was not as bad as I thought. I went ahead and waxed the other brow, much more carefully, and then came back and attempted to clean up the bad situation with a bit more waxing. And then I filled in the missing bit with a Dr. Hauschka eyeliner pencil that I rarely use and forgot I even had. The pencil is wood with what I believe is a metal cap. I know, sometimes plastic disguises itself as metal. But this cap also sounds like metal when dropped on the floor. So I’m pretty sure it’s not plastic.

Dr. Hauschka eyeliner pencil

8) Here is the completely unretouched AFTER picture: after waxing, tweezing just a tiny bit to clean up strays, and filling in the gap with a little bit of eye pencil. Not too bad from a distance, right?

Beth Terry with waxed eyebrows

Even better with my glasses on.

Beth Terry with waxed eyebrows

So how does sugar wax feel compared to actual wax? Pretty amazing, actually. Ripping off the sugar wax didn’t hurt nearly as much as ripping off paraffin wax. And hours later, my eyebrows just feel soft and smooth… probably from the honey because I didn’t put on any cream or lotion afterwards. There was much less redness too. Overall, I’d say this experiment was a success.

By the way, have you ever noticed how weird eyebrows start to look when you stare at them long enough?  Or how weird your own face looks after while?  My next post will not include so many photos of my face.  I promise.


  1. Beth Terry blogger | Links to Related Eco Blogs says:

    […] good example of Beth’s personality-fuelled, sincere posts is her post on how to sugar your eyebrows (it’s an alternative to shop bought wax with plastic packaging). The images show Beth’s […]

  2. […] of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Beth Terry, offers a great DIY sugar was with honey recipe and a fun and detailed description of how it […]

  3. […] is the link…I have not tried it yet, but she is very blunt about her attempt and provides pictures to go […]

  4. sugar wax mustache | Happy Healthy Pretty says:

    […] when I ran across this pin  from My Plastic Free Life about homemade sugar wax, I thought it might be the perfect way to get rid of my […]

  5. […] of Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, Beth Terry, offers a great DIY sugar was with honey recipe and a fun and detailed description of how it […]