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How to Use Body Sugaring for Hair Removal

Body sugaring is a method of hair removal dating back to Ancient Egypt. This cheap alternative to waxing is easy to do in the privacy of your own home with the simple recipe below. Similar to waxing, the hair is removed from the root, resulting in smoother, longer-lasting results, and when the hair grows back it is often softer and thinner than before. However, many people find body sugaring to be much less painful than traditional waxing, and it is certainly no more difficult.

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Here is what you need:

sugar paste

  • 1 cup sugar
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1/4 cup honey


strips of cotton fabric

popsicle stick or tongue depressor

To make sugar paste:

Stove-top directions:

Heat sugar, lemon juice, and honey in saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, until boiling. Remove from heat and set aside until cool enough to handle, but not until hardened.

Microwave directions:

Add sugar, lemon juice, and honey in microwave-safe bowl. Mix until completely combined. Microwave on high 2-3 minutes or until smooth and bubbly. Let sit in microwave until cool enough to handle, but not until hardened.


To remove hair:

Cleanse and exfoliate skin. Dust with cornstarch to prevent irritation of skin and ease removal, and use popsicle stick or tongue depressor to spread sugar paste in a thin layer over a small area. Place cotton strip over sugared area, press down into paste, pulling slightly against the direction of hair growth as you do, to lift the ends of the hairs and anchor them in the cooling paste. Hold skin taut around area with one hand, grip the end of the fabric with the other, and pull quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth. Do not pull away from skin, but rather in a direction parallel to it to ensure pulling hairs out by the root. Reheat mixture for 20 seconds in the microwave if it gets too hard to spread.

To store/reuse:

Leftover paste can be stored in any clean, dry, oil-free airtight container such as a cosmetics case or glass jar. Cotton strips, too, can be reused. Spray with stain-remover spray or soak 20 minutes in warm water with dishsoap to loosen sugar, then wash by themselves on cold cycle and machine dry.


The first time you try body sugaring, test on a small area of skin beforehand. If you have any adverse reaction to the paste, do not attempt hair removal with this method.

Though not as painful as waxing, please expect some discomfort with body sugaring. Pain will lessen with repeated use, as hair thins and softens.


Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on December 01, 2011:


It depends on your personal rate of hair growth, so anywhere between a week and a month. Sugaring lasts much longer than shaving, though.

lucy on December 01, 2011:

how long does it takes to grow back maddie

laura on August 30, 2011:

Scroll to Continue

can you use it on your underarms also? (:

Sandra M Urquhart from Fort Lauderdale on August 15, 2011:

You have such great suggestions. I'm checking out all of your hubs on this subject. Thanks.

My neck is red on July 11, 2011:

Sugar has a reputation for aging the skin, does it not?

Sarah on March 01, 2011:

Hey, As a professional who has specialized in sugar hair removal for over 13 years, I can testify that sugaring works and works wonders! Over time, for most people, the hair will dramatically decrease both in quantity and in thickness, giving great results. It is tricky and even for me as a specialist, it took a long time to really perfect my skill, for all skin and hair types. The method I use is called 'hand-paste' sugaring... it is very different from the strip sugar method. If you were able to find a sugaring technician in your area and book even one appointment, it may help you with at home attempts. Also, I have see there are many helpful YouTube videos now showing step-by-step exactly how both methods are done. I hope this helps!

teresamarie on February 01, 2011:

i found a few recipes and videos on youtube so i am excited that there is a visual aid to help if you need it. i change the honey for water i find it to be less sticky and works great on me.

Lalala on October 21, 2010:

Do you HAVE to use cotton strips?

I've read on WikiHow that you can just pull it off?

Bizz from East Coast on October 11, 2010:

The consistency is dependent on how much heat is applied during the process, much in the way that candy makers arrive at different consistencies using the same ingredients.

Tinker with the heat until you find what works, and you'll have a reliable recipe for years to come...

Great hub

Natasha22 on September 01, 2010:

hey i made a batch of suger wax todaii...when its completley cool does it go to a soft pastee because at the momment as soon as i take some out it goes rock hard.. am i doing something wrong, have i made it wrong.... im not so suree ...?

candle62 from London on August 26, 2010:

This is very good hub, much cheaper than buying it from the shops. Thankyou

yipee on July 19, 2010:

is it okay to use this in the underarms?

Shannon on July 14, 2010:

This works. I've been doing this for about eight months and I've been more than pleased with the results. This is the best recipe, too; I've tried others (because I lost this page) and the results were terrible. This recipe makes the best consistency for sugaring.

As you sugar more and more, you'll find you don't have to do it as often because as the article says, it breaks the hair follicles, thus slowing growth. Thank you for sharing! I'm sure many have benefited as I have. :D

stylist on July 10, 2010:

The problem you guys are having is probably that you have not let the sugar reach the right temperature during cooking. If it does not get to 250F it will only be a sticky mess. Invest in a candy thermometer (approx 5 dollars at the grocery store or a place like walmart) and make sure it reaches 250. Be sure to let it cool!

blondepoet from australia on June 06, 2009:

This looks so easy to make I had never heard of this before I am going to give it a go.

Susan from Northern California on October 25, 2008:

Great hub Maddie! And good instructions too. I own a salon & spa and have tried the sugaring. Like a few others have stated, it doesn't work well for me either. I wonder if the coarseness of hair could be a reason that it doesn't work for some? I also find that certain waxes work better for certain types of hair so I am guessing that might be the case with sugaring as well.

As for the pain, there are creams out now specifically for lessening the discomfort of waxing. They contain Benzocaine. You put them on about 30 minutes prior to waxing/sugaring and they do work well. However, as Maddie correctly points out, the pain lessens after each subsequent waxing/sugaring. When I first waxed my underarms I shouted all sorts of bad words. The next time wasn't anywhere near as bad and the next didn't hurt at all. And I love the results so much that I will never go back to shaving. No more irritating stubble!

Laurie on October 14, 2008:

This did not work for me either. Maybe one or two hairs will come out but that is it.

Joyce on October 08, 2008:

This is cool. I'm gonna try it. Sure hope it works for me... :D

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on July 03, 2008:

Hi Kukie:

It says clearly in the instructions to wait until the mixture is cool enough to handle, but warm enough to still be spreadable. My guess is you didn't wait long enough before spreading it on your skin.

kukie zarandin on July 03, 2008:

hi maddie! me & my boyfriend tried sugar wax the other night & we got burns after.. the mixture is just toooooo hot! do you have any other tips on how we can wax without getting burnt?

i hope you could reply soon..


Nelly on June 25, 2008:

Hi Maddie, i'm addicted to your blog! I'm so into selfimprovement especially naturally. I tried body sugaring for my bikini area and i cant get any hair out! I can count the no of hairs i've managed to remove! I dunno wat im doing wrong. Maybe i put too much honey or smthin, the cloth just glides over the hair and i cant get none of it out, on the other hand the mixture hardens after it cools so it cant be the sugar. I burned myself a little the first attempt coz i tested it with my finger which i guesss is immune to the heat! By then it was still smooth like the picture above. Maybe im applying too much, how much should i put, the hair down there is kinda long(read that in a whisper!). And im African so its not really that soft.....teeheehee. Please help, i dont want to get sticky and frustrated all over again.......................

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on June 05, 2008:

Like waxing, you'll get best results with a quarter of an inch of hair to start with. Try letting the sugar paste cool more after application, before you rip, and remember to pull quickly, along your leg as opposed to directly away from it, holding skin taut with your other hand.

Hope this helps.

Sarag on June 05, 2008:

I'm having a problem with the body sugaring, just as someone else is/was. I'm not getting any hair to be pulled out by the paste? What kind of cotton strips am I supposed to be using and how long should I be waiting until I pull it off? How long should the hair be to use this?

Paul on May 23, 2008:

It did work on me....Just make sure to pull it fast and it will definitely remove everything.

xiaowun on April 15, 2008:

Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but I let my let leg hair grow out a little longer than I would normally let it go, and this was still hardly getting any hair - around 10% at most. Any tips?

I let the mixture sit with the cloth in place (having moved it slightly upward (against the hair) as I patted it down, leaving it in place for anywhere between 10 seconds to a few minutes. My husband tried it on his inner arm for me, and it seemed to pull a lot more than I was getting. His arm hair is about 2-3 times the length of what my leg hair currently is. Is it just a matter of length?

Thanks for the great post, Maddie!

BABr on March 22, 2008:

Thanks for putting this out here for all of us to use ... I am going to try it now ... wish me luck !!!

Blogger Mom from Northeast, US on February 20, 2008:

Haha...we'll see if I can work up the courage. I'll let you know how it goes. =)

Maddie Ruud (author) from Oakland, CA on February 20, 2008:

Blogger Mom:

I have used both body sugaring and waxing for hair removal, and I did find that sugaring was less painful over time than waxing (not to mention less expensive and easier!).  However, it starts out more painful while you (and your hair follicles) get used to it, so if you can, give it a few times before you throw in the towel--or, in this case, cotton strips!

Blogger Mom from Northeast, US on February 20, 2008:

Maddie, have you actually tried this? I'm scared to death of waxing, but I'll give this a try if I can do it at home (and then give up if it hurts too much). Thanks for writing this! =)

Ashok Rajagopalan from Chennai on October 29, 2007:

Women can become sweeter, lol!

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