Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Arabic Sugar Wax

Every wonder what type of wax Lay Bare uses? It's an age old recipe for Arabic wax.

IMHO it removes hair better than any wax I've tried before, and it will not burn you, so I tried making my own.

WARNING: Boiling sugar is hotter than boiling water - DO NOT TOUCH OR TASTE this mixture while in liquid form. IT WILL BURN YOU. For kids, only do this with the supervision of an adult. Try at your own risk.



I found this video on YouTube and followed it, however as the measurements are not precise and it took me 3 tries before I got it.  The recipe I ended up with and some of my tips are below:



Ingredients:
1 cup white sugar (must be white so you can watch it caramelize)
1 tsp salt (rock salt)
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp lemon juice

Directions:
1. On medium-low heat, add all the ingredients in a clean saute pan.  I used a wooden spoon instead of the metal spoon in the video since I hate the steel on steel grating sound.
2. Stir continuously until all the sugar melts, bubbles up and turns into a dark amber color. If done right, it will take you around 5-8 minutes (not the 2 minutes indicated in the video title!).  It is important to cook the sugar long enough because you're converting the sugar crystals to something more pliable later on.  I wasn't able to watch the temp, so just go by color.
3. Once the sugar is dark amber (not burnt!), take it off the heat and follow Maha's instructions in the video. You basically need to pour the liquid on a surface that can take the heat and cool the sugar down.  I think tiles will work, but make sure you sterilize the surface prior to using (just use boiling water, not any fancy chemical. It might transfer to your wax - no fun!).  Alternatively, it's best to use a silpat or something similar instead of a tile or marble surface for easy cleaning.
4. Once the sugar is on the flat surface, start cooling it down by pushing the sugar to the center and mixing over and over. Continue doing this until the sugar becomes hard, but still pliable.
5. To get the consistency needed for wax, you need to slowly add moisture to the candy ball and knead it.  Rather than wetting both hands as indicated in the video, I wet my right hand only and started pulling the candy, then folding it unto itself.  After folding 5 - 8 times, I wet my right hand again, and did the entire process 3 times (only!).  After the 3rd time, stop adding water to your hands, but continue pulling and folding the candy ball.  Initially you'll see a glossy sheen on the candy, but after a while it should start getting tacky.  If after pulling and folding 15 times, it's still hard, wet your right hand again and continue pulling.  Don't add too much water quickly as it will turn your wax into mush! You should be able to get a dough like consistency at this point.  Try pressing the candy ball to the palm of your left hand, and it should take and retain the shape of your right fingers easily.

You now have sugar wax!

To store:
1. Divide into approximately 2 tablespoon amounts and individually wrap in cling wrap and keep in the refrigerator.
2. If you need to use, thaw in the microwave for 10 secs.
3. Once it thaws, it wouldn't be pliable immediately, make sure to play with it again to slowly bring it to temp with the warmth of your hands.

To use:
1. Prepare the following: damp and dry towel, baby powder, mirror, wax.
2. Clean the area to be waxed, making sure not to use overly moisturizing soaps. The area needs to be devoid of moisturizers.
3. Dry the area thoroughly and apply baby powder generously.
4. Apply the wax against the hair growth (example for the legs, apply from the bottom up), making sure to press the wax against your skin for maximum pulling power.  The better the grip, the less painful this will be. Only apply 1 inch width by 1 to 2 inch length wax at a time only. Once applied, rip the wax off, following the direction of the hair growth (in the same example for the legs, pull from top to bottom).  Following the hair growth on removal is less stressful to the pore, and should lead to less ingrown hairs.  It's less painful too!
Make sure you check the hair growth direction, it isn't always vertical.
5. If not all the hairs are removed on the first try, leave it and don't wax the same area again.  You'll just hurt your skin as you've lost the protection of the baby powder on the first try.  Come back to it later using tweezers, after everything else is removed.
6. Reuse the same wax (even with the pulled hairs) on other areas, but you can only re-use for a short period of time, as it will get too mushy because of the heat of your body.  Change waxes once it's harder to pull.
7. After you're done, remove the excess sugar by lightly cleaning sugary areas with the damp towel, and drying off again with the dry towel.
8. Massage treated area with oil (I heard Argan oil works well, I use anti ingrown hair serum from European Wax Center that I got from the US)
9. Don't wet the area (showers, sauna, steam baths, or even just sweating) for 8 hours to avoid infections.
10. Exfoliate the area after two days to avoid ingrown hair.

Tips:
1. If the sugar wax is too hard, continue pulling and wetting your right hand - just don't be impatient and pour water on it, otherwise you'll end up with mushy syrup (happened to me the first try, so frustrating!).
2. If it gets too mushy, just try to cook it off again to remove excess water.
3. My sugar wax is darker than what was shown in the video, so don't fret if yours is not the same color as Maha's.

Comment here if you have any questions, or if it worked for you!





21 comments:

  1. It worked for me. I had to make two batches to do my legs. I did mess up on one batch however it worked out on the third batch. I had a hard time getting all the hair. This may have been due to the hair being shorter.

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  2. That's great to hear! I thread the short ones, or pluck 'em individually. It's what they do in the salons too. As you said the remaining hairs are too short.

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  3. Hi! I also saw that video from Maha, but found it hard to replicate because she doesn't give exact measurements. Needless to say, I never got it to the right consistency!
    So thanks for sharing your take on this. It's a huge help to see exact measurements. I'm going to try it out this weekend :)
    By the way, is it really necessary to use lemon? Or do you think calamansi would do?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Edwina, sorry about that. It looks like my reply didn't take. Bad internet. The answer is Yes, calamansi is a great replacement.

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  4. Hello there! thanks for giving a more detailed description on making sugar wax. i have attempted to make sugar wax more than five times (ive lost count!) so i was hoping you could help me out with a few things. i have to warn you that i have a lot of questions: do you think cooking to "hard ball" stage on a candy thermometer is good for the mixture to become more palpable? does the hardness of the mixture actually matter? how long do you wait for the mixture to cool down before applying water to it? when you do apply water, what is the texture of the mixture like; is it sticky or is it hard enough that you need to knead it out for you to make it softer? do you apply water to the surface on which you cool the wax, if so, how much? that's all for my questions i think, but feel free to tell me more if im missing something. please respond as soon as possible, i need as much help as i can get! thank you

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  5. Hi Guneet!

    I'm glad to be of help! Here is my attempt at answering your questions:

    1. do you think cooking to "hard ball" stage on a candy thermometer is good for the mixture to become more palpable? No, as I've mentioned you need color on your sugar mixture and that means going beyond hard ball. I've never used a candy thermometer for this (although I do for baking), just go by color (deep amber) and you'll be fine.
    2. does the hardness of the mixture actually matter? Once being cooled, yes it does.
    3. how long do you wait for the mixture to cool down before applying water to it? I think I now get where you're having a problem, you do NOT ever apply water directly to the mixture. Just your hands (see above for details).
    4. when you do apply water, what is the texture of the mixture like; is it sticky or is it hard enough that you need to knead it out for you to make it softer? It should be hard, like the video, once you get the sugar on your countertop, or in my case silicone mat it will be liquid. Then cool it down by mixing it using a wooden spoon or regular spoon like Maha did. As it cools it'll be hard and harder to mix, and will form into a sticky ball that looks like taffy. Touch it gingerly and once you feel you can place it in your hand without burning (don't ever do this while in liquid form, it must be able to hold it's shape already but still pliable enough to pull) wet your hand and shake the excess off. It's important that it doesn't touch too much water otherwise you'll end up with a syrup. Again, just wet one hand, shake it off and start pulling on the candy. If it's too hard wet your hand again, shake the excess off and do it again until it feel like firm clay instead of a really hard candy. Be patient, don't overdo it, otherwise it'll turn to mush. On the other hand, don't let it cool to room temperature because you won't be able to pull the candy at all.
    5. do you apply water to the surface on which you cool the wax, if so, how much? Like I said above, this seems to be your problem - do not ever add water to the mixture period.

    Good luck and let me know if it worked out!

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  6. when I try to play with it it just solidifys in my hand? what am I doing wrong?

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    1. Hi Monica, I see Sam responded below, I tend to agree the caramel was cooked too long. If you don't have a thermometer handy, try to put ice water next to the cooking caramel and try to drop bits of the sugar in once it's amber. Touch it and if it becomes a soft / medium hard ball you should be good to go.

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  7. Hi! With your recipe and directions it worked! :) Thanks! Have a nice day. :))

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  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  9. Replies
    1. Yes, it's great for bikini waxing because it's really mild (and not hot, hot, hot!). However, I'd still be careful about the "inner" bits though. Trim, ladies, trim.

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  10. Hard ball should be okay because in my experience with toffee and caramel making that is about the time. It is a deep amber
    I've used a pre-heated glass baking dish as a work surface and that works for people like me with a wood counter without a mat and who are NOT willing to use my tile floors! Lol.
    MONICA, it sounds like you may be cooking it for too long like WAY to long actually soundslike you have it to soft-Crack stage. Off the top of my head I know that hard Crack is 301Friday
    Try looking for soft ball candy temp
    OR just go off color and cook it to creamy caramel color
    Yes, EPPIE, The wax is perfectly fine for a bikini wax, or like you said the pubic area.
    But I would personally only apply it to external areas but that is ONLY my personal oppinion

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  11. Hard ball should be okay because in my experience with toffee and caramel making that is about the time. It is a deep amber
    I've used a pre-heated glass baking dish as a work surface and that works for people like me with a wood counter without a mat and who are NOT willing to use my tile floors! Lol.
    MONICA, it sounds like you may be cooking it for too long like WAY to long actually soundslike you have it to soft-Crack stage. Off the top of my head I know that hard Crack is 301Friday
    Try looking for soft ball candy temp
    OR just go off color and cook it to creamy caramel color
    Yes, EPPIE, The wax is perfectly fine for a bikini wax, or like you said the pubic area.
    But I would personally only apply it to external areas but that is ONLY my personal oppinion

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  12. Could this damage granite countertops?

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  13. On every video I've watched.... And that's quite a few, including this one you posted... They ALWAYS apply water to the cooling surface, yet here, you reply (5.) Not to"add water to the mixture period" when the question was whether to wet the cooling surface or not, which is always done to avoid sticking!?

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  14. Hi Lydie, I say try either way, but my caramel was a mess when water was added. Use a silpat if you're concerned about the wax sticking to the surface. Keep us posted on what worked for you.

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  15. Hello,

    I am new to sugar waxing. I just made my first batch (I followed your steps) and it was a great success! So far, i waxed both arms and my lower legs. Quick question. At what point should you toss away your sugar wax once it's been reused? I started out with a ball of wax the size of my fist and was able to reuse it numerous times but I am wondering after 10 uses if I should be storing it in the fridge or throwing it away?

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