Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sweet Sugery Goodness

No, not candy.

I tried sugaring last night.  Sugaring is a method of hair removal similar to waxing, but it uses all natural ingredients.  In fact, it only uses THREE natural ingredients, which makes it really easy to make it organic.  Here's the recipe:

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water

Boil it slowly in a thick saucepan until it gets to about 246 degrees; you can reduce that temperature by 1 degree for every 500 feet you live above sea level.  For instance, Jackson is about 6600 feet above sea level, so I can subtract my 'goal' temp by 13 degrees; I'll heat my sugar to 233.  The recipe I used said to heat it for about 25 minutes, but that was way too long, and my sugar got too hard.  I think I'll try letting it boil for about 15 minutes next time.  Remove it from the heat source every so often so you can let the bubbles calm down.  This will let you see the color.  You want it to simmer, not to boil too fast.  Stir frequently.

It's done when it's at a nice rich amber color.  I made mine too dark and it got hard.  When it's done, let it cool for a few minutes in the pot, and then pour it into a glass or plastic jar.  You want it to cool down, so I put my in the refrigerator since I'm impatient.  You don't want it to burn when you put it on your skin.

While I let it cool I took a nice shower; the warm water opens up the hair follicles.  Make sure to exfoliate the skin and cleanse it. Make sure to dry off really well.  Put some cornstarch or baby powder on the area you want to sugar.  This will keep the sugar from getting on your skin and staying on the hair.

The sugar should be thicker than honey but thin enough that it still pours a little bit when you tilt the container one way or another.  Make sure it's not hot; it's okay if it's a bit warm, but it shouldn't hurt at all.  You want sort of a "oh, that's nice" warmth.  Take a tongue depressor or a similar object (I used a butter knife) and scope out some of the sugar.  Spread it over the hair in the direction of the hair growth.  Take a strip of cotton (thicker material like a canvas works really well) and place it on top of the sugar, pressing it down into the hair, smoothing it in the direction of the hair growth.  You're supposed to let it sit for a minute, but I took it off quicker than that.  After you've smoothed the strip in the direction of the hair, pull the skin taut and quickly pull it back in the opposite direction of the hair growth.

It's not going to tickle.  But it doesn't kill, either.

Keep doing this until you're happy with the removal.  If you miss a couple of small hairs, pluck these (they're super easy to pluck after being sugared; you barely have to try).  One of the nice things about sugaring as opposed to waxing is that the sugar only adheres to the hair, whereas the wax will adhere to hair and skin.  This makes sugaring less painful.

I sugared my bikini yesterday; I'm not going to say it didn't hurt.  However, the pain didn't last more than a few seconds after pulling it.  I did the ONE-TWO-THREE-PULL and usually pulled on two.  It was like pulling off a really mean bandage.  It was a lot less painful to remove the hair by the legs rather than actually closer to the vulva.  Vulva = whatheOUCH!!!! I can't even imagine doing more by myself than what I did -- too much.  No good.

Today I feel pretty smooth except for a ton of red bumps and some ouchiness.  Apparently putting hydracordisone cream on it helps.  I used salicylic acid lotion as salicylic acid is supposed to help prevent ingrown hairs; apparently that's not supposed to be put on right AFTER you sugar though.... I'm hoping the red bumps go away in the next day.

If the bumps go away and the hair stays away for at least 2-3 weeks, I could definitely see myself doing this regularly.  It takes a little while, but it's cheap, and if it works, it's worth the pain.  Plus, the pain is supposed to get easier the more and more you do it as the hair gets thinner and less dense.  The more you sugar, the more the hair follicle is damaged, so less hair grows.  It takes a while, though.

Once you have made the sugar, you can keep it for about 3 weeks.  Just heat it up in the microwave a bit, and if it's too hard, let it cool until comfortable.  You can also heat it up by letting the container sit in hot water.

You can also use it at room temperature if it's not too hard or soft; you flatten it out (make sure not to touch it too much or it'll get warm and too sticky) and press it hard into your skin.  Flick up the end of it and pull in the opposite direction of the hair growth.  I haven't tried this method yet; I think I'll try it next time.

If the sugar it too hard, like mine was, add a small amount of water and microwave the sugar for about a minute.  Slowly mix until it's all the same consistency.

I like sugaring (so far) because it's all natural, it's cheap, I can do it myself (I get weirded out by people doing things I can do... like painting my nails, doing my makeup, taking cre of my hair....), and it's easy to clean up.  To clean, add hot water.  It will dissolve.  Yeah.  That easy.

EDIT:  So sugaring totally gave me nasty red bikini-bumps for three days, and then some of the hair became ingrowns, and the others just got mad at me... and it started growing back in like a week.  So.  It seemed like a good idea (as much of a good idea as ripping out your own pubic hair can SEEM) but I don't know if I'll try it again.  I hear your skin sort of gets used to it... but if it doesn't, I'm not at ALL interested in doing that again.

I got my information from several sources, but Beauty & Fitness Savvy was the best help to me. The sugar in the pot picture came from that site.  The first picture can be found here.

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