How to Make DIY Sugar Wax for Easy, At-Home Hair Removal (2024)

Sugaring is a waxing alternative that has been used for centuries—it's even said to be the primary method of hair removal in ancient Egypt. It's typically less painful, less irritating, and more moisturizing than traditional waxing, making it an ideal hair removal technique for those with sensitive skin (or those who are prone to ingrown hairs).

And while you can certainly see a licensed professional for sugaring, the good news it's also fairly simple (and safe) to try at home. To try DIY sugaring, you'll just need water, sugar, and a little bit of lemon juice to make the perfect sugar wax, plus a few expert-approved tips for a smooth finish. So ahead, discover exactly how to make and use your own DIY sugar wax, according to dermatologist Dr. Hadley King and estheticians Cindy Barshop and Rachael Gallo.

Meet the Expert

  • Dr. Hadley King, MD is a board-certified dermatologist who specializes in medical and cosmetic dermatology.
  • Cindy Barshop is an esthetician and the founder of VSpot Medi Spa, a medical spa in New York.
  • Rachael Gallo is an esthetician and the Director of Spa Initiatives at Exhale Spa.

The Benefits of Sugar Wax

"Sugar wax is an all-natural waxing solution made of sugar, water, and lemon juice that has been used for many years," says Gallo."The benefits of sugar wax are the exfoliating and hydrating results, which are not typically found after waxing or shaving."

  • Can be less painful and more gentle than traditional wax.
  • Sugar wax is water soluble, making it easier to clean off.
  • Repeated treatments can result in thinner and slower hair regrowth.
  • More cost-effective than traditional waxing.

DIY Sugar Wax Ingredients

You'll only need three ingredients for an at-home sugar wax recipe, according to Gallo:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/8 cup warm water

DIY Sugar Wax Instructions

  1. Place a medium-sized pot on the stove and add all ingredients to the pot.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, making sure to stir frequently to avoid burning.
  3. Once the mixture starts bubbling, reduce to medium heat and continue to stir frequently.
  4. Remove the pot from heat when the mixture turns golden brown. The consistency of your sugar paste should be similar to hot syrup.If it's thick like honey, it might not stick to the skin—so heat it a little longer.
  5. Transfer to a bowl and let the paste cool for 30 minutes. The wax should still be warm but easy to manipulate.

Byrdie Tip

Gallo recommends using white sugar (versus brown) for a sugar paste, as it's hard to see the color change with brown sugar and it hardens too quickly.

Skin Prep

Beforesugaring, make sure yourhairis about one-fourth to three-fourths of an inch long. If it's longer than this, trim the hair down. Dr. Hadley recommends taking an over-the-counter pain medication (like ibuprofen) if you're worried about any pain or applying a cold pack to the skin. You should also make sure the skin is clean and dry before applying the paste.

Barshop recommends cleansing the area to be sugared with a natural soap like Cetaphil's Ultra Gentle Body Wash as well as lightly exfoliating. Both experts advise that the area should be clean and free of lotions and oils—if your skin is prone to oiliness, you can remove excess oil with a body wipe or witch hazel, suggests Barshop. If you're sporting sunburned skin or irritated, open sores, avoid sugaring those areas. Also, Barshop notes that you should stop using oral or topical acne orretinoidmedication at least six days before sugaring.

How to Use Your DIY Sugar Wax

Your DIY sugar wax can be applied on the face or body, so long as the length of the hair is at least one-quarter inch. Sugaring gets bonus points as there's no need for cloth strips (though you still use clothes if you prefer), but note that sugar wax can still be somewhat painful. It's also more cost-effective than other options, like visiting a wax specialist or buying waxes and strips since it utilizes ingredients you likely already have on hand.

Here's how to use the paste, according to Dr. Hadley.

  1. Always test the temperature of the sugar wax by applying a small amount to the inside of your wrist. It should feel warm but should not hurt orburn.
  2. Apply thesugarto a small section,spreading thesugarin the direction ofhairgrowth.
  3. Place a cloth strip over thesugarand press down firmly (optional).
  4. Leave the cloth on for 2-3 seconds, then hold your skin taut and quickly remove the cloth in the opposite direction ofhairgrowth. If you're not using a cloth, pull on the strip of wax.
  5. Afterwards, soothe the skin by applying cold packs and apply a moisturizer.

Where Can You Use Sugar Wax?

"Any body area with unwantedhaircan be treated withsugaring, including the face," says Dr. Hadley. This includes:

  • Arms
  • Underarms
  • Back
  • Bikini area
  • Upper lip
  • Face
  • Legs

Who Should Avoid Using Sugar Wax?

It's important to note that there are times when you should not use sugar paste (or waxing for that matter). "Neversugarsunburned skin, and avoid sugaring if you have very sensitive or inflamed skin, if you have takenIsotretinoin in the last six months, and if you have used a topical retinoid or retinol cream in the past five days." shared Dr. Hadley. "Avoidsugaringif you have open sores, rashes, bruises, swelling, sunburns, or cold sores in the area to be treated.Risks include burns from the heated paste, irritation, folliculitis, and ingrownhairs."


"After the hair is removed, remove any wax residue with a skin wax remover or warm water and a washcloth," says Barshop. "You can also apply an antiseptic cream regularly for one to two days post-sugaring." Gallo recommends using coconut oil to reduce the acidity from the lemon juice and soothe the skin (try this one from Kopari for an unrefined, organic option). Also, if you're sugaring your bikini area or underarms, avoid working out or taking hot baths—these areas may be sensitive to heat.

The Takeaway

Sugaring is a waxing alternative that tends to be less painful, less irritating, and more moisturizing than traditional waxing. And fortunately, experts say it can be safely made and used at home. You'll need just three ingredients to create your DIY sugar wax: sugar, water, and lemon juice. Just be incredibly cautious when boiling the sugar wax to avoid burning or injury, and when in doubt, it's always safest to see a licensed professional for hair removal (especially if it's your first time sugaring).


  • How long does sugar wax last?

    Depending on how fast your hair grows, you can expect your results to last somewhere around five to six weeks.

  • Is sugar waxing better than shaving?

    Sugaring will last longer than shaving, and since it pulls hair directly from the root, regular sugaring could lead to reduced hair growth over time. Shaving, on the other hand, is less painful (and quicker) than sugaring, and usually more convenient. It's up to your personal preference to decide which is best for you.

  • Can you shower after sugaring?

    According to Alexandra Accardo, a licensed esthetician, you're good to shower after sugaring. You should avoid the gym, however, as well as anything with high heat (think saunas or hot tubs) and any other form of skin-to-skin contact for 24-48 hours.

How to Make DIY Sugar Wax for Easy, At-Home Hair Removal (2024)
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