Sugar Wax – An Ancient Arabic Beauty Secret

natural, recipe, sugar wax, beauty, arabic, health, ancient Sugar wax, sugaring or Persian waxing, whatever you want to call it there is an old, tried and true way to wax, naturally. Many beauty regimens do more harm than good as many products contain harsh chemicals including toxins, hormone disruptors and even pesticides!  That’s why we have scouted out an ancient Arabic beauty regimen that does not threaten your body or your bank account for that matter. See below to learn how to make your own sugar wax used to remove unwanted hair.

It’s an attractive recipe.  According to Habiba’s Diary of the Middle Eastern countries, this all-natural sugar wax is most popular in Egypt and Lebanon.  eHow presents efficient instructions on how to proceed with the depilatory “cooking.”

Ingredients:

Sugar, white or brown (1 cup)

Water (2 Tbsp)

Lemon juice (1.5 Tbsp)

Salt, optional (1 tsp)

Combine these above natural ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on low heat. Allow the mixture to thicken and turn golden-brown.  (Just like freshly baked cookies you know it’s good when it’s golden-brown.)

Stir the mixture with a spoon, making sure the sugar crystals dissolve.  Within roughly eight minutes, it will thicken considerably and take on a syrupy consistency.  Be careful not to let it burn.

Watch as the mixture turns a darker brown, turn off the heat, and let the forming wax cool for a couple of minutes.

And voilà (as this is also called Parisian waxing), there you have your wax.  Apply where desired and pull in the opposite direction of hair growth.  The wax is totally reusable so stick the leftover portion in plastic and put it in the fridge.  10 seconds in the microwave will be enough when you want to use it later.

As an Arabic student, I was familiar with Maha’s videos before I came across this one.

In it she sets aside the Arabic language books and instead gives a full demonstration on how to make this sugar wax.  The effervescence of the wax mixture as it congeals in the saucepan does not quite match up to her personality however. She opens with the disclaimer, “I’m not going to show you.”  Lively Arabic music plays throughout the demonstration.  Take a look:

YouTube Preview Image

The sweetness of this sugar wax cannot be denied: it’s sticky, like toffee, and the color of caramel.  It’s also effective, cheap, and non-harmful.  Great for sexy legs. So try it at home. I know I will!

UPDATE: Link here for my trial and error attempt (and part success making my own sugar wax).

Image of sugar wax, Shutterstock

81 thoughts on “Sugar Wax – An Ancient Arabic Beauty Secret

  1. Stacia

    Help! I don’t know what happened, but I made this with brown sugar. I did exactly what she said to do and once I got to the step about massaging it in your hands, that’s where I had a disaster. I kept wetting my hands but the wax kept running out of my hands and was having the opposite effect. It didn’t get stringy or become what it was supposed to. What did I do wrong?

    Reply
  2. Dina Dawood

    Lol!!!! your so funny also my mother use to make this sugar wax and she said it hurts like crazy when your trying to use it and im soo scared i really don’t want to try it but i know my mom does it all th time.But you know i gotta try it one day so i’m might try it

    Reply
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  11. :)

    The trick is you must keep mixing the hot stuff till it’s cooled down and it had become thick. Then yuo can start pulling it, in the beginning it’s really really sticky on the hands but you keep pulling it. This way you put air in it and it will stay soft. ;) This is how it works for me. I use the hot methods, once you finished your wax, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds and apply it on your skin (be careful, no longer than 10 seconds!) then when it has hardened again you can easily pull it of. :)

    Good luck all!! :D

    Reply
  12. sham

    This is an ancient way of PERSIAN waxing.
    For your information where and when would Arabs have grown suger in deserts to have an Ancient Arabic waxing?
    It does not take a genius to find out the so called arabic countries are deserts and nothing more….

    Reply
    • Nalan Khalaf

      Arab countries are not all desert sham, you know Jordan, Palestine, Syria and Lebanon in addition to Iraq are all arab countries, they were home to ancient human settlements just like the land of Persia. I grew up seeing my grandma preparing this, although without salt and she would even let us taste it before she would work on it :)

      Reply
    • rawan

      OMG, are you for real!! Arab countries are not all desert.. please do your self a favor and spend a few minutes to google any of Syria, Palestin, morroco, Iraq’s nature so that you know what you are talking about!

      Reply
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  14. Kaya

    Hi,

    I tried maha’s method… it came out perfect… On some sites and demo videos, they say that wax need to be applied in the opposite direction of the hair growth and need to be pulled on in the same direction of the hair growth.

    Both ways is it okay?

    Reply
    • Tiffany

      It has to be applied opposite the hair growth because the sugar “seeps” down into the hair follicle. You then do a “flick” after you applied the sugar and the hair comes off with the sugar. One little ball of sugar can do your whole body and then once done you toss it out. Im a training esthetician and just did a sugaring class. Great alternative to waxing. You can even appky tge sugar right on top of your eyebrow and make a design and then wipe off what you dont want and not worry about your hair being taken off. If you did that with wax you’d have part of your eyebrow taken off with the wax

      Reply
      • Kris

        I’m an aestetician as well, & i’m trying to learn sugaring. My first 2 batches got burnt; they look like thick, sticky scotch lol. mine came out a little darker, even after working with it, but it works fairly well. I’ve tried using the hand method, as well as the stick method; the hand method is so much easier!

        If you apply it against the hair growth, you should feel a little pulling, right? I’m still trying to master the recipe, so I’m not entirely sure if I have the right consistency or not. I have very sensitive skin, so when I get waxed with honey/hot wax, I ALWAYS get those irritated bumps, my skin looks like i got whipped w/an old school paddle, & i itch like crazy! But with the sugar wax, I get a little red & sticky, but once I wipe down with a cool, wet paper towel, I’m just a little red. Now I completely understand when my textbook says “a great alternative for those with sensitive skin” LOL!

        As far as the eyebrow goes…..I’d probly stick to tweezing or threading. I’d be afraid to rip off too much, & end up with Vulcan brows rofl (at least until I get the hang of manipulating the wax!)

        I don’t have marble counters, so what would I use instead? I’m thinking wax paper, but I don’t want to try it just yet; I don’t want a big piece of it in the wax lol.

        Reply
  15. Nate in OC

    For the record:

    I’m a guy.
    I’ve never worked as an aestetician, beautician, or in any form of cosmetology.
    I’m not Arabic.
    I don’t have a candy thermometer
    No candy making experience….

    You get the picture. Anyways, I made the recipe from the video last night. I don’t have marble, so I poured it into an Ikea plate and mixed it around for a few minutes (this took some muscle) until it had cooled to the point of being warm/hot. It doesn’t have to be burning hot to knead it. Also, the more wet your hands are, the longer the kneading process takes…

    Did it work? Yes, but I believe my hands perspire too much to make this stuff work very long. After a few small areas, the wax became a sticky goo. I will say, I like this TONS better than commercial wax which pulls your skin and leaves is burning.

    Reply
  16. Mina

    Hi,
    I have to be honest about my experience with this and save others some trouble. I’ve tried to make my own sugar wax (which I don’t believe is “Parisian” but rather “Persian”) probably about 15-20 times. It’s been remotely successful less than five. Even then, it was for the price of burnt fingers, a sticky mess, broken nails and blisters from the kneading the wax. I’ve wasted a lot of sugar. I have rarely seen in comments under blogs and videos that people get it right. I would venture to say that the ones who do are often equipped with supplies that ensures the success of the procedure (i.e. a candy thermometer) or run beauty blogs and are willing to invest more time and energy than the average person would. I advise you not to waste your time frustrating yourself with it. This is very popular in the Middle East, but often women watch each other make it to really get a feel for when the sugar is ready to remove from the heat, how to knead properly, and how to apply it. For the beginner, I recommend you either prepare yourself for a lot of frustration or if you really want to wax with sugar wax, find it online or buy it form a local esthretician. They often sell their own perfected recipe. Really, I wish more people would be honest about the fact that this is not, indeed, as easy as it looks.

    Reply
  17. Aimee

    My room mate and i tried this twice and failed both times. The first time it was cool enough to handle but it wasn’t coming together it just stayed liquid and the second time we did it it was still very hot but was turning into a hard candy texture. Not really sure where we went wrong if you have any tips please help. Oh and we do not have a marble counter top we used a ceramic plate that we put in the freezer while we heated the mixture.

    Reply
  18. khetaram oza

    plz sir i tried 3 time in that all the thing are happen very well but i want to sale this wax in market so may know bulk formulation process , and also facing one problem after all this process when it cool it will be very hard so plz give me solution to stay this wax atleast for 2 year as soft………….plz it is urgent plz who have solution plz mail me on the ozakhetaram @gmail.com

    Reply
  19. Kate

    I don’t want to get in this whole environmental argument. My comment is about the video.
    Thank You very much for this video! I got it on my first try! I don’t have marble counter tops, so I just worked the mixture on a large glass plate that had been in the refrigerator for about five minutes. Though, I thought I did it wrong at first because it wouldn’t stay in the middle of the plate when I scraped it with the spoon. It was just gooey and wouldn’t hold it’s shape, but after a while I figured out that it was still too hot, so I worked with it in front of my air conditioner and put an ice pack underneath the plate to firm it up(You have to be careful that it doesn’t get TOO cold or it will not come off the plate!). I then pulled it like it was taffy. That stuff is VERY STICKY! I was very pleased with my new wax, so I went into the bathroom to try it out, and… SUCSESS! Hope this helps! Oh, and when you apply it to your skin you have to let it set up. Try cooling it down somehow after you put it on like try sitting in front of a fan, or before you put it on just keep that area cool with a ice pack, just don’t get the area wet or it wont stick.

    Reply
  20. tressa

    I made this n it works well. I used red wine vinegar so after it was to wished it stayed a pale pink almost a coral color. Takes forever to cool enough so you don’t burn yourself severely though ): gangster only downer I’ve had. Oh! And it comes off your hands easy just with warm water since its made out of sugar mostly(: hope my comment was useful for someone

    Reply
  21. Maggy

    need help….!! its not working at all….its super Sticky when you are mixing it and you have to make like a paste.

    Reply
    • renee

      Yes, that’s the right texture. It should be really tough and sticky. You have to wet your hands and pull the candy. It’ll get softer as you continue to do that. Don’t be tempted to pour water on it. Oh, and it shouldn’t be a complete paste. It should be able to hold it’s shape, otherwise you can’t pull it off your skin.

      Reply
  22. Joanne

    Hi girls, I tried making this and it was browning up nicely and then all of a sudden it was like all the water disappeared and it became lumpy and grainy and white? It happened twice, is this because I tried making it without the lemon or was it the cooking process? Thanks :)

    Reply
    • renee

      I think you have to substitute the lost liquid with another acid (like vinegar). It’s not supposed to dry up. You have to work with it in liquid form.

      Reply
  23. Carly

    I was just wondering if someone could explain to me what I did wrong. I followed the instructions exactly and my mixture turned brown, caramel brown, but it is still grainy. Like the sugar didn’t dissolve or melt or whatever. How do I fix it?

    Reply
    • renee

      Hi Carly, that’s a sign that it is under cooked(the heat was not enough to break down the crystals yet). How long did you cook it for? What type of sugar did you use?

      Reply
  24. renee

    Ladies, I tried it too. Got it on the 3rd try. I have tips here: http://pigletta.blogspot.com/2013/07/arabic-sugar-wax.html?m=1. Let me know if t works for you too.

    I do not agree with the pull against the hair growth bit though. I think that just traumatizes the pores, is more painful and more prone to breaking the hair and ingrown hair. I have really thick hair, and pulling the hair following the hair growth, removes even the white follicle at the root. Which indicates that the entire hair is pulled and didn’t break.

    Reply
  25. Emilee

    So I have tried this 3 times and each time I cannot get the sugar mixture to turn into wax while I am playing with it in my hands! I don’t know If I need to use less water in my hands or what, but it just stays watery and slips right through my fingers. The last time I did it I thought it was actually going to work! It wasn’t sticking to my hands nearly as much and was actually holding together! And then all of a sudden it just melted right through my fingers.

    What am I doing wrong!?!? :(

    Reply
    • K

      Exact same thing happened to me!! It was doing great then suddenly it was goo! :( I tried applying a very thing layer of it to my leg in a rectangle shape and then putting wax paper ontop (just regular stuff from a grocery store that you cover foods with.) and waited till it dried, then ripped it off. It actually worked pretty good! Only thing is it took a lot if time and even still would leave a few hairs each time so I finally just shaved my legs instead.

      Reply
    • renee

      Happened to me too, just don’t use too much water on your hands. I only wet my right hand, and only did that 3x. After the 3rd time it was already pliable so I just continued to play with it, until it was tacky. That was that :)

      Reply
  26. Ashley

    this does not work at all! just tried it and well i either am a very bad cook or it does not work one bit!

    Reply
  27. Celeste

    i tried to make this sugar wax twice today.
    in my first attempt, i did not leave the pan long enough on the stove, probably because i was so scared of burning the mixture. i then poured it onto a granite surface and it slipped right through my fingers like water. darn!!!!!!!!
    round 2, i left the mixture longer on the stove, passing light brown and uh oh, it went dark brown. it managed to slide out of the pan onto the granite but not even 10seconds later i had toffee everywhere!!!!!!
    NOT A GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE YA’LL! i shall try again another time when my mom will let me use some more sugar!!!!!

    Reply
  28. Suhail

    its Called ” Haallaawah ” , meaning Sweet or Candy ,
    if you don’t have lemon or Omani lime , you may use vinegar one or two spoon ,
    also you may have it as candy , for better test you may add milk and food coloring , then cut in to small pieces and dump in flour to avoid sticking with each other , feel free to make your own style flavor , this type of candy , use to be in demand in the 30s and 50s in the (Bahrain) called “Ambary” ,

    Reply
    • Suhail

      Take caution never allow it to boil, as it will build up big thick bubble and may pop-up in the air hot and very sticky on your skin, it will burn you if you are not cautions

      Reply
  29. Sarah

    So I tried this and then when it was simmering it started bubbling and frothing even though I had the heat as low as possible. Is that supposed to happen?!?!

    Reply
  30. Abby

    Okay so I saw this on pintrest and was super excited because I have really thick hair and so even right after I shave I can still see my hair follicle. anyways, it did not work at all. I went according to the instructions and it did not remove my hair. What did I do wrong???

    Reply
  31. Krista

    This looks so easy! I have been wanting to try this for a long time. I tried today to make this wax twice and I just don’t seem to get it right. Mine doesn’t turn light like yours and it keeps being sticky and melting into my fingers no matter how much I try to water my fingers and keep them cool. It must be the marble that is the magic here since that is the only thing I don’t have at home. xD Lol maybe third time is the charm for me?

    Reply
    • Lisa

      I had the same issue and I used the marble. I got the wax to work a little bit, but it mostly just stayed really sticky on my skin and I couldn’t pull it off. I had to get in the shower and wash it off. Thankfully, it washes off really easily. I think I just had it too hot and my body temperature kept the heat in the wax. I wish I had linen strips.

      Reply
      • Kaija

        Hey, same thing happened to me, Lisa. I think the problem is maybe too much water and vinegar. It didn´t turn into paste and go lighter any way. As soon as my hands started to dry up, the mass got realllly sticky and didn´t come off unless with water. I also tried using the wax paper (cooking sheets) – no use. Maybe i´ll try it again some day.

        Reply
        • Nate in OC

          Alright ladies, you can read my comment above, but if it’s staying sticky, you’re using TOO MUCH WATER. The water on your hands isn’t really to keep them cool (sort of…) it’s there to keep the wax from sticking to you.

          This stuff has two basic characteristics that can make or break it. Heat and Moisture. When the stuff gets warm/cold, it gets soft/hard respectively. Moisture will also have a similar effect. Too wet and it’s SUPER sticky and won’t remove hair (also impossible to remove from skin without washing), I haven’t had a problem with too little water.

          Reply
  32. Naomi

    Uh, what’s “threading?” I’m from the Pacific Northwest, where the men are men, and the women are too. As a 50yo woman, my jeans rub off the leg hair, no one ever sees my armpits, but the mustache is driving me nuts.

    Reply
    • Sophie

      Threading is painful as hell, but much better suited for hair removal of the face and shaping/grooming the eyebrows. It’s much more precise. I don’t understand people who wax their eyebrows.

      Reply
  33. waste of food!

    really, i can’t believe that this article is here. sugar is an environmentally devastating crop even if only because it’s the world’s largest. add in beets grown for sugar, and corn, rice, and barley grown for syrups, and the scale of the problem becomes almost unimaginable. that’s what we grow in order to satisfy our addictions to sweets.

    now you suggest using it to remove hair?! that’s just as sustainable as encouraging readers to massage their skin with pieces of raw meat in order to make it smoother. (not that raw meat does that…) but meat is always held up as the big environmental problem and we hear nothing of sugar.

    threading requires no water, no energy for cooking or storing, no wasting of food, in fact, no preparation! a much better choice all around.

    Reply
    • Karin Kloosterman

      In a perfect world there will be no cruelty to animals, no injustice to land and no body hair on women. Lucky for me I am a blond and don’t need to thread or wax.

      It’s a little extreme to ask people to cut all sugar out of their diet. I for one am not willing to do that, but I do buy organic sugar when I can.

      Reply
    • You Must be Kidding

      I’m all for the ‘save the environment’ crap, but seriously? You may want to bend yourself into a pretzel to thread your private bits, but I don’t. Nor do I feel like spending hours threading my legs.

      In fact, the only things that threading are really feasible for are eyebrows and upper lip. Maybe you have extra hands to thread your underarms, but I don’t. Or maybe you just like to go around hairy, I don’t know.

      Reply
    • Michael Lehner

      Your response “Waste of Food” is a bit extreme but thank you..it is thought provoking.

      Reply
    • Alyssa

      OMG you have to be kidding ME… you thread? Dear God, thread used in threading is made of cotton. Which as you know is a crop, like your sugar rant. Then, omg it’s shipped to large factories (after being bailed and wrapped in either heavy amounts of plastic or paper to hold said bail together) by LARGE trucks that pollute the ozone. Next that cotton is cleaned, using that water you said it doesn’t require. Next it’s spun in huge energy wasteful factories that also emit pollution. The thread is either spun around some kind of plastic holder (or wood holders…the trees!), sometimes even packaged in a plastic type of bag. You do know what plastic does to the environment right? LOL get off your high horse silly. All hair removal outlets do SOMETHING at some point, just because you do not directly see it, don’t forget it’s process. So jump off that high horse and go hairy if you really give a shit.

      Reply
    • Mera Jade

      Actually sugar cane is not nearly one of the most devastating crops on the planet, that would most likely be cotton, and what is wrong with using a food crop for something other than food? Have any idea how much pollution is put out with the waxes on the market… lets just start with the shipping of it, sugar is going to get shipped any and everywhere regardless. BTW did you know that sugar, while not healthy in large quantities is far better for you than the fake sugars they are trying to push off on everyone today. Tone it down on a simple cosmetic procedure and go after the shipping and car industries… You know the ones that are really causing the damage along with industrial farming.

      Reply
    • Connie

      Uh, yeah I don’t think she’s suggesting it now, as far as I know it is an ancient practise and it has been used long before mass consumption of sugar became a problem (which it is, I agree with you on that). I just don’t think this is the right place to raise awareness on the matter, since eating sugar has nothing to do with this video. In fact, I’d rather wax with sugar than put it in my tea!

      Reply

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