by Laura Pilati
One of the things we’ve enjoyed most since starting GCG is the dialogue that we find ourselves now having with the world. Three months ago, it felt like we were throwing a bag of our favorite seeds to the wind and hoping that someone cared about them, picked them up, and took care of them, somewhere. Flash forward to the last three days, during which time I’ve picked up little conversations with two people who I didn’t even know were keeping up with this little project. Both of them tossed ideas for the blog my way–coincidentally, both DIY cosmetic ideas–and in so doing fueled the flame. Because this blog isn’t about us–it’s about the community of us! So if you’re reading this, thank you. We appreciate your thoughts and attention and hope that you’ll pipe up when you have something to say (which many of you did last week–your comments were amazing and inspiring!).
Intrigued by this GOOD article/series (by Lesley Clayton), which was sent to me by one of you, dear friends, I whipped up some sugar wax and took it for a spin.
Let’s start with a truth here…I am no stranger to yanking out hairs; I’ve been plucking my eyebrows for almost ten years now. That being said, the pain still gets me. Have any of you ever accidentally pinched your skin instead of a hair with the tweezers? Or had a stray eyebrow in that super sensitive area right above your eyelid? OUCH. So the thought of pulling out many large hairs on the super sensitive, super thin skin on my legs startled me away from ever trying waxing.
Ok, another truth…I don’t usually shave my legs, either. That’s it–I’ve put it out there to the universe! I guess it started about four or five years ago, when one of my roommates decided to see how long she could go without shaving her armpits, that I decided to do a one-year experiment–no leg shaving. It was sort of the result of laziness and sort of a social test on myself: could I stand people staring at my legs and asking questions? Or would people even say anything? Well, stares happened. And lots of weird questions ensued (many times I got both, and once a fellow lifeguard actually scowled at me). That was hard. And though it hurt every time I got one or the other (or both, as it were), I half expected myself to get used to it after a year. What actually happened was this: I felt super self-conscious about having unshaven legs and, when the year was up, promptly shaved them. And then I let them go again…still not sure why that initially happened. Social rebellion? When people asked about it, I told them that I just shaved my legs whenever I felt like it. Then, that’s what my habit became. These days, you may find me with or without my legs shaven–depends on my level of self-confidence
, I suppose.
Your sneak preview: one leg waxed, one leg unwaxed.
Here’s where the sugar waxing comes in! When I got the article about sugar waxing–making a wax for hair removal from sugar–I took it as a DIY challenge. Here goes nothin’…
I followed GOOD’s directions to a T (though I also watched a few youtube videos, most of which had high entertainment value). First, I started by squeezing the ever-living daylights out of a lemon to get my 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. No, really:
Then, I added a cup of granulated sugar (though according to many youtube videos, you can use raw or brown or turbinado sugar as well) and 2 tablespoons of tap water. Stir to combine:
I turned the heat to high, or as my stove likes to call it, 6. Once the mixture began to boil, which happened pretty quickly, I turned the heat to medium, or about 4. As Lesley said of her experiment, mine took about six minutes to turn a shade of honey (though this would probably be different for those using another type of sugar–in the future, I’d recommend using a candy thermometer for more accurate measurement):
I removed the pot from the stove and poured the wax-in-the-making into a small stainless steel bowl to cool. What I didn’t realize would happen is that the wax continued cooking itself and ended up a shade of molasses:
I was a little concerned that it would harden to brittle at this point, but decided to bide my time. All ended well! When the mixture got to about 100 degrees (I did use my candy thermometer here), I took out a dollop with a spoon and began to “knead” it between my hands:
As I kneaded, the wax cooled and got more pliable. At this point, I started to sort of smooth it out on my shin. At first, it didn’t do a great job of pulling up hair–in fact, it didn’t really do anything at all, except make me want sugar (attention: DO NOT EAT the wax after using it on your hair. please. i beg you.). But as time passed, the wax cooled to my body temperature and lost some of its water content. This is when things got more successful. Well, painfully successful. Were you thinking that I somehow held the key to painless waxing? I wish!
After a bit of time kneading the wax and using it on my left leg, it worked well enough. It was easy to “roll out” on my legs and pull up to remove the hair (interestingly enough, as I used it more, the wax worked better). What I figure happened to Lesley (she says that all she ever got was a stringy mess) was that she didn’t let it cool long enough. When I first took the wax out of the cooling bowl, the same thing happened to me; the trick was to keep kneading it while it cooled, and eventually I could roll it into one mass and start using it for real.
I’m not telling the full story here, though. This process took FOREVER. All in all, making the wax, letting it cool, and using it on my two legs (which was from the knee down) took roughly 3-4 hours. And I didn’t even do what I would consider a “thorough” job. On top of that, it took a while for my skin to “settle down”–I had little red welts and patches for several hours afterward. Nevertheless, after rinsing and drying my skin, my legs felt nice in this Virginia summer heat:
Would I do this again? Maybe. It’s cheap and sort of fun, in a weird way. But it does take a long ass time and hurts like the dickens. I’m wondering if these two cons could be potentially avoided: did I let the wax cook too long (this video shows a slightly varied method that suggests working the wax like I did with less cooking)? should I have moisturized my skin before/after trying the wax out? I’ve heard before of salons applying oil to skin before wax to minimize pain and swelling. Have any of you ever experienced this? Do you have other tips for the next time I give it a try (’cause I’ll probably forget about the pain by the time I wake up tomorrow morning…)?
P.s.-Wanna be featured on GCG? We’re looking for lovely ladies (and gentlemen!) to interview and guest write. Don’t have a topic in mind? No problem! Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below–we’ll be in touch soon. 🙂