Looking for an alternative to laser hair removal? Some of us are lucky enough to never grow lots of body hair… but what about those who end up with it, yet want to live naturally, without applying harsh chemicals or going under the laser?
I once bought a bottle of hair removal lotion at the pharmacy, only to open it and nearly gag because the smell was just so strong. But luckily there are a number of natural techniques that don’t involve drying out your skin or having to undergo a procedure straight out of the X-Files – electrolysis and hair removal laser. Read on to find out more about a very natural and ancient depilatory method, that lets you get rid of your unwanted hair without poisons.
Sugar – Use it but don’t consume it!
The main ingredient for hair removal is one that I don’t recommend – for consumption, that is! I’m talking about sugar. This simple carbohydrate makes a very effective hair removal method, though it does require some work. Here’s a simple recipe to follow for natural hair removal:
- 2 cups sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup water
You will also need a candy thermometer and some clean cotton cloth.
- Combine the ingredients for the hair removal in a saucepan and warm over low heat slowly to 250 degrees. This is where the candy thermometer comes in. Watch the mixture so it doesn’t boil, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula occasionally.
- When you’ve reached this temperature, turn it off and wait for it to cool down until it’s cool enough to transfer to a different container. The container should be heat-resistant as well – something like a glass jar would work well.
- Next you will have to wait for it to cool down until it won’t burn your skin. Test it on your hand or arm by scooping a little bit with a popsicle stick or other wooden slat.
- While it’s cooling, you can use the time to rip some clean cotton fabric into 1” strips. The fabric should be somewhat loosely woven because this will allow the sugar mixture to stick to it.
- When the sugar mixture is cool enough, spread a thin layer of it on your skin and cover it with cotton strips.
- Then you can rip off the cotton strips like you would a bandage, in the opposite direction of the hair growth; the hair will come off with it, completely removing the hair.
Some people say this method is less painful than waxing. You can use the leftover sugar mixture again – just leave it in the jar, and then heat it up next time by placing it in a saucepan with a little hot water. Heat the water, and the water will melt down the mixture.
Cheap and Natural Alternative
The method sounds labor intensive, but it’s worth it — the hair is pulled out by the roots and will take a long time to grow back – hair removal at it finest. You’ll probably need to do it again only in about 6-8 weeks. Be sure to moisturize afterward. So the next time you’re pondering the price for laser hair removal, think about this cheap and natural alternative first.
(Recipe from Annie B. Bond)
Maria (Niina) Pollari is a poet, editor, writer and translator. She wrote two chapbooks, Fabulous Essential (2009) and Book Four (2011). Pollari’s writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as the Brooklyn Rail and Jezebel.com. She has received her Master’s in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College.