I struggled for years to make my own hair removal sugar paste and suffered so many disappointments with rock hard sugar that was totally unusable, so now that I’ve finally figured it out, I want to share it with you. Thank you Ruth Christy at DIY Salon and Jill, a pro sugarist whose thread comments helped so much, I couldn’t have done it without you. Here is the recipe (tweaked a bit) that worked for me:
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/8 tsp gum arabic
- candy thermometer (ideally paddle style)and a pot
Before you get started, it’s a good idea to test your thermometer for accuracy, which you can do either by placing it in boiling water or in icy water. Once you’re sure your thermometer is accurate within 2 degrees F in either direction, you’re ready. Combine sugar, lemon juice and water and cook on medium high, stirring constantly to avoid burning. I prefer a paddle thermometer as they’re more stable than the thin ones and they sit flush with the side of the pot and therefore don’t get in the way of stirring. If I want a soft paste, I cook the sugar until it reaches 240 degrees F, (if you want a firmer paste, see below for details). Once it reaches the desired temperature, I remove it from the heat and whisk in the gum arabic. Why gum arabic? You can get away with not using it, but I like to add it due to its binding and stabilizing effects, it prevents the sugar from crystallizing and provides a smooth texture. Carefully pour your sugar into your container (it’s easy to burn yourself with hot sugar) and let your paste cool for 1 to 1.5 hours or so. You may see a filmy layer develop at the top, you can skim this off for a smoother finished product, again take care to keep your hands away from the hot sugar. I’ve seen several YouTube videos of women wetting their hands and then kneading their sugar after it’s been cooked – in my experience, this is unnecessary – there’s no need to knead!
The key is to cook the sugar to the right temperature for your desired consistency: soft, medium or firm. Soft sugar paste is better for delicate facial areas such as the upper lip and brow, medium is great for large areas like the legs, and firm is best for areas of the body that tend to get hot, like the bikini line. Also consider your climate: for warmer climates, you’ll need a firm paste to hold its consistency, in colder climes you can go softer. The guidelines are: for soft paste, cook to 240 degrees F, (soft ball stage in candy making) for medium paste, cook to 250 degrees F and for firm paste, cook to 260 degrees F (hard ball stage in candy making). The longer you cook your sugar, the harder it gets, but even if you have a hard candy batch of sugar that you overcooked, don’t throw it out! You can salvage it (unless it’s at the crack stage) by putting it in your warmer, or reheating it in the microwave for a minute or so, stirring it to eliminate hot spots.
Once your sugar is ready, you can store it at room temperature as it’s shelf stable, (sugar is antibacterial) so you don’t need to refrigerate it. However, if you want to reuse a ball of sugar you’ve already worked with, then you will need to store it in the fridge to firm it up for your next session.
There you have it – that’s how you make your own sugar paste at home. I hope you find this helpful, and in the near future I’ll be doing videos on this topic as well as how to sugar by hand.