What Is Egyptian Body Wax?

Sugar, lemon and water combine to make an all-natural hair remover.
Sugar, lemon and water combine to make an all-natural hair remover. (Image: John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Egyptian body wax isn’t actually a wax at all. Rather, it’s a sugar-based paste that’s used like wax to remove hair from the face and body. Proponents of “sugaring” -- an ancient hair removal method -- claim it’s cheaper, easier and less painful than waxing, and unlike wax kits, you can make it yourself with basic pantry and refrigerator items that you most likely already have on hand.


Egyptian body wax or sugar wax, as it is also commonly called, originated almost 4,000 years ago and was used to achieve silky smooth skin in Egypt, Greece, India, Persia and China, among other places. Back then, the process of sugaring to remove body hair was done with honey as the main ingredient.

Modern Uses

With the exception of using refined sugar instead of raw honey, little about sugaring has changed over the millennia. Just like in ancient times, in modern times the sugar paste is applied to legs, arms, the bikini area, eyebrows and the upper lip to grip hair and pull it out of its follicle, resulting in smooth, hairless skin. Those who prefer sugaring to waxing claim that in addition to being less expensive and painful than waxing, sugaring is also safe and effective for people with sensitive skin since the ingredients are all natural and, depending on the recipe, nourishing to the skin. The sugar paste also works as a natural skin exfoliator.

Sugaring leaves skin smooth weeks longer than shaving.
Sugaring leaves skin smooth weeks longer than shaving. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Homemade Versions

One advantage that sugaring has over waxing is that you can make your own hair removal paste with sugar and a few other ingredients right at home, whenever you need it and in whatever quantity you need. Many recipes for Egyptian sugar wax are available online, but most call for sugar, water and lemon juice, with sugar as the main ingredient. Some recipes add soothing or moisturizing ingredients to the mixture, such as essential oil. The concoction is brought to a boil and caramelized to the consistency of honey, then removed from heat, allowed to reach room temperature and applied directly to skin. The soft, rubbery paste is then quickly torn away from the skin, removing any hair underneath it.

Professional Services and Products

Although Egyptian sugar wax is cheap and easy to make at home, there are a few advantages of using professional products or services. Sugaring is not as popular in spas and salons as waxing is, but if you can find a professional who does sugaring, you can benefit from the procedure without having to do any of the preparation or work. In addition, you can rest assured that the professional performing the hair removal is applying and removing the sugar appropriately, reducing the risk of scalding, bruising or lacerating skin. Although ready-made Egyptian sugar wax kits aren’t always superior to homemade versions, these kits usually contain applicators, removal cloths and after-care astringents or moisturizers that can make sugaring easier and ease any irritation that may occur.

Some spas and salons offer soothing massages after sugaring treatments.
Some spas and salons offer soothing massages after sugaring treatments. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

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