While hair removal might not seem like the easiest thing to DIY, it turns out it can be done (and using common, over-the-counter ingredients, no less). Turns out, experts know hair-removal recipes that are easy, inexpensive and made up of all-natural formulas.
Best of all, they use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen at home like sugar, water and lemon juice. Some don't require much other than a pumice stone (another thing you might already have at home). Some of these techniques you might be somewhat familiar with, like the hair removal technique called sugaring. This ancient method has been around for ages, originating in the east, and is designed to remove hair from the follicle at the root. Because its purpose it to remove the entire hair, and not just cut it off at skin level like with shaving, results usually last for around six weeks. But there are other methods, too — and the pros say they work.
Meet the Expert
- Dr. Annie Gonzalez is a board-certified dermatologist based at Miami's Riverchase Dermatology.
- Courtney Claghorn is the founder of hair removal and tanning company SUGARED + BRONZED.
Check out these six easy homemade hair removal recipes for smoother skin in no time.
"Sugaring is an ancient Egyptian technique and there are many sugar paste recipes available that can be made on a stove top," says Courtney Claghorn, founder of SUGARED + BRONZED. To try it at home, mix 1/8 cup of of water with 1/8 cup of lemon juice and 1 cup of sugar and bring it to a boil in a stove. Stir until it turns deep brown, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Then, use it the same way you would wax (by spreading it over the skin and removing it with a gentle pull).
"It’s important to keep in mind that while the ingredients are simple (just sugar, lemon, and water), the process and ratios you use will result in different consistencies of sugar, which are to be used on specific hair types/body parts and also affects the difficulty level of the technique," says Claghorn.
Many people prefer sugaring over waxing because it’s gentler to the skin and doesn't stick as much as waxing does. Less pulling not only equals less pain, but there may also be less chance of skin irritation, redness, inflammation and bruising. Those with sensitive skin especially love this method. When you're done, you can remove the sugar with plain, simple water to clean skin (unlike waxing, which requires a special product to remove all of its residue).
You can also heat up the sugar mixture in the microwave and use it as a gel, in a hair removal process done similarly to waxing. It’s an easier technique than the paste, but you’ll need at least 1/4" of hair growth and a bit more items like strips and applicators ("If it is any longer, the molding process can be painful," says Claghorn.)
Gel is the better option for those new to removing hair at home from the root or who have some experience waxing. Plus, "You can remove hair in the arms, legs, underarms, and bikini area," Gonzalez says.
Once you remove the mix from the microwave, "the mixture should be a brownish color," Gonzalez adds.
As Claghorn notes, with sugaring, "there’s no need to lighten hair because sugar paste removes all of the hair! Sugaring will, however, refine hair growth over time."
"Turmeric is known to lighten the skin and slow hair growth," says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Annie Gonzalez. "You can use it to remove facial hair and reduce your hair growth rate."
It’s also easy to use yourself: "all you have to do is mix one tablespoon of milk with three tablespoons of turmeric powder," Gonzalez says. "Then, place this mixture in the same direction as hair growth on the facial hair you would like to remove. Leave the mixture on your skin for about twenty minutes or until it is dry. Next, wet your hands, wet the mixture slightly, and scrub your skin in small circular motions. Finally, wash off with lukewarm water."
One of the most common ingredients in your kitchen could also help you bid adieu to extra hair. "Baking soda is also great for removing unwanted hair, lightening dark parts of the skin, and decreasing hair growth," says Gonzalez.
"First, you’ll need to mix a few drops of lemon juice with a small amount of baking soda. Then, add water to the mix to make the mixture thick. Next, apply the mixture to the unwanted hair and leave it on the skin for about 15 minutes. Lastly, wash off with lukewarm water."
While a pumice stone isn't going to go as deep as, say, a sugaring wax, it can help remove unwanted loose hairs. You have to be gentle, though, using a dry pumice stone on clean skin and working it in small, circular motions.
While this might only remove hairs that are already a bit loose, it is very effective at smoothing and exfoliating the skin. As a bonus, you can also work the tool into your feet for an at-home pedicure.
Egg White Mask
Like the pumice stone, this method won't get super-deep, but it can work on light facial hair. Simply mix an egg white with one tablespoon of sugar and half-a-tablespoon of cornflour, and apply it to the skin. Let it dry, and then peel to remove.
As Gonzalez explains, removing any sort of wax-like product should be conducted with caution: "Make sure the skin is dry, and apply in the opposite direction of hair growth. Then, lift the hairs, and rip them off in the direction of hair growth."