Sugaring is a popular method of hair removal in the Middle East, considered just as effective as, but less painful than, waxing. Here I’ve added in some cloves for their mild anaesthetic action as well. This rose-infused sugar smells wonderful, is gentle on skin, and easy to apply and wash off afterwards.
petals of 12 scented roses
1 tsp whole cloves
juice of 1½ lemons
2 tbsp rosewater (optional, for scent)
cotton or linen cloth, cut into strips
1 Wash the rose petals, gently dab dry, then chop them roughly.
2 In a glass jar, layer the sugar with the chopped petals, and leave in a cool, dark place overnight. After 12–24 hours, you will have a thick syrup filled with sugar crystals.
3 Pour the rose-infused sugar syrup into a pan. Grind the cloves in a pestle and mortar and add to the mix. Heat for a few minutes on a low heat until the sugar crystals melt and disappear – the syrup should be clear and take on the colour of the petals.
4 Add the lemon juice and continue on a low heat until the syrup thickens.
5 Strain off the petals through a sieve into a second pan. Heat for 20 minutes, or until the syrup reduces, thickens and turns a dark caramel colour. Take off the heat and add the rosewater, if using, for scent. Bottle in a close-stoppered or sealed container, to stop moisture being absorbed or the sugar crystallizing. Alternatively, cool until lukewarm, then use at once.
USE Use a wooden spreader or palette knife to apply a thin layer of lukewarm sugar (check it’s not too hot by doing a small test patch first). Cover the sugared area with a cloth strip, pushing down firmly, then quickly pull the strip away in the opposite direction to the growth of hair. Repeat until all hair is removed. If the sugar cools and becomes too hard to use, gently heat again until lukewarm, then reapply. Wash skin in lukewarm water after sugaring, to remove any residue.
NB: If you have sensitive skin, you can reduce irritation by applying a layer of sugar to skin, then pulling off in the direction of growth.
CAUTION Don’t use on highly sensitive, broken or sunburned skin, in cases of eczema or psoriasis, or on hairs growing from moles or warts. Keep skin out of the sun for 24 hours afterwards.
STORAGE If bottled correctly, this will keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.