If I Can, You Can: Home Eyebrow Waxing!
Sometime in my early twenties, I became aware that my eyebrows do not fit societal standards for ladies’ eyebrows. It’s surprising perhaps that I had missed that fact for so long, but then I’ve never been what you would call a girly girl. I ignored that knowledge for a few more years, then, when I was 25, I started having them professionally waxed every time I got my hair cut.
I was getting my hair cut about every other month and paying $15 extra for my eyebrows. Over about seven years, assuming the usual seven percent after inflation rate of returns, that adds up to $881 that I spent… on my eyebrows.
Yet even when I started becoming Mustachian, I resisted taking over this chore myself. Wouldn’t there be a large initial investment? I would have to buy wax, waxing strips, some sort of spatula to apply the wax, and possibly special lotions as well. Maybe even a wax warmer. Instead, I reduced the frequency of my salon visits from bimonthly to quarterly.
But there’s a better way. I first got the idea to try the sugar method of hair removal from the book Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too by Beth Terry. Unfortunately, while the book had some cool ideas in it, its recipe for homemade sugar wax was completely useless, so I turned to Google for help. I had good results with an About.com recipe; it takes a good half-hour to make the first time, but makes enough for many uses, and the only ingredients are plain white sugar, lemon juice, and water. I store the leftovers in a wide-mouth glass jar that used to hold natural peanut butter.
What about all the other supplies? Well, I tried just doing without most of them. I wash the area and apply a little cornstarch baby powder, and afterwards I just wash off the wax. I don’t have very sensitive skin and it turns out I don’t need special pre-wax and post-wax lotions. You might not, either.
Now, apparently with sugaring, there is a special technique where you let the stuff cool to the temperature of a paste, then sort of roll it into a ball, and yank your hair off without any strips or anything. If you have ever had sugaring done professionally like that, you might want to try it, but I just made a mess trying it on my arm. So I use the sugar gel method, which is essentially the same technique as waxing.
For eyebrows, I use the flat end of an orange stick to apply the sugar gel. For strips, I just cut up some non-stretchy scrap fabric* (I’ve been using the end of a pillowcase that I cut down from king size to standard) and throw it away afterwards. You can actually wash and reuse, but I couldn’t figure out how to make reusable strips small enough for my eyebrows. (If you know how, please tell me in the comments!) Anyway, it takes very little fabric. I actually find it LESS painful than professional waxing, maybe because I’m more in control.
For larger areas, I apply the gel with the handle of a plastic fork (why not?) and use an old flannel rag as a reusable strip. (I have a giant stack of these on top of my microwave, and use them for pretty much everything.)
Is it difficult? No. I know, it will probably make you nervous to start messing around with your eyebrows, but I got totally reasonable results from the very first try. And I’m hardly one of those ladies who can, you know, put on makeup and do fancy things with their hair. In fact, I have had the same “mom bob” since I was in high school.
Ready for the payoff? Assuming a typical rate of compound interest (7%), and compared to quarterly professional waxes at $15 a pop, I can expect to save, over ten years, $904.
*I’ve been noticing that one way people find my blog from Google is looking for what fabric to use, so I will elaborate. I am using wrinkle-free sheets, so it’s fairly shiny, treated cotton. Untreated might be better, but the treated works. Good sources for fabric to cut up: the legs of worn-out flannel pants, the edges of worn-out flannel or regular sheets, old pillowcases, remnants from the fabric store, scraps from Freecycle.