Sunday, 9 September 2012

Wax and Waxing

Wax and Waxing, how hard can it be?

I thought I would give a totally different ‘recipe’ today…
I made wax recently, for the first time in… well too many years to think about.  Maybe a decade?  I used to have to wax at home as a teen as shaving was out of the question.  Being Egyptian means that waxing has been part of tradition for women for centuries and gets passed down from mother to daughter.  My mum would make the wax, showing me and explaining along the way, and then wax me. I found that my father and brother would magically have outdoor tasks to attend to as it initially took some getting used to - and by that I mean the ripping hundreds of hairs out of my legs at time.   After several years of apprenticeship I was allowed to head to the bathroom on my own and spend over an hour trying to wax myself.  As I got older and more experienced I began to wax my sister at times too.

While that all might make waxing sound easy, even simple things can go terribly wrong at times!  The first time I tried to make wax by myself was after school one day and my mother was still at work.  I figured I had a good 3 hours to play with which would be plenty of time. 

I used the same pot my mother used, the same measuring cup and the same amount of sugar, water and lemon that she would use.  I was so careful.  Standing over the stove watching the sugar melt and slowly start to boil it all looked good. Then the phone rang.  It was a friend of mine so I moved away from the stove and sat on the couch chatting.  I got up a few times and checked the wax then sat back down. 
I was engrossed in the conversation I was having until I saw thick smoke creeping slowly across the ceiling – along with a very strong smell of burnt sugar!  I rushed into the kitchen to find that the wax had formed a kind of very light honeycomb – as solid as a rock and black as coal!  I FREAKED out.  The smoke alarm was yelling at me and I felt the adrenalin rush that comes with horrendous fear and panic.
Forget the waxing, forget the phonecall.  I had to get everything back into order before mum came home or there would be trouble.  I used a fork, then several knives to break down the solid mess in the pot.  It must have taken me a good hour to get most of it out, and then another one just trying to get the charring out of the pot.

I did manage to get the pot clean, dried and put away, the stove clean, the sink clean (there were flecks of carbon everywhere).  The house had been airing and thankfully my mum walked in none-the-wiser. 
Really though, there were so many ways I could have better spent that three hours and I certainly  gave up the idea of making wax  by myself for a really long time after that!
All that aside, making wax is pretty easy.  It is learning how to work with molten sugar that is the difficult part and it really does take practice.  I would have taken a video of it but thought I would try it first to see if I still had the touch.  So the video will have to wait until another time.

In the meantime here is the recipe I use –
1 Turkish coffee cup/espresso cup sugar
1 Turkish coffee cup/espresso cup water
juice of half a lemon

Combine and stir to dissolve the sugar then simmer gently without stirring until the syrup reduces and turns a golden colour.
Remove from heat and pour onto cold, wet metal – I pour it onto the metal of the sink – remembering that it is very hot at this stage!
Because it cools from the edge inward you must then scrape around the edges and bring the cooled wax to the centre until it is cold enough to handle.
Scrape off with a spoon and handle with your fingertips until it has cooled enough to use. You need to keep stretching it and working it until it changes colour to a pale gold. 

To wax you need to place the wax on the skin from the bottom and work upwards, pressing and pulling it until the wax is a thin layer. Starting at the bottom again pull the wax off away in the opposite direction to how it was put on.

The hairs and old skin cells will become one with the wax and leave your skin wonderfully smooth and clean.  
After finishing waxing then jump straight into the shower and wash.  The wax will dissolve and is completely environmentally friendly and biodegradable.

Remember after you are clean to go back to the kitchen and clean the pot and sink – very easy to do if you left everything soaking in water beforehand.

Good luck!

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