Life without Plastic

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Zero Waste Sugar Waxing

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I've seen quite a few zero waste hair removal articles, but I haven't one that is very comprehensive. Mr. Greenie and I are old hats at zero waste shaving, but we've had to do some serious research to figure out the whys, how, and the five R's of zero waste hair removal. If you are researching alternatives for disposable razors and waxing like we were, keep reading and check this article and this article on different zero waste hair removal options.

  • Why use sugar waxing?

Sugar waxing can be a nice transition from more chemical and unnatural forms of hair removal, more environmentally friendly (you can make it package free from local sources or find the ingredients in bulk), and provides more effective hair removal than a razor by removing the hair rather than cutting it. This means less frequent hair removal, and no nicks, unlike shaving.

With a sugar waxing, you have to keep making the wax, which can be a bummer if you don't like to cook. You also will be using up resources every time you remove hair, local or bulk, so you have to keep investing time and money in supplies. In my opinion, sugar waxing is probably the most wasteful hair removal option because of the continual need for supplies, followed by safety razors, and then the least wasteful straight razor

You have to use the wax hot enough to spread and you have to rip off the hair, which is painful. If you are squeamish about pulling off the hair, like me, you have to have a helper to actually perform the waxing. This can be friend, spouse, family, etc. or a professional, which would add to the cost of waxing. 

If you are squeamish about waxing, I would recommend a vintage safety razor or a vintage straight razor. If you prefer waxing and want to make as little waste as possible doing it, this article is for you.

  • How to wax 
Whisk together 2 cups honey, 1/4 apple cider vinegar, 1/4 water until thoroughly combined. After the wax is mixed, cook it in a canning jar in a medium pot of water on low to low-medium and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 mins, just scrape the bottom and the sides. Then remove whisk occasionally to check on the color.

In the last couple of minutes, remove the wax from the burner to lightly whisk and check the color with less bubbles. The wax should become a light amber color. Don't over-stir!

Once the wax is amber colored, start to let it harden by cooling for about 12 minutes to use right away. It should be spreadable, but not too hot.

  • Refuse: In order to use as little packaging and the environmental impacts of shipping as possible, buy local honey in bulk or raise it yourself, DIY apple cider vinegar from apple cores and peels or buy in glass or refill from bulk containers, and use filtered tap water.

    • Reduce: To reduce your needed waxing supplies, cut up old cloth for the waxing strips. Save any leftover wax to reheat for later by storing it in the fridge, saving time, money, and supplies. 

      • Reuse: Keep using the same strips by tossing in your laundry basket with your towels when you are done with the waxing session.

        • Recycle: Bring your bulk container back to your honey supplier, reuse or recycle your glass vinegar container, and recycle any emptied (of charcoal) out water filters you use. Save any too tattered fabric scraps to make parchment paper.

        Now you have a good understanding of why a sugar waxing may be a good option for you, how to do it, and how to waste as little as possible while waxing. Check out zero waste shaving with a safety razor and shaving with a straight razor to further examine your options.

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        What are your favorite ways to reduce waste with sugar waxing?

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