Egyptian Hair Removal

Halawa Sweet - Egyptian Hair Removal - Assalya

This is a very old, very famous Egyptian recipe for wax that is completely natural and extremely effective. It is basically caramel, right before it reaches the crystallising stage (so it also tastes great). It is relatively simple to make, but take care to observe the carmelizing of the sugar, because the window for the wax to be just right before burning is very small. Do not be frustrated if you burn a batch; even experienced makers do this all the time. The best thing to do is to watch is continuously once the colour changes to golden brown. You can eat it or you can use it as Hair Removal.

Ingredients for Halawa Sweet, AKA Sweet, Egyptian Sugar Wax, or Hair Removal by Lucy Elsherif

1. Two cups of water
2. Three cups of sugar or three cups of honey
3. Two teaspoons of lemon juice


1. Place all ingredients in saucepan. Bring to boil.
2. When its colour changes to golden brown, lower the heat and continue to simmer.
3. Keep a careful watch on the colour. Once it starts to change to brown, turn off the heat.
4. Allow to cool a little, then pour small quantities onto heavy duty plastic, of the cereal bag type. Plastic that is not heavy duty will melt. It is not a good idea to use a plate, as you will need to peel it off something pliable after it cools.
5. When it becomes cool enough to handle, pull a piece off the plastic and pull and stretch it. This will immediately cause it to change color, from a clear golden brown to an opaque gold. It should be easy to stretch and pull. If it is too hard, you have left it on the heat for too long and must make a new batch. If it is too liquid, it has not been heated enough and must be heated once more, or a new batch made.
It is now ready for use! Good luck in bearing the pain!
The trick is in knowing when to turn the heat off, and may take a few batches until mastered. One test is to take a drop on a spoon and hold it between your thumb and finger (cool it under water first!). It should stretch between them. If it too liquid to stretch, continue to heat, and if it stretches but is brittle, discard and repeat, reducing the time you leave it on the heat.

An easier, although more expensive, alternative is to use just three cups of honey and a few drops of lemon. Simmer for a few minutes until the colour changes then continue from step 4.
Making halawa isn't the difficult part, it's actually using it that is a pain. Good Luck ... Ahmed Eissa

Make sure you have the heat set low and do not stir it until all the sugar dissolves. After the sugar dissolves you can raise the heat. There is no guessing as to when the mixture is done if you buy a candy thermometer (not an expensive item) and bring the mixture to the hard ball sugar temperature of 350F to 360F. It will work every time no guess work there.

How to use Halawa (sweet):

Using halawa gives smooth, silky results that last much longer than shaving or depilatory creams, two to four weeks depending on how heavy your hair normally is. Having said that, it is also pretty painful, especially the first time. After the first pull, however, the pain decreases considerably as the whole leg (or arm) is less sensitive to the pain.

You can use Halawa on the underarms and bikini area.

First, trim the hair with a scissors, then use Halawa. It is pretty painful, especially the first time, but Halawa gives smooth, silky results that last two to four weeks depending on how heavy your hair normally is.

How can I store the leftovers?

Eat it like candy, or you can wrap it in Saran wrap and store it for weeks at room temperature, not in refrigerator. When you ready to use it again, hold it at one end and put it on a low flame for seconds (until it become soft). Do not put it in a microwave or in a toaster.

To start the halawa piece should be soft and pliable. If it is not, warm it between your palms for about 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can add a COUPLE of drops of water to it and knead it in. If it becomes too sticky, you have added too much water and need either to start with a fresh piece or too add some fresh halawa to the one you already have. (If it is sticky and melty better start with a fresh piece!)

1-Stretch the halawa onto your leg in the direction of the hair growth
2-Press down firmly and pull back, jerking it off in one quick movement in the opposite direction of the hair growth
3- Repeat until the skin area is free of all hair, this may take 3-4 times
As I said before, first-timers may find this painful at the beginning.
Try to do it after a shower, so the skin area is free of any dirt or bacteria, and don't use any moisturizers before using halawa as this will make it more difficult. After finishing up, rinse the leg with clear cool water to remove any remaining halawa, and soothe your leg with azulene oil if desired.

To reduce the effect of ingrown hairs, use a loofah or scrub as the hair is growing back. I have also heard (but not yet tried) of a product called Tend Skin ( which is said to completely eliminate ingrown hairs through reverse osmosis.
Good Luck!


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