Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hair Removal

Just about everyone, men and women, in the Arab world removes their hair. Mostly it's removed from the armpit and pubic areas for cleanliness, however for women the hair on the forearms and legs are also removed regularly. Before a wedding the bride will have absolutely all her body hair removed.

Within the GCC there are two main forms of hair removal which are done in the salon; 1. threading and 2. sugaring

Threading [khite]
This form of hair removal is supposed to be less painful than plucking ~ha ha~ and always involves two people; the person removing the hairs and the person with too many hairs.

The person removing the hairs will take a roll of cotton sewing thread and remove a piece of thread about two meters long. They will then fold the thread in half put the fold around their middle finger and twist the thread until about a foot of twist appears in the thread.

One end of the thread is put between their front teeth, the other end in their right hand and the loop is held by the middle finger of thier left hand. The hair puller will then roll the thread and move their head back at the same time, using the loop to trap a series of unwanted hairs and pull them from the skin.

photo taken from:

With sugaring [hal-lah-waH] sugar, lemon and water are boiled down to make a syrupy, softball candy, sticky mess, which is a kind of caramel colour.

photos taken from:

Once the syrup is the right strechy consistency the person removing the hairs will take a small quantity from the pot, make a small ball and rub it on to the skin. The hair is then stripped away and the person having their hair removed will scream ~the first time I had this done I had never felt such pain and was covered in blue buises for two weeks afterwards~

Halawa Recipe - Stove
This recipe comes from:

2 cups water
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Wooden spoon & candy thermometer (optional)

1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan. Heat the mixture slowly, over low heat, until small bubbles start to form. Stir the mixture two to three times every minute using a wooden spoon. Bring to boil (250 F)

2. When the color changes to a golden brown, lower the heat and continue to simmer and repeat stirring.

3. Keep a careful watch on the colour. Once it starts to get a little darker, turn off the heat.

4. Allow to cool a little (about 15 mins), then pour small quantities onto sheets of cotton. Some people prefer using plates but it’s a bit of pain to peel off the plate when 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.

Store the body sugaring in a cool, dry place until you're ready to use it. It should keep for about 1 month before you need to replace it.

Halawa Recipe - Microwave
This recipe is taken from:

1/2 lemon
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar

Put all the ingredients into a microwavable bowl, turn the microwave onto high for 3-4 minutes. When it cools down, use it like hot (or cold) wax! You will find all the hair you want to remove comes off.

Some Suggestions for the Leftovers?
Eat it like candy ~yuck~ or you can wrap it and store it until the next time you need to remove some hairs.


*~Ange~* said...

award time!!!

*~Ange~* said...

i would not try sugaring.. hurty hurty... i will stick to shaving my legs thanks...

and i cant fathom touching the hair on my forearms.. thats weird

wgaw said...

the Arab ladies I know who remove the hair on their arms do so because it's so BLACK, THICK and well, HAIRY when they let it grow ...

mistika said...

I used to shave, but my sister in law introduce me to the sugar one, and I love it! hard to do with the kids around but I try and believe me they eat the left overs...
I love your blog by the way!

Melody said...

If you had bruises the person removing your hair was doing it improperly. If the skin is pulled tight with one hand and the "wax" is pulled away in a motion parallel to the skin you will not bruise. And it won't hurt as much.

The Parent Fairy said...

Hi, I like your blog and am wondering if you know where in Bahrain I can find a candy thermometer?

Michel Jayne

HyunChard said...

Oh! never tried sugaring...I just undergone waxing.
But I love sugar.Maybe I should try this one.

xn said...

I am try sugaring but it is not a good technique.
הסרת שיער