Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Trust Me-Don’t Try This at Home

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert, Gwinnett Citizen April 2017

Dear Sister Knowitall,
My friend and I have a debate going over several home remedies we have read about on the internet. I’m afraid to try some of them because I don’t want to make things worse than it already is.

Neither of us want to try them because there is just so much conflicting information out there. How do you know what works and what doesn’t. 

~ Signed Netty Overload   

Dear Netty Overload,I spend a lot of time researching home remedies. Why? Because I want to be sure that what I am doing to my home, my body or my family are all safe and effective. I also want to be sure that anything that I recommend is actually helpful and not harmful to the person or group I am talking too. We can be too trusting sometimes. Being cautious is a good thing, so how do you know?I want you to know I have suffered for my hard earned knowledge. You have to be willing to let go of a ruined item , and be realistic and responsible. You will also learn where the reputable sources are and which ones are full of cow poo. I have experienced some monumental home remedy fails over the years. Learning what works and what doesn’t takes time, patience and a willingness to experiment and possibly fail. After all, we have the light bulb because Edison was willing to fail 1,000 times. Here are some of my fails:

FAIL #1: Home Remedy for natural nail polish remover. -White Vinegar and Lemon Juice does not even begin to remove nail polish.

FAIL #2: Home Remedy for removing oxidation from headlights -Toothpaste did do a slight polish but does not remove the oxidation from my headlight.

FAIL #3 Pinterest has an unbelievable number of both good and bad remedies. Here are a few tried and failed attempts for cleaning the oxidation from aluminum baking pans. Baking Soda, Salt, White Vinegar, Coca Cola and Ketchup, all fails. I did find a winner however, I’ll save that for another column.

FAIL #4. This was my monumental and painful fail. I met a woman from Tennessee on a Facebook page for Etsy sellers. She was discussing this homemade hair removal process that has apparently been used in Ancient Egypt. It is called Sugaring which is; cooking sugar in a way that makes a wax either in a ball or that can be put on with a spatula, then using a hand motion they refer to as “flicking”. It is supposed to be less painful than waxing. You don’t have to let the hair get as long as waxing and in addition is it supposed to remove the hair follicle. Sounds amazing, Right? I was sincerely excited to try this. Long story short. I researched videos, the sellers website and even chatted with her several times on messenger. Did I “not” shave my legs for this? I felt totally prepared. NOT! 

All I have time to tell you today is; Don’t try this at home. This was a painful fail. To find out what happened in painful detail. read the full sordid story click here. 

The whole sordid story.. Trust me don't try this at Home, Sugaring, Waxing or Shaving

By Cindy Pitts Gilbert,
Dear Sister Knowitall,
Have you ever heard of Sugaring? Do you think it is better than waxing or shaving?
Hair Beware

Dear Hair Beware,
Your question intrigued me.  Sugaring was a totally new concept and  officially stumped Sister Knowitall. I took on this challenge for my readers as well as for me.  I personally hate shaving.  I have tried waxing, OUCH!  Threading was long drawn out Torture, and well kind of gross. Women holding thread in their mouths while ripping the hair from your  face.  Nair did not let me wear the Short Shorts.  It left numerous little chemical burn marks in many pores, How unsafe is a chemical rash and the smell was like a bad permanent.

So, this Sugaring concept captured me hook line and sinker. Natural, less painful than waxing, won't remove the skin like waxing can,  lessens the hair over time.  Of course I can't recommend a home remedy that I know nothing about so let's find out Miss Hair Beware, what is sugaring and will it be the answer to my own hairless hopes and dreams. 

I met a lovely lady on an Etsy Facebook page who shared her product information with me and I immediately ordered a trial size of the product. I let the hair grow while I waited  for the package to arrive only needed a 1/4 inch.  I can do that.. Good thing it was winter time. 
I read the information on the Etsy page and discussed with the maker of the product what sugaring is and how wonderful it is.  This is directly from the Etsy Store:

" Quote from Achemy of the Goddess: Body Sugar is the oldest hair removal method around, and has been used in Egypt since the Ancient Egyptians (around 1900 B.C.), as well as many other ancient cultures including the Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Indians. Inspired by Alexander the Great, the women of Alexandria considered a hairless body to be the standard of beauty, youth and innocence and was considered not only esthetically pleasing, but highly sought after for cleanliness and good hygiene. Body Sugar is the purest and most natural way to remove unwanted hair for both men AND women, still…. and besides, ALL Goddesses need smooth, beautiful skin !!"

 Just a Sister Knowitall Side thought?  Why is it that since 1900 B.C. Women have been changing their natural appearance (ie hair removal) to be the standard of beauty,  and why oh why, are we still doing it?  Hm, that's a whole other blog.
Back to the task at hand,  In the meantime, I visited You Tube.  I wanted to learn as much about yanking the hair out of my body prior to actually yanking the hair out of my body.  You Tube has a great number of videos on the subject, including a video from the Etsy store owner sugaring her own legs  Lesson One.  Too much information on a subject can make things worse not better, If in doubt Ask?   Keep reading...

Cornstarch or Baby Powder
Finally my product came in and so did the hair.  I was a Sasquatch in the making. Yet, I was apprehensive at the same time and for those who know me well know that   I  will research a subject to death before I believe it is a real answer to anything.Sometimes I think my name should be Sister Researchitall.   In this case however; I believe less would have been more. I waited another week watched more videos. Some put the wax in a ball and spread it out, others coated their legs with it and flicked it off  with a spatula but I never saw any with denim strips of fabric, so with my arsenal of You Tube knowledge on a cold Saturday morning, I opened the contents of the package which included a spatula, a small container of brown syrup a little thicker than honey, a set of typed directions that conflicted with all my you tube knowledge, 2 small strips of denim,  a little packet of powder (cornstarch) and a little container of what I believe to be Aloe Vera Gel.  To begin I was supposed to exfoliate 2 days prior to sugaring, which I did.  I set up a chair in the bathroom and powdered my leg well with the cornstarch to prevent any skin removal. I then opened the wax  took my own spatula as the one included was a bit awkward and proceeded to  spread the wax on my leg.  I then attempted  to do this flicking motion I saw on both her video and countless other You Tube videos as this version of wax didn't seem thick enough to form a ball.  The result was OUCH, OUCH OUCH and hundreds of bruises appearing on the pores on my leg.  This was not working well at all hair was still everywhere, my leg was throbbing and I was a sticky mess.
 I grabbed a strip of denim and placed it on the hair patted it down  from my salon waxing experiences and pulled the strip against the direction the hair grows,  OMG, YOWZA and OUCHY.  Ok I'm done! I rinsed off the gooey mess and sent a message to the Etsy Store Owner with this picture.

What a complete disaster.  I explained my procedure and here was her reply.  It looks like you pulled against the hair growth and not with the hair growth.  You need to warm the syrup just a little to make is thinner. The flicking from the video is for is for Sugar Paste not Sugar Wax? What??? there are two different forms of this Sugaring.  I knew I didn't have a ball of wax but who knew there are so many forms of sugaring.  How did the ladies in 1900BC figure this out if I can't with the help of You Tube?  I am sharing this in great detail because I don't want you to make the same mistake I did and because there is a lesson to be learned about over learning.  I should have possibly asked a few more questions or asked the owner of the store more questions. After I asked her to share a video specifically on this method. I was amazed how many mistakes I had made from watching so many other videos.  
This is my leg a week later. Still bruised however, it did not hurt after the initial episode was over.  After seeing the new video I did have a much less painful experience. The hair was still very stubborn and I ended up shaving off the rest of the hair. I did not give up.  I made more denim strips and proceeded to continue my learning on my underarm area. I will spare you the pictures.  I did take some but they aren't nearly as dramatic, Hairy to Hairless over a period of 3 days. 
The results are as follows:
  • Sugar Wax... Not Paste

    Be sure the area is clean and dry
  • Warm the wax for about 10-12 seconds. 
    Spread a very thin coat of sugar wax onto the hair against the growth of the hair.  
  • Place the denim on and rub being sure it attaches to as much hair as possible
  • Yank as close to the body as possible in the direction the hair grows
  • If you still see hair add another coat of wax and pull with the same strip or a new one.
  • If you have stubborn coarse hair like I did, (thanks to genetics um Thanks. Dad) you will need to be patient and try again the next day or even the next until you get all the hair.
  • If you are left handed that side will be harder to remove hair from and will take longer.. ( I did shave a small remaining patch after 2 days of trying)  visa versa if your right handed
  • The sugar rinses off way easier than wax does and the aloe did a great job soothing the redness. 
  • It has been a week and a half and I haven't had to shave or wax my underarm since.  
  • I did order paste that is another blog stay tuned. 
Needless to say. I will not be trying this again without an experienced professional in control of the evil spatula and then perhaps not even then.  So remember ladies and gents. Sometimes research is not helpful and sometimes a home remedy is not something you should attempt at home ever.