A few years ago I tried making my own sugar wax, but I overcooked it and it didn't work right. After having sticker shock at the pharmacy last week, I decided to give it another go. I borrowed a candy thermometer from a friend and cooked up a batch. It's ridiculously simple; I used a variation of this recipe:
Homemade leg wax:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup water
Boil the ingredients together until the syrup reaches 250 F (121 C). Let syrup cool. Extra wax will store indefinitely at room temperature, so double or triple the batch and save yourself some time down the road.
Use like any hot wax. Heat syrup in a microwave until it is hot, but can still be applied comfortably to your skin. Reheat as necessary in a microwave for 5-10 seconds at a time. Apply in the direction of hair growth with a wooden paddle or, preferably, a rolling applicator. Place cloth strip over wax and rub a few times. Pull off quickly in the opposite direction of hair growth. Place the used cloth strips in a bowl of hot water. Soak and then swish to remove wax and hair (or put them in the wash). Hang to dry.
The verdict: I used a rolling applicator and cloth strips saved from store-bought waxing kits. I got excellent results when I applied the wax with the roller. When I applied the wax with a wooden paddle, the results weren't as good; the hair didn't all come off, and I had some bruising (I've found this to be true with purchased kits, too).
Homemade leg wax in roll-on applicator.
Definitely use a candy thermometer. It's easy to overcook the syrup without one.
You can make your own cloth strips by cutting rectangles from muslin, old sheets or pillowcases, etc.
Overall cost to wax both legs: $0.25
Worth the effort? Definitely
*The majority of the time I still let my leg hair grow, because I'm lazy and leg hair doesn't bother me. I probably wax twice a year. Since I've started wearing compression hose again--yay for varicose veins--my leg hair itches like crazy when I take the hose off at night. So I need bare legs at least until the baby is born.