Wash the rose petals, gently dab dry, and then chop them roughly. Layer the sugar with the chopped petals in a glass jar and leave in a cool, dark place overnight. After 12 to 24 hours, you will have a thick syrup filled with sugar crystals.
Pour the rose-infused sugar syrup into a pan. Grind the cloves in a pestle and mortar and add to the mix. Heat for a few minutes over low heat until the sugar crystals melt and disappear - the syrup should be clear and take on the color of the petals.
Add the lemon juice and continue to cook over low heat until the syrup thickens. Strain through a sieve into a second pan, discarding the petals. Heat until the syrup reduces, thickens and turns a dark caramel color, 20 minutes. Take off the heat and add the rosewater, if using, for scent. Bottle in a close-stoppered or sealed container, to stop moisture being absorbed or the sugar crystallizing. Alternatively, cool until lukewarm, then use at once.
Use a wooden spreader or palette knife to apply a thin layer of lukewarm sugar (check it's not too hot by doing a small test patch first). Cover the sugared area with a cloth strip, pushing down firmly, then quickly pull the strip away in the opposite direction to the growth of hair. Repeat until all hair is removed. If the sugar cools and becomes too hard to use, gently heat again until lukewarm, then reapply. Wash the skin in lukewarm water after sugaring, to remove any residue.
If you have sensitive skin, you can reduce irritation by applying a layer of sugar to skin, then pulling off in the direction of growth.
Don't use on highly sensitive, broken or sunburned skin, in cases of eczema or psoriasis, or on hairs growing from moles or warts. Keep skin out of the sun for 24 hours afterwards.
If bottled correctly, this will keep in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Courtesy James Wong